Over the years I have made many mistakes when it comes to building muscle. The first time I stepped into the gym, I was a skinny weak 16 years old going for my first ever gym induction. Because progress has always been slow and steady, I have never really appreciated how far I have come, looking back I realise how little I actually knew about training.
So I thought this weeks blog I would write down a list of the key things I have learnt and changed over the past 12 years, that have made a big difference to improving my body. This also goes for improving strength and performance in the gym.
1. Not Eating Enough. Always underestimating how much I really needed to be consuming to get into a calorie surplus to get stronger and build muscle.
2. Too Much Cardio. I have always struggled to eat enough as it is to build muscle, so adding in cardio was only going to make it harder. The more cardio I did the more calories I burnt, and the more time I spent time in a catabolic state rather than being in an anabolic state to help repair and grow.
3. Not Hitting The Big Lifts. Focusing too much of my time on smaller isolated exercises like bicep curls and lateral raises instead of working the big compound lifts such as deadlifts, squats, bench press and so on. These are the exercises that work the largest muscles as well as the smaller ones to elicit that growth signal.
4. Over Training & Under Recovering. More is not always better, and in my case the more I did the more calories I would burn, the weaker I got and the less progress I made. I needed to spend more time prioritising my recovery like sleep, nutrition, stretching and so on to help boost my recovery and leave enough for my body to grow.
5. Doing The Same Thing. As Albert Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results” I used to only do what I knew and what was in my comfort zone, which meant my body had become accustomed to the stress I was placing on it and therefor not responding.
6. Not Tracking. Because I wasn’t tracking my training or my nutrition, I never knew what was working or not, and meant I never knew what I needed to change in order to improve.
7. Bad Form. To build muscle mass we must place them under stress, and looking back to some cringe worthy times when I would be deadlifting with a rounded back, all I would be doing is placing all the stress on my joints instead of my muscles.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but mistakes help us learn and grow. It’s all about the journey and not the destination, and its who we become along the way that makes us.
Follow Bryn’s Body Progress Journal as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer.