Top 10 Mistakes That Are Killing Your Gains

Your workout is excellent, but you don't achieve any result. Why?

1.Not Listening To Your Body

You need to listen to your body and what it's asking—or screaming at you.

You're scheduled to hit the gym for a big chest day today, but your triceps and front delts still ache from your last shoulder workout. You had mediocre sleep last night that left you feeling far less than energized. What do you do?

Many dedicated gym-goers will hit the gym anyway. They say there are some days you just have to push through. Which is true—to a point. There comes a time, though, when you're only stacking abuse on top of abuse.

You need to listen to your body and what it's asking—or screaming at you. Maybe it's saying that a day or two of straight-up, no-strings-attached rest is necessary.

2.Working Out on an Empty Stomach

The old theory used to be that you should train on an empty stomach in order to burn more fat. In fact, your body needs some glucose (blood sugar) for fuel in addition to what it can use from fat stores when you're working out. If you don't have any blood sugar available, your body can eat its own muscle tissue to get glycogen for fuel once it runs out of available blood sugar or glycogen stores. Low blood sugar will also make you tired and sluggish — and maybe even dizzy — during your training session.

Many studies show that working out on an empty stomach will make you perform worse and keep you from having an intense workout. I suggest you eat something 45 minutes to an hour before training — you'll have more energy and endurance to work harder, burn more calories, and improve your muscle tone. Quick healthy organic yogurt with berries, a banana, or spread a few tablespoons of natural almond butter on apple slices. 

3.Do not get enough sleep

Adults need between seven and nine hours’ sleep every night — and most of us don’t get enough. Sleep is vital for recovery, so if you’re in deficit you won’t have energy for daily life and exercise, your muscles won’t repair and grow, and you’ll be more likely to sustain an injury. You’ll also put on weight: sleep deprivation messes up your hormones and your brain’s reward centres, meaning you’re more likely to reach for salty, sugary, high-calorie foods the next day.

AlexDr0ps: “You feel better and more capable of proper exercise when you sleep enough. Whereas lifting on four hours of sleep is difficult.”


“What supplements should I take?”

“What should I eat post-workout?”

“How much protein should I eat to build muscle?”

While all these questions have their place, they aren’t the most important things to focus on in a muscle-building program.

Hitting your calorie requirements and macronutrient goals for the day are the big-ticket items that should be the majority of your focus.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many calories you take in post-workout if you don’t meet your calorie needs for the day.

Let’s say you need 2,800 calories per day to put you in a slight caloric surplus to gain weight and build muscle. You focus all your efforts on the exact formula necessary to take advantage of the post-workout anabolic window, eating 100 grams of carbohydrate and 25 grams of protein for a perfect 500-calorie post-workout meal.

However, you focus so much on that post-workout meal that you take in only 1,000 calories the rest of the day. That means you’re 1,300 calories under your daily total. Your muscles aren’t going to grow if you’re in that big of a caloric deficit.

To gain weight, you’ve got to be in a positive energy balance, taking in more calories via food and liquids than you expend via exercise and other activity.

To lose weight, you’ve got to be in a negative energy balance, expending more calories than you consume.If you want to put on some size, figure out your calorie requirements first. Let’s use the Mifflin equation.

For Men: Resting Metabolic Rate (in calories/day) = 10 (weight in kilograms) + 6.25 (height in centimeters) – 5 (age in years) + 5

For Women: RMR (in calories/day) = 10 (weight in kilograms) + 6.25 (height in centimeters) – 5 (age in years) – 161

Let’s say you’re a 20-year-old guy who’s 6 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds. To figure out your weight in kilograms, divide 160 by 2.2, which is approximately 72.6

5.Missing Out On The Big Lifts

Too often, we quantify our weaknesses purely in terms of size. "I'd like to add an inch to my arms," for instance, or "I wish my calves were bigger." So we approach the problem the same way we'd approach a bike with a flat tire: by pumping it up, in this case with isolation movements like preacher curls or calf raises.

Logical, right? But you build more overall muscle—and a surprising amount of site-specific muscle—by addressing big W: weakness. You should train to get stronger! Weighted pull-ups will do plenty for your arms, in addition to your back, abs, and overall strength. Heavy deadlifts hit your arms, calves, and pretty much everything else, while producing a rush of beneficial anabolic hormones and burning more calories than you probably realize.

6.Phoning it in

The intensity of your workout is crucial to burn fat. If you want results you need to give it your all. You give what you get! Forget about the "target fat burning zone". As I mentioned earlier, to get results fast intensity is key.

Get your heart rate up and working at 85 percent of your maximum. To calculate your maximum heart rate, if you're a woman, subtract your age from 220. If you're a man, subtract your age from 226. That number is your maximum heart rate in beats per minute. The ONLY time I give you permission to decrease the intensity is if you feel that you're working too hard to maintain proper form, which is a sure path to injury.

7.Cut back on alcohol

It’s easy for alcohol to become a major part of your life without even realising it — the occasional weeknight glass of wine becomes a glass every night, then half a bottle. Cutting back, or even quitting entirely, can have big and immediate benefits including better sleep, high energy levels, and weight loss (booze is a huge source of unnecessary calories).


In today’s technologically advanced society, you have no excuse to not know proper form.

You can find videos and articles all over the internet giving you detailed descriptions of exercise technique.

If you fail to perform the lifts correctly, you’re receiving literally no benefits from a workout. You can have every other aspect of your program – like sets, reps, volume and intensity – planned perfectly, but if you aren’t executing the lifts well, you’re not going to see any gains.

9.Overdoing Cardio To Stay Lean

A lot of people these days like to say you don't need cardio at all, and that simply setting foot on a treadmill or trail is going to cost you gains and leave you skinny-fat. I'm not of those people. Cardio can have a place in most programs, but it's definitely possible to overdo it, particularly if you do hours of it every week in order to "stay lean" while trying to bulk. That's a big no-no if you're trying to add muscle.

First, overdoing cardio training can dramatically decrease your total force generation capacity, which may mean you don't have the energy to produce the growth stimulus you need during your lifting session. Remember, it's TUT that really pushes muscles to grow, and you need energy to produce it. And if you're eating to build muscle, you especially need to maximize your strength training. Otherwise, you set yourself up to add fat where muscle should be.


Unless you want to add a bunch of fat, you have no business entering a bulking phase if your body fat isn’t already around 10 or 12 percent.

You need to focus on getting lean first.

Decreasing body fat percentage increases testosterone levels and increases insulin sensitivity.

If you have a body fat percentage that’s too high (i.e. you don’t have visible abs), you won’t be able to use insulin efficiently. Many experts believe fat around the waist is a major cause of insulin resistance, a condition in which your muscle, liver and fat cells won’t be able to absorb glucose from the bloodstream (Insulin Resistance and Diabetes).


Looking for workout clothes, check out our fitness and yoga leggings page.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published