5 Most Common Muscle Building Mistakes
Are you not seeing results from your training? If so you might be committing one of the most common mistakes for muscle building.
When I started my fitness journey I was overweight and had nearly no muscle volume. Now I still have some fat to burn, but my muscles have been taking shape consistently over my training. However it wasn’t always like that.
I know there are plenty of people out there that are beginners and still need to educate themselves with some fundamental concepts of training. So I decided to isolate the 5 most common muscle building mistakes I have noted in the online communities.
Here they are:
A lot of people believe that in order to grow muscles you need to stay at the gym as much as you can and train your hardest. It does seem to be the intuitive thing to do right? After all “no pain, no gain”.
This is the number one misconception that can freeze your muscle building process. Resting is a major component of muscle building.
Overtraining occurs when the intensity and frequency of your workouts are too high. This can cause a halt on your progress and can even make you lose strength.
It may seem counter intuitive, but keeping your workouts short but intense is one of the biggest keys to gaining muscle.
When we train we put our bodies in a state where it needs to heal in order to grow. Sleeping is a major factor in your recovery.
What you should do:
In order to promote muscle building you should have shorter but more intense workouts, find ways to enhance your recovery and train no more than 2 days in a row.
You should also not train more than 4 days per week. If your recovery ability is low, you should lower that number. If you feel weak during your workouts, that could be a sign of overtraining.
Studies show that in order to build muscle your reps should stay within the range of 1 to 12. If your sets go over that amount, you will start building muscle endurance with little growth.
Also, make sure you are getting enough rest and sleep.
The wrong amount of calories can also cause overtraining. Without enough calories, your body will not be able to output enough power.
The best way to resolve overtraining is to prevent it through healthy behavior. Always have in mind that when it comes to muscle building, you need to prioritize quality over quantity.
On the other side of the coin, undertraining can also prevent you from building muscle. It can be hard to meter how much you should be training, especially if you are at the beginning stages of your program.
Undertraining happens when you are just not causing much of an impact on your body in order to promote muscle growth.
In order to notice if you are undertraining you have to take into consideration how long have you been training and if you are getting the results you want.
It can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks of consistent exercise to notice any physical change. If you don’t notice anything after a couple of months this is one sign you are not training hard enough.
The best way to notice undertraining is to look at how you feel during the workout. It is important the workout feels hard, when it comes to muscle building you want to do your last set until failure. That is, until you feel like you can’t do another set.
The growth of your muscle is going to depend on the stress and overload it is put in (but with rest, do not risk overtraining). With adequate nutrition and rest, the fibers in your muscles will repair and adapt. With this repairing and adaptation the fibers in your muscle will increase in volume.
What you should do:
Always bring intensity into your workouts. You need to feel tired; your muscles should feel sore after the workout. But remember to get enough rest before the next workout.
Make sure to workout at least twice a week. Make your last set the hardest. Muscle building depends on your fibers getting stressed enough to need repair and adaptation.
3 Avoiding the hard exercises because of fear
Deadlifts, barbell squats and bench press. These are the most avoided exercises among beginners. For these exercises, proper form is crucial, if you perform them without proper form there is a chance you will end up hurting your body.
The fear of performing these exercises can put an end to your progress. This is especially true when it comes to the deadlift a staple of bodybuilding.
For years, the deadlift has been the most feared and most praised among bodybuilders. Deadlifting will strengthen your entire back and surrounding muscles, it will work on your core strength, lower back and abdominal region. The deadlift is one of the exercises the target the most muscles in the human body.
These are the targeted muscles from a deadlift:
Deadlifting, bench press and barbell squats are essential to target stabilizing muscles in your body. The development of these stabilizing muscles will help every exercise you perform in the future.
The fear of these exercises comes from the risk of injury. You can lower that risk by learning the proper form of the exercises.
Do not be afraid to learn proper form, watch a few videos on how to perform the exercise correctly. Also don’t be shy, ask around at the gym. Every advanced bodybuilder was once a beginner, they will most of the time be happy to help.
Build your foundations first, focus on form with lighter weights and step up from there. Don’t be intimidated by your exercises. Understand why they are necessary for your goals; know which muscles your exercises are targeting.
4 Bad nutrition
Calories are not everything. You need to provide the nutrients your muscles need in order to grow. There are three important macronutrient your body needs in order to function properly and build muscle: carbohydrates, protein and fats.
Consuming a lot of everything is not the right way to go. You need to have in mind which ratios of these three macronutrients you need in order to build more muscle.
A standard ratio for bodybuilders is 50% protein, 35 to 40% carbs and 10 to 15% fat. And your caloric intake should be calculated depending on your age, sex, height and weight.
You can use this calculator to find the right amount of calories you should consume daily.
And you can use this calculator to separate those calories intro a macro.
As we saw on the overtraining topic, the right amount of calories is very important to avoid the problems caused by lack of energy.
It is also good to have in mind that, if you are training hard at the gym and your body hasn’t got the nutritional building blocks to build muscle mass. All your work is not only in vain, it can also cause your body to start burning muscle.
Muscle building is a science that takes in consideration every biological aspect of the human body. A crucial piece of this machine is the nutrition. Do not overlook your nutrition.
In order to keep track of your macros I recommend you use the app MyFitnessPal (for android, iOS and windows phones), it is free and it is the most used in the fitness industry to help you keep track of your nutritional goals.
In order to keep up with a highly demanding macro, you can use supplements. Learn about the most popular supplements here.
5 Lack of consistency
Another very common problem with beginners is the lack in consistency. Many beginner bodybuilders tend to spend too much time exploring new methods and end up mixing too many things instead of focusing on one.
Don’t get me wrong, experimenting and trying new things will definitely help you filter out the things that don’t work for your routines. However, you should commit fully to one strategy for at least one month.
Some beginners tend to jump from one idea to another, never really discovering the full benefit of one method.
Always have the long game in mind. Your training should not be about the quick gains, focus on discipline and sticking to your process. Dedication will play a major role in the maintenance required once you achieve your desired result.
Don’t switch you plan every few weeks. Stay with it for a month or two in order to see results.
If you are looking to get more serious with muscle building. You will need to educate yourself on how your body works in order to increase your performance. Stay aware of counter intuitive concepts such as the overtraining concept (which many people believe to be a myth).
But more importantly, have in mind that you will need to try different things along your bodybuilding journey. Just be sure to keep your process consistent, and only switch your methods if you really see the need to.
Education is always the first step into mastery. Do not get lazy when learning the concepts necessary in order to achieve your fitness goals.
There are plenty of resources and people out there that can help you succeed.