Our Fitness Blog
Muscle Confusion: Let's Get Lean!
When it comes to the term "muscle" or "build muscle", often times, there is a big disconnect. All too often, individuals hear these terms and they think of large, massive muscles. What we have to understand is that building muscle is the key to success, no matter what our goals. Whether we are looking to achieve body transformation, improve overall health and fitness or improve athletic performance, building muscle is one of the main keys to success. I've heard individuals say things such as, "Rick, I want to burn fat, but I do not want to build muscle." Therein lies the disconnect. The only way to burn fat is to build muscle. So let's put to rest that "muscle" means large, massive muscles. Rather, we are talking about building muscle so that we can achieve a strong, lean, light, healthy physique that will set us up for great success.
When it comes to workouts and building muscle, you may have heard terms such as, muscle confusion. And you may have heard this term associated with the key to achieving results. So is that the goal? Are we trying to confuse the muscle? When we 'confuse' the muscles by varying the exercises, repetitions, amount of weight lifted, etc., we are allowing the muscles to adapt and grow; and now we are on the path towards success. The goal of building muscle is to teach the muscles to adapt to the overload/stimulus that is being applied to it. For example, we do not want to do the exact same thing (from a workout perspective), every single day, at the exact same effort, intensity, pace, repetitions, etc. We do need to change things up and 'confuse' the muscles so that proper adaptation will occur. Let's say, for example, an individual is looking to improve their one repetition maximum bench press and their goal is 300 pounds. If this individual were to get on the bench press everyday and just lift 135 pounds, this is not going to lead to the proper muscular confusion and as a result, adaptation to the stress needed to achieve the goal is not going to occur. If an individual were to just walk on the treadmill, 20 minutes per day, at 3mph (and do no other activity), there is no muscle confusion here. Sure, this exercise is better than nothing of course, but if someone is striving for body composition goals, we have to change things up, apply different stimuli to the body and 'confuse' the body.
We also have to keep in mind that it takes at least six weeks for the human body to become adapted to a given workout/exercise (this is why consistency with your 9Round workout each week is a big key to your success). Skeletal muscle is extremely adaptable. Therefore, when we perform resistance exercises, the adaptation can begin immediately following a workout. Now, this does not mean that we are going to see immediate results. Point being, with the skeletal muscle adaptation happening so quickly, you can now see how the muscle adaptation process is going to take effect. As we continue to load and overload the muscles with resistance exercise, in time, we can start to reap the benefits of muscle growth.
We want to keep in mind that exercise variety (different exercises, change in repetitions, changes in load applied [amount of weight being lifted]) is a big key to success. When we 'confuse' the muscles with such changes, we are teaching the muscles to adapt to the load and the stimulus. This is how we are going to continue to reap the benefits of our workouts. Having a different workout each day is what makes 9Round such an incredible workout. Every time we go into a 9Round workout, we are applying another great load and stimulus to the skeletal muscles. With today's workout being different from yesterday's workout, we are confusing the muscle and this is what will allow the muscle to adapt. At 9Round, when we perform an abdominal exercise, squat, plyometric exercise, heavy bag work, dumbbell exercise, medicine ball exercise, kettle bell exercise, etc.; we are teaching the body to adapt to this load that we are applying to it. Combine this with the workout consistency and this is the 1-2 punch needed for success. At each 9Round workout, the repetitions will change, the load will change, the exercises will change, etc., and this will allow the body to successfully continue on the muscle growth process. The beauty of working out like this is you can start to see this process unfold right in front of you. For example, let's say for a given exercise at 9Round you are using 10 pound dumbbells to successfully complete the exercise. As you progress, continue to challenge yourself. If you can continue to increase the load (amount of weight being lifted), without injuring yourself of course, do so. This is part of the muscle confusion, adaptation and growth process. As you find yourself being able to lift more weight and/or perform more repetitions, this is progress. This is a direct sign that you are building muscle and you will continue to see improvements with your muscular strength, muscular endurance and body composition.
Workout Smart, Eat Right, Get Results™!
Dr. Rick Kattouf II
2x Best-Selling Author
9Round Nutrition Coach
Named One of America’s PremierExperts® in Nutrition & Fitness
Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year