Chances are you’ve probably heard gym rats throw around the phrase “muscle confusion”. Does it really work? I’ll cut to the chase: muscle confusion is a myth and can actually delay your muscle building progress.
Like most of the “broscience” that exists in the fitness industry, muscle confusion is simply a devious marketing tactic used to grab your cash with popular workout programs such as P90x. As far as the evidence is concerned, muscle confusion workouts do not enhance your muscle gains or burn fat faster than conventional workout routines.
Essentially, the whole theory of “confusing your muscles” is bullshit. Let me explain why.
The Muscle Confusion Myth
In case you were unaware, the fundamental requirement for building muscle is progressive overload. The principle of progressive overload states that in order for muscles to grow, get stronger, and enhance performance, the body must be put under a stress that surpasses what it has previously experienced.
This basically means that you need to gradually lift heavier loads over time or lift the same weight for more reps. So if you squat 200 lbs for 5 sets of 5 reps today, you need to try to squat 200 lbs for 5 sets of 6 reps during the next workout. Or squat 205 lbs for that same 5 sets of 5.
You need to continuously increase the tension being placed on your body to avoid plateauing. Following so far?
So how can you effectively accomplish progressive overload? Besides having a proper workout and diet plan, you need consistency. You need a consistent routine that allows your body to get stronger and progress.
What I’m trying to say is, progress is difficult if you are continuously changing your path to progression. How can you expect to squat more if you stop squatting every other workout or modify the routine you’re using?
An analogy would be trying to learn to play flute but then stopping after a week to play the drums instead. As a result, you’ll never be remarkably skilled at either instrument, and definitely not in a suitable timeframe.
But this is exactly what muscle confusion workouts are designed to make you do. Confusing your target muscle groups by constantly changing your routine will only DELAY your progress as a result of being changed.
The only confusion here is why you’ve been working out like an imbecile and not giving your muscles the necessary consistency to progress and make gains.
Why Muscle Confusion Workouts Suck for Losing Fat
The only requirement for fat loss is to create a caloric deficit. Either burn more calories than you ingest, eat less, or combine both to maximize efficiency. Again, it comes down to the energy balance equation: energy input versus energy output.
Simply put, if you eat 2000 calories per day, you’ll lose weight by consuming 1500 calories per day instead. Likewise, instead of consuming fewer calories, this deficit can be made by burning more calories through activity such as resistance training or cardio.
Muscle confusion provides no additional benefit to weight loss other than being an exercise that burns calories… which is a given with any exercise.
Even if the workout is “confusing your muscles,” it plays absolutely no additional role in fat loss. The level of “confusion” is irrelevant.
Now I know what you’re thinking…
Doesn’t Muscle Adapt to the Same Workouts and Stop Growing?
Yes it’s true that your body will grow accustomed to the exercise stimulus being provided and stop improving. Muscle adaptation to stress is a proven fact.
Although squatting 200 lbs for 5?5 may produce muscle growth for a period of time, your body will become conditioned to this weight and therefore stop evolving.
But here’s the truth. The exercise doesn’t need to be CHANGED to stimulate muscle growth again. You simply need to INCREASE the stimulus. And that’s where the concept of progressive overload comes into play.
As long as the stimulus is being increased to make the exercise more challenging, your body will continue to improve. And it’s only when progression is no longer being made that it’s time to alter your routine in a fashion that allows progression to occur once again.
Unfortunately, muscle confusion workouts do not give your muscles adequate time to make progression and are therefore completely counterproductive.
The Bottom Line
So the next time you’re debating whether or not to change your workout routine based on some “broscience” that you’ve seen on TV or heard from a fitness guru, I have a far better recommendation…