Weight gain myths. Gary Mathews takes a look at some of the common weight gain myths. If you're trying to gain weight this article is a must read!

The vast majority of myths about weight gain are mostly passed down from "gym talk" and so-called experts who know nothing about the body's workings.

Myths that lead to wasted time, frustration and if are taken blindly as truth, can really set back your progress in the gym. Don't believe everything you hear in the gym when it comes to exercise and weight gain, do the research yourself.

Simple, basic principles apply to all weight and muscle gain such as progressive overload, variable frequency of reps and high intensity workouts. Lets take a look at some of the most common weight gain myths.

1 - High repetitions burn fat while low repetitions build muscle.

Weight gain myths Progressive overload is needed to make muscles bigger. Meaning that you need to perform more reps than you did for your last workout for that particular exercise. If you perform the same amount of reps at each workout nothing will change on you, also if the weight doesn’t changes on the bar nothing will change on you. You need to become stronger.

Definition has two characteristics, muscle size and a low incidence of body fat. To reduce body fat you will have to reduce your calories; the high repetition exercise will burn some calories, but wouldn't it be better to fast walk to burn these off? Better still; use the low reps to build muscle, which will elevate your metabolism and burn more calories (less fat).

2 - Vegetarians can’t build muscle.

Yes they can! Strength training with supplementation of soy Protein Isolate has shown to increase solid bodyweight. Studies have shown that athletic performance is not impaired by following a meat free diet, and people strength training and consuming only soy protein isolate as a protein source were able to gain lean muscle mass.

3 - Strength Training will make you look Masculine

If it is not you’re intention to bulk up from strength training you won’t. Putting on muscle is a long hard slow process. Your strength-training regime coupled with quality food will determine how much you will bulk up. To bulk up you also require more food. Women don't produce enough testosterone to allow for muscular growth as large as men.

4 - By working out you can eat what ever you want to

Of course you can eat whatever you want, if you don't care how you want to look. Working out does not give you an open license to consume as many calories as you want. Although you will burn more calories if you workout than someone who doesn't, you still need to balance your energy intake with you energy expenditure.

5 - If you take a week off you will lose most of your gains

Taking one or two weeks off occasionally will not harm your training. By taking this time off every eight to ten weeks in between strength training cycles it has the habit of refreshing you and to heal those small niggling injuries. By having longer layoffs you do not actually lose muscle fibers, just volume through not training, any size loss will be quickly re-gained.

6 - By eating more protein I can build bigger muscles

Building muscle mass involves two things, progressive overload to stimulate muscles beyond their normal levels of resistance and eating more calories than you can burn off. With all the hype about high protein diets lately and because muscle is made of protein, it’s easy to believe that protein is the best fuel for building muscle, however muscles work on calories which should predominately be derived from carbohydrates.

7 - If I'm not sore after a workout, I didn't work out hard enough

Post workout soreness is not an indication of how good the exercise or strength training session was for you. The fitter you are at a certain activity, the less soreness you will experience after. As soon as you change an exercise, use a heavier weight or do a few more reps you place extra stress on that body part and this will cause soreness.

8 - Resistance training doesn't burn fat

Nothing could not be further from the truth. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue and has a role in increasing the metabolism. The faster metabolism we have the quicker we can burn fat. Cardio exercise enables us to burn calories whilst exercising but does little else for fat loss afterwards.

Weight training enables us to burn calories whilst exercising but also helps us to burn calories whilst at rest. Weight training encourages muscle growth and the more lean muscle mass we possess, the more fat we burn though an increased and elevated metabolism.

9 - No pain no gain

This is one myth that hangs on and on. Pain is your body signaling that something is wrong. If you feel real pain during a workout, stop your workout and rest. To develop muscle and increase endurance you may need to have a slight level of discomfort, but that's not actual pain.

10 - Taking steroids will make me huge

Not true, strength training and correct nutrition will grow muscle. Taking steroids without training will not make you muscular. Most steroids allow faster muscle growth through greater recovery, while others help increase strength which allows for greater stress to be put onto a muscle. Without food to build the muscle or training to stimulate it nothing will happen. Most of the weight gain seen with the use of some steroids is due to water retention and is not actual muscle.

11 - Strength training won’t work your heart

Wrong!! Strength training with short rest periods will increase your heartbeat well over a hundred beats per minute. For example, performing a set of breathing squats and you can be guaranteed that your heart will be working overtime and that your entire cardiovascular system will be given a great overall body workout. Any intensive weightlifting routine that lasts for 20 minutes or more is a great workout for your heart and the muscles involved.

12 - I can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time

Wrong. Only a few gifted people with superb genetics can increase muscle size while not putting on body fat. But for the average hard gainer, they have to increase their muscle mass to its maximum potential and then cut down their body fat percentage to achieve the desired shape.

Aidan Olinger
Posted on: Tue, 11/03/2020 - 14:18

Bro no one has posted a comment on this in 10 years

Posted on: Sun, 01/22/2012 - 04:59

Can I just say that although vegeterians can indeed build muscle, the rate at which they do and at the expense they will have to do it for will not be worth it. Soy Protein isnt as bioavailable as Whey protein due to the lack of wholesome amino acids ratios, Soy Protein also encourages Estrogen production even if it is slight. Now if you are an average 200lb male you'd need around 200-300grams of protein depending on what you believe is your optimum amount. 200 grams alone from soy milk you would have to consume 200/7 = 28.5 cups A DAY!!! Now that you have drunk that you'll need an extra bit more because unlike eggs at BV of 100 or whey at BV 100+ Soy proteins with the biological value of 70 would mean more would have to be ingested to gain the same effect as 200grams of egg protein or whey..soo yes you can grow on a vegetarian diet just dont expect to build muscle on par with someone who is a meat eater, its just stupid to think that you can, the rest of the article is on point.

Posted on: Wed, 02/13/2013 - 20:50

One reason people mistakenly believe that vegetarians cant be bodybuilders is that they mistake vegans for vegetarians. The ability to consume eggs and dairy products makes an incredible difference. Vegans (those who consume no animal products whatsoever) are at a big disadvantage when it comes to adding muscle but vegetarians are not hindered at all because they do consume eggs and dairy products.

Posted on: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 01:57

for a beginner i want to cut back, should this be done during spring and summer? winter is too easy to bulk up, if thats the case i would bulk up in winter to reach my max size and cut back fat.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 08:15

Hi Ed,

There is no right and wrong answer. Use whatever method works best for you. For most, bulking during winter is easier, and it's easier to burn calories and lean up in spring and summer because we are moving around more and staying busy.

Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2010 - 10:12

dear sir
how are you
i just want to ask how can i gain weight coz i am skiny my weight is 60kgs and my height is 5"10 and my age is 22. i am just thiking to join fitness could you please suggest me how can i increase my weigh thanxx

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 09/08/2010 - 10:32

Hi Jag,

I would start with a solid beginner weight training program. Here is one I recommend:


You also need to make sure you are eating properly for muscle and weight gain. Here are some articles that will help. Let me know if you have any questions.



If you have a hard time eating enough, consider drinking plenty of whole milk, and adding in almonds, natural peanut butter, and 1-2 weight gain shakes per day.

Posted on: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 23:02

hey man im no expert but if you eat enough you will gain wieght... It sounds cliche but when you reach the point of eating the proper amount for gaining you will know it. Plus over the next 10 years or so its only gonna get easier for ya. a good way to gain is drink a protien shake after dinner, and make youre dinner right before bed time with alot of sleep... Like i said when you reach the ability to gain wieght through massive eating you will now it instantly. It may dictate yur life in some ways but i had the same exact problem... I was blind, and now i see... Youll know when you hit the point... eat, eat, eat...

Posted on: Thu, 06/03/2010 - 23:11

Can i reduce my stomach (fat) and do bodybuilding at the same time? Will it work?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 06/04/2010 - 15:59

In general you can't cut fat and add muscle at the same time.

Posted on: Wed, 06/02/2010 - 17:43

Hi Gary, I have a question concerning muscle gain. I want to gain about 10 more lbs of lean muscle without putting on too much fat. You say regular people "have to increase their muscle mass to its maximum potential and then cut down their body fat percentage to achieve the desired shape." I'm already pretty lean since I play a lot of soccer. Is it possible for me to gain muscle and not much fat without having to go through a bulking phase and then a cutting phase?

Posted on: Thu, 05/27/2010 - 07:54

the best exercise ever is still walking aside from that are extraneous to the body...

gary charles
Posted on: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 20:55

My wife recenttly got diagnosed with Bipolar and was initaly put on anti depressants which put her in a comatosed state all she could do was sit or sleep she has put on 5 kg. She is now on the right medication for her condition a mood stabeliser but has also put on another 5 kg. Doctors have told her these types of medications do increase weight gain. She has been exercising 4 times a week for a month doing cardio sessions for an hour and eats properly, and still cant lose the weight. Wondering what your options are on her not losing any weight due to her medication. She is getting very frustrated.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 01/23/2010 - 12:23

Your height won't suffer from lifting weights. That is a very old myth, and a wrong one at that.

chintan parikh
Posted on: Sat, 01/23/2010 - 12:07

respeced sir,
There is one question in my mind which is troubling me many times that which is proper age to start doin exercise for muscle buildin.......see i m of 16 years so do will it be harmful for me....i mean like my height will suffer due to it????...sir please do reply...badly need ur help....thnk u.