Let’s talk about common mistakes made by beginning weight lifters. We have all been there when we thought we knew it all and we thought that we were curling properly and we thought that we were eating properly. The problem was not the way we were doing things. The problem was that our bodies were unresponsive, so our muscles did not grow and the injuries that we suffered were not our fault either. That could not be possible, right?
Thinking back to the things I did years ago, I cannot believe that I was that naive. I never took the diet seriously. I avoided exercises that I hated and found excuses as to why they were not necessary. These days, some of those exercises (squats, deadlifts, lunges) are my favorite ones to do because I am able to perform them correctly.
The fact of the matter is that, if it was that easy, everyone would do it. It may be 30% lifting and 70% nutrition, but it takes 100% dedication to your lifting, your cardio and your diet. As far as making mistakes goes, you will make mistakes as you head down your path. I still do. We all do. Hopefully this post will help you avoid some of the bigger beginning weight lifting mistakes.
I am actually not a fan of this overtraining thing. I believe that it is extremely hard to overtrain, but much easier to under-diet meaning that your diet is not supporting your needs to recover fully. If your diet is solid, you will recover faster and stronger.
Some people say that less is more when it comes to working out. To a certain extent, I can agree with this statement, but the fact of the matter is that, if you are not training enough, you are wasting your workout time. It is true that your muscles grow when you are resting, not when you are at the gym though. The reason for this is that you are tearing your muscle tissue when you workout. When you rest, the muscle repairs itself and becomes larger than before. How long it takes to repair will depend largely on your diet and how much sleep you get per night.
It is recommended to take a week off about every three months to give your central nervous system a break and to heal those nagging injuries that we all end up lifing through.
Starving Yourself to Lose Weight
I hate hearing people tell me that they are hungry or are on 1,000 calorie diets. That is insane. First off, I do not believe in fad diets because diets are meant to have a beginning and an end. I believe in a change of lifestyle where you learn to eat right everyday. Some people like to throw cheat meals in there. I eat for function rather than for taste, so my idea of cheating is when I eat too much fruit in a day, but I know that a cheat meal is a nice thing to have for many people. You should never deprive yourself of the foods that you love. You should take in whatever you want, but in moderation.
As far as starving yourself, this should never happen. Pace yourself to take in 5-7 small meals per day spread out throughout the day. This will curb most of your hunger pains. If that does not work, try drinking a tall glass of water. Sometimes, when we think that we are hungry, we are really dehydrated or simply bored.
Not Taking in Enough Water
Water is so important to your diet. The body is comprised of 60-65% water. The common misconception about water is that, the more you take in, the more bloated you will fell. This is actually the opposite of the truth. Water will help your body not retain water actually. Your body retains water when it is being deprived of water. By water, I do mean clear water – not sodas or juices. Some beverages are diuretics and work negatively against you (not to mention the added sugar in a lot of these beverages).
Neglecting Carbohydrates and Fats in Your Diet
Just as important as protein is to your bodybuilding diet, carbs and fats are an essential part to any diet, whether you are cutting or adding mass. Carbohydrates are our main source of fuel. Without carbohydrates, particularly complex carbohydrates, the body would begin to use other sources for energy, and this could cause problems, such as becoming easily fatigued due to lack of glycogen.
Fats are essential to maintain good health, but you need to ensure that you are getting your fats from healthy sources, such as nuts, avocados, quinoa, olive oil, etc.
Using a Professional Bodybuilder or Power Lifter’s Routine
Bodybuilders are not huge because they did a challenging workout for one month. Their physiques and strength are developed over time. For beginners, concentrate on compound exercises with a few isolation exercises. That is the easiest way to add mass and strength. Attempting Phil Heath’s workouts will only lead you to overtraining and/or injury. Also, keep in mind that what works for one will not necessarily work for all.
Relying on Supplements to Grow
Supplements are called supplements because they supplement your diet. A proper diet is still needed to achieve results. Once your diet is in order and you have foods playing the dominant role in your development, then, and only then, should supplements be considered. There are so many supplements out there that will not do you any good, but keep in mind that some are great. The main thing to note is that you may already be getting enough of a supplement in your diet and you do not need to add an additional supplement.
Using the Wrong Rep Ranges
As far as exercises go, one of the biggest factors of adding mass is not using the proper rep ranges. For adding mass, most exercises can be done with rep ranges of 8-12, while cutting would introduce higher rep ranges such as 12-15. This varies per body part and to some extent individuals, but 8-12 is a pretty good range for adding mass. If you are looking for strength, you want to stay in the rep ranges of 2-5 per set.
Common Mistakes Made by Beginning Weight Lifters
Even though we are talking about the common mistakes made by beginning weight lifters, the same mistakes can apply to weight lifters of all types.