Bodybuilding is a sport that has been hounded by myths which may stem from illiteracy or knowing too little about it. Let’s face it! Every aspiring bodybuilder at the beginning of their career must’ve at least heard a few of these old wives tales that sound harrowing and depict a gloomy and bleak picture of the sport. Subsequently, some myths are ubiquitous amongst the experienced weight lifters, who are just too smitten to gauge the validity of it all. My objective today is to jot down and debunk some of the biggest bodybuilding myths one faces, especially at a nascent level and later down the road. I will do my best to include plausible and authentic reasoning to justify the debunking. So, here we go!
Myth Number 1: Bodybuilding at an early age can inhibit growth and deform the body -For Entry Level and beginner bodybuildersThis is one of the biggest bodybuilding myths and the most commonly faced parable by anyone who wishes to indulge in the sport of bodybuilding. Honestly, if you are a beginner and someone unwittingly tells you that you’d get deformed or your overall growth would be stunted if you lift weights, it’s enough to discourage you and some poor souls even become proponents of this false allegation and spread it further without research. However, the fact of the matter is that there’s absolutely not an iota of truth behind this myth! Meticulous researches and studies have been conducted in this regard and none of them have shown that lifting weights could be detrimental to growth or a precursor to deformity. The underpinning reason for spreading this controversy can be attributed to the assumption that bodybuilding should be started after 20 years of age.
I started lifting weights at the age of 15 years and am now 27 years old, 6”1′ and weigh 220 pounds. Bodybuilding at an early age didn’t deform or limit my growth. The growth of your body is dependent on genetics and it will continue to grow accordingly. However, that being said I would like to point out some major factors that do cause problems for young weight lifters and I have personally been a victim of them, but corrected myself in the nick of time.
Overzealousness: Put in layman’s term, it means trying too much too soon. Beginners tend to lift weights that are just too heavy for them and thereby sacrifice proper form and leave themselves prone to severe injury that might damage the growth plate which is a hyaline cartilage located at the long end of a growing bone. Weight lifting at nascent stage should be done with lighter weights observing strict form. Do not overdo the gym routine, seek guidance from trained professionals and chalk up a workout plan that evenly distributes workout to different body parts.
Supervision: This is the foremost key element, the importance of which for young bodybuilders can’t be stressed enough. You must’ve heard tales of how a beginner level bodybuilder suffered from a fracture or a herniated disk. I am willing to bet that he or she was working out without supervision of a trained professional and not exercising proper form. Always strive to work out under the watchful gaze of a qualified trainer in a non competitive environment. This will drastically minimize any chance of injury and pave the way for tremendous gains.
When I started bodybuilding, Arnold’s “Pumping Iron” was my main source of inspiration. It was like a holy scripture for me. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a professional bodybuilder as a source of inspiration, but what I learned the hard way was that I can’t imitate everything they do. Most novice and even some mid level bodybuilders make the debilitating mistake of trying to exactly replicate the routine and poundage of the pros they idolize. What they overlook is the fact that pros have invested a great deal of time and effort to work up to the poundage and routines they are on. Arnold started working out at the age of 15 and at the time of shooting pumping iron he was already an established pro with years of experience under his belt. The point I am trying to make is DO idolize a pro but stick to observing how they actually wield iron! Notice their form while doing basic workouts. Don’t try to imitate their advance workouts and never ever think that you can pump the same poundage they are pumping in an instant.
This is perhaps the most common and sometimes the most irritating misconception. Novice bodybuilders are often seen in gym snickering at someone sipping from their shaker cup immediately associating it with steroids. The truth of the matter is, there’s a HUGE difference between steroids and food supplements.
Steroids: were originally intended as drugs for treating various deficiencies in the body. That is till their usage was adopted by bodybuilders and other athletes in competitive sports to increase endurance, muscle size and strength. Steroids are basically artificially derived variants of hormones testosterone. They are usually taken orally or through injection. Prolonged usage of steroids and their abuse can lead to some serious complications both physical and neurological. The most noted of these adverse effects is liver damage, increased cholesterol levels, acne, high blood pressure and even alteration in the cardiac anatomy which may lead to heart failure. Neurologically, steroid abuser can exhibit uninhibited aggression known as “Roid Rage”, depression, extreme mood swings, weight gain and hair loss.
Food Supplements: In stark contrast to steroids, food supplements are made from natural ingredients. The main objective of food supplements is to provide the body nutrients that aren’t attained from food. The effect of food supplements on the body is the same as anabolic steroids, but less rapid and needless to say without any adverse effects. Food supplements are found in various forms like pills, powders and capsules. Creatine, protein supplements, amino acids are the most commonly used food supplements with each having their separate specialty.