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5 Muscle-Building Mistakes To Avoid

Most guys make at least one of these 5 muscle-building mistakes. Don’t be one of them.

Here’s the sad reality for most guys: You can train a few times per week, eat healthy food and still struggle to build muscle and lose fat.

Trust me, I know.

When I first started working out, I almost gave up. Despite investing hundreds of hours lifting weights, I had little to show for it. After months of frustration, I was ready to call it quits.

Luckily, I got help. Learning from coaches and mentors, I gained over 40 pounds of muscle and completely changed my life.

Now it’s your turn.

5 Muscle-Building Mistakes (And solutions)

MISTAKE #1. YOU DON’T EAT Enough Food.

Every guy tells us that he “eats a lot” but still can’t gain weight. We even said the same thing for years. But guess what? If you’re not as muscular as you want to be, you aren’t eating nearly enough.

Most skinny guys have a metabolism akin to a hummingbird hooked on trailer park meth. To combat your crazy-fast metabolism, you simply have to eat more food than you’re eating now. 

At the height of his S2B journey, Tom (pictured below) was eating a Muscle Breakfast, Muscle Lunch, Muscle Dinner, and drinking three healthy, calorie-packed Super Shakes per day. Now that’s eating big. And it translated to 33 pounds of muscle.

So how much are you eating every day? Are you keeping track? You don’t have to count calories, but you do have to stuff your face with healthy food multiple times per day. And we recommend you start with the Super Shake. (See below.)

Tom learned how to eat big and gained 33 pounds in the S2B Coaching Program.

MISTAKE #2. YOU Don’t Stick To one workout program

Skinny guys take the old bodybuilding colloquialism “keep your body guessing” to absurd lengths. But guys who get great results understand they only have to do two simple things:

  • Pick a program that’s made for them (a guy who wants to add muscle)
  • Follow the program for at least two months

Most skinny guys never build muscle because they’re too impatient to actually stick with a workout routine. That’s why in the S2B coaching program, our clients can track their progress throughout the year and stay motivated.

Here you can track your workouts, motivating you to stick with a program that actually works.

MISTAKE #3: YOU COLLECT TOO MUCH INFORMATION.

You read a couple articles on working out and nutrition every day, but you’re hit or miss when it comes to making it to the gym or eating enough healthy food.

This was Kalin’s problem before he became an S2B client.

He read so many fitness and nutrition articles, Kalin had the illusion that he was actually making good gains. After all, he knew a bunch of stuff about working out.  But when he looked in the mirror, he just saw the same scrawny guy.

We call this “analysis paralysis”. It’s where you get so used to reading fitness articles you forget to actually do what the articles suggest. And there’s a very simple way to fix it.

Kalin learned how to get rid of analysis paralysis and gained 28 pounds in the S2B Coaching Program.

MISTAKE #4. YOU DON’T MEASURE PROGRESS.

The easiest way to stay skinny is to never track your stats or measure your progress.

That’s why successful guys measure things like:

  • how much weight they lifted in the gym
  • how many meals they eat

The guys in our coaching program also step on the scale every week and take monthly progress photos. Why? The more things you measure, the more progress you’ll see.

Didn’t increase your weight on the scale but added 1/2 an inch to your chest? You’d never know if you didn’t measure.

Measuring your progress and keeping track of your workout and nutrition “stats” helps show you what you need to do to keep getting results.

Week keep track of the important stuff so you can keep making progress.

MISTAKE #5. YOU DON’T HAVE A MENTOR OR SOCIAL SUPPORT.

You don’t get thrown into a calculus class and expect to pass, especially if you don’t know how to do calculus. Instead, you have a teacher. With their help, you figure out how to do the work, and ace the class.

That’s why guys who don’t know how to build muscle will save themselves months of frustration by finding a teacher to help show them the way.

It’s also why Calvin decided to work with us. Even though he was a former college athlete, he still needed a coach to push him and hold him accountable. (And he ended up gaining 40 pounds of muscle and winning $10,000.)

Having a mentor or an awesome training partner will help you:

  • go to the gym consistently
  • push yourself on hard exercises
Plus you’ll have someone to share the experience with you.

Calvin got the coaching he needed in the S2B Coaching Program, gaining 40 pounds and winning $10,000 along the way.

WHAT TO DO Next

After each mistake above, we gave you a proven solution. But if you tried to follow all of those at one time, you’d probably get frustrated and fail. Suddenly, you’d be back to where you started.

Instead of overloading yourself, pick any habit from the list below and follow that for the next two weeks. After that, move on to another and another until you’re following every habit consistently.

    • Go on a one-week fitness media fast.
    • Drink 3 Super Shakes every day.
    • Pick a program that was written for your goal and stick to it.
    • Keep a workout journal and track your weight on the scale.
    • Train with a mentor or group of like-minded guys with similar goals.
Do those 5 things and you’ll be ahead of 99% of guys who try to build muscle.

About the Author: Nate Green is the Program Director for Scrawny To Brawny. You can find him on Facebook or Google+.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Mychal/9352823 Anthony Mychal

    Good stuff, Nate. I just hope people don’t overlook these things. They seem so simple, but are what everyone needs.

  • john

    Hey Nate,
    Great as always. Number one for me is the one I deal with most often. ‘I eat loads’, well then, loads isn’t enough!

    One thing I will ask. Your S2B program states quite clearly how much food you need to get through in a day based on the palm, fist etc. What about guys who are already much larger than they started? Is there an easy guide there too? Personally I just eat loads all the time!

    JU

    PS I wrote you an email when I read your big to small to big again book. It wasn’t till after I sent it that I realised you probably get thousands a day!

    • http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/about#nate-green Nate Green

      Hey John -

      When you say “already much larger” do you mean guys who’ve already gained a fair amount of muscle or guys who are starting off with more body fat?

      • Kevin

        HAH! I must be eating TOO much. In less than 2 months, I’ve gained about 4kg of muscle, but also 3-4kg of fat. Now, I realize that ‘muscle’ is really also carbs etc, but still..

        Then again, I know it’s because I don’t do enough HIIT. Why? Work takes it outta me – hoping to get transfered closer.

      • John

        Hi Nate, thanks for taking the time.
        The first one. Ive been weight training for six years now since I stopped boxing and I’ve put on 100lbs (45kg, do Canadians use metric?). Ive pretty much stayed at 245lbs for a year now.

        For reference, Im eating ~4500kcals a day, split 40/30/30 Protein/carbs/fats, give or take the odd day.
        Cheers,
        John

  • https://twitter.com/#!/PeterCurcioRD Peter Curcio

    Dig it, Nate. I can only imagine the general knee-jerk reaction to a 7-day media fast, but it sounds like a solid idea.

  • Andrew

    Great article Nate. I wonder how you people deal with “skinny fats” I can get lean I can get strong but no hypertrophy. Anytime I began to eat more to gain size I just get fat. If I increase them gradually i see NO weight increase after weeks of increasing them slowly. Any insights on this?

  • http://starfactoryfitness.com/ Conor

    Awesome post Nate. I’ve fallen victim to almost every one of those points in the past but luckily have learned from them.

  • Adam

    Always a good read Nate! Great to see you on the comments too.

    Thanks for the advice!

  • Vic

    Hey Nate, great post. I have a couple of questions. What is your take on pre and post workout nutrition and should you eat the same amount on non training days?

    • http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/about#nate-green Nate Green

      Hey Vic!

      Good question; one strategy we use in the S2B Coaching Program is calorie cycling. Depending on your Gainer Status (which we determine in the program), you’d eat more or less carbohydrates and calories on specific days to maximize muscle gain and curb fat gain.

      So the simplified answer is, no, we don’t normally eat the exact same amount on training and non-training days. (Then again, it’s up to the specific client and what the coach thinks will benefit him the most.)

      And we love post-workout nutrition, though we use different methods for different clients.

  • Julien

    Great article Nate like usual I can say. I am french guy and we have nothing like your blog on our market. So it’s always a pleasure to discover new advices from you even if my english is not so perfect. I am an ectomorph and I try to gain weight, around 10 kgs and I realize I accumulate these 5 mistakes…. The most challenging for me is to find a good workout program for me. There is so much information about it, so much workouts that at the end I find myself lost… Should I simply choose of them randomly and do it ? In your S2B Coaching Program, do you give workouts ? Do we need at gym to make them ? Thanks for all Nate

    • http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/about#nate-green Nate Green

      Hey Julien!

      Yep, we have a 12-month progressive workout program as part of the S2B Coaching Program. And while you don’t absolutely have to have a gym membership, it does help.

      Have you signed up for the presale list yet? I recommend you check it out:
      http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/s2b-presale-list

      -Nate

      • Julien

        Thanks Nate !

        Can’t wait to discover your program.
        It’s a good thing that is not an obligation to go all the time at the gym because I travel a lot and it’s not always possible.

        Just a question about nutrition.
        Do you give advices about what to eat inside your program ?
        If yes, do you do it in an healthy way ? Or do you have plan for special regimen like gluten-free ?

  • Sid

    hey Nate, i have a question. What is your take on the “not training legs for the Hollywood look” phenomena? i am a skinny guy, but my hips have this curved look(almost feminine i’d say) , so I’m worried if i train my legs too much, my legs would look “curvy”. Thanks.

    • http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/about#nate-green Nate Green

      Hey Sid –

      It sounds like you’re describing anterior pelvic tilt. (Or, as we call it, stripper ass.) Does your butt stick out like the first posture photo here: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/the-2-step-body-upgrade

      If so, training your legs will actually help quite a bit as you likely have weak glute and hamstring muscles and tight hip-flexor muscles.

      If you haven’t yet signed up for our 5 Day Free Muscle-Building Course, go do that now. There’s a free workout program on Day 3 that will really help you.

      -Nate