One of the most mind boggling things for any ‘bulker’ to wrap his head around is how to differentiate between dieting myths and truths. For every truth about dieting I have heard, there are at least ten myths which follow. I’m going to help get you guys started the right way by busting three big myths about dieting.
Myth 1: If your abs aren’t showing, you aren’t growing
This is my personal favourite. Anyone on the permabulk (someone who is forever bulking and will never cut – see figure 1) will tell you that in order to gain muscle, you must not be able to see your abs. WRONG!!!
In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Yes, it is best to be in a caloric surplus while bulking (see this article for more info on the caloric surplus) however gaining excess fat will hinder your gains more than help them. This is for two reasons:
- Fat creates the enzyme ‘aromatase’, and more fat means more aromatase. This enzyme turns your testosterone into oestrogen, which will both limit your gains and your ability to lose fat when you cut down again
- Excessive caloric intake reduces insulin sensitivity. Decreased insulin sensitivity will make your body preferentially hold fat and less likely to gain muscle
Myth 2: Stay away from saturated fats
In 1958 a guy named Ancel Keys published a study displaying the negative effects of saturated fat on heart disease in seven countries. What Ancel left out of this study was that some countries ate a lot of saturated fats yet had very low levels of heart disease, while others had high rates of heart disease and low fat consumption. As a result of this we have been avoiding saturated fat like the plague for the last 50 years in hope of better health! Unfortunately for all those who followed this research, saturated fats are essential for bodily function and are an extremely good source of calories. These fats are broken down to make testosterone, heal internal damage, and provide membranes for our cells.
Myth 3: Big Mac’s are the best post workout food for bulking
This point goes back to the first myth. Eating processed ‘bad’ foods while bulking is not going to help you grow muscle, even though they do contain a lot of calories. Foods as such injure our GITs (gastrointestinal tracts) and set the body up to perform sub-optimally. When your GIT is injured, it will cause inflammation to heal the injury. Prolonged inflammation then causes cortisol to be released. While in isolation cortisol is fine, if you are continually injuring your gut the elevated cortisol levels will have many negative effects. These include impaired insulin sensitivity, fat gain, muscle loss, decrease of testosterone and loss of motivation. If you are looking for a quick, easy post workout food I recommend the Easy Eating Persian Rice and Mixed Lentil Wrap!
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned as I will be posting a bunch of tips over the next few weeks to help you reach your goals!
– James Cant IFBB Pro