We learn from our mistakes. And since I took up strength training (Stonglifts) a year ago… let’s just say I learned a lot. I’m writing this to help other beginners avoid the same mistakes I did.
1. Not eating enough – Seriously.
I read this piece of advice so much it became redundant. I tried to follow Leangains and expect my strength gains to continue. FAIL. I eventually plateaued. So, in the final weeks of my training, I decided on a little experiment: EAT AS MUCH AS BLOODY POSSIBLE. After every training session, I’d eat like it was Christmas and be stuffed. (I’d still avoid starchy carbs on rest days though). Results? I made more progress in six weeks than previous couple of months! I gained a little bit of fat.
2. Not adding weight every session
If I struggled to bust out my sets, I’d just stay on the same weight for a few sessions and only THEN attempt to move up (especially with squats, where I’d move up only once a week). So then I tried moving up every session. And guess what? My rate of progress improved massively. Even if you feel like the last session was torture, you won’t know you can lift heavier until you get under and bar and try.
3. Not having measurable Goals
Last week, I explained how not having goals will kill your motivation and outlined good lifting goals for beginners. Goals help you focus and progress.
4. Ego lifting
Related to no.2 and no.3, sometimes you want to move up so bad, your lifts are move about the weight on the bar than your technique. Leave your ego outside. This is a marathon, not a sprint. When you squat, get your ass to the grass every time. Not going through the whole range of motion is cheating. Check out Youtube videos to improve your technique on each exercise.
5. Taking too much time-off (or letting travel get in the way)
Two weeks off in the gym can set you back a whole month. When you travel, try and get to the gym at least twice a week. Most places do day-passes (I also recommend gyms in my city guides). Can’t find one? Turn to Calisthenics. Find a branch for chins, do jumping squats, do push up with your back back on, etc… You may not make gains, but at least you won’t loose out on all the hard work you’ve done.