5 Mistakes That Limit Your Muscle Gains: Part 4-B

In my last blog post I discussed how lack of consistency will cost you big time in your efforts to build muscle and lose fat.  I described how most interventions (exercise and nutrition) take some time to assess their effectiveness.

Today I am going to give you a specific example in my training career, I hope you can learn something from my mistakes.

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Key point: Never stop learning and experimenting and Give Each Program Time!

I trained for 4 years using a high frequency training approach early in my career.  This was before any real science was available, and in fact we don’t have much today either.  So if you are hanging your hat on science I am afraid you don’t have a lot.

At that time, I thought high frequency training was the best way to train.  I was training 2 times per day, 6 days per week, and trained each muscle group 3 times per week (9-12 sets per muscle group).  I was always exhausted and making very little progress.  However, I was doing what I thought was best for my progress to achieving my goal of WNBF Pro Status.

More is better, right??  Or is it?

At one of my earlier competitions,  I met a competitor who encouraged me to train each muscle group once per week, cutting my training days to 4 days per week.  I did not believe this approach could be effective and looked for every reason possible for this new method to NOT work or at least be inferior to the program I was following.

I searched the literature and no one had any real answers as to the most appropriate frequency of training for hypertrophy.

So I went in the gym and gave this method a try for a month or so and after the first month abandoned program.  I thought a month was long enough to give this lower frequency approach a chance.

Can you believe that, I gave the program a month??  Which meant each muscle group was only trained 4 times….  Really, could I accurately measure the effectiveness, and how did I even know if It was producing a positive result?

Now, I clearly see that a month is not near the time necessary to assess the effectiveness of this program or any program.  I immediately went back to my normal high frequency training (my comfort zone).

Did I miss out on some gains that might have occurred from my lack of discipline and consistency in applying the lower frequency approach, this fellow competitor suggested?

I continued on with the high frequency, high volume, training program for a few more years, when finally a great friend encouraged me to give the one time per week approach another try.  This time I committed myself to 6 months of consistent effort, to this lower muscle group frequency approach.

Sure enough, I did gain lean mass as evident by an increase in competition weight at my next show the following year.

If only I had given this lower frequency program a consistent effort, over a number of months, before passing judgment during my first experiment with it. This experience was very valuable in my development both physically and mentally as a natural bodybuilder.

Being stubborn and lacking courage left me following an unbalanced high frequency approach that probably cost me at least 5 years of no gains and considerable frustration.

I am not writing this to emphasize that high frequency training is ineffective as I do believe higher frequency training can work and is very effective.  In fact, my new manual Leave No Doubt Volume 2 (LND V2)  is a high frequency training approach.

However,  I realize now I was trying to perform too many sets along with not enough recovery time for high frequency training to be effective.

Give every training program or nutritional intervention Consistent effort for a number of weeks before passing judgment.  Do not make decisions based on how you feel.  Make decisions based on facts, increases in lean mass or decreased bodyfat through good assessment tools.   I strongly recommend taking girth measurements, as skinfolds and other assessment tools can be very misleading.  Outside of a DXA scanner I think girth measurements may be your best bet, of course pictures are a tremendous tool as well 🙂

This story illustrates that consistent effort is vital to assessing the benefits of any program.  Give your best consistent effort to every training and dietary approach you attempt for a period of time.

I advise giving any training program at least 3 months of consistent effort.  Do not change your program every week looking for something wrong with your current plan, letting doubt creep in.

Attack each plan with confidence knowing that you are going to be a better athlete and student of your own body through the experience.  Be consistent and take measurements.  Eventually, the answers will come to you, but the time necessary is usually longer than you think.

Leave No Doubt Training is:  “Laser Focused Muscle Building”  No Fluff just real training to help you achieve your best Naturally!!

P.S. Agree, Disagree?  I would love to hear your comments.

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