You know, you guys don’t know how lucky you are to have the resources you have now. Between YouTube Videos and Google searching on the internet you can basically find all the information you need to build a workout and meal plan. But at the same time, having an overwhelming amount of information can be just as bad because I know a lot of you probably get frustrated trying to weed out all the bro-science so you can just find the information that works. I know it is for this very reason that the majority of you come to my YouTube channel and website for advice, because I use my experience to deliver just the facts.
But now, it’s time to admit some embarrassing mistakes!
Let’s face it guys, when I first started lifting there was no YouTube or even much of an internet for that matter, and I was told deadlifts are bad for your back and to stop halfway on my squats and bench. But man, if I could go back in time and tell myself just a few things I know I could have seen more results in a much shorter amount of time. So let’s get this party started!
1. TRAINING TOO LONG IS OVERKILL
I used to spend 2 – 3 hours in the gym every day at least 6 days a week. In fact, I think I only took Sundays off because that was the only day I didn’t have to work at the gym. Now when I was younger I REALLY enjoyed being at the gym because I worked there and everyone was always really nice and supportive.
The gym was my escape from reality and school but as much as I hate to admit it, that wasn’t the only reason why my workouts were so long. When I first started lifting I was taught to spend at least an hour on every bodypart when training. So if I was training biceps and triceps, I would spend 1 hour on biceps, then 1 hour for triceps and then at least 30 minutes of abs. But training too long when trying to build muscle is actually not a good thing. Just like when you’re trying to lose weight and you think that you’re burning more fat with more exercise. It just isn’t true guys. Actually, believe it or not, the longer you workout the lower you drop your blood sugar and if you go too hard and into a hypoglycemic state you will rebound with sugar cravings and most likely end up drinking/eating more calories than you even burned in the first place.
The other factor to keep in mind is that your body will release cortisol from extended workouts over 45 - 60min that can contribute to muscle breakdown. So if you’re in the gym for hours and hours, it might be time for a new program because at the end of the day it should only take you 60 – 90 minutes max to complete your routines.
2. RESULTS TAKE TIME
I used to get so frustrated because a lot of the kids I knew in high school were growing like crazy and were shredded all the time. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t growing like they were even though we were training together and doing the same workouts! But it wasn’t until years later I found out the REAL reason and it was because they were on drugs/steroids and I wasn’t. I used to get so mad about how slow my progress was and to be honest it was because I was just like many of you and was ignorant to how many people are actually using steroids. When I was in my teens I thought only pros, who were the size of a house, took them. But the reality is VERY different. I get questions in the comment section all the time from people wanting to know if this YouTuber or that competitor is on juice and the answer is: they probably are.
Dudes on gear are not just the massive ones with arms the size of your legs and if that’s what you think, you need to get more informed because 99% of physique competitors are juiced up. They just use different drugs or different combinations to achieve the Physique look which is very different than the Olympic Bodybuilder massive look and their roid stack is not just for growth either. There are drugs that these guys take to get shredded as well. Some examples are clenbuterol or T3 which is a thyroid hormone and these drugs are specifically designed to make you lean.
So if you see someone growing too fast, especially if they’ve already been lifting for a few years or if they’re shredded regularly, even when “dirty bulking”, they’re on something. Now, the reason why I am pushing this topic so hard is because I know a lot of you are just like me when I as younger and are probably getting frustrated with your results not being as fast as you thought they would be. Don’t be ignorant like I was and assume drugs are super hard to get and that only the really big dudes are on them because the reality of the matter is that drugs are VERY easy to come by and if you THINK someone is on them, chances are that your assumption is correct.
For example, my wife has many friends in Miami that are taking gear to look good at the beach or pool parties year round and they aren’t competitors. But these people look like they hit the gym every day and eat clean when in reality they only go a few times a week, drink a lot of alcohol and don’t watch their diet.
So don’t get discouraged! Make sure you educate yourself on this topic, learn to spot the fakes and understand that you’re on a different journey. You will have to teach yourself to not to care about what others are doing! Just focus on yourself and the gains will come! I get comments all the time from really stupid people questioning how come I am not as big as “so and so” or how come I haven’t grown an extra 30 pounds in the last three years. The answer is simple: I’m natural, I don’t care what other people look like and I certainly don’t want to go the path they’re taking to get bigger. Choose your own path, stick with it and be proud! Stop comparing yourself to others and be smart enough to know what is achievable naturally! Focus on YOUR GOALS, not everyone else’s and as always if you guys have questions I will always be the first person to support you and help you on your journeys.
3. HARDCORE TRAINING WITH NO MEAL PLAN = NO RESULTS
I see so many people at the gym that workout for years and look the exact same! They don’t lose weight, they never get leaner or they never gain muscle! Food is more critical than exercising. If you are not willing to commit to a structured meal plan and routine, just understand you simply will NOT get the results you want. It doesn’t matter how hard you lift, you can’t grow muscle without food, period. Also, just the other day I was talking to this guy in my gym who I noticed is training for at minimum 2 hours a day.
He is trying to lose weight and I see him workout on the floor, go do a class with a trainer, then when that class is over he will join another class and then when that class is over he will do a few more things in the weight room and leave. I had been watching him for about a month and he just seemed to not be losing any weight so I asked him.. I said.. “Hey man, I see you training hardcore everyday for like 2 hours a day.. what is your meal plan macros?” and he gave me the answer I was expecting… I don’t track my calories I just try to eat less and less. So I explained to him that he is training so hard and burning so many calories that his body is probably holding onto MORE FAT because he isn’t eating enough. You guys have to understand that whether you are training to grow muscle or lose weight, if you are not eating enough for that goal your body will stay in survival mode and will hold onto as much fat as it can for energy while most likely breaking down muscle. So if this sounds like you, enough with the excuses and track your meal plan!
4. EATING SMALL MEALS EVERY 3 HOURS IS NOT REQUIRED TO GET LEAN
This has got to be the biggest fairy tale ever told in the fitness industry and the sad thing is that I was even taught this when I first became a personal trainer! All that matters is total calories you’re eating per day and that you’re eating the right ratios of protein, carbs and fat. At the end of the day you need to do what works for you and your schedule. If you prefer three bigger meals to feel good and satisfied, then so be it. If you like doing Intermittent Fasting, AWESOME. Just don’t fall for the 6 – 7 small meals a day to “keep your metabolism burning” trap!
5. BRO-SPLITS ARE NOT THE BEST OR ONLY WAY TO BUILD MUSCLE
This is probably one of the most important pieces of information I wish I knew when I first started training. Terms like “growth periods” or “push-pull-legs” are things that I never even heard of until I started my YouTube channel and that is kind of embarrassing. Until I started really digging deep doing my own research to produce videos for you guys, I feel like I was just sold this lie of how to obtain a phenomenal physique. When I first started lifting I just listened to all the older people in my gym and they engraved in my brain the same bro-splits I am sure many of you have been doing for years, like Chest/Triceps- Monday, Back/Biceps- Tuesday and so on.
But the reality is that your muscles are ready to go again after just 36 - 48 hours and if you want to maximize your muscle growth you can absolutely hit every bodypart twice a week. To be honest, it took me a long time to accept how much better a push-pull-legs program was because I had spent years of my life training with bro-splits and I guess I didn’t want to feel like I wasted a lot of time. But the truth hurts and because I’m always trying to stay open minded, I did accept the truth and even created a 12 week PUSH-PULL-LEGS program as the basis for my Transformation Challenge and lots of people had AMAZING results because of it!
But don’t think now that bro-splits don’t have their place. I’m actually doing one right now, but I created my bro-split to be a 4 day program so there are only 3 days between training the same bodypart. Now, if you‘re juiced up, you can see LOADS of growth with a 7 day bro-split training each muscle group once a week… or any shitty program for that matter. However, as a natural lifter, you should be taking advantage of multiple growth periods a week to maximize your gains.
6. You Don’t Need Hours Of Cardio To Get Abs Or Stay Lean
I’m sure that like many of you, I wish I had discovered HIIT sooner and for those of you who don’t know what that is… it stands for High Intensity Interval Training. In my opinion, HIIT is the best way to stay lean if your goal is to grow muscle. Whenever I need to lean out for a shoot or if I feel like I’m getting a little too fat, I can add two to three 15 – 20 minute sessions of HIIT and get shredded very quickly. In the past, I would go running for miles and miles trying to lean out. But the reality is that you can burn more calories with 20 minutes of HIIT when compared to 45 minutes to an hour of steady state cardio. Even if your goal is to lose weight, you should be focusing on HIIT as well. No more 90 minutes of a boring treadmill or elliptical cardio session. You can do just 30 – 45 minutes of HIIT four to five times a week and see much better results in less time. So the main point here guys, when it comes to shredding fat if you don’t want to waste hours and hours killing yourself on the treadmill or out in the sun… train smart with HIIT.
7. I WISH I UNDERSTOOD THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPOUND MOVEMENTS
Well… this is embarrassing, but I’m being honest here so it is what it is. In my teens, the only lift I did consistently out of the big three was the bench press. I hated squats and deadlifts so I just stayed away from them. But as I look back I can honestly say that the only reason why I hated them so much was because nobody ever taught me the correct way to do them! My back hurt every time I did deadlifts because I was basically lifting the barbell off the floor with my lower back and instead of squats I just used the leg press. I know, it’s embarrassing… but it is what it is and I know, even though I was doing the leg press, I was still just doing that 90 degrees bro-science methodology as well. Haha.. my early years were HORRIBLE guys.
So now my message to all of you out there who are skipping these movements right now, you need to STOP! Compound movements such as the bench press, deadlift, squat and overhead press should be STAPLES in your programming. Not only do movements like these recruit more muscle groups and increase your strength and size a lot more effectively than isolation movements, they will also help you have more efficient workouts so you’re not in the gym for 2 hours a day. Just make sure when you do them you have proper form.
8. NOT TRAINING WITH FULL RANGE OF MOTION IS A WASTE OF TIME This is actually a loaded topic for me, so things may get intense. Now, when I was younger I was taught to stop halfway on exercises like squats and the bench press because it was believed to be bad for your joints to go full range of motion. But that just isn’t true. As long as you have proper form there is no reason why you shouldn’t be training in full ROM with every exercise and if you DON’T, you will create weakness in your muscles and joints in whatever range of motion you’re skipping out on. But today, the reason why people do half reps is totally different.
Lots of juiced up dudes on YouTube who DON’T CARE about your muscle growth will tell you that half reps “keep tension” on the muscle. Newsflash: when on juice you can grow muscle doing exercises half-assed, doing half reps or doing nothing at all! There is actually a study showing that people on gear that did NOT workout at all grew more muscle in the same amount of time than natural guys that actually trained 4 – 5 times a week! And I know you guys are going to want to know more about this so I plan on doing an article on this topic very soon! The main point here is that you need to be smart when it comes to who you take advice from!
Now back to “tension” on the Muscle: This method of training makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. For example, when performing a bicep curl the sticking point is the bottom of the movement when your arm is fully extended… this means that this is the hardest part of the exercise and the REAL reason why people stop before a full extension is because they can’t curl as much weight if they went FULL RANGE OF MOTION! WHY??? Because your biceps have to work HARDER to fully disengage and re-engage at the bottom of each rep. And for the top of the movement… you DO WANT to bring your hands all the way to your shoulders because WHILE you’re doing this you should be SQUEEZING your biceps as hard as you can for the ultimate contraction and this also sets you up for a much longer NEGATIVE as well. Remember, the negative portion of a rep is where you’ll see the most muscle fiber damage so spending more time in the negative is a good thing.
I think it’s very sad that so many ego maniacs on juice have created this false sense of hope of “half reps” to justify their shitty training methods just because it “looks cool” to lift heavier weights. Oh really? You lose tension in the muscle? So then do more reps because I guarantee at some point, you won’t be able to do any more. People act like if you fully extend your arms at the bottom of the movement that this brief pause instantly revives your biceps and you can do an infinite amount of repetitions. It’s ridiculous, so if you want to maximize your results with your training always focus on full range of motion and fully contracting your muscles on every single repetition of every set.
9. DELOAD WEEKS ARE VERY IMPORTANT. Man, when I was younger I was so ignorant to this. When people would tell me that they were on a deload week I would just think to myself, what a stupid excuse for not wanting to train harder. And I know that might sound really dumb to you guys, because it sounds dumb to me now, but when I was a teen nobody ever taught me what a deload week ACTUALLY was for. I was young, full of testosterone, my energy was through the roof and I wanted to train every day. In my mind, if I skipped a week I would just lose precious time I could be spending building more muscle. But the reality of the matter is that your body needs rest to grow.
Training with heavy weights 5 – 6 days a week is very taxing on both your body and your nervous system and in order to fully recover you do need a deload week. This is the only way as an advanced lifter that you will be able to increase your weights and muscle size. Now with that being said, if you’re a beginner you can probably go much longer without a deload week because you’re not lifting with the same intensity as an advanced lifter just yet. But if you’re training hard, do yourself a favor and incorporate a DELOAD week every 6 – 8 weeks in your training and a deload week isn’t just a week of doing nothing because you still do your current program. The main difference is that you are going to cut the intensity in half and go through the motions with lighter weights on all your exercises.
10. Bigger Muscles Doesn’t Automatically Mean More Strength Just like many of you, I’m always striving to be stronger. Let’s face it, MY GOAL, and I will repeat, MY GOAL isn’t to be huge. I like looking normal in clothes and looking like a Super Saiyan when I’m PUMPED in the gym. In fact, my routines now incorporate a lot of strength training that has allowed me to continue to get stronger and stronger without putting on a lot of size. But don’t take this the wrong way guys. To be honest, a little more mass on my traps and calves would be amazing. But when I say not putting on more size to get stronger I mean I’m 180lbs now and I don’t have to put on 30 pounds of muscle to break through my current strength plateaus. It all comes down to programming. But when I was in my teens I was always under the impression that more muscle was the only way to get stronger so I only trained with muscle building splits. Like I said in the beginning guys, I only knew about bro-splits. I never even heard of programs like push-pull-legs or 5x5 or 5x3x1 until I started my YouTube channel and as embarrassing as that is, it’s the truth. So consider yourselves lucky that you will be able to get bigger and stronger without wasting years of time.
11. TO BUILD MUSCLE & STRENGTH YOU NEED PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD & TO SWITCH UP YOUR WORKOUTS I thought I would save the best for last. Well, not really “the best”, because if you’re not challenging yourself or switching things up, you’ll severely hurt your chances of making more gains. When I was in my teens I don’t think I changed my workout schedule once. I did the same workouts on the same days in the same order for YEARS. I even had specific tank tops I wore on each day. I had a red tank for Monday, blue for Tuesday, white for Wednesday, black for Thursday and yellow for Friday. I know, I was legit!.. Haha.. But seriously guys, if you’re doing the same workout for a long period of time your muscles will adapt to the exercises in the routines.
It’s almost like you’re building muscle memory for those exercises and after a while your body just won’t need to push itself as hard to complete the workouts. You need to always be challenging your muscles and forcing them to recruit more muscle fibers in various ways to maximize your gains by either switching up the exercises in your workouts or changing your program completely. Also, it is VERY important that you’re working with progressive overload. Doing the same weight for the same reps and sets every week isn’t going to do anything for you either. You need to be increasing your weights by at least 5 to 10 pounds each week on your exercises whether that means you pyramid down your reps per set, for example 10 reps for set 1, 8 reps for set 2, and so on. Or you have a spotter help you with forced reps, or both. The main thing here guys, you need to make sure that you are challenging yourself to see muscle growth and strength gains.
So there you have it guys, my most embarrassing secrets from being a fitness noob have been revealed. But at least it was for a good cause which was showing you guys that we’re all human here and if you’re making any of these mistakes…. There is still hope!
If you haven’t checked it out already and need a full 12 week program complete with workout calendars, videos, and PDF downloads of the routines that you can print and take to the gym make sure you check out my transformation challenge. I have two kick ass programs to choose from that will get you the results you’ve been looking for and as always, more good stuff coming soon! See ya!
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