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Top Muscle Building Mistakes To Avoid

As you go about your weightlifting program, there are some critical mistakes that you must avoid.  Far too many people end up making these errors at some point or another in their weightlifting career and it’s dramatically going to slow the results they see.

By learning about them now, you won’t have to worry about what went wrong because you’ll be preventing them in the first place.

Forgetting About The Core Lifts

The first big mistake that some intermediate lifters make is forgetting about the importance of the main core lifts.  Many people are starting to move back and train more like powerlifters would during their primary mass building phases.  This includes placing the largest focus of your program around the lifts of bench press, squat, and deadlift, which are the big three that are performed in powerlifting competitions.

The reason this is effective as a means to build muscle is because these lifts will allow you to generate the greatest amount of muscular force, utilizing a high number of muscle fibers at once.  This increases the total calorie burn of the workout, increases the amount of testosterone that is released in response to the lifting, and will help increase protein synthesis after the workout is over, sparking increased muscle growth provided enough food is taken in after the workout is completed.

Other good lifts to include are the row and the shoulder press, both of which target numerous upper body muscles at once.  Note that you should be performing the shoulder press after the bench as doing it before would limit your strength capacity on the bench press. If you are looking for strictly shoulder specialization and aren’t as concerned with overall chest strength and development, then you could place it first, just don’t expect to set any personal records on your bench.

Adding In Too Much Additional Activity

Whether you like the odd game of lunch-time basketball or participate in a floor hockey recreational league, getting a little too carried away with additional activity outside of your gym sessions is going to hinder your progress.

Think of it this way; your body has a limited capacity for recovery purposes.  Once that tank is empty, you’re going to require downtime (that is, no form of physical activity should be performed).  If you workout in the morning and then afterwards your recovery tank is half drained, if you proceed to go out and play an hour of floor hockey after work, that recovery tank is now empty.  If you plan to do a workout the next day, are you really going to be able to top up the tank overnight?

Chances are you will struggle and this is when overtraining really starts to set in.  You shouldn’t be going back into the gym before you are fully recovered because then you’re just breaking already broken down muscle tissue further. Even if the actual muscle tissue itself has recovered, your CNS may have not, thus lifts performed the day after are still going to suffer.

If you must participate in additional activities outside of the gym, keep them to a very low-intensity level once or twice a week, or find a way to scale back on your workouts so you’re only lifting two to three times a week total.  You’re far better off making sure the sessions you do spend at the gym are 100 percent, but do fewer of them than increasing the frequency but only lifting at 75 percent.  Results are obtained when you’re fresh and are able to push yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying outside sports or other activities, you just must make sure your chosen workout program reflects this.

Not Planning Food Timing

Nutrition is a huge part of the muscle-building game, so making sure you’re on top of things there will be critical.  Of primary importance is getting enough calories to fuel your muscle growth, but after that, timing of those calories needs to be looked at.  You can still build muscle if the calorie support is there, but there are strong arguments for timing the larger portion of your calories around the workout period for even better results. 

Since the muscles are going to be especially receptive of incoming protein and carbohydrate calories after a hard workout, placing 50 percent or more of your daily intake at this time will help fuel your muscle growth. You will be most anabolic during this period.

Don’t fear eating higher volumes at night either. If you are someone who works out at seven or eight in the evening, put those carbs before and after your workout (especially after).  They aren’t going to turn to fat provided you’re still regulating total calories and aren’t eating thousands over your maintenance value.  Let the timing of your workouts dictate your meal plan so they are working together to provide maximum energy to get through that workout as well as recover effectively.

Getting Too Wrapped Up With Minor Details

Information overload is a big problem for a lot of people. They get so over-consumed trying to make sure their diet program is absolutely perfect that they cause themselves more stress than needed.  If you’re analyzing, calculating, and thinking about your diet for the better portion of your day, this is a sign you need to relax a little.  While this might be necessary if you’re on a final cut before you step on stage for a bodybuilding or figure contest, when building muscle, it simply isn’t necessary.

The big points you want to focus on include making sure you get enough total calories, having a sound protein intake of one gram per pound (much more than this is not necessary when trying to build muscle), and taking in at least 100 grams of carbohydrates per day in addition to those needed to fuel your training.  This will help keep your body anabolic and running off carbohydrates as fuel, rather than switching over to potentially utilizing ketone bodies.

After those points are achieved, then those minor details are going to be, as the word suggests, minor.  Stressing over those on a daily basis will just harm your progress because it’s going to take energy to do all this worrying, and because it’s going to cause cortisol to be released throughout the body, which works directly against building more muscle.

Hit the main points of your muscle building diet and then focus on resting.  Dieting for fat loss is when you need to tighten the reins on yourself and make sure every little detail has been covered.

Fearing Body Fat

Lastly, try your best not to entirely fear body fat.  Yes, you will likely gain some body fat while trying to build muscle.  The sooner you can accept this, the faster you’ll show progress. Far too many individuals get so caught up in trying to stay at their exact body fat percentage that they just end up spinning their wheels and going nowhere. 

If you were to build muscle at an incredibly slow pace, you might be able to keep fat gain minimal, but you’d be looking at not even half a pound built a month.  Are you prepared to go at that rate to get the volume of muscle tissue you’re after?  Most people aren’t which is why they are better off accepting some fat gain, knowing they will diet it off later.

This isn’t to say you have to make your bulk period into an all-you-can-eat buffet; keep some control over yourself as there’s no reason to just gain fat for the sake of it, but don’t get too concerned if you do gain a few pounds over the course of a couple of months.

Individuals who gain weight at a rate of about two to four pounds a month (lower rates for those who have been training for a number of years) are going to get the best results.

Keep these mistakes in mind as you go about your muscle building program.  As soon as you see yourself committing one, be sure you kick yourself out of it and get back on the right track once again towards the results you deserve from your hard work.

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