Experimentation is the essence and foundation of any great training philosophy. Success cannot be achieved without initial trial and error, and the manipulation of working components is what ultimately leads you to your desired effect. With that said, the genetic potential of any serious trainer will only be seen once the hurdles and barriers (in the form of mistakes) are overcome and put in the rear view. While twenty years may not seem like a long time to some, it has been the course of my journey on the iron path, and along the way, I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes. Let me share with you the top five “mistakes” I’ve made in my quest to achieve physical perfection (at least my version of it).
Lesson #1: Find a great spotter/training partner.
All too many times, when an injury occurs in the gym, it’s because the trainer has taken on a task too much for any individual to handle alone. The person you train with and trust to aid in your training should be just as knowledgeable as you are and perhaps even more so and should always be watching with injury prevention in mind. I realized this when one day I was incline bench pressing alone, worked my way up to my heavy sets and asked a stranger to spot me. To make a long story short, that person threw the weight off the rack at me when he was supposed to help me ease it off, and I ended up tearing both shoulders at the AC joint. Lesson learned!
Lesson #2: Quality over quantity…every time.
Establishing dominance in your local gym and self-appointing yourself as the alpha male can have its benefits. However, sacrificing your lifting form and range of motion to impress those around with how much you have piled on the bar, is a bad idea. I found this out very early on when leg pressing with far too much weight than what I was capable of handling at that time. I released the safeties, the weight came crashing down (even though I tried only to do what I would consider half reps now) and I was immediately introduced to my first lower back injury. Lesson learned!
Lesson #3: You can’t have one without the other.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t train as hard as I could. I can, however, remember when my nutrition was the pits. For a stretch of about four or five months, after I left home to live on my own, I was training like I’d never trained before. My gains were nowhere to be seen. I couldn’t figure it out as I hadn’t yet become versed in the importance, scheduling, and timing of nutrition and meals. That was when I met my first real bodybuilder, and he showed me the way. Over the next three months, I was able to put on a solid twenty pounds of muscle just simply by eating properly. Lesson learned!
Lesson #4: Not all training principles are created equal.
With so many conflicting opinions about which training methodology is best, and with the sheer number of new and old training principles available, it becomes very easy to get trapped in one that simply does not work, scientifically and practically. As with many young trainers influenced by a very popular bodybuilding movie and magazines, volume became my priority. It wasn’t until I discovered the concept of “intensity” and increased my loads and lowered my volume did I start to see exceptional gains in strength and size. When I discovered Max-OT, a whole new world opened up to me and gains like I had never seen before started rolling in. Lesson learned!
Lesson #5: Don’t cheap out on your supplements.
I have always been a proponent of supplement use to aid in training endeavors. I’ve tried lots of different products from different companies and even went as far as buying whey protein in bulk from a natural food store because it was cheap. That was probably the worst supplement mistake I’d ever made. Not only did the stuff not mix easily (who am I kidding, it didn’t mix at all) but I couldn’t leave my house for quite some time after ingesting it. The sickness I felt was like I had never experienced before. Now thankfully with AST Sports Science on my side and my favorite whey protein isolate of all time VP2 Whey Isolate, I can supplement accordingly knowing that digestion is never a concern and only good things will come of it. Lesson learned!
So there you have it. I understand the old saying, “live and learn” but sometimes I wish I could have skipped a couple of those learning curves along the way and saved myself a lot of pain and agony. The mistakes served as a reminder to me that to be the best, you have to learn from the best and proceed with the new knowledge gained from your experiences. Stick with AST Sports Science for all the training knowledge, product knowledge and top-notch supplements they offer and side step the mistakes I once made.