Debunking Several Bro Science Myths

ro Science is primarily made of facts and ideas about diet and exercise that sound correct simply because they have been passed around, person to person. By definition, a “bro” is someone who spends most of their free time in the gym in pursuit of the “perfect” body. There is no “perfect” body. Bros like to tell other gym goers what they are doing wrong with their weightlifting technique, how and what other people should be eating, but simply put, bros do not have the scientific evidence to back it up. Bro science is pseudoscience disguised as well-meaning fitness advice.

A popular pursuit of the “perfect” body is stacked abs. Most people, even physically fit people, do not have defined abdominal muscles. Bro science says that to achieve abs, the only exercise needed is exorbitant amounts of crunches. Crunches do make the ab muscles bigger and stronger, which is important for overall health but will not force the visible muscle out of hiding. In truth, all those crunches will go to waste they are covered in a layer of fat. To obtain visible abs, body fat must be cut down to 10-15% depending on age, gender, and muscular mass.

Many weight-lifting enthusiasts have fallen prey to the myth “train slow, be slow.” Moving slowly is critical with max strength training. Quick movements like jumping are only possible with strong foundations. Athletes that attempt to lift too quickly can injure themselves. Paying attention, instead, to proper form is the best way to build strength.

A common bro science tip for slimming down is to do cardio only, cut calories, and avoid weight lifting. It is nearly impossible to only burn fat. People who subscribe to this myth can start to lose muscle mass instead of burning fat. Drastically cutting calories can lead to a testosterone level drop—testosterone helps build and maintain muscle mass. Without muscle definition, the body looks flimsy and still carries a higher fat percentage. This myth is dangerous and false.

Dietary pseudoscience has been circulating in the form of fad dieting for years. Each new diet promises to produce better results and more energy. However, each person’s dietary needs are different—no fad diet can possibly be perfect for everyone. A common myth of pseudoscience is that eating five-six small meals is better than eating three average portion meals per day. If the calorie breaks down is the same, the body treats the day’s nutrition the same. Eating small meals is not harmful but claiming that eating small meals is healthier or assists weight loss, is false. For some people, it can help curb cravings or other issues to eat small meals, but there is no metabolic benefit. Dietary needs are individual.

Many bro scientists hold fast to the idea that must drink a protein shake immediately after weightlifting in order to retain muscle mass. They believe the session will go to waste without that chalky shake because the body is primed to absorb all the protein. After a weightlifting session, the body is in an anabolic state, meaning the body is building and repairing tissue. This does not mean the body only has a thirty-minute window to get protein. According to researchers, the anabolic window can last up to six hours after a high-intensity workout. The body is simply more resilient than bro scientists want to think.

Bro scientists want their advice to be taken seriously. They think they know everything about working out, about gains, about eating right—but they don’t. Pseudoscience, bro science is rooted in ideas that only sound correct because they jumped from mouth to mouth to mouth. Anything that sounds questionable probably is and deserves further research.