Let me start by saying that I have been extremely hesitant about writing this post.
Mainly because I have witnessed the destructive power of misinterpretation here on planet Interwebs.
But after long hard thought, I’ve decided, fuck it! It’s my blog, I’ll write whatever the hell I want I want to write (joking).
In all seriousness, the issue I was having pertained to readers seeing this as a huge rant of excuses. And if you’ve been following me for any time now, you know I’m no fan of those (excuses).
So although a lot of the content in this article may sound like poor excuses or bitching from a bitter little man who wishes he had larger arms, it’s not that…at all.
You see, I get emails and comments almost daily from young guys who wish to attain a physique like mine. In some cases they call it a “dream”…as flattering as that is, I’ll be the first to admit, I am hardly a good example of what is attainable for most of you.
*Above is a photo of my brother and I. He is a better example of what is attainable. Although I may be comparing apples to oranges (since he’s been training far longer than I have), I still think the example is worth considering.
If I tell you that you have the ability to achieve far greater results than I have, it’s not because I believe myself to have shitty genetics or poor work ethic. It’s because I am fully aware of all the mistakes I made and all the time I wasted throughout my journey.
So don’t look at this as an “I’m not as big as I could be because (enter poor excuse here)” rant.
Look at this as an “If you don’t bullshit and waste time like I did, expect to make some serious gains” eye opener.
Alright…enough chit chat.
Here are the 3 BIGGEST mistakes I made throughout my muscle building journey that you should avoid at all cost if you want to maximize your results.
1. Looking for shortcuts…
As many of you know, the Bony to Brawny program was responsible for my initial body transformation. It was a well thought-out training protocol with a solid nutrition component that I created using all the data I had gathered at the time.
So what happened afterwards?
Well, for reasons unknown, I let the “fitness gurus” of the internet convince me that I was “doing it wrong”, again.
I thought “well these guys are huge, they must certainly know what they’re talking about”.
So…I let too many chefs in the kitchen, per say.
I ended up back where I started…letting big muscle-heads who used fancy words convince me that they had “the secret”. And it seemed like every week, the next guru had the latest secret to “steroid like muscle gains”.
So every week I had a new game-plan.
But that game plan never lasted, because before I could give it enough time to work, I was onto the next train to Muscleville.
Unfortunately, I never stayed on any of the trains long enough to reach the destination.
I was a victim of information overload as well as dumbassidis and was totally convinced that one day I would just turn on some anabolic switch in my body and be on my way to becoming the next Franko Columbo.
Have you ever met someone who always had a new idea to get-rich-quick?
Every week there was a new, fail-proof plan to make millions, fast.
Well that was me…only I wasn’t trying to make money, I was trying to make gains.
Finally, after about a year or so, I opened my eyes and ditched the witch hunt. Learned to trust myself again and became more patient.
The Take Away: If you’re on a proven program that people before you have used successfully, eliminate and/or avoid gathering too much information…especially from the wrong sources.
When you allow too many chefs in the kitchen, you find yourself being pulled in different directions. The information conflicts with what you’re doing or you feel the need to tweak certain things, and suddenly you’re spending more time gathering information than you are actually training.
It won’t be long before you start poking imaginary holes in your program and on the hunt for the “best” training program, again…and again…and again.
Instead, focus on the basics and be consistent. As long as the program places a solid emphasis on progression and the nutrition plan is in order, it’ll work if you’re willing to (work) as well.
2. Bulking and cutting and cutting and bulking…
One of the most costly mistakes I made was never allowing myself enough time to grow.
I would lose sight of my abs and decided it was time to cut. I would lose sight of my mass and decide it was time to bulk.
What was actually happening was a vicious cycle.
I would cut quickly in hopes to achieve visible abs, fast. Then I would feel skinny again.
So I would binge my way back to my previous weight and within weeks, my abs were no longer visible.
No abs = time to cut.
And this cycle repeated a few times.
Take a second to think about what was actually happening here.
I would lose some muscle (while cutting), then I would gain some muscle (while bulking), only to lose it again on the next cut and so on.
I never lost more than I gained but I also never gained more than I lost.
Forward 6-8 months…and no gains have been made.
The Take Away: The best way to ensure you are giving yourself enough time to grow is by being strategic in your training and nutrition. Instead of attempting to eat your way big, take a calculated approach that will allow you to gain muscle mass at a rate in which the fat gains don’t come as quickly.
This will allow you to eat in a caloric surplus (enough to build muscle) without packing on unnecessary fat in the process. The longer you can gain muscle mass without losing your abs, the longer you can focus on building muscle and growing.
Then once it does finally come time to cut, be strategic there too. Instead of cutting your carbs and doing 7 days of cardio, gradually increase your deficit slowly over time while aiming to maintain your performance in the gym.
This approach is going to ensure that you are maintaining the newly added muscle and strength throughout your cut and thus not setting you back or leaving you stagnant.
3. Not being calculated…(boring, I know)
First, let me say this.
If you don’t track your calories or workouts and are making solid progress (after exhausting your newbie gains), then kudos to you.
I’m a little jealous of you and I die a little inside when I see someone in better shape than me who doesn’t track anything. Lol
Unfortunately, for the overwhelming majority, this won’t work.
You see, I used to just go in the gym and workout. If it was chest day, I would walk in and do 3-4 exercises for my chest depending on how I was feeling and that would be that.
I figured that because I was consistently in the gym, surely I would start to look like it.
However, your body doesn’t just say “hey, we come to the gym a lot, let’s build muscle so people notice”.
Your body is extremely adaptive and unless you are consistently providing a new stimulus, you could train your whole life without growing at all.
So ask yourself this…
“How long have I been bench pressing 185-205 lbs?”
If you realized that you’ve been stuck in this range for quite some time, then you have your answer as to why you your chest hasn’t been growing.
As far as nutrition goes, it’s a similar process.
If you want to build muscle, you must consume enough nutrients for the body to recovery and build that muscle. This happens when we eat in a caloric surplus, consistently.
Now ask yourself this…
“How long have I been hovering around the same weight?”
If you realize that you have not put on any weight in quite some time, then you have your answer as to whether or not you’ve been eating enough to build muscle.
It sounds simple, but I believe the simplicity of it is what causes us to over-look the obvious.
The Take Away: Be calculated.
Track your workouts and ensure that you are progressing. As long as you can continue to progress in the gym (even if it’s slowly), then you can rest your head at night knowing you’re doing enough.
Track your calories and ensure you are in a caloric surplus. If you can remain in a positive net energy balance and are gaining even a quarter of a pound per week, then you can rest assured that you are in fact eating enough…period.
No More Excuses!
Since learning to take my own advice (the same advice I’ve shared here), I have been able to put on size and strength faster than ever before (with the exception of my first transformation).
I never have to wonder whether or not I am on the right track because everything is calculated and when I look at my weigh-in charts or my workout log, I can clearly see the progress.
If you have been making similar mistakes to mine and want to hear more about what I’ve done specifically in order to continue to transform my body, then check this out now!
Have any questions regarding anything I’ve discussed here? Leave them in the comment section below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.
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