Over the course of 2014 I discussed quarterly training and nutrition items that I have incorporated to further my progress. Now I am going to take a look back at the mistakes I personally made and will share them with you so that you learn from them.
Pushing Too Fast
I competed in late 2013 and began my off-season shortly thereafter. I was very regimented in my training, nutrition, and logging of progress. I had steadily gained at least .25 pound of weight each week for the first 20 weeks. I had remained pretty lean, full abs at about 8% body fat. At that point I decided to push a little harder by increasing calories and training frequency to get a quick growth spurt. Calories were increased by about 800 and training was increased from 4 sessions to 6 per week. This was not a good idea.
8 weeks later I was up roughly 7 pounds. Looking back most of it was fat and I also had a pretty good case of tendonitis for a couple months. For the rest of 2014 I was left trying to get my body back to a place I was happy with. I now realize I should have stayed satisfied with the small incremental gains and rode the course until they halted.
As mentioned above, for the early part of 2014 I pushed the weight up. For the latter part I tried to get back to a more reasonable body fat for my body type. This year I am using more of a gain phase followed by a mini diet. Don’t take this out of context thinking a gain phase is an all you can eat bulk. I truly believe in staying within close range to your stage weight. A 4-6 week growth phase, followed by a 2-4 week pullback, is much more beneficial for my body type than a long term gain phase. The 2-4 week diet phase allows the body to sensitize itself to insulin again after a surplus of carbs and calories have made you slightly resistant. An approach like this will allow for steady lean gains.
Using The Correct Exercises
In bodybuilding there is not certain exercises that we have to do. Not every exercise is suited for everyone. After a couple years of constantly repeating certain exercises that I either did not feel or that injuries occurred from, I decided to dismiss them from my program. Sometimes doing this is extremely hard. Certain exercises become associated as essential to have if you wish to attain progress in certain body parts. Example: Bodybuilding folklore states that you must squats if you want big legs. As a result, you feel you have to do them.
In 2014 I was fairly successful at using exercises that I thought were the most beneficial for me. For legs I did remove regular heavy back squats. In the past few years they have caused me debilitating knee pain. In replacement I would use a variation like front smith machine squats or just a higher rep range. Removing a regular heavy back squat has not impacted my leg size this year, but I can tell you this is the best my knees have felt in 3 years. For chest I needed to modify incline barbell bench press. I had no issues with the movement, but I would not feel the muscle working. In fact, I could go as far as to say I almost always lost any pump I had during this movement. In exchange for this movement I opted for a regular bench press, but I would elevate the back end of the bench with a couple weight plates. This would create a very small inclination and allow this movement to be much more effective for me. As of the last 3 months I have been using the regular incline bench press. Every week I tell myself I need to stop. I will make sure this doesn’t continue.
The takeaway here is to use movements that work for you. A movement that injures you or that you cannot connect with is not of benefit in anyway to you. Don’t be stubborn.
Although 2014 was probably not perfect for any of us, we can all consider it practice for 2015. The great thing about physique sports is that every day is a trial and error of what works and doesn’t work for us. The goal for 2015 is to retain the processes that work best for you and discard those that don’t. The best is yet to come!
…Stay Strong, Stay True.
About the Author
Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years.
It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.
Please follow Marc on his journey of continued progress by following him on his website at SnyderAthletics.com , facebook at www.facebook.com/NPCMarcSnyder and twitter at www.twitter.com/SnyderMarcA. He post his daily lifestyle tips on these feeds for you to access and utilize in your health and fitness journey.