40 Mistakes People Make leading up to a Contest / Vacation / Special Event!

1. Not creating great habits from day 1.

Getting lean is EASY… once you’ve created the necessary habits.

Stay extremely diligent and focused for the first 4 weeks of any new nutrition protocol and create the habits necessary for success. It may be tough at first, but those first 4 weeks are the most important to your success. Saying “NO” to cheat meals, missing workouts, missing meals, not getting enough sleep, etc. As much as it may seem that your goal is far off at the start, this is the most important time for your long term success.

Make a few small sacrifices from the start, and the journey will be much less stressful, it will simply be a habit.

2. Not being concerned with your health as well as appearance.

If your body is healthy, it will function much better, feel better, recover better, and your mind will be more clear. Too many people are only focused on looks.

3. Overdoing it.

More is not better. Better is better. Strategic progression is better. Work hard, work smart, and don’t beat your body into the ground. If you do, your mind will also find itself digging out from a trench. Stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed are inevitable.

4. Limiting food choices.

Variety when dieting is vital. So many foods have essential nutrients necessary for basic body function. It;s especially important to rotate proteins and fats. Variety will also prevent binging. Give yourself some choices and you will enjoy your food more.

5. Not eating a variety of proteins.

As above, eating ONLY egg whites and chicken breast is a recipe for disaster. Your body needs a variety of amino acids to function, detox, produce neurotransmitters, etc. Wild meats have the best nutrient profiles and, despite what most people will have you believe, you can get lean eating red meat.

6. Eliminating fats.

Fats will not make you fat. Your body needs fats to survive and flourish. Use them wisely. Variety is a good idea here as well. A well balanced nutrition plan has plenty of omega 3, 6, 9, MCTs, and even saturated fat.

7. Not optimizing sleep.

If you train, you must recover. If you’re not sleeping 8 hrs on average, assume that your body isn’t recovering and your cortisol is constantly elevated. Bad news.

8. Not varying cardio method.

Different cardio works different muscles. Doing the same thing over and over will get boring, and will also lose its effectiveness quickly. Variety will help tighten and tone additional muscles, as well as conditioning them for your weight training sessions.

Not varying cardio method

9. Not varying cardio routine/intensity.

The goal of any cardio plan is to shock the body by subjecting it to something it’s never done before. This will get results the fastest. Too many newbies take this to mean you must do MORE, when it simply means you must do something different. Work hard, not necessarily longer.

10. Not strategically progressing your workouts.

On a 12 week prep, plan to make things harder each week. Just slightly. Add in volume, decrease rest periods, add in intensifiers little by little. Too many people show all their cards too soon and back themselves into a corner. Eventually your body will stop responding to what you’re doing and you’ll have nowhere to turn.

11. Not creating a MAP.

MASSIVE ACTION PLAN. A road map of exactly how you’ll progress each week.

Personally I like to increase intensity/workload one week, then decrease calories a bit the next. Alternating this way until I get to my goal.

12. Listening to too many people.

There are thousands of ways to get someone into shape. All of which may work. This doesn’t mean they’re optimal. You may beat yourself into the ground, hate your life, and destroy your metabolism with many of these plans, so buyer beware.

Ideally choose one SMART person, and follow their plan. If it doesn’t work, learn and move on.

Thinking fat burners13. Thinking fat burners will do the trick.

Use “fat burners” for energy to work harder. Do not be under the assumption that they will have some miraculous fat burning benefits. The best fat burner is a set of gym shoes.

14. Taking too many stimulants.

As well as the reason mentioned above, stimulants will tax your adrenal glands and lead to adrenal overload. This can keep cortisol elevated over long periods. Bad news for fat loss.

15. Not adjusting calories according to workload/output.

It’s a good idea to adjust calories according to the workouts you do that day. If you’re doing two hard weight sessions, you’re more likely to require additional carbs then if you’re doing one low intensity cardio session. Logic applies.

16. Doing too much too soon.

Going from zero to 100 when you first start a diet plan is a sure fire way to burn yourself out and guarantee failure. Make the smallest incremental changes you can while still seeing changes each day and each week.

We all know someone that starts a diet with 12-16 weeks to go to their deadline and they’re already doing no carbs, and 2 hours of cardio a day.


17. Alienating your support network.

You need people. We have all been guilty of closing ourselves off from certain people who may not understand our goals. Listen, I’m all for getting rid of toxic people in your life, but make sure you’re not making decisions you will regret. Sometimes a dieting/depleted brain isn’t rational.

18. Relying on supplements.

You need FOOD. Whey protein and fat burners are tools. Not life sources.

19. Trying to follow the latest fad diet instead of relying on work to get you there.

I could name a few recent diets that catch peoples attention because they seem to get you to your goal with less perceived effort and work.

Science is looking for the BEST possible scenario to get you there fastest. The people creating the fads though are marketers. Work hard and stick with the basics.

20. Not getting uncomfortable.

Realize, ITS GOING TO HURT. You should become okay with this!

Find the joy in getting outside of your comfort zone and realize it will make you better in the long run. Trust me, each year after I compete, trivial tasks in life that people find difficult, no longer seem challenging.

21. Not concerning yourself with detoxing, as well as limiting toxic load.

Toxic liver… sluggish metabolism, bottom line!
Detox, and avoid adding additional toxins. Toxins also massively affect brain function, and neurotransmitters which control mood energy, and motivation.

22. Blindly following someone who has limited knowledge.

Just because someone has been in shape, or has gotten someone else in shape, doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing. EVER. You can get a chimpanzee shredded by feeding them cardboard and ice cubes. This doesn’t mean its optimal. If you’re PAYING for it, it should be optimal for you.

23. Not asking enough questions.

If you don’t know why, ask!

It’s important that you: A) learn, and B) know that there is a rationale behind your plan.

Not keeping track24. Not keeping track.

Keeping journals and records is one of the most under valued practices on the planet. I guarantee this will help you to stay motivated, and on the fast track to shredded. Sounds like a lot of work, but it’s just a matter of creating the habit. It takes 5-10 mins a day!

25. Not incorporating more full body work (HIIT, strongman, multiple body-parts).

The more muscles you can incorporate into a workout, the more you stimulate calorie burning.

26. Getting stuck in the, “one body-part once a week” mindset.

For most people (99%) this is simply not enough to grow or make progress (unless you’re a newbie to training). Your muscles need to be stimulated regularly AND you will burn more calories the more often you stimulate muscles. An exception being pure mesomorphs like some top bodybuilders.

27. Not taking enough rest days.

Your nervous system and adrenals need off days. Take them weekly.

28. Justifying bad habits/creating bad habits.

“I worked hard today”, “it’s only one time”, “it won’t hurt just this once”. The truth is, no it probably won’t hurt that one time. But that’s the bad part. Cause when you justify it once, you’ll justify it again. Guaranteed. Create good habits and stick with them!

29. Overdoing certain foods.

So many people get stuck in a routine of eating the same things over and over again. This can quickly lead to intolerance and inflammation. No bueno.

30. Not spacing out workouts.

3 hour workouts are too long. Try doing cardio at a different time of the day instead of after weight sessions, or try splitting body-parts so that you train more frequently instead of longer.

Example: chest in the morning, biceps/abs at night – this is hard for some people due to their schedule, but it;s still ideal.

31. Training too long.

Your energy will dip. Your intensity will suffer, and you won’t burn as many calories.

Training too slow32. Training too slow.

Chatty, chatty.

Keep the workout density high. Keep track of rest periods so you can use them as a tool for increasing the effort and workload of your workouts.

33. Not taking advantage of nutrient timing benefits.

People are confused by a massive influx of contradictory information that runs rampant on the internet today. Make no mistake, nutrient timing absolutely matters.

It may not matter ALL the time, but there are certainly times of the day when eating certain foods will affect your performance, recovery, energy, and propensity to store body-fat.

Now, for “average” people who don’t train, or are new to exercise, nutrient timing will matter much less. But those of us looking for an edge, learning some basic timing theory can go a long way.

34. Undereating and so impeding performance.

To lose fat, you’ve got to rely on hard, intense workouts. Regularly undereating will leave you sluggish and unable to train at maximum effort.

This is a fine line that you need to toe on a day to day basis. Too many calories and you will get bigger or fatter, too few and your performance suffers. This is why recording what you do and eat is vital. Cycling nutrients has also been shown to be one of the best ways to make continuous progress.

35. Not taking naps.

Simple. The more often you can nap, the better. Within reason of course. Too much of a good thing can have negative effects as well. The best time to nap is immediately after a workout (eat first of course). This will have the effect of modulating your sympathetic nervous system and initiating the recovery process systemically.

36. Not “finding the joy” in what you’re doing.

Any able-bodied person better realize it’s a joy and a privilege to be training, and eating great food. Too many people spend their lives complaining about “having” to do something that they choose to do.

Not many people “enjoy” cardio, but find a reason to appreciate it and find the joy. Example: a time to be alone, improve yourself, get shredded, improve your heart function, and you have the time and ability to DO IT!

37. Gratitude.

Taking time to find the gratitude for the things you are, have, and do, will take you a long way toward a happy life. It seems simple, but focusing on gratitude will change your life.

38. Sex.

Will NOT affect performance (unless its marathon sex).

Have sex. Often. It’s good for you. Makes you feel great, and creates a better relationship with your spouse.

39. Not setting big-enough goals!

“Set the type of goals that will make something of you to achieve them”~ Jim Rohn.

Goals that make you stretch, make you reach, force you to get uncomfortable and therefore create a better version of you.

40. Not believing in yourself!

Nothing in life is outside of YOUR control. Take your focus of control and put it right inside of you. YOU control your outcomes. Small victories will add up to large ones.

Not taking control of your situation. (“if I get in shape” etc., puts the control outside yourself).

The words you use can set the tone for success and failure. Take control of your words and take control of your situation. Failure is not an option. You do what it takes to get it done.
Not believing in yourself


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