5 mistakes that nearly everyone makes in the gym
When we work with people we are astonished at how prominent these mistakes are within peoples’ strength practices. We like to refrain from the term “workouts” and actually call them what they should be, strength practices. Workout is nomenclature of the past, because it induces the idea that you need to feel a burn, battered, and beaten after you exit a gym or training facility.
That brings us to mistake number 1.
You are lifting for the burn
You are pumping out repetitions to feel the burn. If you burn it, you earn it, as White Goodman would say of Globo-Gym
This mistake is so widespread. Focusing on burnout and high repetition workouts do not induce muscular growth thats optimal for natural weight lifters. The approach of “It feels good, I’m sore the next day, I worked out hard” isnt what builds muscle and makes you fit.
Focusing on getting stronger is what is the most detrimental for your muscle growth. Would you rather have burn or pump workouts, seeing very little progress, or increase your bench press from 155 lbs for 10 reps to 275 lbs for 5 times.
One of our recent users said he was doing 10 sets of 10 pull ups each workout. The back workout looked like this
10 pull ups x 10 GHD raises, the glute ham developer. Do 10 repetitions of that GHD, then repeat this 9 ADDITIONAL TIMES. 200 repetitions total
First of all, we recognized he was working so hard with futile results because he told us. If 100 pull ups in a workout weren’t getting this guy to where he wanted to be with his body, then where else could he go.
Why was he not growing and building muscle! He was working his rear off!
He was doing way too many reps! This was a more of a metabolic conditioning workout than a muscle building workout.
He wasn’t progressing and building, because exactly that, he wasn’t progressing and building up the weight moved in his training. Just arbitrarily doing rep ranges and workouts that weren’t stimulating growth, just burn and pump.
You can overwork your body by doing high repetitions and too much volume in a workout. Higher rep ranges just exhaust the muscles and can potentially even lead to over training.
Because that approach of “workouts” does not build dense, strong muscle. It just creates big pumps and sweat snow angels.
What should people be doing instead of high volume, quick rest, superset crazy flying workouts that are the harbinger of death and induce fright the following day at the sight of stairs?
Strength practicing. Natural weight lifters (those who do not take drugs) have to lift heavy weights with the correct amount of volume. Around 30-70 repetitions per muscle group, about every 5-7 days.
Some of the best repetition ranges that reap the best results are 4 -6. Women benefit from these rep ranges as well but due to hormonal function they can’t recover as quickly as men from a workout predominantly in the 4-6 rep range. They do however benefit at the 6-10 rep range eloquently and after around 6 months of experience & consistency they can incorporate 4-6 repetition ranges.
This still creates a bit of the “pump” aka sarcoplasmic growth, but actually stimulates muscle the appropriate way with myofibrillar hypertrophy. And we are not dissuading the total use of higher repetitions in total they do have a place within workouts.
All of those fancy rep schemes people advocate do not work. They’ve been promoted for so long, shouldn’t everyone be ripped, lean, and sinewy by now?
With high repetition routines you will achieve nowhere near the results you want.
Mistake # 2
You’re following rules of thumb guidelines with your diet, that are borderline buffoonery.
No carbs late at night
Eat clean bland foods and fat falls off fast
Eat every 2 hours, or I wither away and my gains are GONE. You’ve got to feed the machine
Eating too few of meals slows your metabolism down stoke the fire or go into starvation mode
Carbs are the enemy
Sugar is the devil
No junky foods, its militancy or nothing
Eating! Way! Too! Much! Protein! More on protein intake here
These are absurd approaches because it negates the most important component of fat loss and net muscle gain. People have no idea how many calories they’re eating.
These rules of thumb do sometimes help people lose a few pounds and they are lazily promoted because the self acclaimed fat loss “Experts” and “gurus” can’t sexily promote calorie intake. Which is how people gain and lose weight. When people plateau or regain the weight after awhile using these rules of thumb, they wonder what happened. If you ask them how many calories they’ve been eating, how their macronutrients have been categorized, or have they getting stronger on any their lifts people’s eyes glaze over or dread seeps out of their ears because they just heard the term calorie counting.
It is so simple but people don’t promote it because it is not as sexy as a normative rule of thumb or gimmicky ploy.
It comes down to hitting correct numbers each day in accordance to your present goal.
It comes down to energy balance. You eat the correct amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats in a negative or positive energy balance.
Building muscle requires a bit more energy
And losing fat requires less energy you run on each day
Mistake # 3
You aren’t keeping track of your workouts.
You lack the “incrementality”. You’re just blasting away reps on chest day, bench, flys, cable crossovers, dips feels good I made it through I did my 4 sets of 12. You need to get stronger. Not do an arbitrary chosen repitition range of 12.
“But I’m working my chest muscles they’ll grow”
This one is the most prominent and most pertinent to avoid!
You need to be tracking your workouts and sticking to them. Muscle confusion is a thing that sounds sexy. It’s not true. You need to be incrementally (hence the made up noun above) getting stronger over time. This is referred to as progressive overload. Your body is adaptive, quite efficiently actually. This doesn’t mean you need to go haywire and change movements each week. You do need to induce a higher and higher stimulus. This is through adding weight to the bar or dumbbell over time.
If you want to get bigger muscles, you must get stronger over time.
You can get stronger without getting bigger due to the power of the central nervous system and neuromuscular facets, but there is a tipping point where the strength achieved requires bigger muscle fibers.
You need to be upping your weight achieved or repetitions accomplished within your designated repetition range.
Such as if you are lifting in the 3-6 repetition range once you achieve 6 reps on a movement you add either 5-10 lbs. on the next strength practices exercise.
You then work with this weight until you can accomplish 6 repetitions with this newly achieved weight, then add 5-10 lbs. once again.
Mistake number 4
You are doing too many isolation exercise that aren’t worth a damn and that’s taking away energy you could be using on compound movements, that are worth a damn.
Isolation exercises are movements that focus on a small subset muscle of a larger group of muscles. Such as the triceps being a subset of the upper body. Movements that are focused on one area. A tricep kick back is an isolation movement, that yes, isn’t worth a damn. That is the last of the curse words, promise.
Compound exercises, the opposite, are huge in regards to muscle stimulus.
In much of people’s’ workouts these isolation exercises run rampant. Most exercises like the military press are never in programs from pearlescent magazines
Some isolations are good and needed, but they are not the main contributors to the overall progress of someone’s desired physique. They are useful but with some reservations and shouldn’t ever be the main staples in someone’s program.
Mistake number 5
You aren’t tracking your progress over the long term. People never log their workouts. This is the most determent thing you can do. You have to log in order to progress.
The significance of progressive overload shares the sheets with this. If you don’t record what you did the previous workout and to haphazardly increase the weight when you feel comfortable, your progress is going to stall, or worse, subside.
You need to be logging exactly what you do- the exercises you do, the sets you do the repetitions you do each set and the weight of the resistance you use each set of each workout.
There will be weeks, days, and workouts where you cannot go up in weight, but you can achieve one more rep. One more extra rep in one workout, is a successful workout. Because it is progress. This progress needs to compile over time in order to get stronger to build musculature.
There are countless other pitfalls people fall into.
Wasting a lot of time on unnecessary exercises
Training times, frequency, and structure were poorly regimented
Excruciating and overdone cardio
Commercials, magazine blurbs, and rules of thumb influence diet
These impediments are literally slowing your results, if not halting them all together. We have helped people overcome a lot of these obstacles, because they are so prominent within our culture.
If you want to exactly avoid these downfalls and hindrances of your dream physique, take a look at our Fitness program.