I'll never forget what my first bodybuilding goal was back when I was a 14-year old teenager in the summer of 1990. Believe it or not, I expected to train super hard, follow a proper bodybuilding diet, and look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in 3-4 months. I figured that since I was doing everything "by the book", why would it not be possible to accomplish such a bodybuilding endeavor. While I made outstanding gains during that summer, since that was the first time ever I was training with weights, I was disappointed when after 4 months I was very far away from looking like Arnold.
Unrealistic bodybuilding goals is just one of many mistakes that teenage bodybuilders make when they first get started. In this article, I will talk about the most common mistakes that are made in the early bodybuilding years and how by avoiding them you will be on the fast track to great bodybuilding results!
Teenage Bodybuilding Mistake #1: Unrealistic Goals
Certainly one of the most frequent mistakes I see teen bodybuilders make is to have unrealistic expectations. As I just mentioned, this is a mistake that I too made back when I started bodybuilding. While I cannot really say how much muscle you can expect to gain, since everybody gains muscle at different rates, I can tell you that if you gain 20 lbs of solid muscle on the first year then you are doing phenomenal!
Building a championship body takes time and consistent application of a good bodybuilding workout, a proper bodybuilding diet and adequate rest. Bodybuilding is an activity where you need to be patient. However you can stay motivated, and also ensure that you are moving in the right direction, if you track your progress.
My best advice is to take digital images of yourself every four weeks, track your weight and your measurements. If you can have someone who is competent take your skinfold caliper measurements even better. In this manner, every four weeks you can see where your body is going and adjust your program accordingly. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and you will be amazed at how much more pictures can tell you about your progress over simply taking measurements.
For example, if you were to take measurements without pictures and you measured your arms at 14 inches and four weeks later they measure the same (and your weight has remained constant), you would think that you have made no progress. However, if you took pictures and you can see more shape and definition in your pictures, then that tells you that even though your measurements remained steady, muscle mass was gained and fat was burned!
If you recorded skinfold caliper readings as well and the skinfold measurements went down, then you know that you lost fat and gained muscle for sure! If you use an Excel sheet to keep track of all this information (and you can even save digital pictures on Excel) you will be amazed at how far you will have come along in a year if you applied every aspect of your bodybuilding program consistently.
Teenage Bodybuilding Mistake #2: Lack Of Consistency
Some teens think that if they lift for three weeks and they take 2 weeks off, they can come back and start off where they left. However, this could not be any further from the truth! This lack of consistency will hold you back and prevent bodybuilding gains from coming your way.
Be determined and consistent with every aspect of your bodybuilding program (training, diet and rest)! At the end of the day, consistency will be your most powerful ally for
making long lasting bodybuilding gains.
Teenage Bodybuilding Mistake #3: Going to the Gym Without a Planned Workout
Many times I have seen teenagers wander around the gym just doing one exercise after the other, as heavy as they possibly can, without rhyme nor reason. This not only is a path to mediocre results, but also to possibly getting injured.
It is crucial that you have a good training plan put together before you go to the gym. Take a look at the training articles of this website for more information on what a good bodybuilding training routine should look like.
Teenage Bodybuilding Mistake #4: Following the Champion Routines
On the other side of the coin we have teens who do have a planned workout; perhaps that of a high level competitive bodybuilding champion. However this schedule is far too advanced for the beginning to intermediate teenage bodybuilder.
Once a bodybuilder has been training for over ten years, he/she learns how their body best responds to training. At that point in time the training routine is designed to address weak body parts while maintaining the strong ones. In addition, the pro routine may also have more isolation exercises than a routine for a beginner or intermediate teen bodybuilder should have. Finally, the training volume and frequency of a pro training schedule reflect the
individual's unique capacity for training volume, which may be much higher than that of a teen bodybuilder.
Because of everything I just mentioned, the advanced routine from a pro
bodybuilding competitor, or a high level national competitor, may end up
leaving the teen bodybuilder over trained in some areas while under trained
in others. Also, if the training volume and frequency are too high it may
end up leading to overtraining and then injury.
Teenage Bodybuilding Mistake #5: Using the Wrong Exercises
Again, this is a mistake that happens when more advanced training routines are followed. Mass building routines should be brief (1 hour tops) and focus mainly on free weight, basic, multi-jointed exercises. Too many machines and too many isolation movements will lead to slow results, if any.