Here I’m going to list the top 7 most common muscle building mistakes that I’ve personally come accross between folks training in the gym and some of these I’ve been quilty myself!
There are definately even more mistakes that I have done on the way but these 7 are the first that came into my mind.
#1 Bulking Up With Too Much Excess Calories
Our bodies can only build muscle a certain amount over a given time and a big mistake that I personally made in my first year was the fact that I ate way too much calories because I though that this is the best way to go when the aim is build maximum amount of muscle mass.
I had the idea in my head that more calories equals better and faster muscle growth & found myself getting to 91kg (around 200lbs) gaining a significant amount of excess fat in the process. Although it is worth to mention that the strength gains were rapid also due to the fat mass giving better leverages and reducing range of motion.
Way better option to building muscle is a minor calorie surplus with a goal of getting gradual lean muscle gains. You will look way better year around and once you decide to shed that excess fat off and reveal your hard work, there is way less fat you’ll have to burn off. This makes the cutting phase short and efficient and you will not lose as much muscle.
#2 Treating My Joints And Connective Tissue Carelessly
When I embarked on this weight lifting journey I felt unbreakable and just wanted to grow my muscles as fast as possible with any cost. This didn’t go too well for me since I ended up injuring my shoulder and lower back that still nag me even to this day. Although I can work around my injuries and I haven’t really lost anything due to them.
My problem was that I didn’t have a good guidance on how to perform the exercises in a safe way so I just went in and did my heavy compounds in a way that I could move the most amount of weight and quite soon I found out that I should have had a decent plan and take the time to really learn to movements with proper guidance.
#3 Caring Too Much About Meal Timing And Meal Frequency
When I started out I remember that there was this absolute mantra that every guy was praising: “You HAVE to eat every 2-3 hours” to stay in an anabolic state to keep fueling my muscles with certain nutrients and their ratios so my muscles can grow bigger and stronger.
And how wrong I was.
This took a lot of energy from me. It is really difficult to shovel food into your mouth every 2-3 hours when you’re not even hungry, especially with my busy work schedule. I had to constantly keep thinking about when and where can I eat my next meal.
As the new research data has come out, we now know that as long as your daily macronutrient needs are met before you go to sleep, you really do not have to worry about meal frequency and and timing. It’s completely blown out of propotions. And if you mess up one day even that is not a big deal. Just make it up in the next day, no harm done there!
#4 Sticking Only To “Clean” Foods
This goes with the #3. I remember the time when I was eating just lean chicken breast, broccoli, olive oil and rice because I thought that the best way to build muscle is to consume only these clean organic foods.
While it is true that if you want to optimize your health and performance, you should eat a well balanced and good diet, it doesn’t mean that a certain portion of your calories cannot come from junk food. This is why IIFYM -ideology comes in and it is a great tool to have in your toolbox!
If you crave a burger or something else, you can eat it and fit it to your daily macros. This is a way better approach to take than so called “cheat days” since people that go all out on a cheat day, they usually end up eating a huge amount of excess calories due to the “freedom” of their too strict diet during the week. This can be done but usually is not the best approach to take.
In my opinion the best way is to eat generally foods that you like and keeping track that you hit your daily calorie intake with the correct macronutrients ratios.
#5 Relaying Too Much On Supplements
I used to buy in the hype of the supplements and I did try almost everything on the market couple of years ago. I wasted so much money to these supplements that huge bodybuilders pumped full of steroids marketed and claimed that these supplements were the cause of their ridiculous amount of muscle mass.
I tried testosterone boosters, amino acids, preworkouts, fat burning pills and whatnot and none of them gave me anything else than weird side-effects.
There is absolutely no need to use any supplements if you want to build muscle and strength. They are completely optional and purely there for the sake of convenience.
99% of the supplement industry is full of carbage but there still are a handful good supplements that you can use if you want to make your diet a bit easier.
#6 Not Having Enough Scepticism
I used to believe too much to the information passed around the gyms and internet on what works and what doesn’t. I had the mentality that if someone was bigger and stronger, I’d HAVE to accept and follow what he told to the T and everything else was BS.
I simply didn’t know how much misinformation there was floating around at the time. Nowadays I base my opinions on the mixture of personal anecdote and hard evidence of exercise science. And there is actually been coming great data in the recent years on muscle growth and everything related by Alan Aragorn and Brad Schoenfeld. They debunk a lot of the “bro-science” that I used to so blindlessly believe back then.
#7 Not Taking Muscle Building So Seriously
I used to be the guy that could not go to eat with friends because the foods were not “clean”, or go to party on the weekend because I had to go to the gym alone, stressing over eating when the clock says so and all the other crap people associate with professional bodybuilding I probably was doing them.
Knowing what I know now, building a great body does not take a lot of time and you don’t have to really restrict anything in your life to achieve it.
I was just overdoing and over analyzing it!
You do not need to revolve your life around the gym and nutrition to make the best progress you can. This muscle building / fitness stuff should be a enjoyable part of your life that you really enjoy doing.
The ultimate truth is that building an impressive physique does not require a ton of time, money and sacrifice and I think it’s way more healthier to have more overall life balance and have fitness enrich your life rather than being the sole focus of it.
Thanks a ton and I hope you find this article helpful.
If you have any comments in mind, please leave them down below and I’ll get back at you!
Keep growing stronger both mentally and physically.