“Do you even lift, bro?” a typically condescending expression used by people in the gym, but why..? Struggling to add mass? Get more toned? Get in shape?
OK, you’ve come to this article because you’re ‘trying’ to get bigger, stronger or in better physical shape but for one reason or another, what you are trying at the moment isn’t working as it should.
Are you not looking better? Are you not looking bigger? Are you struggling to bench 10kg?
We need to look at why that might be and this article will give some of the most common mistakes people make whilst trying to make those gains!
Let’s face it; “Eat more protein” and “Work a bit harder” isn’t exactly expert advice
#1 You’re not eating enough
Still on the same diet plan which you used whilst you lost weight? The average person burns off between 1,600 and 2,500 calories a day and in order to put on weight, you need to eat more than you burn off.
I suggest eating meals more frequently so you don’t leave the table at meal times feeling full to the brim. Also making sure that meals are high in protein and carbs.
#2 You’re not eating the right foods
OK, now you’ve worked out exactly how much you need to eat and you’ve realised you need to eat a lot.. Better cram in a 1,400 calorie pizza, right? Wrong! Keeping to your macros and the right amount of nutrients is key to start seeing results, Plan your meals and keep a track on the carb, protein and fats which you intake! And finally remember, protein and carbs is key for weight gain, just as lowering carb intake is key for fat loss!
#3 – You’re not working hard enough
If you think doing 3 sets of 10 on everything, not even breaking a sweat or feeling sore is doing it for you, you’re wrong. You need to push yourself to your maximum every time you train in the gym. That means stop curling a 5kg weight as it won’t do you any favours!
#4 – You’re not planning
Your meals, your rest, your workouts. Keep a track of everything you do, the exercise you have done, the number of reps and the weight. It will allow you to keep track of progress.
It’s important that you schedule the body parts you’re going to train on a specific day, rather than just entering the gym without purpose, whatever you’re training. Make sure you plan what you’re going to train on what days, the number of reps and sets you plan to complete, this will give your sessions more of a purpose.
#5 – You’re doing ‘half reps’
That’s right, all the way down and all the way up is one rep. You see too many people squatting without even bending their knees. Not only is it not helping you achieve your results, you’re also risking injuring yourself.
#6 – You’re not resting enough
Your body needs both 7-9 hours good sleep per night. It’s important to allow your body time to rest and recover. In addition, it’s important that you have ‘rest days’ – days away from the gym. On these days do nothing more than a little light cardio – days away from the gym will not only help your body recover but will also keep you interested and passionate about fitness.
#7 – You’re not lifting ‘big’
Much of the exercises you’re doing in the gym are all isolated, you need to hit those big compound exercises to really start to see good results. That means embedding dead-lifts, squats, bench press and military press into your weekly workouts. These are the basic movements needed in the gym to make progress in several different areas of your body.
#8 – You’re not pushing yourself to the max!
Ask yourself when you’re next in the gym performing an exercise, how long you’ve been lifting that same weight? A few weeks? A month? A year? You need to break out your comfort zone and push yourself to the maximum. Your body shouldn’t be getting used to the weight, your body should be worked hard and rested well, this will ultimately help to see the results.
#9 – You’re lifting too much
As much as testing yourself is important to help see those results, please remember your form! Having good form not only helps you avoid injuries and problems in later life but will also help you see better results. For example, when performing bicep curls, make sure you’re fully extending those arms, keeping elbow and shoulders locked in place. There’s no worse site in the gym than somebody with bad form, and remember the harm it’s doing to your body.
Wrapping it up
So there you have it, some of the most common mistakes which are made in the gym, keep your training varied, work hard and rake in the results. Keep good form, keep your body well looked after and results will come!