Kaged Muscle founder and body transformation specialist Kris Gethin knows a thing or two about health and fitness. A longtime icon in the bodybuilding world, he’s also trained for an IRONMAN triathlon in just six months (which is a momentous feat) and recovered from a nasty triceps injury in record time, reminding us all that he’s a pro at so much more than building muscle.
On his social platforms (and ours!), Gethin helps people cut through the B.S. in order to make impressive inner and outer transformations that last. Here, he dissects some of the biggest health and fitness myths you’ll want to get straight in order to make serious gains.
Myth: Core Workouts Should Be Top Priority for Abs You Can See
“You don’t get your abs in the gym, but in the kitchen,” says Gethin. “And they’ll always be shy if they’re beneath a layer of fat.”
To shed belly fat, you’ve got to follow a consistent, healthy diet; there’s simply no getting around it.
One of Gethin’s go-to tricks for keeping his nutrition on point at all times: a meal replacement shake. He travels with his Kaged Muscle Clean Meal so that he always has access to a healthy meal—even when he’s on vacation or traveling.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should neglect core exercises. Gethin loves hanging leg raises and recommends incorporating three to five sets to failure into your routine to train those abs.
Myth: You Don’t Really Have To Worry About Post-Workout Nutrition
The hour after you work out really is the “golden hour” for supporting recovery, according to Gethin. “You’ve just trained and broken down muscle tissue so your muscles are screaming for nutrients,” he says. “You want to recover as fast as humanly possible, especially if you’re going to work out again in 24 hours.”
His recommendation: Eat some high-quality, fast-digesting protein immediately post-workout.
Myth: Creatine Just Makes You Retain Water
While creatine does contribute to your cells storing more water, that’s not all it does in your body. Creatine actually increases the ATP (or chemical energy) in your cells, which allows you to knock out one or two more reps or sprint slightly further at a faster pace during your workouts. As a result of these performance gains, Gethin says, you become fitter and stronger and can build bigger muscles. This supplement is definitely a worthwhile part of any sports nutrition stack.
Myth: Carbohydrates Make You Gain Weight
When it comes to losing, maintaining, or gaining weight, how many calories you eat is ultimately of the utmost importance. “It doesn’t matter if you’re eating carbs,” he says. “As long as you’re in a calorie deficit and eating the right carbs, like sweet potatoes, bran rice, quinoa, or oats, you’re okay.”
In reality, it’s the calorie-dense and nutrient-devoid carbohydrates like chips, candy, and donuts that give carbs a bad rap because they’re easy to overeat and offer very little (if any) nutritional bang for their buck.
Myth: Doing Cardio Messes With Your Muscle Gains
Cardio is another misunderstood topic in the fitness world—so it’s time to set the record straight. “Yes, doing hours of cardio has a negative impact on putting on muscle,” Gethin says. However, “if you’re sleeping well and managing stress, 30 minutes once or twice per day shouldn’t have a negative effect on muscular gains.”
Read More: The Hard-Gainer’s Guide To Building Muscle
If you’re worried about cutting into your muscles, just make sure you’re fueling your workouts with adequate protein and carbohydrates, suggests Gethin. This ensures you don’t go into catabolism, a state of breakdown that puts your gains at risk.
Myth: You’ll Gain Fat If You Eat At Night
Now, no one is encouraging you to dig into the fridge in the middle of the night here, but you don’t need to stress too hard about eating after the sun goes down.
“Eating a balanced meal of protein, carbs, and fats from clean sources at night won’t make you gain fat,” Gethin urges. “However, it may negatively impact your sleep, depending on how quickly you can digest it.”
The real task, then, is to figure out how close to bedtime you can have a snack or meal and still sleep well. “I can eat food immediately before bed and sleep, but my wife has to eat at least 90 mins before bed to have a good sleep, so everyone is a bit different,” explains Gethin.
The bottom line? As long as you’re eating the right foods at the right time for you, you won’t gain fat by eating at night.
A natural pro bodybuilder, IRONMAN competitor, and ultra-marathoner, Kris Gethin is widely known across the health and fitness space as one of the leading experts and body transformation specialists in the world. As the CEO of Kaged Muscle supplements, former editor-in-chief of BodyBuilding.com, author of the best-selling book Body by Design, co-founder of Kris Gethin Gyms, and member of The Vitamin Shoppe Wellness Council, Gethin has helped educate and change the lives of millions of people.