Progress is what motivates us every day. Without it, most of us will lose hope and soon enough drop their ambition to pursue whatever goal they set in place.
This same principle also applies in bodybuilding. When we head to the gym after a long day of work, we don’t push that extra rep or drench ourselves in sweat only to stay the same. We expect results. Whether it is getting stronger, bigger or losing fat; change is what keeps us hungry. So it goes without saying that you will want to erase any simple bodybuilding mistakes you’re making to fasten your growth. That said, saying it is one thing and doing it is another.
Now, disregarding those individuals at the gym looking to “maintain” or those making an excuse not to work hard. There are many people who do try their very best to move forward, yet see little to no progress. This is a common occurrence, particularly for beginners who have under a years experience in he weight room.
If you fall under this umbrella check out to see if these 6 common bodybuilding mistakes that may be the culprit to stopping your development.
1. Inadequate Nutrition
It’s simple. If you do not provide your body sufficient calories, it will find other means to make up for the lack of nutrition. One such method the body uses is catabolising muscle tissue in exchange for food, something no athlete ever wants to happen.
To prevent this from occurring, you need to consume ample calories to meet your body’s energy output. You can do this by manually following a caloric surplus diet centred on your lifestyle and body composition. From there, figure out your goals and increase it or decrease week to week based on your results. To find out how you can do this, follow this step by step process.
Bear in mind, for this to work effectively you need to understand how nutrition works along with the macronutrient value of each food. It may be hard to start off with, but over time you will eventually get use to the lifestyle and calculating your daily caloric intake will take less then a few minutes.
For the advanced lifters, you can take this up a notch by implementing diets such as the ketogenic diet or carb backloading. What these two diets do, is manipulate macronutrients to your favour and promote an environment where you can both build muscle while simultaneously burn fat. Nutrition is a staple for any athletes endeavour. So if this is on your list of bodybuilding mistakes, make it a priority to erase it immediateley.
2. Too Much Stress
Whether it is the assignment due on Monday or the nagging boss that won’t get off your back, excessive stress will negatively impact your well-being.
Though with that in mind, in small doses the stress hormone cortisol is a required component of living. However, too much of it at one time or too much of it over an extended period will have consequential effects to your health and even inhibit weight loss muscle hypertrophy.
Fortunately, one simple remedy to avoid a surplus of cortisol is to sleep for at least 7 hours a day. This will provide your body more time to repair any physical or psychologically damage while preparing you for the day ahead. Another excellent alternative is to find an outlet to take your mind of any pressure or anxiety in your life.
Whether it be playing a team sport, watching a movie or catching up with friends. Finding a place to free your mind from the daily struggles of life and induce a sense of harmony can provide countless dividends to your state of mind and muscle growth.
3. Unrealistic Expectations
Unrealistic expectations is by far one of the most perpetuating bodybuilding mistakes that exists in beginners. TV shows, such as the Biggest Loser which pushes their participants to drop 5 kilograms in a week, set unrealistic goals and mimic a non-sustainable way of losing fat. Let me ask you. How many people do you know have a professional personal trainer watch their food intake every day? While simultaneously pushing them to the brink of exhaustion for hours each day? None? I thought so.
Unfortunately, it does not stop there. These unrealistic expectations are often set by fitness and bodybuilding magazines as well. Most the time, the athletes you see on the pages of supplement advertisements are professional fitness models or even IFBB pros. This means that these individuals have been training for years and have been dedicating their lives to building their physique. You should not expect to have a body similar to theirs in a mere six months or even a year. It takes years of consistency and dedication to build an awe-inspiring physique. To give you a better idea, watch this clip from the documentary Bigger, Faster, Stronger.
Losing fat without existing muscle mass or building muscle takes a significant amount of time and knowledge. So before you move on to another diet, mix up some of the variables in the one you currently have. This way, you see what works for your body and what doesn’t. Athletes often stick with their diet regimens anywhere from two weeks to two months, so they can see exactly how the diet affects their body.
Remember, building a powerful physique or losing fat correctly takes a lot of time and effort. If it were easy, then you would see everyone walking around with a chiseled set of abs in summer.
4. Relying too Much on Supplements
Supplements are called “supplements” for a reason. They are an accessory that are designed to help athletes achieve their objectives and NOT a substitute for food.
No matter how hard you try, you will not reach your goals if you solely depend on supplements for nutrition. Now don’t get me wrong, supplementation does make a contribution to muscle hypertrophy. But by no means, will it get you to where you want to be if they are your sole source of nutrition.
Food is and will always be an athlete’s number one priority. For protein, look to beef, chicken and seafoods such as tuna and salmon. For carbs, aim to consume rice and pasta. And for fats your best bets are eggs, seafood and nuts.
5. Your Ego is too Big
As far as bodybuilding mistakes go, this tops the list. More often than not, if you are new to gym then your first goal is to lift a certain amount of weight to impress yourself or others around you. Now it’s great that you’re setting yourself a goal. But unless you’re a powerlifter or had years of experience and understand the process of effectively progressing to that particular weight. The chances are, that goal of lifting an X amount of weight is going to force you to lift weights without stimulating your muscle.
Let me tell you this now, bodybuilding is not about lifting a weight from one point to another. Instead, bodybuilding is about isolating a muscle and finding the hardest motion to lift a weight while contracting that muscle to stimulate muscle hypertrophy. To do this, you need to build a mind muscle connection. Something of which cannot be done if you’re sacrificing your form for ego.
Everyone says it, and I’ll say it again:
Watch this video by Bart Kwan and Bradley Martyn as the explain why ego lifting has no place in bodybuilding.
6. Insufficient Recovery
It doesn’t matter if you are a sprinter, swimmer, or bodybuilder. Any form of vigorous training requires a certain amount of rest. Put simply, you can not train every day of the week and grow. Your body needs time to rest, recuperate and grow. Without this crucial phase, you will be continuously tearing down your body bit by bit and leading yourself to the phenomenon, overtraining.
If you’re just starting out, try training for three days a week for the first few months. Over time, increase the frequency and intensity of your workouts. However, always leave at least 1-2 days rest each to allow your body to recover.
Hopefully, one of these bodybuilding mistakes was the culprit as to why you’re not getting the gains you are after. If they weren’t, then keep lifting. Keep being proactive and soon enough you will find the answer to your problem!