If you are not gaining any muscle even though you’re going through training exercises every day, you are probably wondering what the issue might be. Have you attained your genetic potential or are you simply doing it wrong?
Bodybuilding is all about discipline and not about excesses. As such, going overboard is bound to sabotage your results. If you’re a promising lifter, avoiding a few common mistakes could help save you months of trouble. Here’s a look at eight common training mistakes that can limit your muscle growth.
Setting Unrealistic Goals
It’s quite difficult and sometimes downright impossible for lifters to achieve much of anything in the gym if they don’t have a clear goal. The lack of an objective could slow or stall your progress. You need to have both short-term and long-term aspirations. So, what goals do you intend to achieve? You probably have a mental image of what you’d want your body to look or feel like in the end. Unfortunately, some images will require years or even decades to achieve, which does not mean you cannot attain your goal.
Even so, setting realistic expectations about your progress in the gym and the time it will take to achieve your fitness goal might be the best approach. While not having goals could keep you from giving it your all, setting expectations that are too high is likely to get you discouraged in the long run, leaving your lifestyle without any fun. Remember, it’s the overall lifestyle that creates lasting results and not a certain workout, meal plan, or program. Once you’ve achieved your current realistic goals, you can always set new ones.
Extending the Volume, Length, and Frequency of your Workouts
More is not necessarily better. In actual sense, more can prove detrimental, particularly if it means extending the volume, length, and frequency of your workouts. For an average lifter, muscle growth occurs outside of the gym and not during your workouts.
The work performed in the gym, if one trains hard enough, is known to cause trauma and microscopic tears to the muscles. In contrast, the work a lifter does outside of the gym repairs muscle damage. This includes rehydration, eating, supplementation, stretching, and sleeping in particular. Besides hindering muscle growth, subjecting your muscles to another round of hard work before the process of repair is complete makes you more susceptible to injury and unnecessary pain. In fact, you need more recovery to grow bigger, stronger muscles.
Instead of training too hard, too long, and too often, you should allow your muscles to heal fully before you train them again.
Adopting Pro-Level Routines
You may think that copying pro-level workouts is the best way to get the same physique as that of an IFBB pro. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Although you can learn many excellent techniques and tips from the pros, adhering to their actual routines is not even remotely advisable.
The professionals performing these exercises have coaches and nutritionists. They’ve also been taking supplementation and near-perfect diets for long. Because they are accustomed to a much higher level of training, they have years of muscle growth supporting what they do. As such, professionals are more acclimated to heavier, more involving workloads than the average lifter.
More Routine Changes
You can only make progress in the gym if you change things up. The problem is how you change things. For instance, swapping your training splits or changing your exercises completely is not the same as modifying the set-rep scheme, amount of weight used, or duration of rest between sets.
When it comes to gaining mass, movements like the deadlift and squat are irreplaceable. As such, it’s difficult for lifters to grow muscle without practicing them regularly. However, performing these lifts properly requires a lot of skill, practice, and a strong mind-muscle connection.
Secondly, many programs have phases that cannot be incorporated into another program. Alternating between routines can result in undertrained and overdeveloped body parts. Your program needs time to work, which is why you should follow it to the end.
Pushing More Weight
Apart from making you susceptible to injury and chronic soreness, lifting above your weight slows your progress more than using the appropriate training weight. So, don’t bring your ego with you to the gym. Doing a single with 495 on the deadlift benefits your physique less when compared to pulling 405 for 8 reps. You need to understand that big numbers matter only in specific settings and that extending your volume could hinder muscle growth.
Taking Anabolic Steroids or Too Many Supplements
Supplements are named so for a reason. They are meant to boost your meal plan and help you get the most from your efforts. Supplements are not a replacement for proper diets or hard work. Anabolic steroids, on the other hand, can promote muscle growth, but cannot guarantee lasting results. Also, anabolic steroids are illegal even though they are readily available. More importantly, you will get much better results if you master basic nutrition. So, instead of spending your money on overhyped supplements and anabolic steroids, try whole foods supported with basics like protein, creatine, fish oil, and pre-workouts.
Eating More Dirty Calories
Many lifters have loose offseason diets that usually result in excess weight gain and blown body compositions. When such individuals take the time to diet away this accumulated body fat, they often end up losing more muscle than they would have had they stayed a little bit leaner. It’s like taking two steps forward and three steps back.
Do you find yourself working out only when you can because you were too tired, couldn’t get up early enough, or had to go somewhere urgently? Unfortunately, inconsistency kills progress. Although it is not easy to commit to a set schedule, you need to structure your time to ensure you make it to the gym. Staying consistent won’t be so hard if you make it more convenient beforehand. Packing your gym bags the night before, bringing a snack along so you don’t starve, and changing clothes before you leave your workplace are excellent ways to get started.