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3 Rookie Fitness Mistakes Everyone Makes

Especially You!

Posted by Scott_Herman - September 1st, 2018

Someone recently asked me “If you had to pick THREE mistakes you see beginners and intermediates make when it comes to losing fat and gaining muscle, what would they be?" Well, if we’re being perfectly honest, I nearly said “That’s Impossible, because there’s just too much dumb stuff circulating the interwebs these days…”. BUT, I am here to help my community continue to make them NATTY gains, so I decided to cut the list down and start with my top three HUGE mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1 – Training To Failure Every Day

Back when I was a newbie gym goer, I had the heart of lion and was ready to kill myself DAILY if it meant growing big muscles to beat up my bullies at school. I took the saying NO PAIN, NO GAIN quite literally, and while that’s true to an extent, it doesn’t quite apply to training as a natural athlete. Do NOT get me wrong, I have nothing against training to failure. In fact, my most recent program, Cheat & Recover, heavily relies on going beyond failure, forcing neuromuscular adaptations, or as I like to call them, GAINS!

Having said that, C&R is not a program you should be doing YEAR ROUND. It is a TOOL for advanced athletes, and it is to be used for a limited time (6 – 8 weeks for example) in order to overcome a plateau. If you were to keep pushing your body like this, you would eventually break down or simply stop making gains. This is why Full Body Programs are so effective for natural lifters. For example, a study on NCBI concluded that “Training to failure is not necessary for maximal increases in strength and hypertrophy.”

In fact, if you go on and read the details of the study, you’ll find that they also concluded that failure is not useless. In fact, it works almost as well as Non-Failure. But here’s the problem. This does not take into consideration the fact that NOT going to failure will most likely allow for MORE FREQUENCY and BETTER RECOVERY.

Think about it, if you can work out the same muscle group MORE TIMES during the week, you would be doing MORE VOLUME and you would be facilitating non-stop protein synthesis throughout the week. This doesn’t mean that programs like PPL or 5-Day splits are bad. It just means that if you are trying to grow as FAST as possible, they might not be the most optimal for you as a natural lifter.  In a nutshell, what matters most is progressive overload and keeping your anabolic window WIDE OPEN.  If you do that, strength gains will come consistently and muscle gains will inevitably follow.

Mistake #2 – Thinking More Is Better

Society today is all about instant gratification. We post on Instagram and expect 100 likes and 50 comments as soon as possible, and when we go to the gym we expect to train for a week and look like Arnold. But when that doesn’t happen, we immediately start looking for a NEW solution. We do more sets, more cardio, different exercises, create more goals, and stay in the gym LONGER, but the opposite usually ends up happening. Very little or zero progression, and that mentality is the fast track to self-sabotage, frustration, and even depression.

To be honest, this is why so many young teens are now on gear.  There is no patience or understanding that results take TIME. You need to think QUALITY over QUANTITY, and this is something I preach all the time. Pick a program from a trusted trainer, and don't spend more than 60 - 90 minutes in the gym per workout. Get in, get out and do it again, and again, and again.

If you don’t see significant gains in the first few weeks, don’t lose motivation. It can take up to 8 – 12 weeks for your body to make big changes and that is OK!  Eventually your body will get the memo, respond to what you're doing in the gym, and begin to understand it can live and thrive with what you are putting it through.

Mistake #3 – Thinking MORE Cardio Equals MORE Fat Loss

All new, and a lot of regular gym, goers run over to the cardio area when they want to lose weight or get “cut”.  It has just become such a societal norm that “cardio burns fat”, PERIOD.  And while that’s definitely true, 90 minutes of cardio PALES in comparison to how many calories you could burn during a 20 – 30 minute session of HIIT circuit training, and that’s for two reasons.

Reason #1 – Most compound exercises utilize almost the entire body, which leads to more calorie burning. Also, as you fatigue and break down your muscles, those muscles will have to recover. How does that happen? They need to burn CALORIES for energy to recover and grow! So, even AFTER your training is done, your muscles will still require a steady stream of energy to recover and be ready for your next workout.

Reason #2 – This is a big one. Muscle mass is a high-maintenance tissue. That’s why our bodies generally prefer NOT to add too much muscle mass unless there is a reason for it. Each pound of muscle tissue you add increases your body’s energy requirements DRAMATICALLY. That’s why I require 3500 calories just to maintain my weight while someone with the same body weight as me, but much less muscle mass, would probably require around 2,200! So remember. muscle burns calories at rest, meaning that for every bit you add, you become a more efficient fat-burning machine. ⠀

That wraps up my top three mistakes, and there are lots more where that came from such as taking too many supplements, training with too many isolation movements, skipping amazingly beneficial exercises because they’re “weird or embarrassing”, meal timing myths, and the lists goes on. So be on the look-out for another rendition of this article in the future with even more rookie mistakes!

Related Videos:

11 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Training | DON'T MAKE THESE WORKOUT MISTAKES!


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