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The 5 Biggest Bodybuilding Mistakes You Need To Avoid

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Having done my fair share of competitive bodybuilding, networking with some of the best bodybuilders in the world and having a strong client base of successful competitors (including fitness, figure and bikini) I’ve seen a recurring pattern of very common mistakes people make. This stems from the beginner right through to the professional ranks (both male and female).

Of course, there will be plenty more mistakes you can think of, but I’ve generalized what I deem the most popular in the ever growing competitive scene today.

1) Overthinking The Competition

Competition day is a pageant, nothing more nothing less. The same goes for photo shoots or your first day with the top off on holiday at the beach in front of hundreds of people.

Do you ever stop to think that the bulk of your ‘competing’ is down off the stage?

Think about it…

How you look on stage at that particular movement in time is simply a reflection of all the hard work you’ve done up until then.

Your ability to overcome life challenges whilst also stay committed to training hard, eating correctly and managing your lifestyle is your biggest competition.

So, the next time show day comes around, don’t let your nerves get the better of you!

Consider the fact you’re merely presenting not competing!

2) Wishing You Did It Earlier Rather Than Later

“ If you spend too much time thinking about a thing. You’ll never get it done. Make a least one definite move daily toward your goal “ -Bruce Lee

This status relates to those who are thinking of competing for the first time.

The longer you put something off the more you’ll regret it later. Yes, I fully get that a good competitor needs a productive off-season to improve. But don’t use this as your excuse.

When I first started out an experienced bodybuilding friend told me, “Your first show will be your best and worst” – Great way to motivate, eh?

He was right; it was tough, I looked and felt like s**t. But what did I take from it? Self-belief, Experience, new friends and a fire to get back in the gym and work my ass off!

Stop procrastinating – take the plunge and get the ball rolling! Every other competitor is!

Time Lost

3) Neglecting Mobility

I’ve seen too many people neglect the extremely fundamental yet essential aspect of mobility. Good mobility translates into quality movement; quality movement translates into getting more from your exercises.

As a result, you can expect to load your exercise more safely and achieve a fuller more effective range of motion. This equates to increased muscle fiber activation and stimulation, which is essential for maximizing your muscle gain and fat loss efforts.

Healthy mobility also reduces your chance of injury as poor mobility can result in the body finding compensatory movement patterns, which equate to strain on certain areas of musculature that shouldn’t come into play in the first place.

Factors that contribute to poor mobility:

  • Posture – Think sitting hunched over all day
  • Injury/Pain – Think of that old knee injury
  • Shitty technique – Sacrificing technique for load
  • Prolonged muscle soreness (under recovery) – Inadequate rest, hydration and nutrition are to blame.

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Factors I’ve found help improve mobility:

  • Strengthening the glutes and core which function as key stabilizers
  • Foam rolling, static stretching, Ice Baths – To help calm neural reflexes and hypertonicity (tightness) associated with overworked tissue.
  • Being ‘postural aware’ – taking regular breaks from sitting etc.
  • Perfect practice makes perfect – focusing on quality movement not just shifting a load from A-B
  • Utilizing different training techniques and exercises to work around injury and pain
  • Adequate, rest, nutrition and hydration (recovery)

4) Shitty Advice

It’s very easy to get confused nowadays. There is so much information out there. Notice how I said information, not knowledge! We live in an information dense yet knowledge starved era of health and fitness!

What makes information credible? A set of abs? A 1st place trophy?

You can’t argue with results but when you fail to consider the issue of great genetics and growing problem of drug use within the industry people will obtain results no matter what even if they follow a crappy approach.

This can prove very deceiving to the newbie or someone who has been following a hypocaloric (fat loss) diet for a prolonged period of time. The mantra of ‘ they’re in good shape, they must know what they’re talking about “ can develop a confirmation bias with the vulnerable dieter and thus lead to confusion away from their original plan.

The truth of the matter is most people with abs couldn’t tell you what the term protein means (prepare to embarrass a few people) and therefore shouldn’t be dishing out advice on your most important asset of all – your health.

Take Home

Get advice from someone who can both talk the talk and walk the walk. Not one or the other. In order to get the best advice possible, you need to have someone in your corner that both understands the physiological (book knowledge) and psychological (practical experience) of what it takes to get contest ready!

5) Not Knowing  When To Draw The Line

I myself along with many other bodybuilders and physique competitors have been guilty of wanting just that extra 1%

Whether it has involved doing an extra set, adding an extra 5kg to the bar or dial in our physiques just a little bit tighter or fuller for a competition or photo shoot.

Yes, progress is important but sometimes you just need to draw the line and be content with what you’ve achieved. It’s not like you haven’t worked your ass off already to get where you are.

9/10 when you chase that extra ‘little bit’ the cost to benefit ratio isn’t worth it. Put it like this; if in doubt (high risk/low benefit) don’t do more, if you’ve no doubt (less risk/great benefit) do more…

Always strive to be patient and focus on the long term not the short.

I also did a short video on this, check it out:

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