1. Thanksgiving next week…
…and for many that means a few days break from the work-sleep-eat-train routine, especially if you’re travelling.
To help getting back into rhythm AFTER the holiday much easier, treat this “weekend before Thanksgiving” as an extension of your workweek.
So this weekend and into next week, eat, sleep, and train like you’re crushing your 9-5. Then “enjoy” a couple days of chaos. Then get right back on track.
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2. Too Much Filler. Not Enough Killer
Even today, the first thing I do after writing a training program for a client is ask myself:
- Does it “feel” long?
- What doesn’t need to be included?
- What can I save for next program?
You don’t have to check ALL the boxes every damn time.
When critiquing programs I frequently remove exercises, especially redundant isolation work.
But it has nothing to do with overtraining. Your grandma couldn’t cable curl herself into a legit overtrained state.
It’s just a waste of time & focus.
Don’t major in the minors.
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3. Occasionally Be an Outlier
If your goal is to build muscle it makes sense to spend a lot of time in the 6-12 rep range. But don’t completely ignore the “outer limits.”
Occasional cycles in the 1-4 rep and 15-25 rep range work very well as part of an overall hypertrophy plan.
Just remember: the nervous system is a big factor in lifting heavy loads. But the nervous system also needs time to “wake up.”
So give yourself extra warm-up time, especially if you train early in the AM.
Nothing is more annoying than the weights “suddenly feeling light” and you just finished your last workset.
Though protocols like wave-loading actually take advantage of this nervous system potentiation effect. Cool protocols to try.
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4. Extra Large Thinking
How is never apologizing or changing your position a virtue?
Maybe I’m too much of an old bodybuilder but that makes zero sense to me.
So, you don’t want to adapt and grow?
If character came in sizes then yours is forever doomed to be a loose-fitting extra-medium.
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5. Bigger Through Restriction
Building muscle takes forever, especially if you’ve been at it a while. And its especially hard if you tie one hand behind your back.
Too many people say they want to build muscle yet deliberately live in states of “I don’t wanna get TOO big” voluntary restriction.
- Eating too close to maintenance calories — based off an online equation that’s basically a guesstimate.
- Restricting entire categories of foods
- Greatly restricting carbs or fat, sometimes both!
- Restricting eating windows to pursue “nebulous at best” health outcomes like autophagy or raise GH (groan).
- Cutting off “gaining phases” the moment they can’t see their pancreas secrete insulin
It might help to thinking of building muscle as a fun yet terribly unfair process. You just don’t get out what you put in.
The only sure path for even MODEST success is to “overdeliver” in terms of food, training, sleep, and recovery.
That way you should be rewarded with a noticeable (but still never fair) return on all that work.
So save “restriction” diets for fat loss or even maintenance phases.
As for getting too big?
Don’t worry. You won’t.