Bigger... Faster... Stronger... three goals that are some of the top aspirations among athletes all over the world. You would think the guidelines for achieving them would be pretty cut and dry.
In all actuality, it couldn’t be more confusing... every corner of the internet offers a different “quick results trick” that, more than likely, completely contradicts the last approach you read about.
Greed is to blame. It would be extremely easy for me to sell you a plan ticket that promised you to arrive at your dream vacation in half the time, for only a slightly more expensive price; as opposed to selling you a ticket for the same vacation destination with the only difference being that the travel time was doubled.
The next time you’re debating between fitness program and nutrition plans, try to keep these five common mistakes in mind...
1.) Trying to replace meals with supplements!
They are called supplements for a reason. They are meant to assist the vitamins & nutrients that you receive in a balanced diet. You can not cut corners and take easy routes when trying to accomplish goals in the gym.
Supplements do serve a purpose, but to gain and maintain muscle mass, you must EAT a sufficient amount of proteins, carbs, and fats (that's right, even carbs & fats serve a purpose in the gym). You have to properly fuel your body for the task you are asking it to complete!
2.) It's not always a numbers game!
It may be cool to say you just put up 400 lbs on the leg press, but when we're discussing adding muscle bulk, it isn't near as beneficial as putting up 350 lbs for 8 nice, smooth reps. The same applies on the other side of the numbers game as well. While 8 reps were better than 1 in the above example, less may be more in other exercises such as pull-ups & push-ups.
It is much safer and beneficial to do 5 pull-ups or 5 push-ups than it is to break every form rule known to man for the sake of saying you accomplished "repping out 20-30" pull-ups or push-ups! You will actually begin to see a decrease in your performance regarding how many "reps" you are able to accomplish! Be safe and be smart about it!
3.) Training too often!
You have to give your muscles sufficient time to rebuild after being broken down. It is just as important to allow your muscles to build back up through rest and proper fuel (EATING properly), as it is to break them down during the training session. When trying to "bulk" or get "gains", focus on exercising 3 days a week and resting for 4 days. A proper schedule would look something like this:
Monday: Abs, thighs, & calves.
Wednesday: Back, biceps, and neck.
Friday: Chest, Delts, & Triceps.
4.) Performing too many SETS!
If you are performing more than 3 sets of each exercise, then you aren't training hard enough. You should have a schedule for each exercise, based on a percentage of your 1 rep max, that allows you to complete 3 sets of 8 repetitions.
If you are training correctly, then you will not want to perform a 4th or 5th set. Another key note is to make sure you are performing the reps properly. Tip- try to perform them a little more slowly (even if you have to reduce the weight to perform them correctly), making sure to focus on proper form and technique.
5.) Overdoing cardiovascular training!
Overdoing your cardio training can have negative effects on your "muscle gains". Performing too much cardio will put your body into a catabolic state and burn hard-earned muscle tissue.
The loss of muscle will not only reduce strength, but it will also slow down your metabolism. If your metabolism slows down too much, you'll have a tough time burning fat. If you are trying to add muscle mass, keep your cardio training to a minimum of 2-3 times a week and use intervals of high intensity, explosive training (sprinting) for 30-45 seconds, and then jogging for 30-45 seconds, followed by walking for 30-45 seconds.
Repeat this interval for approximately 5 rounds, making sure to warm up properly beforehand, and cool down completely afterwards.
Hopefully I have shed some light into the dark tunnel of fitness truths, & half-truths. If you have questions about any of the above key points or any other training aspects, feel free to email us at: email@example.com
I don't always have all of the answers, but I will do my best to find them for you if needed.
President & Chief Fitness Officer
Body Armour Solutions LLC.