3 Dumb Things I Used to Believe

1) I need to lift in the 8 – 12 rep range for muscle building

This is something I actually picked up from my personal trainer course when I got certified and it is something that has only recently been reviewed in some solid research. 

The research actually shows this range is much larger than previously thought. We can actually do anywhere from 3 reps all the way up to 30 reps for hypertrophy (muscle-building) providing volume is equal and the sets are close to failure. In simple terms you can do very low reps (with a really heavy load) or very high reps of 30 or so (with a much lighter load) and still get similar results. Strength gains will not be the same, we’re just talking about hypertrophy here.

To sum up there really isn’t a hypertrophy rep range per se. Gains can be achieved through a wide variety of reps and loads. So you can go heavy if you enjoy that (and want strength gains) or keep it light if you wish to, but the best benefits probably come from mixing rep ranges. Just ensure technique and muscle tension is on point across all rep ranges and intensities. 

No difference between high repetitions and low repetitions – https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00154.2016 

No difference between varied and constant loading – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27042999 

2) I need to consume my protein shake within 30 mins post-workout

I used to run home, literally! I mean it makes sense, kickstart the recovery process by taking a protein shake with some urgency after a session. In reality though it’s almost meaningless. It’s worth mentioning the only case where some urgency is warranted is if you’ve trained fasted. If not, don’t worry about it. You have time to get home, shower, and you can just eat a meal. 

It is more important to focus on a calorie and protein target for the day depending on your goals. So as long as the protein target is broken up into 3 or 4 chunks across the day, you’ll probably max out your gains. Whether one of these comes directly post-workout or not is irrelevant. Don’t stress it.

Another thing worth mentioning is research has shown pre-exercise protein shakes (even less than a serving) can keep muscle amino acid levels elevated for 2 hours post-workout.

Your window of opportunity is a lot bigger and more flexible than you probably thought.

Far from definitive – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577439/ 

3) I shouldn’t eat roti 

Yes, I’ve been there myself too. At one stage I would skip roti, daal, a side salad, and cottage cheese for a weight gainer shake. Silly really. Especially the terrible weight gainers I used to buy.

I even used to make pasta to go with my tuna bhurji as a carb source as opposed to roti, despite it being from the same source and having the same nutrition.

There really is no reason to skip eating roti as part of your diet on your fitness journeys. In fact there are some benefits. Let me get into them:

  • A good source of fiber, manganese and selenium.
  • Low in cholesterol and saturated fat (if you skip the butter)
  • It’s usually made at home daily (if you’re South Asian)
  • The process of dieting becomes easier if you can sit with family and have a traditional meal every night 
  • The versatility of macros that can be achieved is great 

If you want to read more into roti and incorporating it into your fitness lifestyles you can here.

I want to close by saying the world of fitness and nutrition is vast and I truly love to learn. I like to think I’m taking in some information every single day whether listening to a podcast during workouts, reading articles for research, or flicking through the books I have. 

I keep absolutely every plan I’ve designed and all of my own training logs since day 1 too. It’s only when I scroll back into my old documents from the beginning of the decade that I realise just how much my own knowledge has advanced. That’s what inspired this post. 

It was a word document of my own diet, filled with meat, 260g protein a day (bro mode) and a pointer at the top encouraging myself to eat every 2-3 hours for ‘metabolism’. 

Call it a transformation post of my knowledge in the field.

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