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extract from: "GOLDS GYM book of bodybuilding"
At some point someone probably told you that working out with
weights would make you muscle-bound or cause a woman to look like
a man. Certainly, most good bodybuilders have been told that their
muscles will turn to fat if they stop training.
There are six main "muscle myths" that must be exposed. In each
case we will discuss the myth and then reveal the truth underying
it. This process should dispel any remaining doubts you might
have about becoming a body-buiding.
1. BODYBUILDNG TRAINING WILL MAKE YOU MUSCLE-BOUND. This is
probably the most persistent muscle myth, and it suggests that
working out with weights will make your body so tight and
inflexible that you won't be able to scratch your own back or
participate effectively in athletics.
Actually, scientists began investigating weight training and
bodybuilding more than 30 years ago. They quickly discovered that
weight workouts actually improve body flexibility. Indeed, almost
all bodybuilders are far more flexible than the average person.
Those who aren't have invariably been injured while
participating in some other sport. As an example, a shoulder
separation incurred while playing football can easily limit
shoulder flexibility and function.
Speaking of football, superstar Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears
has used progressive resistance weight training to build massive
arms and shoulders. He can walk 50 yards on his hands, punishes
anyone who tries to tackle him, and has never been seriously
injured despite being near to the top of the NFL's "hit list" for
several years. He's flexible and then some!
2. ALL OF YOUR MUSCLES WILL TURN TO FAT ONCE YOU STOP WORKING
OUT. It is physiologically impossible for muscle tissue to be
converted to fat. What actually happens when you suspend your
weight workouts is that your muscles gradually atrophy, or shrink
in size and strength. This process takes about a year to run its
Then why are some former bodybuilders fat today? The answer to
this question is true for ALL of the numerous athletes in any
sport who have become fat after retiring from competition. When
you train virtually every day for several hours you regularly burn
up relatively large quantities of calories. As a result, you can
consume more food than you can if you are physically inactive.
But when you suspend training you no longer burn up so many
calories. So, if you continue to eat the same amount as when you
were working out every day, you will accumulate a caloric excess
and gradually gain body fat. The obvious solution to this problem
is to decrease your caloric consumption to compensate for the
calories you are no longer burning off in your workouts. If you
follow this advice, you will never grow fat after you cease heavy
training with weights.
In actual practice, few bodybuilders ever stop training for very
long. As they grow older they don't train as intensely as when
they were competing, but they still hit the gym almost every day.
Once you have iron fever, you're usually hooked for life.
3. BODYBUILDING WILL MAKE A WOMAN LOOK LIKE A MAN. As noted in
the foregoing section on men versus women, women don't secrete the
same amounts of testosterone as do men. Therefore, they simply
can't develop a man's muscle mass and quality. Additionally, a
woman secretes large quantities of estrogen, which guarantees the
integrity of her femininity. Unless she makes the disastrous
mistake of taking male hormones, no woman will look masculine as a
result of her bodybuilding training.
4. BODYBILDING TRAINING CAN STUNT YOUR GROWTH. There are a
somewhat disproportionate number of male and female competitive
bodybuilders who are below the national average in height, leading
some individuals to conclude that bodybuilding workouts can stunt
one's growth. Taler athletes are usually naturally selected for
other sports in what could be called a sort of "sports Darwinism."
Having a more compact torso and short limbs allows the bodybuilder
to attain the proper proportions needed to win a contest. As a
result, bodybulding tends to naturally select short or medium-
statured men and women.
There are numerous tall bodybuilders, such as Lou Ferrigno
(6'5") and Dr. Lynne Pirie (5'9"). Scientists have determined
that any type of physical activity will tend to stimulate height
increases rather than inhibit them. Proper diet can also result
in height increase, and bodybuilders consistently follow health-
promoting diets. Certainly, parents needn't worry that their sons
and daughters will end up being short in stature simply because
they decide to become bodybuilders.
5. BODYBULDING TRAINING WILL WRECK YOUR BACK, KNEES, ELBOWS, AND
OTHER JOINTS. Such spinal or joint injuries are much more common
in other sports than in bodybuilding. As long as you follow the
warm-up procedures we will outline, and maintain the correct
biomechanical (body) positions for each exercise, you needn't fear
damaging your joints through bodybuilding training.
6. BODYBUILDING TRAINING CAN SLOW YOU DOWN. As with the myth
about becoming muscle-bound, scientists proved more than 30 years
ago that heavy weight training improves speed rather than
detracting from it. Reaction time can't be improved through
weight workouts, but a stronger muscle can contract faster and
more strongly, thereby moving a limb more quickly. S print speed,
for example, is a direct function of thigh and calf strength. In
modern athletics, virtually all athletes include weight training
in their overall conditioning regimes. They certainly wouldn't do
this if heavy weight workouts inhibited their speed, because it
could reduce their athletic ability.
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