Debunked! Are These 8 Bodybuilding Myths Misleading You? Discover Now

5 Of The Biggest Myths In Bodybuilding 1 1

Bodybuilding Myths – In this article is entirely focused on dismantling the falsehoods and misconceptions that have stubbornly persisted in the realm of bodybuilding.

For seasoned lifters who have gained profound knowledge in the nuances of bodybuilding, these myths are nothing short of heresy. Despite the assertions of so-called “bro-scientists,” who promote these fables as truth, the reality is quite different—we were honing our physiques long before they were even thinking about weightlifting.

The following are some pervasive bodybuilding misconceptions that, despite being as imaginary as the existence of the tooth fairy, are often accepted as incontrovertible by many, especially uninformed beginners tipping the scales at less than 160 pounds.

The danger of such ignorance or naivety in bodybuilding is that it dilutes our collective knowledge base. Misunderstanding can obstruct an athlete’s progression and their awareness of their true potential.

By the end of this piece, we aim to clarify the truth, slicing through the industry’s fluff, and providing insights that will sharpen your bodybuilding intellect.

8 Bodybuilding Myths about anabolic steroids.

8 Bodybuilding Myths

Myth 1: Maintaining a Shredded Physique All Year Is Unattainable

Convince yourself with whatever helps you rest at night.

Typically, those who seldom trim down from their perpetual bulking phase circulate this myth, which ironically traps them in the same routine passed down by their ancestors, and serves as their excuse for not leaning out.

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Against popular belief, I assure you, staying shredded all year is achievable.

When I maintained 6% body fat, it wasn’t a struggle to keep it; even without strict eating or cardio.

What was my approach?

I was vigilant about my food intake, ensuring I never overindulged. This became easier as my appetite reduced in line with my slowing metabolism—a natural occurrence as you drop weight. You don’t automatically start piling on fat due to a slower metabolism. Your body compensates by reducing hunger. Thus, to avoid fat gain: when you’re full, stop eating.

Your likelihood of fat accumulation isn’t necessarily linked to your body fat percentage—unless you’re incredibly lean, around 2-3%. At this stage, your body may store fat to safeguard your organs. However, at 6%, it’s not a concern and is completely sustainable.

Therefore, maybe you indulge in just three pizza slices rather than the entire pie, or if you do eat it all, skip other meals that day. Staying lean is about making compromises, similar to sustaining a marriage.

Myth 2: Building Muscle and Burning Fat Simultaneously Is Not Possible

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According to the naysayers, you can achieve this only as a novice reveling in the initial stage of gains.

The mantra paraded by many is that a caloric surplus results in muscle growth, while a deficit promotes fat loss; evidently, they argue, you can’t achieve both concurrently.

However, they fail to grasp that muscle building isn’t confined to a caloric surplus.

Other effective methods include shocking your muscles with novel exercises, slowing down repetitions, incorporating supersets, using a thicker bar, lifting heavier, increasing reps, and so on.

My experience shows it’s feasible – I’ve managed to pack on roughly 4kg of lean muscle during a cut by radically altering my workouts every week.

Even while my body fat was diminishing, and my weight stayed constant, my physique was visibly transforming in the mirror, appearing more chiseled and muscular.

True, without variety and challenge in your workouts, you’re less likely to achieve simultaneous muscle build and fat loss. It’s not easy; it won’t fall into your lap. But irrespective of your experience level, it’s certainly within reach.

Myth 3: A “Clean Bulk” Will Keep Fat Gain at Bay

There’s a belief that consuming only healthy foods in a small calorie surplus of about 500 will enable you to pack on muscle without the fat. This is misleading.

Even when bulking cleanly, you might add a little muscle, but your body fat percentage is likely to rise, albeit minimally.

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Reflecting on my decade of bulking, which resulted in a cumulative 200-pound gain, I suggest focusing on maintaining your calories while consistently surprising your muscles with innovative workouts to foster growth without the fat.

Revised Phrasing for Better Clarity and Sensitivity

If your goal is to increase mass, embrace a robust eating plan—worries about minor weight gain in less visible areas can wait for the off-season. The bulking phase is just preparation for the oncoming cut, which will be even more compelling when you’re eager to refine your physique. The drive to slim down is often heightened after remarks about apparent weight gain, igniting a fire for intensive training.

Myth 4: Everyone is on Steroids or PEDs

Claims that impressive physiques are solely due to steroid use are rampant, despite often lacking any proof. While there are indeed cases where these suspicions hold true, many are misjudged, as I can attest from personal experience.

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Jumping to conclusions about an athlete’s natural status without evidence is not only unwarranted but undermines their hard work. Regrettably, the prevalence of such misconceptions has grown, partly spread by misinformed online circles.

Indeed, the use of performance-enhancing drugs has seen an increase, with more individuals resorting to steroids (1). Nonetheless, the popularity of bodybuilding has also surged, gaining widespread acceptance and participation.

As more people engage in weight training, the talent pool for prospective natural bodybuilders expands. Given the sheer number of participants, the likelihood of discovering exceptional natural athletes is higher than in the past.

Therefore, consider the possibility that allegations of steroid use could be incorrect before making them—it’s a matter of fairness to those who have achieved their results naturally.

If critics channeled the same vigor into their workouts as they do online debates, they might soon experience the same baseless conjectures about their muscular gains.

Myth 5: You Need Supplements

Although I’ve suggested supplements previously for economic reasons, their true impact on building a formidable physique is debatable.

Supplements are not essential for attaining muscle definition or mass.

History shows us that icons like Steve Reeves and Melvin Wells achieved remarkable physiques well before the advent of modern supplements and steroids.

Evidence Proving Supplements and Steroids Are Not Requirements

For instance, Marvin Fok , a natural bodybuilder from the 1940s, achieved a build akin to that of modern bodybuilder Shawn Rhoden, who faces accusations of steroid use despite his denials.

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Marvin Fok  vs. Shawn Rhoden

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The size attained by figures like Marvin Fok was the product of rigorous training and nutrition—without supplementation or pharmaceutical aids. Exceptional genetics played a role as well.

In times past, bodybuilders relied on foundational approaches to their nutrition and exercise regimens without succumbing to the marketing strategies of today’s supplement industry. The grim truth is that most companies manipulate consumers into believing that these products are vital for progress.

In reality, supplements are not mandatory. Intelligent training and dietary habits are sufficient for substantial improvement.

Should you reach your genetic limits, the prospects of further enhancement from testosterone boosters or large doses of BCAAs are slim, notwithstanding the claims of certain studies—often funded by the very businesses that benefit from selling these products.

Remember, if supplements truly delivered on their promises, there would be no need for manufacturers to illicitly enhance their products.

For those mindful of their spending—your money is worth more elsewhere.

Dissecting the Myth: Eating Healthy Isn’t Essential for Getting Lean

Contrary to popular belief, maintaining a healthy diet isn’t a prerequisite for achieving a sculpted physique.

Eating healthy is the most essential thing to make good results during steroid cycle.

It’s entirely possible to shed 30 pounds of fat and sculpt a lean body while indulging in a diet of unhealthy foods. My personal experience stands testament to this claim, having successfully done so on multiple occasions.

The composition of your diet in terms of food types has little to no impact on your body’s shape. Instead, the deciding factor is the quantity of food you consume.

Nonetheless, it’s always beneficial to choose healthy foods because while looking fit is desirable, internal health cannot be compromised. It’s counterproductive to possess a physique that’s analogous to a sleek Ferrari, only to be powered by an engine comparable to that of a Mini Cooper.

The diet principle of IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) has gained immense popularity over the past decade, effectively debunking the myth that one must eat strictly healthy foods (4).

The misconception amongst practitioners of IIFYM is that consuming precise macronutrient ratios is necessary for muscle gain. Based on my experiments and personal experiences, I affirm that macronutrient ratios do not significantly influence body composition.

The essence of IIFYM is the flexibility to eat a variety of foods without restriction, provided that the proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats align with the prescribed ratios, such as 30/40/30.

However, followers of IIFYM often overlook that they could save ample time by focusing solely on meeting their caloric intake rather than meticulously calculating macronutrient ratios. Ultimately, it’s the caloric balance that’s crucial, not the specific quantities of each macronutrient group.

Additionally, obsessively tracking macros can lead to an excessive preoccupation with diet, sometimes more so than necessary.

The Misconception: Heavy Lifting Is Mandatory for Muscle Development

This common belief is unfounded.

Take the example of a gymgoer who aspires for larger muscles and is consistently seen performing heavy lifts. Despite his commitment and steadily increasing lift numbers, his muscle size doesn’t seem to catch up.

The issue here is the excessive weight. Muscle growth thrives on sustained tension, and lifting extremely heavy for short durations doesn’t provide adequate stimulus for noticeable muscle development. Moreover, heavy lifting places significant stress on the central nervous system, limiting the number of sets one can perform and increasing rest times, which in turn reduces the overall training volume.

DEBUNKED: 15+ reps = toning, 8-12 reps = muscle size

Contrary to this myth, you can engage in extensive repetitions with relatively light weights and still achieve impressive muscle growth, as evidenced both by my personal trials and various real-life observations.

Consider the muscular forearms of a mechanic, the chiseled calves of a cyclist, or the wide lats of a rock climber. These individuals aren’t lifting heavy weights briefly; instead, they engage in continuous motion for several hours a day with lighter resistance.

Mechanics, who frequently lift lighter weights, keep their forearms under strain for extensive periods weekly, resulting in arm strength and girth that often surpass those of traditional bodybuilders.

This same endurance principle is visible in various professions, such as chefs, and even amongst inmates who manage to bulk up in prison. Lacking access to formal gym equipment, some prisoners rely on continuous push-ups, dips, and body-weight squats, sustaining long-duration muscle tension to build size—occasionally without the aid of steroids.

Unraveling the Myth: Steroid Use Is Rampant Among Hollywood Actors

It’s a common assumption that steroid use is ubiquitous among Hollywood stars; yet, this isn’t always the case.

To achieve remarkable physical transformations, actors may have to burn substantial fat and gain a modest amount of muscle, which is entirely feasible naturally with hard work over a few months.

People often overlook the extraordinary dedication of Hollywood actors, who have risen to success through hard work. They’re likely to find a six-month intense workout regimen from a personal trainer manageable—a persistence level not commonly observed in the average gym enthusiast.

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Take Chris Hemsworth, for example: many assume he resorted to steroid use to build his physique for the role of Thor. What’s not widely acknowledged is Hemsworth’s exceptional genetic predisposition for bodybuilding. His naturally lean and muscular build was evident even before he started weight training to portray the iconic character.Prior to his role in the first Thor film, Chris wasn’t yet committed to a weightlifting regimen. Even then, he appeared quite muscular in a t-shirt for someone who wasn’t trained in bodybuilding. Upon embarking on his workout journey, he gained an impressive 20 pounds of muscle—a typical amount for beginners—and his physique significantly transformed.

There is no evidence linking Chris’ physical improvements to the use of steroids, and it is misguided to assume that anyone who is fit must be using performance enhancers. It’s important to realize that genetic predispositions vary greatly—some individuals can develop muscle with minimal effort, while others may have to commit to years of disciplined training to achieve similar results.


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This discussion doesn’t cover all the bodybuilding misconceptions out there, nor does it address the extensive misinformation prevalent in the field. The most effective way to discern the truth is through personal experimentation, rather than solely depending on what’s been shared anecdotally or found in scientific research. After all, tangible results speak the loudest.






General Practitioner at | Website | + posts

Dr. Grant Fourie, a specialist in male hormones, is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He provides comprehensive treatments for conditions related to low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood changes. His methods include hormone replacement therapy and other modern treatment options.
Contact me via email or phone to book personal appointment in my clinic: The Village Square, Cape Town - South Africa


About Dr. Grant Fourie

Dr. Grant Fourie, a specialist in male hormones, is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He provides comprehensive treatments for conditions related to low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood changes. His methods include hormone replacement therapy and other modern treatment options. Contact me via email or phone to book personal appointment in my clinic: The Village Square, Cape Town - South Africa

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