Nine out of ten guys you see in the gym don’t train correctly. In many cases, I wouldn’t even bother getting out of bed in the morning to do their training routines.

They’re usually following programs they found in magazines or on the internet, or maybe they got them from friends or trainers. They are stuck in a rut of no gains or eking out slow, stubborn gains.

Most guys also compound their training mistakes by eating incorrectly—they’re eating too much, eating too little, eating on a bad schedule, not getting the right amounts and types of macronutrients, and are making other various muscle-robbing mistakes. Eating for maximum muscle gain or fat loss means little more than meeting precise nutritional requirements on a precise schedule (and there’s nothing hard about doing it—it just requires exactness).

So, I’d like to take a moment here to address the six most common myths and mistakes of building lean muscle, because chances are good that you have fallen victim to one or more of them at some point in the past (and if you haven’t, it’s probably because you’re brand new, which actually gives you a great advantage: You get to do it right from day one!).

1 – More Sets = More Growth

I don’t know about you, but I hate long workouts. Who wants to spend two hours in a gym every day? Only the over-zealous newbies who think that the grueling seventeenth set is where the growth occurs, or the obsessed ‘roid-heads who like to squat until their noses bleed and deadlift until they puke (yes, these guys are out there).

The fact is, too many sets can actually lead to overtraining, which not only robs you of muscle growth and makes you feel run-down and lethargic, but can actually cause you to lose muscle. Yes, that’s right—two hours of intense lifting can actually make you shrink and get weaker. You are simply breaking down the muscle too much for your body to repair optimally. Of course you don’t want to under-train either by doing too little, which is why Bigger Leaner Stronger weight workouts are built to achieve the maximum muscle overload and stimulation that your body can efficiently repair.

More sets also means more time spent working out, of course, and this too can become detrimental. As you exercise, your body releases hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin, all conducive to muscle growth. In response to the physical stress, however, your body also releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone helps increase blood sugar levels and fight inflammation, but it also interferes with your body’s ability to use protein correctly and stops muscle growth. One of the best ways to control cortisol is to keep your training sessions short.

Scientific studies, such as the one done by the University of Natal, have shown that weight training sessions between 45 – 60 minutes allow for proper muscle stimulation while maximizing testosterone production and minimizing cortisol production. Cardio sessions between 30 – 45 minutes were found to be the best for the same reasons. Post-workout nutrition is a huge part of managing cortisol too, but we’ll get to that later.

The bottom line is that if your lifting program is built correctly, you can achieve stunning muscle gains by weight training for no longer than 45 – 60 minutes per day.

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