T Nation

Fear of Being Wrong

Reading more than a few threads here I have come to the view that what holds people back a lot is a failure to admit your approach maybe wrong or at the very least not optimal to overall gains. Its a brave person to admit that years of training or diet stategy may have been not the right approach so my question is anyone out there willing to admit an about face regarding methods they used in training or diet?

I can bravely admit I got all weird about carbs for a while, and bought into the “you don’t need isolation moves” dogma too.

Live and learn I guess.

[quote]steven alex wrote:
Reading more than a few threads here I have come to the view that what holds people back a lot is a failure to admit your approach maybe wrong or at the very least not optimal to overall gains. Its a brave person to admit that years of training or diet stategy may have been not the right approach so my question is anyone out there willing to admit an about face regarding methods they used in training or diet?
[/quote]

Sure, but I don’t see a reason to be this harsh, at least as far as training goes. I used to think heavy compounds were the beast way to go, but I didn’t get much definition. But when I started doing isolation exercises, I don’t think they would’ve been effective without that strength foundation from heavy compounds. Its not that my first approach was completely wrong, but it was an approach that I would have to switch away from eventually.

Don’t get me wrong I still do heavy compound training cycles sometimes. I just switch it up from time to time. I think its best to just never think “I am doing the one correct training method right now” and instead experiment a bit to see what works for you.

Also, I have made A LOT of stupid diet mistakes.

It’s the difference between those who progress year to year v. those who never seem to.

I can admit that I wasted ten years on HIT training because it worked for the first few months.

[quote]steven alex wrote:
Reading more than a few threads here I have come to the view that what holds people back a lot is a failure to admit your approach maybe wrong or at the very least not optimal to overall gains.
[/quote]

I agree. Almost all people suck, including me, at becoming aware of their shortcomings (and I mean REALLY aware - there are different levels of awareness) and actually doing something about it.

[quote]steven alex wrote:
Its a brave person to admit that years of training or diet stategy may have been not the right approach so my question is anyone out there willing to admit an about face regarding methods they used in training or diet?
[/quote]

Well, I was a good example of the delusional permabulker who thought he was much more muscular than he actually was, because he looked “big” in clothes.

However, the terrible thing is that to this day I haven’t REALLY embraced the urgency to eradicate that past mistake and get ripped.

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
It’s the difference between those who progress year to year v. those who never seem to. [/quote]

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
I can admit that I wasted ten years on HIT training because it worked for the first few months.[/quote]

SMH. My first 30 LBS of LARD just flew off doing HIT a few years ago. Never thought I’d need to “train like a meat-head” to have a nice body. Boy was I wrong. Now playing catch up with the 20 y/o’s that knew better.

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
I can admit that I wasted ten years on HIT training because it worked for the first few months.[/quote]

similarly i wasted 1.5 years on HIT cause it worked for about 4 months. then i eventually gave up and quit cause i thought i’d reached my ‘genetic potential’.

since coming back to weight training, I’ve dwarfed my previous ‘genetic potential’ without ever going near 1 set to failure (or failure at all if i can help it). I’ll admit though that i’m not very muscular and still have a ways to go to achieve my goals.

-pretty my entire time spent training was a waste up until the last year, as I was never consistent till that point

-not tracking my macros is extremely suboptimal, and I would’ve gained less fat and more muscle if I did that the entire last year. I don’t track everything extremely well as I live at home and don’t cook/measure many of my meals, so I’m sure when I get to that point it’ll be far better than what I do now.

I haven’t even been lifting that long and I have been wrong a thousand million times haha.

I agree with you though, I think that at a certain point, ego is what holds a lot of people back. Obviously things like consistency, work ethic, a basic understanding of programming and diet and rest are important for a beginner. But a lot of intermediate guys have made a lot of great progress, but can’t get away from their ego’s and that holds them back. Sometimes that can be (as you said), in the form of doing the same thing that just doesn’t work, and not being able to see that it’s time to try something new. Sometimes it can be having shitty form on certain lifts that is holding back your strength, but not being willing to take the huge hit to your strength that fixing that shitty form will require. And sometimes it can be something as simple as always “testing” your strength, instead of doing what it necessary to build it. Because building strength doesn’t stroke the ego nearly as well.

I have made many mistakes. Trying to do too many things at once, for example - when I started lifting, I was also crossfitting, and I pretty much sucked at everything until I started focusing on lifting more. I made the mistake of bailing on a program that I was getting good gains on, and then spinning my wheels for a while. I made the mistake of getting caught up in advanced programming techniques, when I was still VERY much a beginner. And, most recently, I have been working to correct the mistake of ALWAYS feeling like I have to go balls out in the gym. Whenever I would have a bad day lifting, my primal urge was to just DO MORE haha, which just made me worse and mentally made me sad. Recently, I have been really trying to be patient with my lifting, pushing on good days and allowing myself to take it easier on bad days, and it has been paying dividends.

I definitely think I have an advantage though, because I have never been very good at lifting haha. My ego doesn’t get in the way very often because i pretty much have an incredibly hard time getting bigger and stronger. But, because I have been able to admit that I was wrong time and time again., I have really started to figure out what works best for me, and move forward slowly but steadily. And years down the line, I think that will definitely pay off.

[quote]giograves wrote:

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
I can admit that I wasted ten years on HIT training because it worked for the first few months.[/quote]

SMH. My first 30 LBS of LARD just flew off doing HIT a few years ago. Never thought I’d need to “train like a meat-head” to have a nice body. Boy was I wrong. Now playing catch up with the 20 y/o’s that knew better.[/quote]
Tough to hang with something as long as it is working, and then chunk it aside when it stops.
How fast did the first 30 fly off? Did gains abruptly stop?

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:

[quote]giograves wrote:

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
I can admit that I wasted ten years on HIT training because it worked for the first few months.[/quote]

SMH. My first 30 LBS of LARD just flew off doing HIT a few years ago. Never thought I’d need to “train like a meat-head” to have a nice body. Boy was I wrong. Now playing catch up with the 20 y/o’s that knew better.[/quote]
Tough to hang with something as long as it is working, and then chunk it aside when it stops.
How fast did the first 30 fly off? Did gains abruptly stop?[/quote]

30 Lbs in under a year without much thought to diet other than lay off fast food and late night binging.

When the smoke cleared the scale told me awesome stuff, my clothes did too, but the mirror didn’t. I was…skinny fat.

But at the time HIT worked!! I dropped into the weight class I needed to compete in Judo. I just stuck with that style of training for many years after that even though I quit the arts. Now I look back at all the tabata, BB complexes, interval and timed heavy bag stuff I did near the “meatheads”, thought I was impressing them with my conditioning. HAHAHAHA “I could put you in an arm bar!!” They were likely laughing at me.

Shrug

[quote]N.K. wrote:
I haven’t even been lifting that long and I have been wrong a thousand million times haha.

I agree with you though, I think that at a certain point, ego is what holds a lot of people back. Obviously things like consistency, work ethic, a basic understanding of programming and diet and rest are important for a beginner. But a lot of intermediate guys have made a lot of great progress, but can’t get away from their ego’s and that holds them back. Sometimes that can be (as you said), in the form of doing the same thing that just doesn’t work, and not being able to see that it’s time to try something new. Sometimes it can be having shitty form on certain lifts that is holding back your strength, but not being willing to take the huge hit to your strength that fixing that shitty form will require. And sometimes it can be something as simple as always “testing” your strength, instead of doing what it necessary to build it. Because building strength doesn’t stroke the ego nearly as well.

I have made many mistakes. Trying to do too many things at once, for example - when I started lifting, I was also crossfitting, and I pretty much sucked at everything until I started focusing on lifting more. I made the mistake of bailing on a program that I was getting good gains on, and then spinning my wheels for a while. I made the mistake of getting caught up in advanced programming techniques, when I was still VERY much a beginner. And, most recently, I have been working to correct the mistake of ALWAYS feeling like I have to go balls out in the gym. Whenever I would have a bad day lifting, my primal urge was to just DO MORE haha, which just made me worse and mentally made me sad. Recently, I have been really trying to be patient with my lifting, pushing on good days and allowing myself to take it easier on bad days, and it has been paying dividends.

I definitely think I have an advantage though, because I have never been very good at lifting haha. My ego doesn’t get in the way very often because i pretty much have an incredibly hard time getting bigger and stronger. But, because I have been able to admit that I was wrong time and time again., I have really started to figure out what works best for me, and move forward slowly but steadily. And years down the line, I think that will definitely pay off. [/quote]

i have done all of the things you have. I wish I could go back a year and tell myself to not use conjugate programming and just use a 5x5 or 5/3/1 method.

Oh sure, I will admit my mistakes.
For starters, I overate. I was terrified of not gaining weight, sometimes gaining as much as 3 kg a month, on an average year. The diet was rich in protein, but the carbs and fats were pretty poor. Ultimately, I ended up having to shed 70 pounds over 18 months and I was still 10 pounds short of a sixpack.

The thing is, I probably could have gained just as much muscle and strength from 1 kg a month, and then I could have spent a year doing hypertrophy work instead of continuing weightloss. If I had taken the time to monitor my diet more carefully, that wouldn’t have happened.

Also, I was doing very little isolation work since the trend at the time seemed to be about “basic strength” “compound movements” and all that stuff. I ended up pretty assymetric, with big arms and a tiny chest. By this time I realised that everything had to be analyzed, seen in perspective and individualized.

Also, I learned about periodizing your training far too late. I was furiously stuck for the longest time, and I was clueless about what to do about it.

So yeah, made some idiotic mistakes, but life is not over just yet… :slight_smile:

I have no problems in admitting I was wrong on anything, whether it be exercise, nutrition, behavior, beliefs, work, or whatever else.

Here are some things I got wrong. Most are related to one another.

  1. Failing to think for myself.
  2. Believing gurus don’t lie.
  3. Believing gurus are infallible.
  4. Believing gurus are never wrong.
  5. Believing gurus don’t do dumb shit with themselves or clients.
  6. Following programs and not templates.
  7. Believing it’s not good to eat carbs at night unless I trained.
  8. Believing eating appreciable amounts of fats and carbs in the same meal is bad.
  9. Believing several so-called naturals were actually natural and in turn believing I could have a physique rivaling theirs.
  10. Over bulking and believing that over bulking was beneficial.

[quote]BrickHead wrote:

  1. Believing eating appreciable amounts of fats and carbs in the same meal is bad.

[/quote]

After reading alot of Nate M’s work, I really went hard with this “principle” but as diciplined as I am, just made it hard to hit macros for the day. Then after a while I noticed it didnt make the slightest difference in body composition for me.

I guess for “contest lean” it would potentially be a difference maker.

Lots of good responses here. For me, a tricky conundrum for the fear of being wrong is when you need to admit that what you’re doing is not working, but can be tricked into believing that you’re just not being patient enough. In bodybuilding and many other things, for a lot of people it takes time, consistency and patience. A lot of times, especially for natties, progress is seen over a longer period of time and not in a quick flash - so there had better be some form of progress gauging happening whenever you’re on a program or whatever.

So, as important as it is to reflect on your mistakes, learn and move on, at the same time I believe it’s also important to really be patient and spend a significant period of time giving something a chance before it can be deemed useful OR ineffective.

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
I can admit that I wasted ten years on HIT training because it worked for the first few months.[/quote]

HOLY SHIT 10 years!

it atleast worked a little bit over the 10 years right? I can’t imagine someone lifting for 10 years and not looking pretty impressive even if their program sucked as long as they were dedicated and ate well.