MUSCLE MEDIA 2000 EXPOSES 30 OF BODYBUILDING'S BIGGEST MYTHS
BETWEEN YOU AND SUCCESS! By T.C. Luoma and Bill Phillips.
1 -- You can get as big as a pro bodybuilder. without taking
steroids; it just takes longer.
Despite what many of the magazines say, all professional bodybuilders use
either steroids or steroids in combination with other growth-enhancing drugs.
Without manipulating hormones, it just isn't possible to get that degree of
muscularity, the paper-thin skin, and the continuing ability to pack on mass,
despite sometimes having poor workout habits and relative ignorance of the
principles involved that many pro bodybuilders have. Many supplement
distributors, in order to sell their products, would have you believe
Still, that's no reason to give up. By using state-of-the-art training
principles, consuming a nutrient-rich diet, and by getting proper amounts of
rest, almost every person can make incredible changes in his or her physique.
The competitive bodybuilder circuit may not be in your future, but building the
kind of physique that gains you respect is certainly achievable, as are
self-respect and robust health.
2 -- In order to get really big, you have to eat a
Well, that's true; you'll get really big if you eat a super high-calorie diet,
but you'll look like the Michelin Man's fraternal twin. However, if you want
to get big, lean-tissue wise, then super-high-calorie diets are probably
not for you unless you are one of those very few people with metabolicrates so
fast you can burn off these calories instead of depositing them as fat.
Unfortunately, studies show that, in most people, about 65% of the new tissue
gains brought about by high-calorie diets consists of fat! Of the remaining
35%, approximately 15% consists of increased intracellular fluid volume,
leaving a very modest percentage attributable to increased lean muscle mass.
According to Dr Scott Connelly (MM2K, Spring 1992, p. 21), only about
20% to 25% of increased muscle growth stems from increased protein synthesis.
The rest of the muscle growth is directly attributable to increased
proliferation of the satellite cells in the basal lamina of muscle tissue, and
dietary energy (calories) is not a key factor in the differentiation of
these cells into new myofibres (muscle cells).
Of all factors determining muscle growth, prevention of protein breakdown
(anti-catabolism) seems to be the most relevant, but adding adipose [fat]
tissue through constant overfeeding can actually increase muscle pro- teolysis
(breakdown). Furthermore, additional adipose mass can radically alter hormone
balances which are responsible for controlling protein breakdown in muscle.
Insulin balance, for one, which partially controls anti-catabolism in the body,
is impaired by consistent overfeeding. So much for the eat-big-to-get-big
Stay away from the super-high calorie diets unless you're a genetic freak, or
you're woefully lean and don't mind putting on fat [or you're using appropriate
3 -- If you eat a low-fat diet, it doesn't matter how many calories
you take in, you won't gain any fat.
The bottom line is, if you exceed your energy requirements, you'll gradually
get fatter and fatter. It's true that eating a diet rich in fat will pack on
the pounds quicker for a variety of reasons, the most significant being that a
gram of fat has nine calories as opposed to the four calories per gram that
carbohydrates and proteins carry. Fat is also metabolized differently in the
body. It takes a lesser amount of calories to assimilate the energy in
ingested fat than it does to assimilate an equal (weight wise) amount of
carbohydrates. Consequently, more fat calories get stored than carbohydrate
calories. However, the gross intake of carbohydrates, as facilitated by many
of the weight-gain powders, will make you fat very quickly.
4 -- The more you work out, the more you'll grow.
No, no no. This is one of the most damaging myths that ever reared its ugly
head. 95% of the pros will tell you that the biggest bodybuilding mistake
they ever made was to over-train--and this happened even when they were taking
steroids. Imagine how easy it is for the natural athlete to overtrain! When
you train your muscles too often for them to heal, the end-result is zero
growth and perhaps even losses. Working out every day, if you're truly using
the proper amount of intensity, will lead to gross overtraining. A body part,
worked properly, ie. worked to complete, total muscular failure that recruited
as many muscle fibers as physiologically possible, can take 5-10 days to heal.
To take it a step further, even working a different body part in the
next few days might constitute overtraining. If you truly work your quads to
absolute fiber-tearing failure, doing another power workout the next day that
entails heavy bench-presses or deadlifts is going to, in all probability,
inhibit gains. After a serious leg workout, your whole system mobilizes to
heal and recover from the blow you've dealt it. How, then, can the body be
expected to heal from an equally brutal workout the next day? It can't, at
least not without using some drugs to help deal with the catabolic processes
going on in your body [and even they're usually not enough .]
Learn to accept rest as a valuable part of your workout. You should probably
spend as many days out of the gym as you do in it.
5 -- The longer you work out, the better.
It just isn't necessary to do 20-30 sets for a body part, or even 10 sets like
many 'experts' would have you believe. In fact, research has shown that it's
possible to completely fatigue a muscle in one set, provided that that set
taxes a muscle completely, ie. incorporates as many muscle fibers as possible
and takes them to the point of ischemic rigour where, rather than contract and
relax, the muscle fibers freeze up, sort of like a microscopic version of
rigor mortis. Any further contraction causes microscopic tearing.
Hypertrophy is just one adaption to this kind of stress and it's naturally the
kind most bodybuilders are interested in.
This kind of intensity can usually be achieved by doing drop or break-down sets
where you rep out, lower the weight, and continue doing reps until you either
can't do another rep or you've run out of weight. It can also be achieved by
doing your maximum number of reps on a particular exercise: by a combination of
will, tenacity, and short rest periods, you complete ten more reps. You
achieve the short rest periods by locking out the weight-bearing joint in
question without putting the weight down. In other words, completely surpass
your normal pain and energy thresholds.
If you can truly work your muscle to the point described, it will afford you
little, if any, benefit to do another set (Westcott, 1986). The exception
would be the body parts that are so big that they have distinct geographical
areas, like the back, which obviously has an upper, middle and lower part. The
chest might also fall into this category, as it has a distinct upper and lower
part, each with different insertion points.
6 -- You don't have to be strong to be big
For a variety of reasons, people, even those with an equal amount of muscle
mass, vary in strength enormously. It might have something to do with
fast-twitch/slow-twitch muscle ratios, or it might have something to do with
the efficiency of nerve pathways or even limb length and the resultant torque.
But it is still a relative term. To get bigger muscles, you have to lift
heavier weight, and you, not the guy next door, have to become stronger --
stronger than you were. Increasing muscle strength in the natural athlete,
except in a very few, rare instances, requires that the tension applied to
muscle fibers be high. If the tension applied to muscle fibers are light,
maximal growth will not occur (Lieber, 1992).
7 -- The training programmes that work best for pro bodybuilders
are best for everyone.
You see it happen every day in gyms across the country. Some bodybuilding
neophyte will walk up to a guy who looks like he's an escaped attraction from
Jurassic Park and ask him how he trains. The biggest guy in the gym
likely got that way from either taking a tremendous amount of drugs and/or by
being genetically pre-dispositioned to get big. Follow a horse home and you'll
find horse parents. The guy in your gym who is best bodybuilder is the guy who
has made the most progress and done the most to his physique using natural
techniques. He may still be a pencil neck, but he may have put on 40 pounds
[19kg] of lean body mass to get where he is, and that, in all probability, took
some know-how. That person probably doesn't overtrain, keeps his sets down to
a minimum, and uses great form and concentration on the eccentric (negative)
portion of each exercise repetition.
Many pros spend hours and hours doing innumerable sets--so many it would far
surpass the average person's recuperative abilities. If average people
followed the routines of average pro bodybuilders, they would, in effect, start
to whittle down what muscle mass they did have or, at best, make only a tiny
bit of progress after a couple of years.
8 -- You can't build muscle on a sub-maintenance calorie intake
It may be a little harder, and it may require a little bit more know-how and a
little bit more conscientious effort, but it can be done. The fact is, the
obese state in humans and animals is not universally correlated with absolute
levels of caloric intake and neither is the accrual of lean body mass. The
ability to realize changes in lean/fat ratios is regulated by components of the
automatic nervous system working in concert with several endocrine hormones;
this is called nutrient partitioning. For example, certain beta-agonist drugs
like Clenbuterol increase meat production in cattle over 30% while
simultaneously diminishing bodyfat without increasing the amount or
composition of their feed. Other drugs, including growth hormone, certain
oestrogens, cortisol, ephedrine, and IGF-1 are all examples of re-partitioning
agents. All increase oxygen consumption at the expense of fat
storage--independent of energy intake!
Drugs are not the only way to do this, however. It's true that a significant
component of this mechanism is genetically linked, but specific nutrients, in
specific amounts, when combined with an effective training programme, can
markedly improve the lean/fat ratio of adult humans. MET-Rx is one such
nutrient re-partitioning agent, and several companies are trying to duplicate
its successes [warning: one of the authors of this article has a
significant financial stake in Substrate Technologies, the makers of
9 -- You can't grow if you only work each body part once a week.
If you work out -- work out intensely-- then it can take 5-10 days for
the muscles to heal. Although the following should be taken with a grain of
salt when determining your own exercise frequency, a study in the May 1993
issue of the Journal of Physiology revealed it can take weeks for
muscles to recuperate from an intense workout. The study involved a group of
men and women who had worked their forearms to the max. All of the subjects
said they were sore two days after exercising, and the soreness was gone by the
seventh day, and the swelling was gone by the ninth day. After six weeks, the
subjects had only gained back half the strength they had before the original
exercise! By no means are we advocating that you wait two months between
workouts, but we are trying to prove the point that it takes muscles longer to
heal than what you might have previously thought. For some people, especially
natural bodybuilders, waiting a week between body part workouts might be just
what the doctor ordered for size and strength gains!
10 -- You can't make gains if. you only train with weights three
days a week.
Although you probably couldn't find a single steroid-assisted athlete who
trains only three days a week [well, I was, and I made fantastic gains!],
there's absolutely no reason why a three-day-a-week routine couldn't work for
many natural athletes. As long as your routine attacked the whole body and you
worked to failure on each set, you could easily experience great gains on this
sort of routine. However, you need to pay even more attention to your diet if
you only train three days a week, especially if your job involves little or no
physical activity, and you like to spend your idle time eating. Ignore those
who say three-day-a-week bodybuilders are only 'recreational lifters'. Think
quality and not quantity.
11 -- You should only rest 45 seconds in between sets.
That's true if you're trying to improve cardiovascular health or lose some
bodyfat. But in order to build muscle, you need to allow enough time
for the muscle to recuperate fully (ie. let the lactic acid buildup in your
muscles dissipate and ATP levels build back up). In order to make muscles
grow, you have to lift the heaviest weight possible, thereby allowing the
maximum number of muscle fibers to be recruited. If the amount of weight you
lift is being limited by the amount of lactic acid left over from the previous
set, you're only testing your ability to battle the effects of lactic acid. In
other words, you're trying to swim across a pool while wearing concrete
overshoes. When training heavy, take [at least!] two and three minutes between
your sets. Notice I said, "when training heavy." The truth is, you can't
train heavy all the time. Periodization calls for cycling heavy workouts with
less intense training sessions in an effort to keep the body from becoming
overtrained. (See 'Periodization' by Brad Jeffreys on p. 85 of the Feb/March
1993 issue of MM2K)
12 -- You have to use fancy weightlifting equipment in order to
make the best gains.
Futuristic-looking, complex machinery designed to give your muscles the
'ultimate workout' is typically less effective than good-old barbells
and dumbbells. Using simple free weights (barbells and dumbbells) on basic
multi-joint exercises, like the squat, bench press, shoulder press, and
deadlift, is still the most effective means of resistance exercise ever
invented. Scientific research has shown that many exercise machines lack the
proper eccentric component of an exercise that's necessary to stimulate muscle
tissue to remodel (grow). (See the article titled 'Research Confirms that
Bodybuilders Should Pay Heavy Attention to Negative Reps' by Bill Phillips on
p.18 of the Feb/March issue of MM2K)
13 -- Weight training makes you big; aerobic exercise cuts you up.
Manipulations in your nutrient intake are the main factor in getting cut up,
and how you do it doesn't matter. If your daily caloric expenditure exceeds
your daily caloric intake on a consistent basis, you will lose fat and get more
Aerobic exercise is generally meant to improve cardiovascular efficiency, but
if you do it long enough, you will burn up calories and in the long run drop
the fat. However, weightlifting can do the same thing, only better. Studies
have shown that the body burns far more efficiently if exercise is performed at
a moderate pace for periods longer than 20 minutes. (It generally takes that
long for the glucose in the bloodstream to be 'burned up', causing the body to
dip into glycogen reserves for its energy) Once the glycogen reserves are used
up, the body must metabolize fatty acids for energy. That equate to lost
In the long run, bodybuilding is more efficient than aerobics for
burning up calories. Let me explain--if researchers were to undertake a study
of twins whereby one twin performed daily aerobics and the other practiced a
bodybuilding programme where the end result was increased lean body mass, the
bodybuilding twin would ultimately be a more efficient fat burner than his
aerobic twin. Why? Well, by adding lean body mass, that person's metabolic
requirements are higher--muscle uses energy even while it is not being used.
The aerobic twin might use more calories during the time period of exercise
itself, but the weight-lifting twin would use a higher amount during rest time,
leading to a higher net 24-hour expenditure. The weight lifter burns fat just
14 -- You can completely reshape a muscle by doing isolation
You can't limit growth to only one area of a muscle. Larry Scott, for whom the
'biceps peaking' Scott curl was named, had tremendous biceps, but he
didn't have much of a peak. The shape of your biceps, or for that
matter, any muscle, is determined by your genetic makeup. When you work a
muscle, any muscle, it works on the all-or-nothing principle, meaning that each
muscle fiber recruited to do a lift -- along the entire length of that muscle
-- is contracted fully. Why would a certain number of them, like the ones in
the middle of the biceps, suddenly start to grow differently or at a faster
rate than its partners? If anything, the muscles that are closest to the
insertion points are the most prone to mechanical stress, and you don't see
them get any bigger than the rest of the muscle. If they did, everyone would
have proportions like Popeye.
This is true of any muscle, but you're probably thinking, what about quads? I
know that when I do hack squats with my feet together, it tends to give me more
sweep in my legs. Sure it does, but the quadriceps are made up of four
different main muscles, and doing hacks with your feet together forces the
vastus lateralis muscles on the outside of the leg to work harder;
consequently, they grow proportionately along their entire length and give the
outer quads more sweep.
As further evidence, take a look at a picture of any young professional
bodybuilder before he was developed enough to become a pro. He will have
virtually the same structural lines as he does today. All that has changed is
that his muscles are now bigger.
15 -- If you get a pump , you're working the muscles adequately to
ensure muscular hypertrophy, or if your muscles are burning, that means you are
promoting muscle growth.
A pump, despite what Arnold Schwarzenegger said about it "feeling better than
coming", is nothing more than the muscle becoming engorged with blood from
capillary action. It can be achieved easily by curling a soup can fifty times.
It by no means equates to the muscular intensity needed to promote growth. The
same is true of the coveted 'burn' that Hollywood muscleheads advise the public
to 'go for'. A burn is simply an accumulation of lactic acid, a by-product of
chemical respiration. You can get a burn by peddling a bicycle or simply
extending your arm straight out and moving it in tiny circles [or sitting in a
burning fireplace!]. It does not necessarily mean you are promoting muscle
growth. For hypertrophy to occur, you have to subject the muscles to high
levels of tension, and high tension levels are best induced by heavy weights.
16 -- If you do hundreds of sit-ups a day, you will eventually
achieve a narrow, washboard-type midsection.
There is no such thing as spot-reduction. Doing thousands and thousands of
sit-ups will give you tight abdominal muscles, but they will do nothing to rid
your midsection of fat. Thigh adductor and abductor movements will give
women's thighs more firmness, but they will do nothing to rid the area of fat,
or what is commonly [and erroneously] called cellulite. Nothing will rid the
body of fat, unless it is a carefully-orchestrated reduction in your daily
energy intake; in other words, if you burn more calories than you ingest (or do
that in conjunction with a nutrient partitioning agent. See #8)
17 -- Training like a powerlifter --deadlifts, heavy squats, bench
presses--will make your physique look blocky.
Blockiness, like baldness or a flat chest, is a genetic trait. If you were
born blocky, then powerlifting will simply make you a bigger blocky person. The
only way to offset a blocky appearance is to give special emphasis to the lats,
the outer muscles of the thighs, and to a fat-reducing diet which will keep the
midsection as narrow as possible. With these modifications, you will give your
body the illusion of a more "aerodynamic" appearance. The truth is,
powerlifting exercises are excellent for bodybuilding.
18 -- High repetitions make your muscles harder and more cut up.
Although there is some evidence to suggest that high repetitions might induce
some extra capillary intrusion into a muscle, they will do nothing to make the
muscle harder or more cut up. If a completely sedentary person began
weightlifting, using either low reps or high reps, he or she would experience a
rapid increase in tonus, the degree of muscular contraction that the
muscle maintains even when that muscle is relaxed, but that would happen
regardless of rep range. The only way that high repetitions would make a
muscle more cut up is if, by doing a higher number of reps, your body as a
whole was in negative energy balance, and you were burning more calories than
you were ingesting. The truth is, heavy weights, lifted for 5-8 reps per set,
can build rock-hard muscles. You just have to get the fat off them to see how
"hard" they are.
19 -- Instinctive training is the best way to promote gains.
If bodybuilders followed their instincts, they'd go home and pop open a Bud
[much prefer Toohey's Red myself!]. Instinctive training is a wonderful
catch-phrase, and it might even work for drug-assisted athletes since the very
act of opening up a Bud would probably induce muscular growth in them. However,
in a natural bodybuilder, the approach to long-term, consistent gains in
muscular mass has to be, shall we say, a bit more scientific. Research results
conducted by exercise physiologists recommend a systematic approach such as
the one encompassed by periodization where the bodybuilder, through a period of
several weeks, lifts ever-increasing pre-set percentages of a one-rep lift.
This heavy period is also periodically staggered with a lighter training phase
'cycle'. Ultimately, the percentages increase, the maximum one-rep lifts
increase, and lean body mass increases. There is nothing instinctive about it.
20 -- Women need to train differently than men.
On a microscopic level, there is virtually no difference between the muscle
tissue of men and the muscle tissue of women. Men and women have different
levels of the same hormones, and that's what is responsible for the difference
in the amount of muscle a man can typically put on and the amount of muscle a
woman can typically gain. There is absolutely no reason why either should
train differently than the other sex, provided they have the same goals. The
only difference in training might be as a result of cultural, sexual
preferences. A woman might desire to develop her glutes a little more so she
looks better in a pair of 'Guess' jeans. Conversely, a man might want to build
his lats a little more so that he fits the cultural stereotype of a virile man.
21 -- There are food supplements available that are just as
effective as steroids, yet safer.
The only things as effective as steroids are other steroids. Despite the
proclamations of some supplement distributors, usually in giant, 35-point type,
no currently available supplement works like steroids. However, nutrients and
supplements can be extremely effective, especially if your diet is lacking in
some critical component or you're genetically predisposed to accept that
nutrient or supplement. Biochemically, individuals vary enormously, and the
interaction of genetics, coupled with the widely varying diets that each of us
eats, makes it virtually impossible to gauge just what will work for one
individual and what won't. That is why some supplements work better than
others for some people, just as some people are genetically predispositioned to
accept steroids more readily than others. Food supplements do have benefits
that can't be overlooked -- they're generally safe, and they won't get you
thrown into jail. But none of them build muscle as fast or as well as
22 -- Professional bodybuilders represent the epitome of health and
The ultimate irony is that the IFBB is facing in trying to get bodybuilders
into the Olympics is that while every athlete in every other sport is
presumably the healthiest they've ever been so that they are able to compete
athletically and break records, the bodybuilder is so weak on
competition day that he or she would have trouble fending off the attacks of an
enraged toy poodle. The weeks of constant dieting, workouts that continually
tax the body almost beyond recovery, and a constant influx of potentially
harmful drugs and diuretics have brought most of them to total exhaustion.
And think about the huge amounts of food some steroid-using bodybuilders eat.
In all the longevity sites in the world where people routinely live to be one
hundred, the only common denominator is that they all either under-eat or eat
just enough to meet their daily caloric requirements. By ingesting less food,
they ingest less harmful chemicals, and fewer free radicals are formed in the
body. The average professional builder probably eats at least four or five
times what these aforementioned people eat. As a result, bodybuilders often
suffer from high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Plus, with all that
extra mass, the heart has to work that much harder and will probably stop
beating years before it was designed to. That's why professional bodybuilding
is the ultimate act of vanity. It was done strictly to fulfill some misguided
notion of the superhuman ideal, and health was not even a consideration.
Almost without exception, these guys and gals are not healthy, and they'll
probably be among the first to tell you so. However, weight-training and
consuming a nutrient-rich diet is very healthy, as long as it is
not carried to extremes.
23 -- Training with weights causes your muscles to get tight and
hinders flexibility and, consequently, athletic performance.
If anything, when done properly (slowly and using a complete range of motion),
weight training increases flexibility. Many athletes now engage in weight
training in order to improve their performance in their chosen sport --
witness Evander Hollyfield or any number of track athletes, basketball players,
or gymnasts; the list goes on and on.
This lie goes all the way back to the 1930s. Companies that were selling
isometric exercise programmes by mail were trying to convince people _not_ to
exercise with barbells, simply because it wasn't practical to send weights
through the mail. So they made up the 'muscle-bound' lie.
This lie might have been fueled from the feeling of 'tightness' that
accompanies an intense workout. If the workout was intense and a sufficient
number of muscle fibers were recruited and microscopically damaged, then even
the normal tonus (the normal amount of contraction experienced by a relaxed
muscle) is more than enough to cause a feeling of pain and tightness. The
tightness is compounded by the 'tugging' of the tendons on the muscles.
Stretching, however, would do much to alleviate this tightness, and stretching
is a recommended part of any athletic pursuit.
The only possible confirmation of this lie concerns a baseball pitcher's arm.
An intense weight training programme might affect a pitcher's ability to throw
a fast ball, but it wouldn't be because of a lack of flexibility. The speed a
pitcher can generate seems to be determined more by a complex relationship of
tendon length and strength and nervous system efficiency as opposed to muscular
strength, and weight training could, possibly, upset this delicate balance.
24 -- Loading up on carbohydrates is an excellent way to enhance
your athletic performance.
The traditional manner in which athletes 'carb up' for an athletic competition
usually involves first depleting the body's stores of carbohydrates through
exercise and diet. This is then followed by rest and a high carbohydrate
intake. However, studies have shown that this type of preparation is
unnecessary. An athlete who eats a balanced, high-carbohydrate diet and is in
reasonably good shape has plenty of carbohydrates in his or her system to meet
the demands of short-duration exercises that don't exceed roughly one hour.
Anyone that does exercises that last more than an hour, like long-distance
running or cycling, may benefit from 'carbing up', but the ability of muscles
to use fat as a source of energy rather than carbohydrates in endurance events
may be even more important to performance at that level.
25 -- Consuming foods high in sugar before training provides your
body with extra energy to sustain workouts.
Simple sugars like sucrose don't need to be broken down by the body's enzymes
to be used as energy like complex carbohydrates do. Therefore, they elicit a
rapid release of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood-sugar levels. The
trouble is, the sudden, rapid influx of sugar into the system causes the body
to release insulin in what must be considered a haphazard method, ie. the
amount released is usually more than what's needed to metabolise the sugar.
Consequently, your blood sugar often temporarily drops to a point that is
actually lower than it was _before_ you had the sugar, which might cause you to
become more exhausted much earlier than it normally would. Your body is then
forced to dip into its glycogen reserves in order to correct the imbalance.
To ensure that you have enough energy to complete a workout, eat nutrient- rich
foods with low glycemic indices (those that elicit a smooth, steady stream of
sugar into the bloodstream) like barley, lentils or beans.
26 -- All anabolic steroids are extremely toxic and dangerous.
Here's a good trivia question borrowed from Dan Duchaine's Underground
Steroid Handbook [highly recommended]: if you lined up a bottle of Dianabol
(a popular steroid), a bottle of Lasix (a diuretic used by heart patients and
bodybuilders who want to 'cut up' for a competition), a bottle of Valium, a
bottle of aspirin, and a bottle of Slow-K (a potassium supplement), which one,
upon eating a 100 tablets, wouldn't kill you? Well, most likely the
Dianabol. This isn't an endorsement of steroids; it's just an effective
illustration of the stigma generally associated with all steroids: 'they'll
give you brain tumors like Lyle Alzado . . . they'll cause your heart to
enlarge and eventually give out [they cause spontaneous decapitation . .]'.
Maybe, but all steroids are different. Some are more dangerous than others. For example, birth control pills are steroids. If you are a female bodybuilder taking birth control pills you definitely need to be mindful of the adverse side effects of birth control pills like yasmin. Testosterone patches have been used with
great success to enhance the quality of life for elderly men. Some of the
steroids that bodybuilders use are very mild, and the risk associated with them
is virtually negligible. Still, there _are_ dangerous steroids, and that's all
the more reason that athletes who choose to use them must be more knowledgeable
about them. This is what Bill Phillips' Anabolic Reference Guide [_very_
highly- recommended] is all about -- education. Of course, the physical
changes that steroids bring about might cause adverse psychological effects in
the user, and that fact shouldn't be ignored.
27 -- If you stop working out, your muscle will turn into fat.
This is almost too preposterous to address. Muscle can no sooner turn to fat
than gold can turn into lead. Muscle is made up of individual cells--living,
'breathing' cells that undergo all kinds of complex metabolic processes. Fat
cells are simply storage packets of lipids. The possibility of one changing
into another is akin to the bowling ball in your storage closet turning into
your Aunt Edna. If you stop working out, if you stop applying resistance to
your muscles on a consistent basis, they will simply adapt to the new
condition. In other words, they'll shrink. If the degree of inactivity or
immobilization is severe, the muscles will shrink faster than the surrounding
skin, and a temporary condition of loose skin might be experienced, but that
too would remedy itself with time.
28 -- Ingesting MCT . (medium-chain triglyceride) oils will give you
tons of energy, but they won't make you fat.
MCTs first gained prominence for treating persons suffering from fat mal-
absorption, pancreatic deficiency, or stomach or esophageal diseases.
Researchers found that MCTs, because of their better solubility and motility,
underwent a rapid hydrolysis by salivary, gastric, and pancreatic enzymes.
Consequently, they were able to reach the liver and provide energy much more
quickly than long-chain triglycerides (Guillot, et al., 1993). There was also
some evidence that MCTs reduced lipid deposition in fat stores compared with
that resulting from LCTs under identical energy intake conditions. However,
this is no reason to believe that ingesting these oils in excess will not
result in a positive energy balance which the body stores as fat. MCTs, like
regular oils, like regular fats, have nine calories per gramme. Even though
they are metabolized differently, using them in excessive amounts will add
inches to your waistline.
29 -- If everyone took the same amount of steroids, everyone would
look like a professional bodybuilder.
One of the ironies of steroid use is that some people are genetically 'gifted'
in terms of steroid receptors. That means that they have a large number of
receptor sites in the muscles with which a particular steroid can combine and
exert its mass-building effects. The man or woman who won the last contest
might very well have the most active steroid receptors rather than being the
most dedicated, knowledgeable bodybuilder. On the other hand, some people
might possess very few receptors for a particular steroid. That's why they
experience very little, if any, growth on a particular steroid. Another factor
that influences receptor affinity is age. The highest receptor affinity seems
to occur in late teenage years. This is a generalization, but it seems to be
true for a good number of people. Since there is a greater uptake in these
individuals, they are often able to take lower dosages for longer periods of
time and make better gains than older users. The truth is, two bodybuilders
could take the same steroid stack, train and eat the same, and one could turn
out to be in the Olympia, and the other might never even win a local contest.
The difference in how people react to these drugs is incredible.
30 -- Someone with a well-built body must be knowledgeable about fitness
and physique development.
Despite popular belief, just because some guy has 20" [51cm] arms or 30" [77cm]
thighs, that does not automatically credential him as a bodybuilding expert.
Unfortunately, in a society where looks count for so much, well-built lifters
are often regarded as bodybuilding scientists. The unfortunate fact is, many
well-built athletes, even pro bodybuilders, have no idea how they got where
they are. Many of them are so genetically gifted and embellish their genetic
potential even further by using tons of bodybuilding drugs that they actually
succeed in spite of themselves. With few exceptions, elite bodybuilders
are the last people in the world you want to turn to for bodybuilding advice if
you're genetically average like 98% of us. You're more likely to find expert
advice from someone who has 'walked a mile in your shoes'.
The above has been reprinted from the October/November edition of Muscle
For subscription information to this excellent publication, contact:
Muscle Media 2000
PO Box 277
Golden CO 80402
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