With bodybuilding becoming more and more mainstream, you probably notice new guys constantly joining your local gym. In fact, maybe you are one of those people. If you are like most bodybuilding noobs, you get started by signing up for a membership, showing up at the gym and doing whatever exercises look interesting. In other words, you don’t really know what you are doing. This is why so many guys simply fail at bodybuilding – they make the same mistakes as everyone else. Now, since you are reading this article you will be able to identify those problem areas and avoid them. Check out our list of tips below for mistakes you should avoid if you want to make gains at the gym. Just because you aren’t a noob doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from reading these tips. In fact, these mistakes are made by some guys that have been lifting for years!
1- Too Much Talking
When you went to the gym most recently did you notice guys talking on their cell phones, texting, or carrying on conversations with other lifters? If you answered NO to that question you must have a private home gym because we see it all the time. For some reason, guys forget why they went to the gym. They run into some people they know and decide to spend their break between sets yapping away.
So why is this so bad? First of all, it usually leads to taking too long of a break. Second, it distracts your attention from the exercise at hand. It’s totally fine to have a quick chat with your lifting buddy about what went well on the previous set or what needs to be done differently – but don’t talk about your plans for next weekend or some girl you are trying to hook up with. Keep your conversations reserved for after the workout over a protein shake.
2 – Using Bad Form
If you genuinely don’t know how to perform an exercise just do a quick YouTube search – there are tons of great channels out there that will break down the form for you. What you shouldn’t do is take a guess or worse – copy some other random dude. At any given time, as many as 50% of the people in our gym is lifting with bad form. What makes things worse is that the exercises they are doing are typically compound lifts like the squat, deadlift, bench press or row.
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Take the time to learn the proper form of each exercise. Yes it can be frustrating to spend the first few weeks training only with the bar, but in the long run it will lead to bigger gains and fewer injuries.
3 – Lifting to Impress Others
For some reason, guys forget why they go to the gym in the first place. Ask yourself – do you really care how much you can lift? Or do you care how you look? Unless you are a powerlifter, you should only care about your appearance. Now, lifting heavy can definitely help you achieve your goals faster, but that’s assuming you are lifting with good form. Unfortunately, most of the time form breaks down is because guys are simply trying to lift more than they can handle.
We’ve all seen those guys doing bench press that try to lift too much and end up needing a spotter to help them get the weight back onto the racks. It looks less like a bench press and more like a tag-team lift. It’s ok to challenge yourself, but make sure your form is appropriate.
Nobody really gives a shit how much you can lift. Girls in particularly, unless they lift, probably don’t know the difference between benching 2 plates and 3 (and they don’t care). All people care about is how you look. Remember that.
4 – No Plan
Remember earlier when we mentioned how most new lifters simply wander into the gym? In addition to not knowing how to perform the lifts properly they also don’t know which exercises – or muscle groups – they are targeting that day. Obviously this is a problem. If you don’t have a plan you will probably not make gains, simple as that. Before going to the gym you should know which muscle groups you will be targeting and which exercises you will do.
We won’t get into actual training / nutrition plan recommendations in this article, but there are tons of great plans out there that will help you reach your goals. Make sure you choose a proven plan and not some random program designed by a 14 year old on the internet.
5 – Poor Nutrition
Did you know that nutrition is actually MORE IMPORTANT than your actual program? Whether you are looking to gain mass or lose fat it’s your diet that will determine how successful you are. So what does that mean for you? First of all, make sure you are eating 5-6 meals per day and hitting your daily macros. Protein should come from sources like chicken, beef, tuna and whey protein isolate. High quality complex carbs, veggies and healthy dietary fats are also crucial to building mass.
So how much should you be eating? If you are trying to build muscle, aim for a moderate calorie surplus. If you are trying to lose fat, a moderate deficit. Obviously the size of the surplus/deficit will vary depending on your body type, lifting experience and training experience. Every once in awhile, reward yourself for all the hard work with a cheat meal – just make sure you stay within your macros.
6 – Low Testosterone Levels
Chances are you’ve heard of testosterone, but do you know just how important it is for building muscle? The truth is that if your testosterone levels are low your muscle growth will be non-existent. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial to make lifestyle changes that will boost testosterone production in your body.
So where should you start? First of all, make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. This is when your body produces the most testosterone so if you cut your sleep short, you are also cutting your t-levels. Second, eat a clean diet and third, lift heavy weights.
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