MYTH #1:- I have bad genetics
This one gets tossed around a lot. Genetics is a favorite scapegoat for people who can’t build enough muscle or lose enough fat. But how much do they actually influence your results? A lot less than these people want to believe. Sure, your genes determine certain things like which muscle groups tend to be your “strong points,” your hormone levels, how much fat you tend to hold on your body, and where you tend to gain fat, but they’re not standing in your way in terms of gaining muscle or losing fat. You can get in amazing shape if you know what you’re doing. Period. I’ve known quite a few “hardgainers” over the years that have gained 30, 40, and even 50 pounds in their first year or two of training correctly (and with no drugs). I’ve known countless men and women who were convinced that they were genetically programmed to be fat get in the best shape of their lives once they fixed what they were doing wrong. Now, genetics can make it easier or harder. Some people have naturally high testosterone levels, which means faster muscle growth and an overall leaner physique. Some people’s metabolisms are naturally faster than others, making weight loss an easier endeavor. Genetics also plays a role in the shape of your muscles. Not all guys can have that perfect square chest or ridiculous bicep peak, and not all women can have a gravity-defying, round butt. But none of these things are limitations. So, who cares if you gain muscle or lose fat slower than the other person? As long as you get to where you want to be, the added time is irrelevant. And big deal if you can’t have the same aesthetics as a fitness cover model. You can still look awesome and feel great, and that’s what it’s all about.
MYTH #2: – I’m a hard gainer
This is a cousin of the “bad genetics” myth and is a common gripe of skinny guys everywhere. They believe that their bodies are genetically programmed to stay scrawny and that they can’t gain large amounts of muscle, regardless of how hard they train or how much they eat. Sometimes they turn to steroids and sometimes they just quit. While it’s true that some people have an easier time putting on muscle than others due to hormone levels and genetic predispositions, nobody is doomed to have a forever-frail physique. The thing is, every person I’ve known that has made the hardgainer claim was training and eating incorrectly —every single one. They were all making several (or in some cases, all) of the following mistakes: working out too little or too much (not giving your body enough rest is severely detrimental to gains), lifting too light and wussy, doing the wrong exercises (relying mainly on isolation machines and not doing compound mass-builders is a sure way to stay small and weak), and eating way less than they should’ve been eating each day. I’ve also seen quite a few ex-“hardgainers” start training and eating correctly and get big fast. If you’re an ectomorph type who has had trouble putting on size, I actually envy you. Your natural leanness is a blessing because when you start lifting hard and eating properly, you’ll build muscle like the rest of us, but you’ll put on less fat, making you look better. And when you want to cut down to super-lean body-fat levels, you’ll find it much easier than most. Yet another benefit of being an ectomorph is that you don’t need as much muscle mass to look big when you’re lean. Fifteen pounds put on a lean frame can be quite a dramatic change, and if you know what you’re doing, that’s two to three months of work, tops. If you want to know exactly what to do to accomplish that, then I recommend you read my book Bigger Leaner Stronger for the full answer, but I’ll summarize a few points here:
- You must eat enough to grow. Here’s a simple way to calculate your needs:
- Eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
- Eat 2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day.
- Eat 1 gram of healthy fat per 3 pounds of body weight per day. That’s where you start. For a 150- pound male, it would look like this:
- 150 grams of protein per day
- 300 grams of carbs per day
- 50 grams of fat per day This would be about 2,250 calories per day (protein has about 4 calories per gram, as do carbs, and fats have about 9 calories per gram), which should be enough to maintain steady muscle growth. If you aren’t gaining weight or strength or your energy levels are low after a couple of weeks of bulking, you should up your calories by about 300 per day for another week or two and see if that fixes it. The easiest way to add the calories is to eat about 70 more grams of more carbs per day. As long as you’re training correctly, you will start gaining muscle once you hit the dietary “sweet spot.”
- You should eat 4 – 6 times per day. It’s very hard to get enough calories and protein, carbs, and fat each day if you only eat 2 – 3 meals. Instead, eat 4 – 6 smaller meals per day (one every 3 – 4 hours) that add up to your total caloric and nutritional requirements.
- Lift heavy and make sure you’re doing compound exercises. The ideas that you have to “feel the burn” and “get a huge pump” are myths that I will be addressing in this book. Muscle growth comes from overload, not fatigue, and overload is caused by one thing: heavyweight. The training method that has worked best for me and countless other people who wanted to gain muscle fast has simple principles:
- Go to near-failure or failure every set.
- Adjust your weight so you can only do 4 – 6 reps. When you can do six, go up in weight. • Train one muscle group per day (five training days per week).
- Do 9 heavy sets per muscle group. And in terms of exercises, you must be doing the following exercises every week:
- Barbell or dumbbell Bench Press
- Military Press or Dumbbell Press These are the primary mass builders and I promise you that you’ll never build a great physique without doing them regularly and heavily.
MYTH #3: – DEADLIFTS ARE BAD FOR YOUR BACK
Most guys that use this myth to skip Deadlifts are really just saying, “I don’t like them because they make my va-jayjay sore.” The fact is deadlifts are one of the most intense and rewarding exercises you can do, whether you’re a guy or a girl (along with Squats). And much to the contrary of this myth, Deadlifts are good for your back and actually strengthen it from bottom to top—when they’re done correctly. When done incorrectly, well, it can be pretty scary (search for “bad Deadlift” on YouTube if you want to cringe). Proper Deadlifts have other benefits. They train quite a few other muscles such as the biceps, traps, abs, calves, quads, and hamstrings. They also trigger increased growth hormone and testosterone production, greatly enhancing your gains from all of your workouts. As long as you don’t have an existing back condition, I highly recommend you start deadlifting right away. Before you do, however, make sure you have the perfect form down. Keep reading to learn what most people will never know about how to deadlift properly. Deadlift Setup and Movement Always start with the bar on the floor—not on the safety pins or on the rack. Your stance should be a bit narrower than shoulder-width, and your toes should be pointed slightly out. You should stand with the bar above the middle of your feet (the top of your instep). Bend at your waist and grip the bar by placing it into the middle of your palms, not in your fingers. Both palms should be facing to build grip strength. The other grip option is the “alternate” method where one palm faces in (usually the non-dominant hand) and the other faces out, which can allow for heavier weight to be lifted. Your arms should be just outside your legs, leaving enough room for your thumbs to clear your thighs. Bend through your knees until your shins touch the bar, and then lift your chest until your back is in a neutral position and tight. Don’t overarch your back, and don’t squeeze your shoulder blades together like with the Squat. Just push your chest up and your shoulders and back down. Your elbows should be completely straight. Here’s what this position looks like:
You’re now ready to pull. Take a deep breath, look forward, and start the upward movement by engaging the quads to begin the straightening of the knees. This will pull the bar up to your shins, and once the weight is off the ground, join your hips into the upward movement and keep your back neutral and tight the whole way up. You should try to keep the bar on as vertically straight of a path as possible (absolute isn’t attainable, but there should be little lateral movement of the bar as you lift it up). The bar should move up your shins, and rollover your knees and thighs. At the top, your chest should be out and your shoulders down. Don’t lean back, shrug the weight, or roll your shoulders up and back. Here’s how the entire first half of the lift looks:
Don’t start with your hips too low. Remember that the Deadlift starting position is not the same as the Squat bottom position. The Deadlift requires that your hips be higher than the bottom of the Squat. When you’re lowering the weight, if you break your knees too early, you’ll hit them with the bar. To avoid this, begin your descent by pushing your hips back first and don’t bend your knees until the bar reaches your knees. If you start the upward motion with bent elbows, you’ll end up putting unnecessary strain on your biceps. Keep your elbows straight for the entire lift. Deadlifting in shoes that have air cushions or gel filling is a bad idea. It compromises stability, causes power loss, and interferes with proper form. Get shoes with flat, hard soles like Chuck Taylors. Wear long pants and long socks on the day that you’ll be deadlifting to prevent shin scraping. Shin scraping can be caused by poor form, but can also be unavoidable depending on the length of the limbs and body type. Too wide of a stance or grip will make the exercise awkward. The Deadlift stance is narrower than the Squat stance, and the Deadlift requires that the hands be just outside the legs. Don’t strain to look up while deadlifting. Keep your head in a neutral position and in line with your spine. If you start the upward lift with your hips too high, you’ll turn the Deadlift into a Stiff-Legged Deadlift, which is more stressful on the lower back and hamstrings. Make sure that you get your hips low enough in the starting position (but not too low!). Explode the bar up from the floor as fast as you can. Apply as much force as quickly as possible and you’ll be able to move more weight. Try to crush the bar with your grip. If your knuckles aren’t white, you’re not squeezing hard enough. Use the alternating grip if your grip isn’t strong enough to allow you to use the overhand style