I remember it like it was yesterday.
A fresh 20 year old Goat (Goat is my nickname by the way)
I was built like a garden rake.
I had just flunked out of university that is right I spent a good 2 years drinking jagerbombs and eating kebabs.
I was in awful awful shape and it was time for a change.
My confidence was at an all-time low and I wanted to go to the gym to build a shit load of muscle and in turn improve my confidence and maybe get some attention from the opposite sex who knows.
So I started my gym journey #fitnessjourney man!
I thought it would be easy.
I thought in no time at all I would be walking around jacked looking like a poor version of Arnold.
How wrong I was!
In fact the first 5 years of my gym journey was filled with mistake after mistake, I have probably made every mistake imaginable in my quest to get jacked.
Praise the lord that I saw the light and the last 4 years of training and nutrition have been extremely productive and I can actually say that I have built a shit ton of muscle.
But below is 5 huge mistakes I made for 5 years in the gym that seriously affected my gainz and progress.
The point of this blog is for you to learn from the mistakes I made, so that you don’t end up spinning your wheels for years and years and end up pissed off with the lack of results and progress that you are seeing in the gym.
1. All the gear no idea
This was a prime example of me in my first few years in the gym. I spent vast amounts of money that I did not have on the latest gym wear, gym trainers and of course all the latest and revolutionary supplements that were going to get me jacked overnight. Yeah right!
The amount of money I spent on supplements was sickening!
But you know what really grates on me looking back, I was spending all of this money on pointless shit, without even understanding the basic fundamentals of training and nutrition.
If someone would have asked me what progressive overload was back then I would have thought it was some sort of video game.
If someone would have asked what a calorie surplus was back then again I probably would of thought it was some sort of new supplement.
I had no fucking clue of what the fundamental principles were that was going to get me jacked in the first place.
I see the exact same thing in gyms everywhere today.
Every single person will have the latest Gym Shark vest, they will be drinking some luminous green mixture which is keeping them anabolic.
But you know for a fact there is no pen and paper in sight and that the likelihood that they are following some sort of progressive overload training program is very few and far between.
This was exactly the case with me back in the day, I knew I wanted to be jacked and build a ton of muscle, but I didn’t really know how to do it. I just thought showing up to the gym lifting a few weights around and shouting as loud as I could would get me gainz.
But this is not how it works and it is not how muscle is actually built. My advice to you would be to go away and just do some brief reading on the principles that are proven to build muscle.
Or if you would just prefer to follow an 8 week progressive overload training program that is designed to get you jacked in 8 weeks click HERE.
2. Go hard or Go Home
This one again came down to a lack of knowledge on what is actually needed to build muscle in the gym.
Now it is a given that you have to work hard in the gym and put the effort in. But if you’re constantly going into the gym and just thinking you have to smash yourself into oblivion and be sick every single session, then this is not the way to go about it. This sort of training mentality will give you a one way trip to the injury table, believe me I have been there several occasions in the past.
The truth is if you’re constantly going into the gym and lifting to complete and utter failure and you pair this up with some lacklustre form and technique, it is a recipe for disaster and it will catch up with you in the end.
The best way to stop any sort of muscle growth is not being able to train optimally because you are always carrying a little niggle or injury.
Train hard but train smart at the same time and this is where your program design comes into the mix. You want to gradually build up your training intensity as your training weeks go on, if you blow your load too early you will not be making gainz for the long term. For example week 1 and 2 of training you do not want to be going near muscle failure, week 3 you may go near muscle failure and week 4 you could go to muscle failure on certain lifts, you can then deload and go again. Do this all 52 weeks of the year and you’re going to be pretty jacked by the end of that year.
3. Curls for the Girls
Hands up, who has gone into the gym and started their workout with some sort of curls. I know I certainly have, now isolation exercises have their place in every training program.
The problem is when you start your session with them or the majority of your session is made up of them you are selling yourself short!
Compound movements will give you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to gaining muscle. The reason for this is that they involve several different muscle groups in one movement. Which means that you should be able to lift heavier loads, therefore giving you a larger stimulus in order to build muscle.
If you use some sort of progressive overload model on the main compound moves such as
Bent over Rows
Then this will form the foundation of your program and will ensure that you are getting bigger and stronger by overloading on exercises such as the ones above.
If you’re looking for a FREE total body workout program that includes the main compound lifts and that will get you bigger and stronger click HERE.
4. Trying to copy Arnold
If I remember correctly I think I tried to copy all the bodybuilders, when I first started out. Arnold, Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, the list goes on.
For a 20 year old skinny kid, who had never really lifted weights before to be copying pros who were at the top of their game, who had been training for 20+ plus years, sounds absolutely ludicrous! But I did it and I know for a fact it happens all the time still.
The worst thing I tried to copy was their exact same workouts, extremely high reps, lots of advanced techniques and training each body part just once a week you know the ones. In my head it sounded about right smash this body part today and then it gets a whole 7 days to recover and recoup.
But in reality that muscle group was probably ready to train again 3 days later and I was leaving gainz on the table by doing this year after year.
The one thing you really miss out on if you train like all the pros, is something called muscle protein synthesis, this is just a fancy word for saying your muscle building potential. Now by training muscle groups more frequently throughout the week, we can jack up muscle protein synthesis several times a week and not just once a week, like in the typical bro split.
For example take the classic chest we all want to get a huge and impressive chest and one of our main weapons for doing this is by raising our muscle protein synthesis in that muscle. Now if you follow the classic bro split you’re only doing this once, probably on a Monday. But if you were to train your chest more frequently throughout the week, you could jack up your muscle protein synthesis several times a week resulting in a hell of a lot more gainz for you!
5. Training for the wrong reasons
Like I mentioned at the start of this blog, when I first started in the gym my confidence was pretty low. I would be lying if I didn't say one of my reasons to start lifting weights was to impress women.
That was one of the main reasons I started lifting weights, also to try and impress other people. These goals are all well and good to get you in the gym and start lifting weights but the problem with these goals, are that they are very fickle, they come and go and this leads to a lack of consistency.
I distinctly remember in the lead up to the summer of 2010, I smashed myself in the gym for a good 3 months, the reason was because I was going to Malia and I wanted to get shredded to impress all the women out there. I got in decent shape, but when I came back from Malia my motivation for that goal was completely gone and my training sucked for a few months.
The reason for this is that I did not have a long term goal to focus on, I was always fixated on the short term. I now train because I simply love lifting weights, I am fascinated about the process of building muscle and I am a huge geek when it comes to that topic, it is what I do. Plus my long term goal is to compete in natural bodybuilding, so I now view training as a sport for myself.
There are 3 things that you can do in the gym that will ensure that, you get amazing results for the long term.
Enjoy the process
Be consistent with it
If you can employ all of those 3 things in your training for years to come, then you will surpass most people.
Huge Mistake 1: All the gear no idea.
How you can learn from this: Focus on the basic principles of training and nutrition first.
Huge Mistake 2: Go Hard or Go Home
How you can learn from this: Realize that you don’t have to make yourself sick every session. Learn to train smart and listen to your body
Huge Mistake 3: Curls for the Girls
How you can learn from this: Ensure that the majority of your workout is made up of compound lifts.
Huge Mistake 4: Trying to copy Arnold
How you can learn from this: Change your training so you are working each muscle group 2-4 times a week. If you want to learn how to do this click HERE
Huge Mistake 5: Training for the wrong reasons
How you can learn from this: Find your true why for lifting weights. Work hard, enjoy it and be consistent!
I hope by reading this blog, you can avoid all 5 of these huge muscle building mistakes and make your trip to Gainzville a lot more smoother than mine.