Common Muscle Building Mistakes

May 16, 2022

In this month’s blog, I want to go over the most common muscle building mistakes you might be making and how to fix them. Even if your goal is to lose fat and not building muscles, this is still a blog I recommend for you to still read. The pointers that I will explain are tools that you want to keep in your back pocket. Remember, it is important to train effectively and correctly.



The first common mistake I often encounter is always training in the same rep range. For example, 3×12, 4×8, etc. If you are always training in the same range, you ultimately limit your ceiling because you are only getting stronger in this specific stimulation of hypertrophy. It is really important to alternate this. If you train in low rep ranges (1-6), you are training for strength. This will involve heavy weight and lots of muscle stimulation in short amount of time. In the
moderate rep ranges (8-12), you will be training for some muscle strength, but also muscle leanness, or some body composition. Higher rep ranges (13-20) are similar to cardio. You are going to put the muscle under more tension as your sets will be longer. This will train muscle endurance, which is similar to cardio endurance. Training in all ranges will confuse the muscle and actually stimulate more muscle growth. The body adjusts quick, so you don’t want to maintain the same routine too long. This will stall progress.



The second mistake I see is undervaluing the value of food. There is so many different purposes for food, especially for each macronutrient. Carbohydrates will provide the body with energy. Protein will help the muscle rebuild as you break it down. Fats aide with hormone regulation, especially increasing testosterone levels and other hormones responsible for growth. Pay special attention to what you eat and making sure you eat a sufficient amount will really support muscle



The third mistake I witness is never lifting heavy enough. At the core, muscles need to be pushed. Muscles need to feel load so that the fibers can be broken and repaired even stronger. The body adjusts to stress, and if the muscles feel constantly load from heavier weight, they will adjust. So, do not be afraid of the inflammation and soreness after strength training. As your muscles grow, you will be able to lift more, move more load, and see body composition change. I want you to challenge yourself. After every exercise, ask yourself if I can add another 2.5 or 5 pounds. This may not sound much, but if you add 2.5 pounds 5 times, that is 12.5 total pounds added. That is a huge increase at the end! Even if you want to tone up, that requires more muscle.



The final common mistake I often see is a popular one- winging it. This is simple as the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The majority of you training should be well thought out and planned if you want the best results! I believe you should follow a regiment routine for at least 3 months or 90 days. I believe 90 days is plenty of time to have linear progression and advancement while also being stimulating and exciting. Anything longer becomes repeteitive, and
this can cause burnout.



If you feel like you need guidance in strength training, there professionals out there like me that can really focus on your goals while providing a clear path for you to follow. So please follow these pro tips and ask out if you have questions.

The Author

Carlo Varquez, M.S.

I believe in the practice of preventative health. The only way to combat chronic diseases is through preventative action such as exercise and diet. My health and wellness career started within myself. After being an active person in high school through sports, my fitness dropped entering college. I gained unhealthy habits that lead to weight gain. To prevent any complications, I made some time to be active again by picking up weight lifting. Through that, I found myself wanting to help others before it was too late for them. As I gained my masters degree, I interned at the Cardiac Rehabilitation department at Advocate Lutheran General. I saw firsthand what cardiovascular disease can do, and what the action plan is to help those people return back to their daily routine. The time to make change is now, but it doesn’t need to be done alone. The science behind exercise is a powerful tool that is often overlooked. I want to motivate and increase self-efficacy to help others achieve their goals.

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