Regardless of how seasoned you are in the gym you could be making crucial errors that are costing you brawn. Let Phil Graham show you how to make a major correction so you’re always benefitting.


1. Stop overthinking competition

A bodybuilding contest is a pageant, nothing more, nothing less. You never actually compete on stage, and the competition is simply a reflection of all the hard work you’ve done until that point.

Overcoming the challenges of everyday life while trying to train, eat and maintain a muscle-building lifestyle is your biggest competition, and one that everyone who wants to pile on the brawn faces. So remember that you’re always competing, even if you aren’t in a bodybuilding contest.


2. Movement equals muscle

Mobility creates quality movement, which generates better muscle gains and lowers your risk of injury. Master it and you can expect to load your exercises safer and achieve a fuller, more effective range of motion. Here’s how:

  • Strengthen your glutes and core – these stabilize you.
  • Recover with foam rolling, static stretching and ice baths.
  • Use different training techniques and exercises to work around injuries.


3. Don’t autoregulate your training

Training is a controlled stress, but it’s still a stress, just like paying bills or parking tickets. Stress of any kind – physical or emotional – helps you accommodate future stress, making you immune. But for your body to promote the best possible adaption from weightlifting, it needs rest, food and a calm demeanor.

Here are two questions you should ask yourself before every workout to ensure your body and mind are ready to grow:

  • Am I going into my training session with enough resources like rest, food and a stress-free day? If you’ve had a hectic day and generally feel rundown, go home, regroup and train another day.
  • Am I going to be able to recover from this training session? If you know your sleep and diet aren’t going to be at their best after working out, then cut back on the amount you do, or leave it until another day.

This becomes even more important if you’re training two days in a row. No one is going to thank you for training through a bad mind-set. Instead, respect your body and do everything possible to chase high-quality, enjoyable training sessions and optimal recovery.


4. Be more realistic

When looking at your social media feeds, don’t be fooled by the 24/7 bombardment of images of perfect abs, glues and arms. While these pictures can act as inspiration, they also create the false perception that people are in jaw-dropping shape all-year round. Not true.

Positive thinking is great, but basing your beliefs on inaccurate assumptions sets you up to fail. The next time you feel so close yet so far when browsing social media, ask yourself:

  • Is this photo an accurate representation of my goal?
  • Does the person in the picture have the same genetics as me?
  • How long have they been training for?
  • Has the picture involved the use of professional editing/camera skills?
  • Have they dieted down specifically for these photos?
  • Have they any off-season pictures?
  • Are they natural?
  • Learn to differentiate between which pictures should serve as an attainable goal and which can be used simply as motivation.


5. Pull back on your training to move forward

Muscle pain can be oddly satisfying, but feeling it every day isn’t a good sign. Prolonged muscle soreness and tightness are a clear indicator your recovery has been unsuccessful. As a result you may need to pull back on your training volume or re-evaluate your nutrition and lifestyle practices to get back on track. Follow all of my advice and you’ll be on the fast track to new muscle.


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