Here’s the scenario, you’ve been training for around a year, you read all the bodybuilding mags and try one routine after another. You spend your money on supplements and drink gallons of milk. You made some gains in the first few months, but now nothing seems to be working. You’re lifts aren’t going up and your size has stayed the same, or you might even be a little smaller than before. Must be because you are a “hard gainer” right? I hate to break it to you my friend, but that probably isn’t the case.
The biggest mistake most guys and gals make besides choosing a poor diet plan, is not working out within the parameters of your experience levels. What I mean is this..
- Beginners doing intermediate lifting routines
- Intermediates doing advanced style routines
- Advanced lifters doing elite level programs
Everyone wants to get bigger, stronger and faster as soon as possible. Sometimes its hard to keep everything in perspective when you have this idealistic goal set in your mind, but the facts are the facts at the end of the day.
A beginner is either someone who has been lifting around a year or less, or someone who has been training for a longer period of time, but not quite hitting the mark so to speak. If you are unable to bench press 200 lbs or squat 300 lbs. I hate to break it to you, but you are still a beginner. Of course everyone has certain limitations, or reasons why these numbers aren’t achieved. Body structure, age, injuries etc. may all contribute to a degree, as long as they aren’t excuses. BTW the reason that the bench press, squat, and dead lift are used for determining strength levels, is because they are the standard lifts for both bodybuilders and power lifters and are a pretty good way to determine overall body strength.
If you are changing the routines that you see in the popular bodybuilding magazines every couple of weeks, you will never make any progress. These routines are used with success by only an elite group of people that have been training for most of their lives, and more likely than not, using “super supplements” on top of that.
You do not have to do a 5 day a week split routine that hits every muscle from 5 different angles! A much more productive and beneficial routine would be a simple progression on the 3 basic compound moves. A good example of a routine for a beginner would be…
- Chest/Shoulder/Triceps Day
- Back/Biceps/Abs Day
- Leg Day
Using an Upper/Lower body split 3x a week, or a Full Body routine is also very effective for beginner level trainees.
The other main contributors that may be hampering your gains are these, diet/rest/stress.
I know that you probably think you are eating a ton of food, but chances are, you’re not, or its not the right kinds of food. Shoot for at least 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. This means if you weigh 150 lbs, you need to be getting 225 grams of protein every day.
You also need to get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, more if its possible.
Stress will mess up your gains faster than almost anything else. Jobs, relationships and school, are just a few of the things that contribute to high stress levels. Try to keep your life in order. Practice breathing exercises, or meditation and learn to recognize when you are becoming stressed out.
Now I don’t claim to be an expert in this topic, nor am I a personal trainer. I have however trained for over 20 years and have made a lot of mistakes that I have learned from over that time.
Most of this information I have just supplied came from the good people over at ironaddicts.com. If you are serious about your training and want to truly make the most out of your body’s potential, I highly recommend you go over there and check them out.
Take the time to read and learn from the guys who know. Follow what they tell you and before you know it, you will be back on track to reaching realistic goals for yourself, both in and out of the gym!
Rocco is the VP here at QuirkyByte, and he has been writing since he could hold a crayon. He is a huge fan of music, nature, the arts and anything unique, or creative. Physical fitness is also a passion for him. Currently Rocco resides in upstate New York.