There is a lot of information sent here and there about fitness and working out, and a lot of it is total rubbish. But still some people follow it.
Creatine powder is not shown to have any side effects, but people still worry, the benefits of a gluten free diet are shown to be negligible, and people still go for it…we could go on.
But instead of us having a rant, let’s clear up some of the training myths, you could have been following needlessly.
1. ‘There’s an anabolic window, miss that and you miss your gains’
Since modern bodybuilding began there’s always been a common belief that protein intake after 45-60 minutes of hypertrophic exercise is absolutely vital for maximising gains in muscle mass. This is known commonly as the ‘anabolic window’ or ‘window of opportunity’.
In recent years this opinion has been contested, and studies have shown that the effect on muscle protein synthesis is no different when essential amino acids and carbohydrates are consumed three hours post exercise compared to one hour. This was one of the first studies to cast some doubt on the anabolic window theory, but the small sample size (number of subjects involved in the study) and short study time duration limited the extent to which these findings could be extrapolated across the population.
However, the anabolic window has been further debunked, as researchers conducted a study involving over 30 resistance trained subjects. The results showed that after a 10 week period consuming protein supplements immediately before and after workouts had no additional benefit on body composition or strength compared to that of subjects who simply consumed protein supplements in the morning and evening.
Yes the anabolic window for protein intake after a training session is a myth. However, there is no harm in taking a quality protein shake with you to the gym as part of your routine. There are plenty of people in the scientific fitness community who believe taking in protein BEFORE your workout is the important window in terms of muscle hypertrophy, but this needs more investigation.
2. ‘Bigger weights = bigger gains’
It’s a common misconception that the heavier you lift the bigger muscles you grow; this isn’t true. For example, powerlifters will be able to lift heavier weights than the gigantic ‘blown up’ bodybuilders that pose on stage.
The rep ranges and intensity that has gone down in bodybuilding folklore is 8-12 reps @ 60-85% of 1RM. To put this in practical terms this means performing an exercise with a weight you can lift, with correct form 8-12 times. So hypertrophic weight training isn’t dependant on your strength levels whatsoever, it’s about working with the correct weight relative to your current strength.
3. ‘More protein = more gains’
People seem to think the more protein they eat the bigger muscles they grow. This often leads to people consuming excess amounts of protein throughout the day, providing no additional benefit to their training goal and simply wasting money.
There are different requirements depending on your training goal. It is the International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand that states “Endurance Athletes should consume anywhere between 1.0-1.6g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day?”. Strength and Power Athletes (and weightlifters seeking maximal muscle hypertrophy) are recommended to consume 1.6 – 2.0 g of protein per kg of protein per day.
It’s important to point out that protein is not the only thing you should be calculating when trying to build muscle mass. When training for this goal, it is advised that individuals should be consuming between 44-50 kcal/kg of body weight. So carbohydrates and fat also need to play a part in reaching this required kcal number in order to provide enough energy to place the body into an anabolic state.