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Trial & Error

The Real Failure Is When You Stop Trying!

Posted by JoeHurricane - May 7th, 2015

When people see someone with success, they almost always immediately assume there must be a set way to achieve that same success themselves. Whether it is success in business, success in fitness, or maybe even success with the ladies (or men). The same old questions inevitably follow: “How can I get that same success?” “Should I do this, should I do that?” and one that I have seen a lot lately “Is what I am doing correct?” The answer is maybe. In the fitness world, it never rings more true.

Nothing Comes Easy

It would be nice to think success was easy to come by, that we could just look at a list of things we have to do, tick each one off, and then before you know it, you have what you want. It's not that simple though. If it were, if there was a guaranteed way to build that muscle or lose that fat, everyone would be huge, and everyone would be shredded. But, as we all know, that isn't the case. What works for one person, won't necessarily work for another.

The best Way To Learn

So what do we have to do? We have to try something, and see if it works. While it might not be as simple as someone saying “Do this and you will look like Hercules”, it still isn't really that complicated either. In fact, it's as simple as doing one thing for a week or two, trying something else for a week or two, and seeing what gave you the best results. Everybody is different, genetics are different, heights are different, weights are different, metabolisms are different...the list goes on. Therefore we sometimes have to try many different things.

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So What Should I Do?

“Is this a good meal plan, will it help me gain muscle/lose fat?” and “Is this a good training routine, will it help me gain muscle/lose fat” are too super common questions. It might be a good meal plan or training regime, but the reality is, no matter whom you ask, the only thing they can say about that plan helping you gain muscle is “maybe”. Whether it worked for someone else or not is irrelevant. You are your own person.

Meal Planning

If you are working on your meal plan, use the meal planning video and information on the meal plan section first. This will give you a BASE or a TEMPLATE, if you will. Should your calculations from here be your final numbers? Probably not. It's just a starting point. You need to try out the numbers you come up with, and see if they help you move towards your goal. If they do, that's great. If they don't, it's no big deal; you just need to either increase or decrease some of the numbers until you find what works for you.

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Training plans are exactly the same. Someone might have told you to train with low volume. Lift as heavy as you can, low reps and sets etc. etc. So you go to the gym, you train like this for a month, maybe even a year. Yet after all that training you have put on some, but not optimal muscle. Now, this could be because your meal plan wasn't in check. However, if you were eating right in association with your training, and with low volume, and didn't get the best results, then it might be time to try something else, like high volume training. You might be thinking “But this guy who told me to train with low weights, he did the exact same thing and he is huge!” Like I said, just because it works for someone else, doesn't mean it will work for you.

What Factors Should I Consider?

There are numerous things you need to consider when putting trial and error into practice. Your age will inevitably have an effect on things like training and meal plan. As a younger person, you will probably need lots of calories to not only grow muscle, but to grow your bones to their full potential. On the other hand, if you're an older person, you might not need as many calories due to a slower metabolism, and you might not be able to train as frequently as you used to. Now, I'm not saying these are sure things though...after all what is this article all about? Only through trial and error can you figure out if something will work for you.

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Trial and error is a valuable and necessary component of bodybuilding. It's just like learning not to eat dirt when you are growing up...sometimes you have to actually eat dirt to realise it's not a good idea. It's the same with building a physique and reaching your goals, sometimes you have to do something which may not be the best. It's all part of the process. If you don't try something different, you won't know if it works. Trial and error makes us smarter, and can even make us bigger and stronger. Mistakes are there to be made. We live and we learn.

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To paraphrase the quote attributed to Edison - you didn't fail or make a mistake. You simply found something that didn't work.


Fantastic article! That we fail and keep picking ourselves up makes those hard fought and hard won gains all the more deserved.

JoeHurricane  Edit  Delete  Close

Glad you liked it @philflorey! Got to fail to move forward!

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

We learn a lot about ourselves when we fail.  It is an important part of growing! #HTH


awesome article man, i tell a lot of people this as well. rather than just going along with the norm and what everyone else does, it's important to learn how your body works and go off that by using trial and error

JoeHurricane  Edit  Delete  Close

Thanks @colossusfitness! I think there are too many people who think they need to do exactly what someone else is doing just to make gains. Listening to your own body is so important.


This is my whole training style right here! I am making errors just as hard and fast as I can to carve my path to ultimate success. I think this is how I fell in love with the process too, because it feels like we're alchemists looking for that formula that turns each of our bodies into solid gold.


great article, lol i definitely learned by trial and error on my pushup form with my pushup bars, i have learned not to overtrain 

JoeHurricane  Edit  Delete  Close

Nice @fox84! Wouldn't want to overtrain..just make sure you are eating enough and sleeping enough and you will be good :)


Trial and error was how I learned that my body does not respond well to programs like 5x5, even before my MuscleGenes report.  It takes time to learn our bodies, you have to be patient :)

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

oh yah, meal plan trial and error is the only way to get it perfect!

JoeHurricane  Edit  Delete  Close

Too right @scott_herman. I have used trial and error so much on my meal plan and training routine that it's not even funny...still doing it now too! :D


I am always trying...but never failing! haha