I always talk about when you first get started everything works.
This is called the newbie gains.
Your body is primed for progress because it’s all new.
This is good, and it’s bad.
It’s good because, well, progress.
It’s bad because it can lead us to believe certain things will always work because they did once.
Really with anything, you have to grow to get better and to continue to get better.
What you did when you first started a job or school is completely different now.
Maybe you have the same principles and values, but the exact details do change over time.
Fitness and nutrition are no different.
In today’s blog I want to go over some mistakes I made after those initial beginner gains that caused me to work hard, but not get the results I should have been getting for the effort I was putting in.
A lot of times effort isn’t the problem, the problem is the approach and methods.
Let’s dive into what those were.
1 I was impatient with my progress, changing my goals and routines every other week.
I wanted results and I wanted them yesterday. When this is your approach you usually partake in methods that aren’t sustainable and are short-term.
- Overly restrictive diets
- Too much training etc.
I would always be looking for the next best thing. When this happens you never really get to see what works and what doesnt.
I wanted to be jacked, then I wanted to be lean, then I wanted to just be strong.
I was always trying new training programs. Never sticking to one and seeing it all the way through.
It’s hard to trust the process when you are constantly making changes, not sticking to things, and impatient.
I was trying to compare myself to people who had been training for much longer than me and had completely different circumstances than me.
2 I never used recovery methods for nutrition/training or stuck with them.
The way I am using recovery methods in this post is going to be under a large umbrella.
Im not talking about things like massage guns or mobility exercises.
Recovery methods can be things like:
- Managing sleep and stress, or using nutrition to help with workouts.
- It can also be things like rest days, or deload weeks.
- It can also be things like maintenance phases from gaining or losing weight.
I never used any of these.
It always came down to what I was doing in the gym and what I was eating. Taking time to recover never crossed my mind.
I wanted to train more days, do more sets, do more exercises.
Or with nutrition, If I had a goal of leaning out I just was always doing that.
In the beginning, you dont have to be perfect with things, but as you get more advanced you need to start taking care of these recovery methods and implementing them.
- Taking time away from dieting.
- Taking deload every 4-6 weeks.
- Making sure you are getting enough sleep etc.
Starting to focus on the recovery side of things has been one of the biggest game-changers in my fitness journey.
3 I only was only focused on getting lean.
I thought in order to have that jacked physique I just needed to lean out more.
But this only put me further away from the goal.
Because I wouldn’t eat enough nutrients or the proper balance that put me in the best position to build muscle after the beginner gains.
I wasn’t bringing in enough energy/nutrients to help me feel my best, my training suffered too because of that.
In order to build muscle past the beginner gains, you need to give your body reason to, and if you dont eat enough your body won’t put on more muscle as it doesnt deem it useful with the amount of energy it’s getting.
At some point, if you want to have your best physique you need to spend time building muscle, and this is going to require more food than what is going to keep you stay shredded or lean all of the time.
The good news is that fat loss is much easier than muscle is to gain.
This is why we use nutrition periodization with clients.
Read about it HERE.
4 I thought I needed to just do more in my workouts.
When I wasn’t getting the body I wanted I thought I just needed to do more in my workouts.
More training days, less rest, more sets, more everything.
What this did was water down my training. Each rep and set became watered down.
I ended up doing a lot of “junk” volume. Read HERE on what junk volume is.
And because I wasn’t focused on recovering outside of the gym or taking rest days/deloads, my body wasnt able to adapt to the stimulus.
You can only adapt to what you can recover from.
Now I focus on quality over quantity. Not only do I do less, but I get more out of each set and rep.
Quality doesn’t mean you arent working harder, it just means you are more focused and getting more out of what you are doing.
This also allows you to spend less time in the gym and more time doing other things in life.
5 I didn’t track anything
One of the biggest reasons I didn’t see any progress is because I didn’t track anything.
Not my workouts, not my nutrition, not anything.
Looking back this was a huge mistake I made.
Again when you first get started you can get away with really anything and everything. Tracking things just isn’t needed. You really just need to stay consistent.
But after a while, that stops working.
Make sure you are tracking at least a few things.
To me the most important are:
- Progress pics/measurements
- Atleast one nutrition thing (calories, macros, meals per day, portions, protein, etc.)
6 I wasn’t thinking long-term. I had no plan, I was only thinking day to day.
I fell into the trap of just thinking day to day. I wasn’t thinking past the next workout.
It was all about how was I going to kill this workout.
You dont want to get too far ahead of yourself, but you need to have some plan for where you are going. Otherwise, you will aimlessly wander around.
This is how you spin your wheels.
Eventually, I decided it was time to plan ahead.
Then I started to periodize my nutrition/training and plan ahead, rather than just thinking day to day.
What happened when I started to plan ahead and periodize my nutrition?
• Have built more muscle in the past few years than when I first started.
• Healthier relationship with food.
• Easier time losing body fat when I am in a fat loss phase.
In this pic im 20, I lifted, but really didn’t look like it.
Here I am now:
This is why you are stuck. You have no plan other than having this imaginary goal of “ I want to look better.”
So you end up blindly going about things, not tracking anything, not knowing what works and what does not work for you, so you end up spinning your wheels, getting nowhere.
You get frustrated because you feel like you are pushing yourself and working hard but getting nowhere.
You need to work smarter, not harder.
This is exactly what we work on with online clients.
If this is you then fill out the coaching app HERE and let’s get to work.