A journalist writing for several fitness publications - including Men's Health - contacted me some time ago for a piece she was working on.
Biggest training mistakes gym-goers make and how to avoid them in the first place.
This journalist wanted to hear my take on what keeps people from getting the gainz they want.
In case you haven't seen the final article yet, I've copy/pasted my answers that appear in it below:
"Mistake #1: You stick to a routine
The rapid gains you enjoy at the beginning of a training program will eventually taper if you keep doing the same workouts month after month (or year after year).
"The body adapts to new stresses quickly," says Yunus Barisik, C.S.C.S., author of the blog Next Level Athletics.
Your job - and the goal of any good exercise plan - is to make sure that adaptation (also known as muscle growth) never stops.
"And the way to do that is by regularly varying what you do," says Barisik.
The fix: If you’re a beginner, mix things up every two to three months. If you’re a veteran, you’ll need to do so even sooner.
"Those changes don’t have to be major," says Barisik. Occasionally swapping new exercises into your workouts (or trying a completely new workout program) is a smart idea.
"But even minor tweaks - changing your grip, lifting pace, foot position, or rest periods - can lead to big gains by not only working muscles you normally miss, but also working the muscles you normally target in new ways," says Barisik.
Mistake #2: You forget about your back
In their pursuit of head turning muscle, many people focus only on those they can see in the mirror - pecs, shoulders, arms, and abs.
"And that’s a problem," says Barisik. "Overemphasizing the front side of your body can lead to muscular imbalances, a hunched posture, and an increased risk of injury."
Since most people are already "anterior dominant" - meaning they more frequently use the muscles on the front of their bodies - such one-sided training often worsens existing postural and performance issues.
The fix: Stop using a mirror to gauge your progress - it’s the muscles you can’t see that you should focus on.
To balance your upper body, perform two pulling exercises (chinup, row) for every pushing exercise, such as the overhead press or bench press, says Barisik.
To balance your lower body, perform two sets of hamstring-dominant exercises, like the deadlift or kettlebell swing, for every set of a quad-dominant exercise, like the squat or lunge. After a few months (read: once your posture and musculature balance out), you can switch to one-to-one ratios, says Barisik."
Speaking of common training mistakes, it would take me hours to list all of them.
However, I do delve deeper into this topic in my Next Level Hockey Training System.
I explain how to avoid spinning your wheels forever.
And, how to keep 'em gainz a-comin'.
Check it out here: