T Nation

Your Biggest Bodybuilding Fail?


1: Not ramping sets, thinking 5x10 meant 5 sets of the same weight for 10 reps, and that you only increased weight when you could get all sets fpr 10. wlcome to Stagnation, population, me. Thanks to professor X for clearing up that. Strangely, this is how alot of (small) people here train.

2: uncontrolled bulking, from 2000 to 6000 kcal from one day to the next. Welcome to Fatass, population, me.

3: Spending my teens hovering around 80 kg, not wanting to 'get fat'.


My mistakes....

  1. Training with slow reps.

  2. Using rep tempos.

  3. Using too little volume and frequency.

  1. TBT

  2. Not ramping

  3. No intensity (since I could get hurt!)

  4. Too much isolation

  5. Analysis-paralysis

  6. Not knowing anything about food

  7. Not realising my goals

  8. Not understanding the whys and the hows

  9. Starting too late

  10. Not buying noise-cancelling earphones.

Shit, I guess I just fail.


  • Not eating enough when I had 24/7 access to FREE, unlimited food :frowning:

  • Having two squat days and two deadlift days a week, going heavy (3-5's) each time, with not enough caloric surplus;

  • Never thinking of upping Kcal / sleep more when (nearly) all lifts began to stall;


Thinking that the one protein shake I was drinking a day was magical enough to make up for not eating enough protein, frequently enough throughout the rest of the day (of course I had no clue what 'enough' protein even meant at the time!)

Thinking that despite the fact that the scale never seemed to budge, that I would wake up one morning and all the work I had put in would suddenly yield some sort of physical evidence of growth.



Ha, I can add nearly all those to my list as well!


Neglecting legs for yearsssss


-Trying to outtrain a crappy diet

-Straining a muscle and not taking time to let it heal because I am "tough"


Lol Didnt we all coming in? "Yea i did Leg press, so my legs are good"

Lets see:

-neglecting legs early on.

-Trying to keep bf% low while building muscle for the first couple years. Resulted in SLLLLOOOOWWWW gains, and even when i came to the realization that i would not progress this way, every other day was a battle with the "ugh im putting on fat" hurdle.

-I probably still overtrain


Just focusing on the movement and weight on the bar, without any consideration on working or feeling the muscle.
Thinking low reps are the best for everything.
Eating a lot without realizing that my body needed more protein not necessarily more calories.
Not working biceps and other small muscle groups enough.


Focusing too much on bench/biceps early on, not doing shit for legs except running

Not eating enough

Deadlifting with high reps


Not training shoulders. And when I started I hated benching.


Trying to lift heavy through injuries.

Trying to stay way too lean

Trying to serve too many masters. Not picking a goal and going for it, trying to get better at everything all at once.

Not squatting and deadlfiting because they were "bad for you"

Wasting money on crap supplements

Dropping conditioning work when I quit playing sports


That "not eating enough" will hold back the progress of most of these newbs. nce I was in college, that was the one thing I did NOT have a problem with...and needless to say, massive calories and tons of hard work beyond average can make up for a shit load of failures in other places.

There were YEARS that I didn't get enough sleep, but my food intake and work ethic filled in the gaps even if I may have gained a little more body fat than I wanted.

The ends justify the means.


Reading a few Poliquin articles and believing its possible to substantially progress without carbs.


spending almost the entirety of my teens program hopping, not recording lifts, not working legs at all (still causing issues), spending far too much money on "the next creatine" supplements (beta ecdysterone wtf was i thinking) and the almighty calorie deficit that continues to this day. its fun to learn.


from 17-19 the gym was my only real form of exercise, i went there maybe 3-4x a week just for the sake of going. I wasn't consistant with anything at all.

I also didn't eat enough and worried too much about my workout program. Seriously, I had ADD over it, i'd write down perhaps 5 different workout routines a day and spent all my free time doing it.

Now it sickens me when guys come up with 'hm what routine should I use?' type questions.

I think it's best to only have a very rough idea what you are going to do on any given day and let your body decide on how many sets/reps you do.


Fat phobia, thus not eating enough. That was after I was eating almost everything, but not training with enough intensity an got too fat.


Thinking that just because I am naturally a toothpick I can eat close to 6k calories of complete crap and not put on fat.

Thinking I could gain a decent amount of muscle while simultaneously still winning my boxing matches.

Thinking that I was being a pussy when my body was telling me to take it easy and ended up pushing myself to injury.


1) not eating enough (protein at first, carbs latter) to steadily gain
2) weekend binge drinking for 2 years every Friday and Saturday night (I bet I'll get shit for this)
3) bulking with too many bad calories and too few meals
4) cuttting by following a gurus ultra low calorie pcf 306010 plan 1700 kcal (lost a good amount of muscle, gained perspective regarding how big I needed to get before cutting for me about 300lb at 6'3")
5) taking supps other than proteins, bcaa's, creatine monohydrate, fish oil, gluc/cond, vitamins/minerals, legal stimulants.