10 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started Lifting

This might be the most valuable post we've ever written.

When I first started lifting, there was way to much broscience going around that misled me to believe things that weren’t true. I’ve compiled a few lists about these misconceptions before so be sure to also read 50 worst tips on training and 50 worst tips on nutrition. These next 10 tips are things I wish I had known when I started lifting. I would have saved a lot of time, money, and effort.

1. Calories in vs Calories Out

When I started lifting, it was all about eating clean and avoiding any “dirty foods.” I wish that someone had told me that this was all bullshit. At the end of the day, it’s about calories in vs calories out. You don’t need to go on a keto diet, or a liquid diet, or eat all organic if you want to lose weight. All you need to do is eat less.

2. 90% of supplements are useless

If I could get back all the money I’ve spent on worthless supplements over the years, I would have thousands of dollars. The amount of lies and exaggerations that supplement companies tell you is insane. “Try our new supplement, get jacked quick,” or some variation of that. Every couple months it seems like there’s some new supplement that’s going to get you shredded. It’s all a waste of money. Be sure to also read about the only two supplements you really need.

3. It takes a long time

The first few months I began lifting were awesome as I was seeing all my newbie gains. But after the first year, gains really began to slow and it was frustrating. What I wish I would have known when I started lifting was that everyone you see on the cover of a fitness magazine has been training for years/decades regardless whether they are natural or not. Just because you have consistency for a few months does not mean that you will be where you want to be or look how you want to look.

4. Progressive Overload

The first few months I began lifting, it was always the same routine. I would head over the machines and do a circuit of the same weight and same reps for months. Little did I know that A) free weights are way better and B) you should always try to get stronger. The stronger you are, the more muscle you will have.

5. Proper Form

When I say proper form, I’m not talking about doing cheat curls; what I’m talking about is proper squat form and proper bench press form. For years, I was a half squatter because I thought, “squatting was bad for my knees.” I wish I would had invested more time in learning proper from by watching guys like Mark Bell.

6. Heavy Ass Weights

I love bodybuilding but I also love powerlifting. The challenge of beating personal records is such a thrill and helps keep me motivated in the gym. I wish I had trained more for strength when I began lifting as I would probably have freak strength by now lol. “Everybody wanna be a bodybuilder, but nobody wanna lift no heavy ass weight!”

7. Steady state cardio < High Intensity

I use to see bodybuilders at the gym doing steady state cardio and assumed that was what I needed to do because I would be in the “fat burning zone.” Little did I know that you can burn a higher percentage of fat calories by performing sprints among the many other benefits like increased lactic threshold, increased fast twitch muscle fibers, and increased speed!

8. Balancing the gym and social life

I used to exclude myself from social events because I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where I would be tempted to eat unhealthy foods or drinks. I felt like if I wanted to be serious about my training, I couldn’t do things that most people do and eat the foods that they eat or drink beer like they do because then I wouldn’t be taking my training seriously. I wish I knew that fitness should be fun and improve your social life, not deter you from having one.

9. Eating Clean is a myth

Chicken breast, tilapia, lean steaks, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and green vegetables only were staples in my diet for years. I wouldn’t eat bread because I heard that the simple carbs would spike your insulin and cause it all to get stored as fat. I would avoid eating fat because I heard that eating fat doesn’t have much purpose for the body and automatically gets stored as fat. I wish I would had known that eating clean is a myth and invented bros who weren’t making gains so they had to go to extremes to see any results.

10. Optimal Training and Nutrition depends on the person

The best training and nutrition program is the one that works for you. Not everyone conforms to the same training methods and not everyone can eat the same amount of carbs as someone else without gaining weight. Some people can lose weight while still eating over 400 grams of carbs a day while some people have to eat less than 100 grams of carbs in order to lose weight. I wish I would had known that I needed to experiment with different training methods and my nutrition in order to find out what best works for me.

What are some things you wish you would had known or done differently?