8 Crucial Bodybuilding Mistakes To Avoid

October 4, 2010 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug


In the past few weekends, I really have taken time out to reflect on things. Life, the good times, the bad times, the ups, the downs and all of that usual ‘life’ stuff. Fitness and everything else that I have done in this lifestyle came up too. In a big way in fact.

You see, I became an athlete at aged 16, almost fresh out of high school and that was indeed a great time in my life. And one of the goals I set for myself at age 17 was to bulk up in size, by at least 3 stone (11.5 stone – 14.5 stone).

What really happened?

I reached that goal a few times in the past 10-12 years. Many ups and downs (Relationship dramas, stress from work and other things).

But the main reason why that goal didn’t go according to plan when I first set it, was because of bodybuilding mistake number one.

#1 Not Training For Your Sport

At age 16, I was still finding myself and part of that was getting my groove on with the opposite sex. So building a body of my dreams was a core goal of mine, as I of course knew, that could increase the attraction that I receive from women.

My trainer at the time knew this, and he smiled some what too, probably because he had been there and done that. But he did tell me specifically.

‘Shaun, stay away from weight training during this current phase of your athletic training. If you don’t, you may cause an imbalance which may lead to injury’

Now, I was a pretty dedicated athlete, but I was still a 16 year old youth who wanted to get into all the things that young men do. So yes I listened, but I failed to act on his words.

What happened next?

INJURY! – Dislocated shoulder (You can read the full story here)

Now, there is no real proof that my continuation of performing resistance based exercises whilst training for athletics was the cause of the injury, but the chances are… it was!

The worst part about this is that this injury still affected me years after it initially happened. And I can tell you now, if you are not strong minded, it can destroy you mentally… forever in some cases


S*** will happen to you in this life. How you deal with that s*** will determine the outcome of who you become.

However, all of what I went through can be avoided if you simply train for your sport. Even if you are not a pro and you just do that sport for fun (YFOW – Your fun off-day workout). Terminology from the workout routines in the unique bodyweight exercise ebook.

You should at least train based on

The movement patterns of that sport

This is especially the case during the pre-season of that sport, where the training you do strongly becomes tailored to the sport at hand.

The physical demands of that sport

For example

  • Long distance runners – Require endurance training
  • 100m Athlete – Explosive fast twitch focused training
  • Hockey player – Explosive strength/power and endurance

So as you can see, my dilemma is quite obvious. I was focusing on the above training for an athlete, yes. But I was also trying to build muscle mass at the same time and in the wrong season of my training. Don’t make that mistake.

Choose your sport specific training, commit to it, and try not to stray. Otherwise you’ll be like the Shaun Sinclair of 12 years ago!

Here’s an example of what most training programs should look like

Priority Training goal

Off season High Hypertrophy and maximal strength

Pre-season High/Medium Sport specific power and strength endurance

In-season Medium/Low Maintenance of power and strength endurance

Transition Low REST!

#2 Lifting Too Heavy A Weight For Your Current Strength

OK, we all know the rules for building muscle mass.

Lower the reps and increase the weight.


However, the mistake I see many people make (especially newbies), is that they go too heavy too soon.


I’m quite sure some of you reading this have made that mistake too. Now, I know you have probably heard this before, but I’ll remind you again.


Well, not the safe Stay-Fit Bug way.

Now get a pen, bookmark or print paper ready, because I’m going to show you how you should be lifting.

Warm up your muscles (Read this post to learn how)

  1. You choose a weight
  2. Make sure that you can lift and perform a single rep of that exercise WITH GOOD FORM.
  3. Use the same technique to determine your one rep max (Mainly for powerlifters)
  4. If you are training for strength or mass then yes, you should be training till failure. Although there are routines that do not require this, yet can give similar results. (Read the latest newsletter).
  5. The goal is to choose a weight where you will fail after performing a certain number of reps.
  6. Training for strength = 2 – 4 reps
  7. Training for strength and mass = 8 – 10 reps
  8. Training for endurance = 16 – 20 reps
  9. If the weight is too much, regardless of what the weight is… lower it! You probably aren’t ready for it yet. The change won’t come over night, so do yourself a favour and work towards consistency while steadily increasing the weight.
  10. Consume plenty of glutamine and green veggies

The Ultimate Shock Bodybuilding Supplement

The Caveman (No supplements) vs The 21st Century Man (Takes supplements)

Obviously how and what you lift will be goal specific and there are many variations to the above. But follow these rules and there should be no reason for you to face injury.


I have trained individuals for 5+ years after becoming a pro athlete and this is what has worked for many body types. Yes, there will be some variation around this, but it will mainly be goal specific.

#3 Neglecting Your Legs (Causes chicken leg syndrome)

Let’s start with some key facts

Your muscles are in use everyday. They move your body around… everyday. Which means the electric shock you are giving them won’t be high in voltage. We’ll have to crank it up.

We all know that the only way to do this is by adding resistance (Yes, primary school stuff). But for some reason guys just have a habit of neglecting their legs.

Now, the obvious reason is because your legs are a large muscle group and take a lot longer for one to start seeing ‘visible’ results. So… this leads to people giving up on building their leg muscles, which causes chicken leg syndrome and…

  • Muscle imbalance
  • Can affect flexibility, balance and performance in sports

And it just looks awful!

Oh and these individuals are also missing out on the opportunity to increase their metabolism. How?

Well it’s simply really…

Leg muscles = Large = More muscle mass = Muscle burns fat even when stationary

So make sure you don’t give up on your legs. Get into train insane mode and increase the voltage on your leg workouts.

Some starters…

The Only Way To Train Is To Train Insane

Chicken Legs Syndrome (part 2) How to beat it?

#4 Not Asking For Help In The Gym

I’m not sure how much of a problem this is on a global scale, but in some gyms, there is no ‘culture’ at all. Everyone’s a stranger in some cases. Now, the gym staff are there to help yes, but they can’t help everyone. No one knows it all when it comes to fitness and exercise and even the pros may get things wrong from time to time. We are human after all. So when you are in the gym, make sure you ask if in doubt about performing a certain exercise or about using a certain piece of gym equipment. I know this is cliché, but you really are better safe than sorry.

#5 Not Being Consistent

There are two scenarios I relate to when lack of consistency is concerned as a bodybuilding mistake.

1) Now that I’ve got result’s… it’s time to ease back

If you have not committed this bodybuilding crime then you are a liar!

There really is no better feeling than to wake up one day and realize that after all your months of hard work you are finally a chiseled beast…. really!

But once you get to that point, you naturally ease off on the triggers a little, just like the team who scores the first goal in the first half of a football game.

You start going out more, wearing clothes that show off your physique, showing off and all that other fun stuff. The problem then arises when you realize you’ve been doing too much of it! You head back to the gym, look in the mirror and scream :O

In shock of how much muscle mass you have lost. Now, this has happened to me a couple of times throughout my time in bodybuilding, so I know how much that feeling sucks. However, my reasons for slacking has always been down to stressful periods in my life and NOT because of showing off. Nevertheless, don’t make the mistake of slipping into this mind frame. If you do… BODYBUILDING FAIL!

2) This is hard and results are taking too long to come

OK, first…. let me give you a little frightening tip.

Your muscles start wasting away at the start of your twenties. In fact, slow twitch muscles don’t even account for half of the entire muscle mass of your body. That means most of you. Which also means you are all stuffed!! Life over.

Once your muscles have faded, it’s over.

Well, not quite.

A tip taken from this article..

How Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers Can Save The World!

So if you have decided to take the plunge and start working out, good on you. But if the above statement is anything to go by, you better just put some glue on your shoes and stick at it.

But seriously, giving up because results are taking too long is just a huge FAIL! You probably just need to make some changes to your current routine or diet. Read these posts

The Top 8 Reasons Why You’re Scrawny And The Other Dude Is Not!

The 4 Crucial Steps To Shred ‘Core’ Fat And Build Lean Muscle

And grab the Build a 6 pac : From flab to flat ebook to guide you along the way.

Consistency is what you need to succeed, and making fitness a lifestyle choice is the key to that consistency.


Plenty of YFOW (Your Fun Off-day Workouts)

I’ve included an advanced bodyweight workout routine in the latest update (version 3.0) of the Unique Bodyweight Exercise ebook.

30 day routine which includes YFOWs

#6 Training With An Injury

This is probably one of the worst things you can do… EVER!

The main reason why people carry on working out after sustaining an injury is probably because they don’t want to lose what they’ve built. This is understandable but not necessary, as it will take at least 4 weeks of doing absolutely no working out what so ever before you even start to lose any real muscle mass. 4 weeks… which could be plenty of time to rest those injured muscles.

If anything, just focus on isolation exercises (exercises that work one muscle group). But if the injury really is that bad, just rest. You only have one body. If you damage one part of it, it may be damaged for good. Living with regrets is not cool. Trust me… I’ve seen guys that were complete muscle heads face injuries that lead them to have no choice but to quit bodybuilding for good!

#7 Not Following Core Bodybuilding Diet Principles

I’m not going to go into to much detail here. You can read these two posts for that

The Caveman (No supplements) vs The 21st Century Man (Takes supplements)

The ‘DONE-FOR-YOU’ Hardgainers Workout Routine Plan/ Meal Plan

But one of the mistakes I see some people make is deciding to break the common bodybuilding diet rules one time too many!

Such as, not eating before a workout or not feeding their muscles after a workout. These antics can break you down faster than the time it took too build you up. And like my point about consistency (1) in #5, you will look in the mirror and literally kick yourself once you realize you have shrunk!

Break the rules, live your life, but moderate your rule breaking… otherwise you will cry.

#8 The Xmas Indulge

This point doesn’t have to be based on the Christmas season, which is right around the corner. It could be any festive season event.

  • Easter
  • Diwali
  • Eid
  • Thanks giving

When these special occasions do come around, you should do as you please. In fact, I encourage you too, because unlike most people, who treat fitness as an activity, you will be treating fitness as a lifestyle choice. Which means you are already accustomed to the mindset, the consistency, the built in habits etc.

Which means putting on a few pounds here and there over a few weeks really won’t do any real damage to your levels of fitness or goals you’ve set.

So if you aren’t already doing so, make fitness and bodybuilding a lifestyle choice. Sundays newsletter gives a fine example of exactly what I’m taking about here..

There are probably plenty of other mistakes that I could have listed here, but I think these are some of the most important ones to note. If you do have any other bodybuilding mistakes you would like to share, feel free to air them out in the comments. No one is perfect… myself included. And this website is a place that is designed to help all readers improve the quality of their fitness lifestyle. So air them out!

See you in the comments.

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