We all make mistakes. Hell, I make plenty of them every day. The only problem with mistakes is when we do not correct them. Mistakes are lessons that must be learned from. The more we learn, the more we can progress. What happens when we do not correct a mistake? We stay in the same dilemma we were in. If we do not know which mistakes we are making, then how do we correct them? Easy! From the experience of others. The internet can be both a gift and a curse. One of the gifts of the internet is being able to learn from the experience of others.....thousands, if not millions of others. That leaves us a lot of mistakes to learn from.
Your Biggest Mistake
When it comes to your work outs, we tend to all do the same thing when starting out. Want to improve our abilities and looks, get told some "broscience", make GOOGLE your personal trainer, and set up what we consider our little "masterplan". Eventually we get bored, look for role models, and look for new work out ideas. What happens is we start to compare our work out routines, physique, diet, and supplementation with others. We endlessly compare ourselves with others as if this entire journey is a competition. The biggest training mistakes you are making and you don't even know it....is comparing yourself to others in any way.
Why Is That A Mistake?
Some may ask why comparing yourself to others is a mistake. In a world full of role models and inspirations, it may seem that comparing yourself to others can keep you motivated. Being inspired by and comparing yourself to someone are two different things. There is a fine line between looking up to someone and comparing every little thing that you two do. A common example would be novice lifters looking up to professional bodybuilders and trying to perform the same routines, using the same diet, just in hopes of attaining the same physique. The downside? You are trying to play a game with cards you do not possess. You do not possess their genetics, their stress levels/external factors, or their experience. You may be running something like "Arnold's Massive Chest Program" (first off, you have to wonder if it was even a program Arnold ran) and be in the mindset that because you are runnning a program he uses you will get as big and strong as Arnold (may even attain his accent). Few things wrong with this. First off, Arnold has countless times admitted to drug use (steroids). Unless you plan on "getting on some sauce", any routines he ran while on drugs would be far from optimal for you (may even facilitate overtraining). Another reason would be he has had years, even decades of experience (while you have most likely not). If those reasons are not enough, then you also have to take into consideration his diet and stress levels. Many of these bodybuilders basically lived, breathed, and ate for bodybuilding. Everything else was irrelevant. Arnold did have a lot of side activity along the way, but his main priority was his physique and winning competitions. If you have school, work, relationships, family issues, and other priorities of that nature, do not expect to be able to give the same amount of time and commitment to bodybuilding (especially it being very non-profitable for most competitors). Like I said above, being inspired by other competitors (or people in general) is alright, but comparing yourself and molding yourself under someone elses life is not.
What Should You Do?
Instead of trying to mimmick (because that's all you are really doing) someone elses routine, diet, and physique, try to mold your own. It's okay to use other people's diets, physiques, and routines as references. Learn to educate yourself on similarities between successful programs, diets, and lifters. By doing so you can use that information to create a routine and diet specific to your genetics, experience, mindset, and desired physique.