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Muscle Confusion Myths and Birthday Cakes

  Nov 9th, 2012

My Daughter Whining for My Cake at 6amToday is a milestone in my life as it marks 31 years since the day I was born back in 1981. Life sure does go by fast!


I have to admit that my diet is going to be less than stellar today. But I suppose if there’s a day to enjoy some junk food with my wife and kids, today would be the day.


My wife and oldest daughter made me the chocolate cake you see to the left (along with a huge mess of icing) and my girls can’t wait to dig in to it.


As you can see, as I sat down to start writing this (at 6am) my youngest daughter was already out of bed, standing on a chair at the table, pointing at the cake and whining. I almost gave in and cut her off a piece, but my wife came in and grabbed her before my weak moment came to fruition.


I saw myself recounting Bill Cosby’s justification of how chocolate cake is healthy and then his hilarious rendition of his kids singing praises to him around the kitchen table. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re missing out! Watch it here:



We’ll be tearing into the cake soon enough. But before my day got too busy I had to set the record straight on a topic that has always bothered me because people generally get it wrong.


Today we’re going to talk politics… I hope you didn’t click away yet. I was only kidding.


Sorry I couldn’t resist!


Seriously, though, I want to address a few misconceptions people have regarding muscle confusion.


I get messages and comments on a regular basis from people wanting to know how frequently they should be changing their lifts and asking what else they can do to confuse their muscles.


New Training Plans Confuse Your Brain More Than Your Muscles

I’m not sure which bodybuilding magazine brainwashed people into thinking they need to change the lifts they’re using every other week in order to confuse their muscles, but this absolutely is not the case.


If this confuses anything, it’s your brain by taking away your ability to plan how much weight you ought to be using and making tracking your progress nearly impossible. 


The best way to confuse your muscles is to add more weight to your lifts.


Of course, you can’t go adding twenty pounds to the bar every time you train. That’s where your training log comes in.


Beginners and intermediate lifters do well to stick with the same lifts, which should be mostly compound in nature, for at least three to six months. Once you see your strength gains stall for a few weeks, then it’s time to switch things up for a month or two before going back to something similar and continuing to work on adding more weight to those lifts.


Changing your lifts can make training seem new and exciting, and certainly has its place, but it doesn’t do much in the way of confusing your muscles. Remember, your muscles don’t know anything. They respond when excessive stimulus is placed on them. That’s it.


They don’t know what lifts you’re using – only which fibers are stimulated and the magnitude of stimulation they’re receiving.


I understand the argument that different lifts can stimulate different muscle fibers, but if your training is structured intelligently, you don’t need to worry about that as a beginner or intermediate lifter.


Get on a well-designed training plan, like the one I provide in Ripped Out, and stick with it for as long as you continue to build strength.


You won’t receive any noticeable muscle gaining benefit from prematurely changing up your training plan with the hopes of confusing your muscles.


This will only serve to hinder your ability to build muscle by precluding you from following a systematic approach for adding weight to your lifts, which is the most effective way to build and develop your muscles. Period.


I’m off to get in a quick training session before heading to breakfast with my wife where I’ll be taking down a healthy omelet and some strawberry pancakes. Hopefully training before eating all the crap I’m sure to eat today will keep the damage to a minimum. 😉



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