10 common mistakes that keep you from your dream body (in no particular order):
1. Training for more than an hour:
After 1 hour of training, cortisol levels spike in a manner that results in an undesirable testosterone:cortisol ratio that is not conducive with muscle-building.
Try: Get in and out in under an hour, no exceptions.
2. Not training to failure:
If you are training sub- maximally then your growth will be sub-maximal.
Try: When you can no longer complete a full rep, try continuing to do partials till you can no longer get any range.
3. Doing too much cardio:
Cardio is counter productive to muscle growth due to its affect on cortisol. It also takes up time that could be used lifting weights.
Try: Dropping some cardio and increasing the weights.
4. Missing meals and not having 6 meals a day:
Missing meals means it is harder for your body to maintain a positive nitrogen balance and thus is less anabolic. Further, eating six meals a day has shown in studies to have a better longer term affect on muscle growth than eating the same calories in fewer meals (with larger gaps between meals).
Try: Preparing your meals in advance and make sure you hit all 6 meals evenly spaced out throughout the day.
5. Having too many protein shakes:
Whilst supplements have their purpose, a solid diet that is conducive to muscle growth is based on real foods.
Try: Having six solid meals and keep your shakes for pre/intra/post training and for emergencies.
6. Not having an appropriate intra-training shake:
Having an intra-training shakes gives your body valuable amino acids and glucose in real-time, which has been shown to have a profound affect on long term muscle gain.
Try: A BCAA blend with a suitable carbohydrate powder (if you are lean enough to justify it).
7. Not getting 8 hours of quality sleep:
If you lack sleep, you will lack growth hormone release, whilst also effecting other hormones that relate to muscle growth (testosterone) and muscle breakdown (cortisol). The overall effect is that you will be less anabolic and more prone to storing fat.
Try: Ditching the computers and phones in the evening and chilling out, with the goal to get to bed early enough for a full 8 hours before you need to get up. Aim for constant sleeping/waking times, as the body’s time-clocks like patterned behaviour.
8. Chatting too long between sets:
If you are chatting a lot in the gym then you are eating into valuable training time, which means you need to reduce volume or train longer than an hour to compensate, both of which will impede your ability to stimulate muscle growth.
Try: Shut up and train; socialise at the cafe, not in the gym.
9. Getting too fat:
The fatter you get, the comparatively more aromatisation activity you will have in your body. That means you will be more estrogenic (more hormonally female). This is very undesirable for muscle growth and results in comparatively more fat storage.
Try: Keeping the body-fat under 12% for males and under 18% for females.
10. Not eating enough protein:
You require protein for muscle growth. High protein diets are absolutely fine for your health, as long as you eat adequate leafy greens and alkaline forming vegetables and fruits.
Try: Calculating how much protein you require for your body-weight and make sure you hit this over the day with the appropriate amount of greens.
Cut out these 10 common mistakes and watch your body composition respond with new levels of lean muscle.