Hey everyone, just had the urge to rant about some of the important lessons that I've learned on my own and some of the important things that I've learned from guys like X and Stu. It would be great to have everyone add some of the important things that they've learned as well.
What you do in the gym is much less important than how you do it.
Just because you are training to get stronger, doesn't necessarily mean you are training to get bigger. That's not to say that you won't get bigger; in order to grow you really have to feel the muscle go to the point of being as fatigued as physically possible, not just the point of psychological failure.
With that being said... there is more than one way to skin a cat. So if what you're doing is truly working for you then stick with it, just don't close your ears to those who know more than you.
Your body is a machine, and it will tell you when you need to take it easy and when you can train to the point where you worried you may faint. Not every training session will be excellent, but I feel like if I have a few sub-par training sessions in a row that my body is telling me to take a few days to really get my sleep in check and make sure I'm getting enough calories in.
You don't have to think of your training week as a 7 day work week, your training schedule needs to be based on what allows you to train as frequently and as intensely as possible, while being fully recovered. Currently I'm experimenting with a 6-way split, 3 days on 1 day off. Previously doing a 6-way split with only Sunday off, I felt like I was dragging in the gym come Thursday and Friday, so I added an extra day off, but turning training week into and 8 day week.
Don't try to do too much at one time; trying to get bigger, stronger, leaner and faster all at once will leave you spinning your wheels. In addition, the plan of trying to getting "hot abs" one month, going on an all out fast food diet in attempt to put on 30 pounds of muscle the next month and repeating for a year will most likely leave you exactly where you were a year ago.
Onto food... you've gotta eat to grow. You need adequate protein AND calories to grow; the 3 pounds of chicken breast and broccoli diet will not put on muscle mass. The occasional cheese burger never hurt anyone when trying to put on size, hell even the more than occasional burger is fine in my eyes.
If you're trying to put on size, unless you're Phil Heath, you will have to forget about you're six-pack for a while. That does not mean you have to turn into a fat tub of lard, if you do you are more than likely training with no intensity and/or eating 6 pizzas a day.
If you have too much fat, putting on any more muscle will become very difficult because your fat will gobble up the calories. So a month or two of getting your diet in check trying to lose some fat is suggested, a la X's concept of damage control.
That's it for now, just felt like ranting. If you want to add some of your own ideas or if you want to flame me, go ahead.