Are you frustrated with your lack progress at the gym? Training hard but not seeing any real results?
Then it’s likely that you’re making one of the following 11 biggest bodybuilding mistakes.
Avoid these common mistakes to get twice the results in half the time.
1. Not Eating Enough.
Let me clarify. This is not an excuse to work your way through the entire menu at McDonald’s.
But not eating enough was the biggest bodybuilding mistake I ever made.
By eating enough, I’m talking about high-quality protein and calories. I wasted years of effort and seeing nil results simply because my calorie and protein intake was too low.
Furthermore, I had mastered all the other areas of building muscle but this biggest bodybuilding mistake was hampering my progress.
Eating more was my eureka moment.
However, don’t go overboard.
Since muscle growth on a daily basis is at best negligible, providing the body with a marginal excess of calories and protein will work wonders.
Your goal is not to pile on pounds of fat by consuming everything in sight.
A simple, handy rule to avoid this biggest bodybuilding mistake is make sure you’re eating roughly 20 calories per pound of body weight.
In conclusion, by incorporating this simple rule, you’ll soon notice more strength, size and results 🙂
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2. Doing the Same Thing but Expecting Different Results.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Einstein’s quote that:
‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’.
Representing flawed thinking, biggest bodybuilding mistakes #2 means you’re on a fast road to nowhere.
Months would fall of the calendar, yet despite the greatest efforts…my physique remained static.
I was performing the same exercises and the same routine over and over yet expecting different results!
Even if what you’re applying is mostly correct, gains in size and strength is your true measure of progress, not effort in itself.
So if you’re putting in an all out effort but not making any gains, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong.
Therefore, try something different, try something new.
‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better’. – Samuel Beckett.
Perhaps you need to eliminate rather than add? Sometimes less really is more. (See biggest bodybuilding mistakes number 10).
3. Not Including Basic Compound Exercises.
Biggest bodybuilding mistakes #3 is often a sign of laziness or avoiding hard work.
Conversely, adding squats, deadlifts and bench press is a winning formula.
These exercises employ multiple joints and muscles allowing you to handle more weight than isolation exercises.
As a result, progressively overloading your muscle with more weight is ultimately what causes muscle growth.
The process breaks down the tiny muscle fibres, triggering the body to adapt and repair the damage with larger, stronger muscles.
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4. Using Sloppy Form.
Not only will this approach yield zero results but it’s the quickest path to injury. I am no exception and I have made this mistake myself!
Now I’m not suggesting immaculate form for each and every rep e.g. going to full extension and a peak contraction squeeze.
But performing barbell curls where you jettison the bar up with your legs and lower back whilst maintaining your elbows at a perfect 90% throughout the whole range of motion is a fool’s errand.
Therefore, a better approach would be to:
- Find an effective range of motion that suits your joints thus avoiding potential injury from over extension.
- Develop a rhythmic lifting cadence suited for the amount of weight.
- Indulge in a little cheating near the end of the set to overcome the sticking point.
5. Using Too Much Weight.
Biggest Bodybuilding Mistake #5 is my pet hate!
Consider this: your muscles do not know how much weight you’re using.
Yes, it’s important to tax the body with enough poundage and strive to increase your strength…but don’t allow your ego to enter into the equation.
Effective bodybuilders avoid the aptly termed ‘ego lifting’.
In summary: aim for between 5 and 8 reps for strength and between 8 and 12 reps for strength and size. Make sure you’re using good form thus avoiding mistake number 4.
6. Adding Too Much Weight Too Quickly.
Closely related to biggest bodybuilding mistakes #5 and again, one which I’ve made myself so I completely understand. We all want to see progress but slapping on too much weight to stroke your ego is not the way to go.
The key is to add very small amounts but consistently. Build your strength incrementally over time and don’t be too impatient. In time, these small additions add up to some pretty impressive stats.
Therefore make sure you have plenty of tiny, wafer thin discs available and use them wisely.
Lastly, keep a training diary. When you review your progress over the months, you’ll be surprised at just how far you’ve come.
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7. Not Focusing on Strength and Getting Stronger.
Without falling into the traps of mistakes 5 and 6, strength training creates the foundation of all winning bodybuilders.
Indeed, Arnold Schwarzenegger had a power lifting phase early in his career.
And hauling vast poundage will give your muscles a pleasing, dense, slab-like appearance.
This is especially important if you’re a beginner.
Because, until you become very strong, there’s a direct correlation between a muscle’s strength and size.
Then, once you’ve served your power lifting apprentice, you can next focus on quality.
8. Neglecting to Make Use of Supplements.
I’ve already mentioned in my Bio that I used to consume a pint of UHT milk for breakfast!
Back then, few outside the bodybuilding community had heard of protein shakes, so discovering them was a blessing.
However, supplements like whey protein, BCAA, glutamine and creatine will not produce miracles…but they will go a long way to helping you reach your goals.
In conclusion: supplements are time-saving, convenient and there’s a vast array of categories that target specific outcomes. Why wouldn’t you use them?
9. Emulating Your Idol.
Unless you are a genetic superior and/or have the support of ‘chemical assistance’, trying to emulate your idol may lead to burnout.
Their routines have been specifically designed to reflect what works for them. By all means, gather ideas and inspiration from your role models, but perhaps avoid an exact duplication.
We’re all different in our recuperative abilities and the amount of stress our bodies can handle. Therefore, you may need to experiment a little to discover what works for you.
10. Not Allowing Enough Time for Recovery.
Firstly, paranoia tempts you into doing more than you need. I used to be fearful of allowing more than 96 hours to elapse between training the same muscle group…mortified that I’d begin to shrink!
Secondly, training one body part just once a week, when combined with all the other lessons I’d learned, produced dramatic results.
Emotionally, it can be very difficult to train less. But if you’re not seeing any results, give this method a try.
What have you got to lose?
11. Performing Too Many Sets.
This is closely aligned with mistake number 10.
Again, paranoia is usually the culprit. Because as humans, it is difficult to shake our natural tendency to associate more with better.
Did you know that after a suitable warm up, muscle growth can be triggered with as little as two good work sets. Why spend more time than you need working out?
Also, once I reduced my sets to around 4 or 5 per body part, the results were staggering.
I had more energy, better recuperation and more free time. And I felt stronger and more capable almost every workout.
Here’s an example of the chest workout I adopted that took me from static to phenomenal results:
- Bench Press: 3 x 10, 8, 6.
- Incline Dumb Bell Press: 2 x 12, 10.
- Total of 5 sets, performed once a week.
Hardly fancy is it?
Yet, my strength and size just wouldn’t quit. For those of you still not convinced, I urge you to experiment with lower sets.
If you’re not happy with the results you can easily revert to your old habits.
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What mistakes have you made?
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