Learn from my mistakes. I discuss my 5 biggest muscle growth mistakes.
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Building muscle requires consistency and patience. But what if you have been putting in the work for a long time and are noticing little progress? This is a situation in which I found myself after my first 18 months of training. While consistency is important, we want to be consistent with an approach that actually is effective and takes you closer towards your goals.
So in today’s video I will discuss the top 5 muscle growth mistakes I made at the start of my journey so you can learn from it and I can also give you some practical tips on how to do it the right way.
These will be mostly training mistakes I’d like you to avoid, but the first mistake I’d like to discuss is actually nutrition-related and that is about being in a calorie deficit for too long. I mentioned this once before in one of my previous videos, a calorie deficit is not a destination. We use a calorie deficit as a temporary tool to make fat loss progress. Eventually, there should be enough fat loss to transition out of a calorie deficit and start eating at a higher calorie intake to properly fuel your body. This is why I like to maintain the 1:2 ratio with most of my Online Coaching clients that are looking to build muscle. For every month spent in a calorie deficit, maintain at least 2 months at maintenance or in a lean bulk.
The 2nd mistake is constantly changing the exercises you do in your lifting workouts. When it comes to exercise selection, it’s sometimes believed you should train for “muscle confusion” and frequently change your exercises. But if muscle growth or strength gain is the goal, consistency in your compound lifts is beneficial. There’s interesting research showing that the progress you make on an exercise that is new to you is mostly because of skill learning and neuromuscular adaptations. An exercise only becomes effective for muscle growth once you have mastered the movement. As a general rule of thumb, keep your foundational compound exercises in your routine consistent for at least 8-10 weeks before changing them up.
The 3rd mistake is about progressive overload. The principle of progressive overload states that if you impose greater demands on your muscles over time via training, these muscles adapt by growing bigger and stronger. So the goal during training shouldn’t necessarily be to feel a pump or sweat a lot during your workouts, it should be to challenge your muscles to lift more weight or do more repetitions over time. It’s also worth emphasizing that progressive overload is about improving your performance in the gym, while keeping your lifting technique the same. Everyone can progress in weight if they start using a lot more momentum in training, but that doesn’t mean your muscles are challenged more.
The 4th mistake is also a common one and that is not taking your recovery seriously. Your recovery from training is at least as important as your training itself. Because if poor fatigue management is in place, you won’t be able to perform at your best in the gym and muscle growth will be limited as a result of this. For some reason, when I started my fitness journey, I always thought I should train more. My thought process was that I haven’t reached my goals yet, so it’s not time to rest, but to put in more work. Well, this typically works counterproductive. Because eventually you run into a recovery hole and your body will force you to take a step back by making you feel more fatigued.
Lastly, the 5th mistake is not tracking your progress. I mentioned this in my video about how to fix the skinny fat look as well. If you are not tracking your progress, it will be tough to manage your progress. Especially with something so slow and subtle like muscle growth. Muscle growth doesn’t occur quickly. So by just checking yourself in the mirror, you won’t be able to get a good gauge of whether you are actually taking steps forward in your muscle building phase. We need specific progress measures to help us decide whether things are moving in the right direction. I suggest 3 main measures: Your bodyweight, waist measurement, and training performance.
See the timestamps for this video below:
0:00-0:30 About Muscle Growth
0:31-2:11 1. Constantly Being in A Deficit
2:12-3:29 2. Chasing Muscle Confusion
3:30-4:21 3. Not Properly Applying Progressive Overload
4:22-5:34 4. Not Taking Recovery Seriously
5:35-6:27 5. Not Tracking Progress
Music by Ryan Little – Think About You – https://thmatc.co/?l=9E7F175B