by Matt Weik
While we grow and build muscle outside of the gym, our time spent inside still needs to be productive. Yet, there are mistakes people are making that are limiting their gains. Don’t be stuck and feeling frustrated, make these simple corrections so you can keep progressing towards your goals.
1. Not warming up
I get it. We all want to get in and out. But, you’re cutting yourself short if you don’t warm up properly and get the blood flowing to the working muscles. If you don’t warm up before resistance training, you risk injury, as well as limiting your strength by not flooding the muscle with blood and allowing the muscles to be more pliable.
You don’t need to do anything intense. Simply walking on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes is enough to get everything loosened up and ready. Once you step into the weight room, do a couple warm-up sets with a light weight to force blood into the muscles you are planning on hitting that day.
2. Skipping the exercises you don’t like
It’s common to get comfortable doing the same exercises all the time. We find ourselves doing the movements we are good at and can move some serious weight with. However, it’s the exercises and movements you hate, that you should be focusing on. There’s a reason you hate them—probably because you’re not good at them and the weight is lighter than you want. You don’t want to look like a little punk, so you pass over it and focus on your strong points. Don’t.
When you conquer the movements you’re not good at, it mentally puts you in a place where you know you can accomplish anything. There’s no holding back or waving the white flag in surrender. When you have your mind right and you have the will to push through your weak areas, there’s no turning back. You… will… win. Period.
3. You don’t follow a workout program
Have you ever watched someone walk around the gym as if they are trying to walk off a rancid fart? They go from one end of the gym to the other just looking around. Little do you know, they simply don’t have a plan. They have no program to follow so they walk around aimlessly trying to figure out what they want to do next. After five minutes they pick up some dumbbells to do some bicep curls. Congrats. You might as well be a powerlifter resting that long. But you’re not even that because you don’t train intensely.
And don’t tell me you “train by instinct and feel.” You’re no IFBB bodybuilder with over a decade of training and heavy lifting. You need to train with purpose. You need to walk into the gym knowing exactly what you are doing from every exercise, to every set, to every rep. And don’t stray away from the plan you have in place.
4. You take advice from what’s his name
“What’s his name” is the token gym rat who always seems to have an answer to everything, yet looks like a wet noodle. He’s always coming up to you and fixing your form or telling you to try an exercise a different way. Why are you listening to him? Stop. The dude is getting all of his information from a Men’s Health magazine. You can listen to what he’s saying and read it word for word from the pages of the magazine. You’d almost think it was the guy’s bible or something.
If you need help or advice, seek it from a professional. Stop letting “Mr. Know It All” fill your brain with stupid ideas that aren’t going to yield you any results. Let him be, and ignore everything he says.
5. (Dirty) Bulk season
To get big, you need to eat big… right? Not exactly. I see way too many people taking their “off-season” bulk a little too far. I know this isn’t something that is gym related, but, it needs to be touched on.
Look, I like to eat as much as the next guy. But, I also know, if I don’t eat the right food during that timeframe, I’m going to turn into a fat ass. Oh my gosh, Matt, you can’t say that… It’ll offend someone. I said it. Get over it.
Just because you are able to increase your calories doesn’t mean you should be eating Ben & Jerry’s every meal just because “you’re bulking.” Or your normal 2-3 slices of pizza becomes an entire pie. You’re on your way to having your scale scream as soon as both feet step on.
Yes, increase your calories, but do it where you’re increasing your macronutrients coming from healthy food still. Sure, you can have a cheat meal here and there (more than you would if you’re cutting), but the idea isn’t to get yourself out of shape just to attempt to put on size. Too many guys add 20 pounds to their frame and get fat. Then, when they diet back down, they’re basically at the same spot they were before their bulk. Do it slow. Do it clean. And try to add as little extra body fat as possible. This will save you hours doing cardio down the road.