How often does this story happen? You decide to go to the gym (or “fitness club”, if you prefer to say such a gay name for the gym). You start going there for the sake of just doing something (or, if you’re lucky, because there are lots of sexy chicks). You lift weights and work with machines. You workout for 2 hours 5 days a week. You do bench, incline, decline, dumbbell flies, dips. Then barbell curls, dumbbell curls, hammers, preacher curls. Then you work your lower abs, upper abs, obliques, sit-ups, crunches, leg raises. Then one day you take a picture of yourself and get a reality check: you’re not ripped and muscular. You’re not jacked. You’re a skinny-fat dude and nobody can say that you lift weights. How did this happen? Because you’re doing it all wrong.
Here are 7 things you need to consider in order to get out of your pitiful situation.
1. You’re not monitoring your progress.
It has been stated a million times before: the best thing you can do for your training is to start a workout journal. Your memory can play tricks on you. When you write it down, it’s carved in stone. You will know on a certain date, for example, that you pressed 200 lbs overhead for 5 reps. And if today you’ve pressed 200 lbs for 1 rep, then there is a 90% chance that you’re doing something wrong. A workout journal is the easiest way to track progress and see what worked for you and what did not.
The second thing is your food journal. If you can’t get lean as you want, maybe it would be a neat idea to start tracking what you’re eating and when. There is no need to get carried away. A photo food journal would do the trick. Just take photos of everything that you eat. Or if you want more control in this aspect, you should count and write down all your calories.
Thirdly, if your goal is to get as big as possible, it would be a good idea to begin a measuring journal as an addition to your workout log. This way you will be able to say what works for you to get big. Just experiment with this.
2. You’re doing it too much.
In the case of training: 2-3 hours 6-7 days a week is obviously too much unless you’re an elite athlete. Any experienced lifter will tell you that. Or the intensity of your workouts is too low. In my experience almost all novice trainees will have totally awesome progress on low-volume abbreviated training programs. “Starting Strength” is an excellent example. You don’t need to do 5 exercises of one type in one workout to accelerate muscle growth. Forget the programs of champions who inject so many steroids in a month that cost more than your salary for the year. You can’t compete with them. Focus on low-volume, full-body programs at the beginning and then see whether you need to add volume or not.
In the case of nutrition: eating too much won’t turn you into a hulk. It will turn you into a fat bastard (unless you’re a strict ectomorph). All extra calories will be stored as fat. No matter whether they come from protein, carbs or fat. And by ‘too much’ I mean a lot more that you expend.
3. You’re doing it too little.
In the case of training: if training too much is bad, then should you train as infrequently as possible? Wrong. You should train at least 2-3 times a week. Otherwise you won’t see any measurable results. Training is a skill, remember? If you want to be good at something, then practice it. Same goes for training.
In the case of nutrition: eating too little will leave you beat up and with low energy. And forget about building any measurable muscle.
4. “Ok, I’m a bit confused. What is too much and what is too little?”
It all depends on you, your metabolism, your body type, your lifestyle, your stress levels, your work capacity, your genetics, etc. How can you determine what will work for you? Only by long and painful experimentation.
5. You’re neglecting bodyparts.
Working only “mirror” muscles? Prepare for injuries and muscular imbalances. Your body works as a system. You’re composed not only from chest, biceps and abs. In fact these muscles are relatively small compared to other bodyparts. You need to press, row, squat and deadlift to become seriously jacked.
6. You’re jumping from program to program.
Programs are designed to work. Don’t mix them (unless creator of this program said that you can). Pick a program that you want and test drive it for a solid month. If it’s a good program then you should be able to notice gains in this period of time. One more thing. When you’re testing a program do it as its author intended. Don’t add or cut anything. Often brilliant programs get bad reviews because user did not do it as it was laid out.
7. You’re not listening to your body.
This is one of the most important reasons why you don’t look jacked. Learn to listen to your body and it will tell you whether you’re doing something right or wrong.
After reading this you have no right to fail. Use these techniques and finally get jacked. Thanks for reading.
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