The world of bodybuilding is ripe with information. In fact, the internet is flooded with tips and tricks from self-appointed gurus. While a good percentage of this information is incredibly useful, some of it may prove to be counter productive or even dangerous. It’s understandable that one may wish to dive head first into the weight room, but a good healthy start is essential to long-term progress.
To avoid failure before you even begin, make sure to avoid these four all too common beginner bodybuilding mistakes.
Thinking Supplements Are Magic: Wouldn’t it be nice to visit your local GNC, spend a hundred bucks, make a few protein shakes, then wake up feeling like the hulk? This idea is tempting to many. The supplement industry makes millions every year taking advantage of the all too human desire for easy, minimum effort solutions. Truth is, even those taking illegal anabolic steroids must spend countless hours sweating in the gym and receiving proper nutrition.
Many of the products you see advertised have about as much effect as snake oil. While a placebo effect may trick the mind into believing you are superman, many of these supplements are merely high-priced illusions. Gaining muscle isn’t quick or easy, if it was everyone would have six packs and bulging biceps. Proven supplements such as iron, protein, fish oil and creatine are great investments, but true results only spawn from hard work and smart eating.
Sacrificing Form: Many people believe simply lifting weights will bring muscle mass. However, the technique and form used when weightlifting determines the difference between success and debilitating injury. Trying to impress those around you by blindly lifting as much weight as possible with no regard for technique will only lead to pain and embarrassment.
Bouncing the bar off your chest during bench presses, having elbows face forward when curling, or otherwise cheating to lift heavier weights than you can handle are all exercises in futility. Proper form is essential for maximizing results. Start with low amounts of weight while you master the form of a given exercise. Gradually increase weight until your physical limits are reached, making sure not to abandon proper form in the process.
Lifting Every Day: Despite popular belief, muscle mass is gained in the bedroom and not the gym. Every time you lift, muscle tissue breaks down and requires sleep to heal. It is this healing process that causes muscle to gain strength, mass and definition. Lifting hard everyday is the equivalent of trying to drive a monster truck with an empty tank of gas.
Heavy lifting should only be done twice a week. Use your off days to focus on cardio and endurance training. Make sure you receive at minimum 8 hours of sleep every night. Failure to do so will result in sacrificing much of your hard work.
Training Like Mr. Olympia: Unless you’ve been training for several years, don’t even attempt to follow in the footsteps of your favorite major league competitor. Truth be told, it takes years, even decades of training to understand and hone your bodies capabilities. These professionals have spent unimaginable amounts of time adjusting routines to fit their individual needs.
To be perfectly blunt, the use of illegal substances also play a key role in the intensity and frequency of such workouts. A beginner trying to jump into the gym shoes of a pro should expect frustration, a damaged ego, and an injured body. Forget about what works for everyone else; listen to the unique needs of your body. In time you will train like a finely tuned machine.
Bodybuilding is a lifestyle, not an easy way to pick up chicks or intimidate others. You must view it as both a scientist and an artist. If approached properly, bodybuilding can be a journey that enriches your health and happiness for years to come.