The growth of information regarding fitness is both a blessing and a curse. We now have access to great information from very experienced professionals, but we also have access to idiots who jump on a new bandwagon every time the wind changes direction. I’m going to attempt to save you some time and failures by explaining what some major pitfalls are and how you can avoid them.
- You Have to Train Everyday- There are some people out there who say that you have to train every day or all of your progress will disappear. This just isn’t true and the people who say this are probably 150 pounds keyboard warriors who can lift about as much as my 85 year old grandma. I’ve tried this training every day thing and it can work for short periods of time, assuming you aren’t training hard every session. However, it isn’t the most optimal way to train and it won’t get you long-term success. You should be training 3-5 days a week, look at all the biggest, strongest guys on the planet. They’re training within this range and it seems to work for them.
- You Need to Train 2+ Hours/Less than 1 Hour- To be honest with you guys this point bothers the hell out of me sometimes. Both of these styles of training can get you results because both of them are used differently. For example if you’re training HIT style like Dorian Yates your intensity is too high to train for 2+ hours. However, if you’re doing a strongman event day then you’ll probably be at the gym longer than two hours. All I have to say is don’t drink the kool-aid of either side unless you’re doing a program that stipulates a timeframe for your workouts. Most of my workouts last between 45-90 minutes just because that’s how much time I need to get the work I need to do done. It has nothing to do with me trying to balk either side, it just means that currently it’s the amount of time I need to get results. As I progress this amount may go up or down, but I’ll worry about that when I get there.
- You Have to do Cardio to Lose Weight- If I had a nickel for every time I’ve answered about cardio I would have a couple bucks. Yes cardio can help you lose weight, no you don’t need to do it to lose weight. Yes cardio is good for you, no it’s not the only thing you should be doing. Okay, let’s get this out of the way, yes I do cardio! Not in the conventional sense but in the sense that I do carry medleys, sprints and walk around playing Pokemon Go. Maintaining a certain level of cardiovascular fitness is important for your help, but if you’re looking to lose weight it’s not the first thing you should look to. The first thing we need to address is your caloric intake, you need to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight. That’s it, no I’m serious burn more calories than you eat and you’ll lose weight. You could sit around doing nothing and as long as you eat less than you burn you will lose weight. I obviously don’t advocate this, but you don’t actually need cardio.
- Don’t do Cardio if You Want to Gain Muscle- You aren’t skinny because you do cardio, you’re skinny because you don’t eat enough food. Before you start screaming, “I’m a hard gainer,” I want you to track your calories for a week. Before you ask 3000 calories a day is not a lot of food unless you’re a small woman, and it’s certainly not enough to put on appreciable mass. Some of you skinny guys mouths are wide open at the thought of eating more than 2000 calories a day, and now some guy is telling you to eat more than 3000? I can hear you now, “No way man, what about my abs?” LOL what about them? You weigh 150 pounds and your girlfriend has to be careful not to break you when you cuddle, no one gives a fuck about your abs! Sorry to break this to you but you need to eat more food and worry less about whether or not cardio “kills gains.” Also dropping cardio is a really bad idea if you want to put on muscle, let me explain why. When you train hard you’re taxing your work capacity, and in order to make further gains you need to expand your work capacity. One way to do this is to keep your work capacity high through using interval training or heavy carries which count as cardio. Just make sure you’re eating enough to recover from your training and add muscle.
- Lifting Weights Makes You Bulky- I’m super happy that this myth is dying out with the female community. Some women (and some girly men) think that lifting will turn them into a he-she creature that eats the souls of children. It won’t, the people that you think are gross having been training for years and often on are PEDs so don’t worry about it, kay? Lifting weights will build lean muscle that will make you looked ‘toned,’ dammit…. I can’t believe I said toned… But it will, the way building muscle works is over time and slowly. You won’t turn into a monster overnight, just like eating one burrito won’t make you fat. Get it, got it, good.
- Lifting Light to Tone- Lord almighty, I’ve typed toned too many times in this post, but at least I get to bash it now. There is no such thing as lifting light to tone. The only reason you think this works is because you are doing more work than sitting on the couch like your lazy ass normally does. The human body works on a basis of overload, you must do something you’ve never done before to get further results. If you can squat 100 pounds for 5 sets of 5 and you never increase weights your body will never change. Now imagine that you slowly move the weights up to 150 pounds for 5 sets of 5, what do you think will provide more ‘toned’, ‘shapely’, ‘firmer’ legs and glutes? All the adjectives you use to describe your dream body work on the basis of progressive overload, so by ignoring it you are just keeping yourself from making the progress that you want. Instead of lifting light all the time, slowly add weight to all your exercises and watch how your body changes!
I hope that by reading this post you have gained knowledge about what works and what doesn’t. If you have any questions leave them in the comments section or shoot me an email and I will answer your questions.
Until Next Time,
Get Off the Phone and Tone