What Are The Most Common Training/Nutrition Mistakes Athletes Make?

What are the most common training and nutrition mistakes athletes make? Find out what other people from the message boards think ...

TOPIC: What Are The Most Common Training/Nutrition Mistakes Athletes Make?

The Question:

All athletes train and eat, but how many are training and eating correctly according to their needs? We all know that the diet and training of a 126-pound wrestler and a 240-pound linebacker are pretty different.

Unfortunately, many athletes aren't educated on proper nutrition and how to condition themselves. Fixing these mistakes can make a huge difference in their performance.

What are the most common mistakes athletes make with their training/nutrition programs?

How can athletes fix these mistakes and make sure they never happen again?

What are some training/nutrition tips you could give to a beginner?

Bonus Question: When you first began, what were some training and nutrition mistakes that you made? Did you overcome all of them, or do you still have flaws today in your training/nutrition programs?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:


        1st place - 75 in store credit.

        2nd place - 50 in store credit.

      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

1st Place - ravadongon

What Are The Most Common Training/Nutrition Mistakes Athletes Make?

Being a high school athlete can be tough. Time is scarce and it can be hard to manage your training with your academic work and leisure time. Everyone seems to be throwing different tips and ideas at you, whether they're qualified or not, and it can be hard to know what to take on board and what not to.

You are bound to make some mistakes, there's no doubting that. What matters is how long you take to identify and correct these mistakes. This article will help you decipher some common mistakes made by athletes, that you may be making, and the ways in which you can correct these mistakes.


Mistake 1:
No Goals

      As the old saying goes, "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail." How often do you see young athletes walk straight into the weights room and ask their training partner:

"What'd'ya feel like doing today, mate"

"Uhhh ... I dunno, maybe chest and biceps"

"Yeah that sounds good"

"What exercise are we doing first?" and so on it goes.

Far too often if you ask me ... by not setting goals you are lacking a sense of direction in your training and you will often not seek the progress you desire as a result of this.

Correction 1:
Set Goals & Work Towards Them

      Everyone who is successful plans, sets goals and has an objective for everything they do. From the top businessmen to the top athletes, they all share something in common.

They set goals. Setting goals is simple and easy to do, yet the benefits they provide are invaluable. Goals focus your attention and clarify what you are trying to achieve.

      Here are some quick tips on setting goals:

    1. Make sure your goals are measurable: A vague goal, such as "I want to be fit," doesn't give you anything in specific to strive for. Be decisive in what you are going to achieve and when you are going to achieve it e.g. "I want to be able to run 3km in less than 12 minutes, by January 2006."

    2. Be realistic: Ensure your goals are physically achievable. If you set your expectations too high, you will become frustrated and lose confidence in yourself. Make sure, however, that your goals are not too easy; they should be challenging enough for you to have to work hard to achieve them.

    3. Set short-term goals: These should be used as stepping stones to your long-term (ultimate) goals: If your long-term goal is to squat 350 pounds by the end of 2005, then set short-term weekly or monthly goals of the weight you will need to squat to achieve your long-term goal. It is a lot easier to accomplish a goal one day or week at a time, such as increasing 2.5 or 5 pounds a week, than it is to think that you need to increase your bench press by 50 pounds.

Mistake 2:
Insufficient Recovery

      As you may here your coach or training partners say "no pain, no gain." This, more often than not, is the basis of all poor training regimens.

Allowing your muscle tissue to rebuild and repair the micro traumas (small tears) created as a result of training, is the key to increasing muscle strength and size.

By training when you are in pain you are only hindering your opportunity to make progress.

Correction 2:
Allow For Sufficient Recovery Between Workouts

      The key to accommodating sufficient recovery for your muscles is by listening to your body. If the muscles you will be using during a workout are significantly sore prior to that workout, then you are overtraining.

Your training regime should be constructed so that you are able to recover completely before a workout; e.g. you should not do sprints the day after heavy lower body weight training.

It is important to stay consistent with good nutrition, (which I will discuss in more detail later) insure that you consume adequate amounts of protein (~1g/lb of bodyweight), which play a large part in the repair of muscle tissue.

If you continue to have trouble with recovery, then techniques such as post workout static stretching (which you should be already doing), contrast showers, and ice massages will also be of assistance to you.

Mistake 3:
Training Like A Bodybuilder In The Weights Room

      A bodybuilder's primary goal is muscle hypertrophy. An athlete's primary goal is increasing strength and power (in the weights room that is). Muscle size is still important in athletics to a small degree, but strength and power greatly outweigh it.

After all a lighter athlete who can generate the same strength and power as a heavier athlete will have an advantage in that respect. By having the biggest 'pecs' and arms on the team doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be your teams best player.

Unfortunately a lot of athletes are clueless about weight training and because a lot of their coaches are clueless too, they end up training like a bodybuilder with too many high repetition and isolation exercises, as well as using numerous muscle fatigue techniques such as drop sets, super sets, partial reps and pre exhaustion.

Correction 3:
  Train Like An Athlete In The Weights Room

      Of the ten components of fitness, 3 of these can be trained in the weight room. Strength, power and body composition (specifically hypertrophy). The best way to go in terms of strength training exercises, are free weight compounds, which work on overall strength with numerous muscle groups working together as synergists, while you should only use isolations to work on weak points.

In terms of the program, periodization is what I and many others believe to be the best tool at developing these components. Instead of only training one of these qualities at a time, you train multiple qualities over a period of time.

The 3 most common types of periodization are Linear (AKA Western Style), Conjugated and Undulating.

Linear Periodization - "Western Style"

        Linear Periodization consists of a macrocycle, with the overall training cycle usually lasting the length of one season (i.e. 1 year), which consists of mesocycles, 4-6 week training phases that concentrate on a specific area; e.g. anatomical adaptation (muscle hypertrophy), maximal strength (development of strength), conversion (converting strength into power), maintenance (maintain developed strengths during in-season) and transition (recovery phase).

Each mesocycle consists of a microcycle, which is manipulated to fit the goal of the mesocycle will generally last around a week. Linear periodization is much better than normal training.

One major flaw, however, is that it only trains one particular area at a time, while the other areas are left to deteriorate. For that reason I am not a big advocate of it.

Conjugated Periodization

        Conjugated Periodization is basically a system where you alternate different purpose workouts. A classic example is Westside Barbell, with the Max Effort (strength) and Dynamic Effort (speed) days.

Another example is the Strength/Hypertrophy split. Conjugated Periodization, in my opinion is the best form of periodization, because you are working on multiple qualities at the same time.

Undulating Periodization

        Undulating Periodization is a system of training where you vary sets and repetitions for exercises.

For Example
on flat barbell bench press during weeks 1 and 4 you may do 4x4, weeks 2 and 5 you may do 2x8, and weeks 3 and 6 you may do 3x6 (you can do the same for other exercises or choose different variations of sets and reps).

The best example of a commonly known training practice that uses undulating periodization is HST (Hypertrophy Specific Training).

Mistake 4:
Not Warming Up Properly

      Just the other day I saw my school rugby team have a training session in the weights room and not one of them warmed up properly. A few of them cycled for a minute or so, and some were doing some static stretches (which should be done after the workout).

But the large majority went over to the bench press rack and leg press machine and started performing working sets without even bothering to perform any warm up sets.

How a coach could allow this I do not know, but I guarantee if they continue to do this they will see a few injuries by the season's end.

Correction 4:
Warm Up Appropriately

      Warming up is important before any workout, whether it be before a 100-meter dash or before maxing out on bench press. But the question you may be asking is why is it important?

The answer is because it prepares muscles and joints for greater levels of activity, and also primes CNS to fire. It also has numerous other benefits such as:

      • Reducing muscle stiffness (which is directly related to muscle injury)
      • Increases speed of contraction/relaxation of the muscles that have been warmed up
      • Removes lactic acid accumulated during previous workouts
      • Increases blood circulation to muscles
      • Increases efficiency of oxygen usage by warmed up muscles (hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures)
      • Neuromuscular coordination is improved by warming up before performing a movement

Add to the list above, it's simple and easy to do. All it requires is a 5-minute jog, a few minutes of dynamic stretching and some general and specific event drills (e.g. if you are going to be squatting heavy then perform warm up sets working your way up to your max).

Mistake 5:
Ignoring Weaknesses

      I'll use another old saying "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link." How often do you see high school athletes ignore a total part of their training because they know its their weakness, and because of their egotistical ways, don't feel the need to show everyone.

Unfortunately for these athletes, weaknesses are often highlighted against high class opposition, so if you want to be the best, you better start working on those weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

Correction 5:
Work On Improving Your Weaknesses

      Working on weaknesses can be hard if you are an egotistical person, so if you are remind yourself about that old saying I mentioned earlier, you will only become a better athlete if you do work on your weaknesses.

There are 5 steps in designing a training program to work on your weakness:

    1. Set a goal (see section 1).

    2. Select tests to assess your team's current level of fitness, and conduct these tests (tests of your fitness e.g. max strength, anaerobic power, aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, agility, max sprint, body composition etc.).

    3. Conduct gap analysis (seek the areas of fitness that need to be improved from the results of your tests).

    4. Construct a training program (one that works on improving weaknesses and maintaining strengths).

    5. Monitor progress (every month review your training, make any adjustments if you feel the need).


Mistake 1:
Junk Food

      It can often be hard to eat correctly with the large amount of junk food out on the market at the moment. Often it's much more convenient and the easy way out to just pinch a quick meal and drink from the cafeteria then it is to make your own lunch.

Unfortunately because of the lack of good quality macronutrients, junk food doesn't help you perform at your best and can often make you sloppier.

Correction 1:
Stick To Clean Foods

      You've probably heard this plenty of times from many people, but what constitutes a clean food? Well simply put clean foods are unprocessed foods, composed of good quality macronutrients.

An easy way to find clean foods is to look on the packaging (if there is any) and identify any ingredients that don't constitute the actual product and are there to preserve the food or enhance the flavor. Unpackaged foods are in general clean foods.

Here is a list of clean foods that you can't go wrong with:

Good Protein Sources

      • Lean meat (beef, lamb, chicken, fish etc.)
      • Skim milk
      • Protein powder
      • Eggs
      • Cottage cheese

Good Carbohydrates Sources

      • Oats
      • Whole wheat/grain bread
      • Whole wheat/grain pasta
      • Sweet potatoes
      • Brown rice
      • Rolled oats
      • Fresh fruits
      • Fresh vegetables
      • Legumes (e.g. beans, lentils)

Good Fat Sources

Mistake 2:
Poor Macronutrient Timing & Ratios

      Whether it's too much protein and not enough carbs, or not enough protein and too much carbs and fats, many budding athletes can't seem to get the ratios right to get the most out of their performance.

Not only this but their timing in terms of quantities of macronutrients is also off, and this also holds them back.

Correction 2:
Good Macronutrient Timing & Ratios

John Berardi

    , a famous exercise and nutritional biochemist, suggests that you should have meals of protein and carb (minimal fat) and protein and fat (minimal carbs) during the day. 3 meals should be protein and carb and 3 meals should be protein and fat.

He believes this because "insulin's primary function is to shuttle glucose into skeletal muscle. It also carries many other nutrients to their storage sites; this includes lipids (fat).

Carbohydrate ingestion stimulates a large insulin secretion and fat ingestion raises blood lipid levels; therefore, the combination is a no-no."

Even though I don't live by this, it is a good guideline for me to follow. I recommend you structure protein and carb meals as your breakfast and meals around your workout times (before and after), and any other meals should be protein and fat meals, with minimal carbs.

Mistake 3:

      Athletes require a lot of water, there's no doubting that. As you probably know, around 55-65% of our body is made up of fluid, and if an adequate amount of water isn't consumed then heat illness and cramping can result.

I know many athletes will know the importance of staying hydrated, but not many choose to do it and use soda and other canned drinks as their main source of hydration for the day, which isn't ideal.

Correction 3:
Stay Hydrated Throughout The Day

    This is the simplest mistake to explain and correct. All it takes is to carry a sports bottle around with you and keep refilling it during the day. Not hard is it, so make sure you do it.

Mistake 4:
Reliance On Supplements


      has really become quite big recently and athletes seem to think it's a miracle supplement and works like magic. Creatine is a great supplement but unfortunately this isn't the case and it won't do miracles for you unless you have some good nutrition to back it up.

Many athletes don't realize this and end up wasting a lot of money on creatine and other supplements, that never end up giving them results because of this.

Correction 4:
Use Supplements As Supplements

      Another easy one to explain. Supplements are called supplements for a reason, they are an addition. If you are eager to see good results with creatine or any other supplement you've bought, look no farther then your nutrition.

If it is not sound, you will not be getting your money's worth so make sure it is so you can enjoy the added benefits your supplements bring.

Mistake 5:
Poor Breakfast

      Breakfast is definitely one of the most important meals of the day. But how many athletes actually have a good, wholesome breakfast that gets them off to the right start to the day.

Too many athletes think a quick cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal on the run, or one of those quick fix ready to drink meals will suffice, but the fact is, it doesn't.

Correction 5:
Good Breakfast

      A good breakfast may seem like too much trouble to go through, but it is easy to prepare. After sleeping for around 8 hours, your body is low on amino acids and carbohydrates, which are a key to staying anabolic.

Because of this you must get these nutrients into your body as soon as possible after you wake up. Personally I like to get in around 25% protein, 65% carbs and 10% fats, for breakfast. Here are some of my favorites for breakfast:

Liquid Meal

        Blend the following...

      • 1 scoop of whey protein
      • 1 cup of skim milk
      • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
      • 1 banana
      • 2 fish oil caps (optional)

Solid Meal

    • 5 eggs (1 whole, 4 whites)
    • 1 glass of skim milk
    • 1 whole meal bread
    • 1 piece Of fruit

Making Sure They Never Happen Again ...

The best way to learn something is to do it yourself. For example, it can be tough trying to remember the recipe for a meal you've just watched someone cook, but I can guarantee if you wrote down that recipe and cooked it yourself, you would more than likely remember how to cook it next time, without the recipe.

Likewise if you realize you are making a mistake with your nutrition or training, then if you read about how you should be training or eating and implement it yourself, you will not forget the correction you have made and it will stick with you as the correct way, rather than if someone always designs your workout routine and diet for you always. So don't rely on others to always help you, make things happen yourself, and become a better athlete for that.

Tips For a NOOB!

With either advice coming from here, there, everywhere, or even no advice at all, can make it tough when starting out. Here are my tips to any beginners ...


Weights Room:

      • Set yourself goals, identify weaknesses and correct them

      • Work with free weight compound exercises primarily, only use isolations to work on weaknesses e.g. if your pulling strength is poor, use isolation work on biceps, rear deltoids and other muscles involved in pulling, to help improve it.

      • Work all muscle groups. Don't just work on the old "chest and biceps." Include training for all major muscle groups.

      • Use good form always. "Quality over Quantity," not the other way around.

      • Warm up and cool down properly. One of the many things work in the weight room is meant to help with is injury prevention. Getting injured in the weight room is the last thing you want.

      • Use periodization and diversity to avoid plateaus from occurring.

      • Allow for sufficient recovery in your routine. You won't make progress unless you get the required rest.

      • Don't take advice from any old personal trainer/coach. Make sure that the person has suitable credentials, and if you are unsure, post the routine they have given you on the forums for the experts to critique.

On The Field:

    • Set yourself goals, identify weaknesses and correct them.

    • Work on all aspects of your fitness required for your sport; e.g. if you play a power dominated sport, work on your anaerobic endurance, agility, acceleration and anaerobic power, more than other aspects. Likewise if you play an endurance sport work on your aerobic endurance and local muscle endurance, more than other areas.

    • Use diversity in your drills/routines, to avoid plateaus.

    • Allow for sufficient recovery between workouts.

    • Taper off your training during the in season, and aim to maintain all aspects of fitness during the season. While in the off-season, work on improving fitness.


  • Eat clean food and avoid junk/processed foods.

  • Get enough calories in during the day so you're energy stores aren't depleted (unless you are trying to lose body fat - which really should only be done in the off-season).

  • Space your meals out. Try and get in lots of smaller meals instead of only a few big meals. It's a much easier way to get down more food, and helps to improve your metabolism.

  • Eat 1g protein/lb of bodyweight, from good quality complete protein sources.

  • Eat carbohydrates leading up to (to provide energy) and after (to replenish depleted glycogen stores) exercise. Use the glycemic index to figure out what type of carbohydrates you should be consuming; e.g. low GI before and high GI after exercise.

  • Eat healthy fats, when slowing down digestion is the aim; e.g. leading up to bedtime, so proteins can be digested slowly to keep your body anabolic throughout the night.

  • Make sure you eat a proper breakfast; i.e. good quality protein source and low GI carbohydrates.

  • Have a cheat day every now and then (2 weeks for me) to keep you sane!


Obviously there are a lot more mistakes athletes make, that I could dwell upon, but these are the ten I believe are the most common. It's these common mistakes that young athlete's may think, 'what's the big deal?' that won't allow them to achieve maximum performance levels.

If you can identify these mistakes in your training and nutrition, and make the required adjustments and corrections, then you'll be well on your way to becoming a better athlete.

My Mistakes: Training

Like many others, I have made my fair share of mistakes when I first started off training seriously to improve my athletic abilities. Thankfully, I realized these mistakes and went about correcting them.

My Mistake 1:
Training Like A Bodybuilder In The Weights Room

      When I first started off I received the help from a PT at the school gym. He set me up a program that was mostly composed of machine-orientated exercises and more isolation exercises than compounds, along with a reasonably high repetition scheme and no strength work. I used this routine along with others provided by him, for my first 6 months in the weight room.

After reading in the sports section and Bodybuilding.com I finally realized my mistakes. Unfortunately I paid the price when the new season came around.

My Correction 1:
Training Like An Athlete In The Weight Room

      I noticed my bad performance during that season, and read up on how athletes should train, exercises and muscle groups that were of particular importance to the sports I play and general structures of routines I should be use.

I went about setting things straight. Though I'm still in the process of that, I am starting to notice my work in the weight room is relating to slight improvements in my sporting abilities.

My Mistake 2:
  Not Working Adequately On All Components Of Fitness

    I thought the weight room would be the answer to all my problems, when I began training seriously as an athlete. I neglected any skills training such as anaerobic and aerobic endurance, agility and max sprint speed. Instead I just hit the weights 3 times a week. I again paid the price when the new season started.

My Correction 2:
Working Hard On All Areas Of Fitness

      With my training structure and routine being a horrible mess, and few aspects of my overall fitness being covered, I once again had the job of turning things around.

I ended up reading a great article by Raphael Brandon, which illustrated to me what aspects of my fitness I needed to look at, and how I could test these areas, to see if I was at an acceptable level.

    From this I tested all the areas of fitness mentioned in the article and have now developed a plan to improve the areas, which I am deficient in.

My Mistake 3:
Poor Warming Up

      Whether it was sports training or weight training I never thought much of warming up. I would often jump under what I benched last week straight away and started benching it or arrive late at sports training and get straight into the drills, without any warm up whatsoever.

The end result was some nasty shin splints and general soreness in my shoulder joints.

My Correction 3:
Sufficiently Warming Up

      After recovering from my shoulder and leg problems, I decided it was time I started avoiding these injuries instead of allowing them to happen like I had in the past.

I wrote an article in Bodybuilding.com's TOTW, "WEEK THIRTY-TWO:: How Important Is Warming Up", that summed up what I had learnt about warming up and even cooling down properly to prevent injuries and general soreness from occurring.

Being involved in that TOTW, not only helped enforce what I had learned, but also helped me learn more about injury prevention, by reading others articles.

My Mistakes: Nutrition

My Mistake 1:
Eating Junk Food

      I was a lanky, skinny bloke to start off with. I had trouble gaining weight in the past, so I opted for a diet that contained a fair amount of calories and a fair amount of junk food as well.

Foods like packet noodles, sausage rolls, chicken nuggets and meat pies were all regulars in my diet. Sure it wasn't as much junk food as my fellow schoolmates, but it was enough to make me put on a bit of fat along with the muscle.

My Correction 1:
Eating Clean

      This was hard for me to do at first. It's always difficult to make changes, especially when you've been doing it for so long. Eventually I got used to eating more clean food and I felt much better than I ever had before.

I was eating plenty of lean meat, whole meal grains, fruits and vegetables and I felt really energized and my performance in sport was much improved because of this small change.

My Mistake 2:
Poor Pre & Post Workout Nutrition

      A typical pre workout meal for me consisted of nothing, maybe half a sandwich if I hadn't finished lunch that day, but more often that not ... nothing.

A typical post workout meal for me consisted of chicken nuggets, maggi noodles and a can of coke. Little did I know that nutrition around workout time was one of the most important times to take in good quality nutrients, and as a result, my progress during these workouts suffered.

My Correction 2:
Good Pre & Post Workout Nutrition

      This was an easy change for me to make. I read a few articles outlining the importance pre and post workout nutrition while browsing on the internet one day and realized how much I was doing wrong, and how easy it was for me to improve my nutrition during this period of time.

Again writing an article myself, for Bodybuilding.com's TOTW, "WEEK THIRTY-SEVEN :: What Is A Proper Pre, During, and Post Workout Nutrition Diet?", helped enforce what I had learned and allowed me to see more ideas which others had written about.

My Mistake 3:
Poor Hydration

    I used to always come home with headaches and stomach cramps after heavy training sessions, and hated it. I knew I had to make a change soon, because it was not only painful but hindering my performance on a lot of occassions.

My Correction 3:
Sufficient Hydration

      Another easy change for me to make. As simple as filling up a 2L old coke bottle (with water of course) in the morning, taking it to school, drinking little bits regularly during the day. Since I've been doing this, I haven't had stomach cramps or headaches any more.

Thanks for reading.

2nd Place - UnleashedBeast

Common Mistakes W/ Training & Nutrition


      This is an easy one. Many athletes think that big muscles mean big plays. Well, let me tell you this. A great physique won't make you a superstar athlete. Yes, muscles are nice to show off for the ladies, but we're not bodybuilders, we're athletes.

As an athlete, you would be best choosing a training style that would benefit you in your sport, rather than the ladies. We want to put wins on the schedule, and I don't mean the date you have on Saturday night ...

We want functional strength. Power. The ability to explode with great force and make your opponent pay. Whether your explosion is off the line of scrimmage, blasting through hole, leaping to the hoop, sprinting toward the finish line, strength has its place in every sport.

As does conditioning. If you can't even run a damn lap around the field, how are you going to be able to play for a whole drive giving your all? You can't.


      Well, the biggest mistake in nutrition would probably be ... not having any, at least not any proper for an athlete. Some athletes may think, "Please, I'm not fat, I don't need to diet. I have a fast metabolism". Or maybe you're thinking "I'm a lineman, I'm supposed to be fat."

Well, none of these are examples of athletes that want to bring their performance to the next level.

First of all, you may not be fat, but skinny sure as hell isn't much better. I'm sure not only would you look better, but you'd perform better, with some muscle on that toothpick body.

And if you are fat, there's no reason why you should be. Yes, in some sports, you can have a little extra fat, but let's not be unhealthy here. Not only would your performance in your sport benefit from being a little slimmer, but so would your health.

Besides physique, there is much more use for nutrition. One of them I've already named is health. Your health is precious, don't take it for granted.

You will benefit from it in the long run as life goes on, and it will help you be a better athlete in your sport. Would you not agree it's easier to perform with the right fuel in your body to run on?

Also, you will also see greater gains in your training if your nutrition is in order. By getting better results with training, you're going to get better results in your sport for you.

Fix The Mistakes
And Make Sure They Don't Happen Again


      Well, if there was a set way of training that gave the best results, everyone would be doing it, right? The trick is to find what type of training works best for your body and goals.

I'm sure you've heard it before, everyone is different. The same applies with training. Some people have more of a certain type of muscle fibers then others. Some people naturally have a better VO2 max than others. You need to work yourself around what you feel is best for your needs as an athlete.

Though there is no set "best" workout, there are many different ones that you can try out and see what works best for you. "Westside" training seems to be popular for athletes. For beginners, I'd say that the "Bigger-Faster-Stronger" program also will show good results and help make you a better athlete.

Search around for what you feel would be best for your goals and find something that works good for you. Also, don't stick to one set program. It's always good to try new things, it's not only fun, but it also helps your muscles produce more results when they're not always doing the same, boring, thing. They like variety, switch it up sometimes.


      There isn't one big secret to nutrition, just dedication. You need to dedicate yourself to learning about nutrition and have the willpower to keep your diet good and clean.

Below you will find some tips that will help you learn a bit more about nutrition; the rest is up to you. Believe me when I say, diet is a VERY important factor when it comes to getting gains with your training.

Training / Nutrition Tips For A Beginner


  • Find what works for you: Everybody is different. Following Terrell Owens's workout won't turn you into an egotistical star NFL wide-out. It works for him, but it probably won't work as well for you. I suggest you research some different types of training for athletes such as "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" or "Westside Training". You aren't a bodybuilder; don't look for workouts such as HST or Max-OT.

  • Switch it up: Variety in your workouts will lead to better gains. Your muscles get used to doing the same thing over, and over and over. They want change. Different rep schemes every once in a while, or a different type of movement. These things will help prevent plateaus and lead to better results.

  • Run: Don't think that just lifting weights will make you the ultimate athlete. Make sure to do sports specific training, things that will help you succeed in your sport. If you need endurance in your sport, run for longer distances. If you need more explosive power, run sprints. Learn how to make up a running program that'll be good for you. Also, it wouldn't be a bad idea to train other ways, such as pushing the sled, plyometrics and other forms of training.

  • Work Hard: If you don't work hard, you won't get results. This isn't a game; you're supposed to be pushing yourself for better results. Keep your intensity up and don't give up. Remember, you may be working hard, but your opponent may be working harder. Don't let him win.


  • Knowledge is power: Learn at least the basics of nutrition. Once you learn the basics, it doesn't hurt to learn more. Learn what's good to eat, what's not, how much you should eat, about carbohydrates, about proteins, about fats. Keep learning until you feel you know enough to be nutritionally successful.

  • Diet like an athlete: Once again, you're an athlete. Diet like one. I recommend a split of 40/40/20. This means 40% of your calories come from protein, 40% comes from carbohydrates, and 20% comes from fats. These percentages can be toyed with once you learn more about what you want, but that's a good starting point.

  • Low/No Carbs: Are you a bodybuilder? If not, this diet isn't a good idea for you. Carbohydrates are used in the body as energy and necessary for the production of ATP. If you want to lose fat, make your calories lower and increase your cardio. Carbs are necessary to athletes, taking them away will affect your performance.

  • Eat Big: As an athlete, you're doing a lot of physical activity, probably more than most bodybuilders. You're going to need an ample amount of calories to use as energy to help you get through it all and have good, healthy, results. Learn about how many calories you think you'll need for your goals.

  • Eat Clean: This is one of, if not the most important tip. Eat clean. Don't eat crap like candy, cake, ice cream or chips. They aren't effective forms of fats and carbs. I'm not going to lie, they are effective forms of proteins, the little that they have, but they aren't worth it.

    For more information on what you should be eating, I'll quote my other article for "How Do You Determine Which Football Position You Are Best Suited For?"


        "First of all, as athletes, it is important to be healthy. Just because you're a lineman, doesn't mean you can eat all the damn ice cream you want. And just because you're a wideout, doesn't mean you have an excuse to make toothpicks look like Ronnie Coleman. Eat a good amount and eat healthy. I personally find that a high protein, high carbohydrate and low fat protein diet is the best.


          A good source of protein is lean red meat, chicken breast, protein shakes and fish.


          For carbs, it's crucial you eat healthy ones. There are monosaccharide (glucose, dextrose, fructose), disaccharides (table sugar (sucrose), lactose), and polysaccharides (maltodextrose, starch). Stay away from disaccharides. Mono and polysaccharides are more what you should be aiming for. These can be attained through fruits, vegetables, oats, dextrose/maltodextrose, brown rice, potatoes, etc.


          For fats, try to be healthy with it, getting a diet full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Good sources are
    fish oil
          , olive oil, and
    flax seed oil

    Water intake should also be high.

    Also, when it comes to steroids, just say no. You're creating an unleveled playing field for others, and could be harming yourself badly. No matter what you're told on television about how these elite athletes are taking steroids, they aren't there because they took steroids. It probably won't make you an NFL superstar. It will however make you a cheater."


      As supplements are part of nutrition, I feel it should be mentioned in this article. Supplements are great things if used correctly, but always remember, that's what they are, supplements. They will not make up for having a crappy diet and bad training routine. Don't rely on them. Also, don't sacrifice your health using them.

Research what kind of supplements are around and what could be useful to you. Some basics you can start out researching are:

When you get more advanced, learn about new things such as Citrulline Malate, BCAAs, and the many other supplements around. Also, stay away from steroids and prohormones.

If you aren't a star athlete, steroids won't make you one. They aren't worth sacrificing your health and creating an unleveled playing field for others. Be smart. Plus, if you get caught, you're screwed.

Bonus Question

When you first began, what were some training and nutrition mistakes that you made? Did you overcome all of them, or do you still have flaws today in your training/nutrition programs?

I started out training 3 days a week, using the Bigger, Faster, Stronger workout program. My results were good, probably mostly because I was new to working out and when you're new, results come faster for a while. As for nutrition, I had basically none. I ate when I felt like it, and whatever I felt like eating. I tried to eat somewhat healthy, but not very.

Today I train 4 days a week weight training, and every day if you count the cardio I do. On 2 of the 3 off days for weight lifting, I do a good amount of running and plyometrics. On that one day where I don't do a good amount, I do a small amount of low intensity cardio.

As for nutrition, I'm an endomorph, so I have to keep my diet extra clean. I do slip at times, but I try not to a lot.

3rd Place - Live4this13

Solutions To Common Mistakes Athletes Make In Training/Nutrition?

Being an athlete isn't easy. We all know that. On top of the training and diet, you have to worry about 5 hour practices and then you have your homework all while trying to juggle some kind of personal life.

During this time you can easily get confused in your diet and training. I will try to outline some common mistakes athletes make, and easy ways to fix them. I will also provide a healthy diet and routine to meet your needs.

Training Mistakes

What are the most common mistakes athletes make with their training?

1. No Set Routine. Lack Of Organization.

      These are probably the main issue for athletes. I hear way to often the famous "hey what do you want to workout today?" 90% of the people always say "let's hit up the biceps and then some chest sets." I never hear anyone say "let's get in some killer squats and deads today."

How Can This Be Prevented?

Set Goals

          Know exactly what you want to achieve and have your mind set on what you want to do when you get to the gym to accomplish this. Make sure your goals are possible. Don't start off saying I am benching 225 pounds for 17 reps when your current max is 160. Make sure you give sufficient time to accomplish what you start.

Be Consistent.

          I see way to many athletes switching routines every other week. Stick with a routine that works for you. You should keep the set up similar for up to 15 weeks. If you find yourself losing motivation try switching up the exercises instead of a whole new setup.

Increase The Weight Weekly

        This really keeps me excited. When every workout my squat shoots up 5 pounds I able to stay more focused.

2. We Are Athletes Right? Then Why Do We Lift Like Bodybuilders.

      Athletes and bodybuilders are two different breeds of people. Athletes do not need to train to failure. Our goal should be strength and performance. There are many different splits and workout routines. Personally I would suggest WS4SB of Westside for Skinny Bastards. I feel it is the best athletic program out there.

This routine will consist of 4 training days and two sports specific drills. The two types of days are:

ME-Max effort
RE-Repetition day

Basic Setup

ME Upper- Mondays

ME Lower: Tuesday

RE Upper: Thursday

RE Lower: Friday

Athletes & Nutrition

Fueling our bodies is important. It is a large part of the equation for success.

1. Getting Caught Up In The "High School Lifestyle"

      How many of your friends party on the weekend, and eat pizza and hamburgers for 2 days straight? I know mine do. They also can't go to first period without that ol' Mountain dew.

While I am not saying you shouldn't have friends, just be careful to not get caught up in the high school life. I know it is hard to eat right but it will make your progress a lot better.

What Should I Eat Then?

        Some good foods to eat are:


        • Meat (steak, chicken, lean beef, etc.)
        • Natural peanut Butter
        • Milk
        • Whey powder
        • Peanuts
        • Eggs
        • Fish
        • Cottage cheese
        • Tuna


        • Oats
        • Whole wheat/grain bread
        • Whole wheat/grain pasta
        • Sweet potatoes
        • Brown rice
        • Oat bran cereal
        • Fruits
        • Vegetables

Good Fats

        • Olive oil
        • Fish oil
        • Flax oil
        • Natural peanut butter
        • Nuts

Food list quoted from hepennypacker52's building mass article.

How Do I Know What Fats Are Good Vs. Bad?

        Here is a list of all fats breaking them down:

Saturated Fats

          These fats are no doubt bad. These are the ones who have been tied to raising your LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) or the bad type of cholesterol.

A fatty acid is a composed of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen. Now for those who know what saturation means it would make sense that a saturated fat means that all the hydrogen that can be bonded the carbon is indeed present. These types of fats can be found mainly in animal fats.

Polyunsaturated Fats

          These fats either have two or more carbon bonds empty. They are found in fish oils, cornflower oils etc. They tend to lower both HDL and LDL and have various health benefits. These are also known as Omega-6 fatty acids.

Monounsaturated Fats

          These fats have just one missing hydrogen and are referred to as Omega-3 fatty acids. They also have positive effects on cholesterol and have been shown to lower insulin resistance, and for anyone that will read the breakfast section you will know why this is a very good thing.

Trans Fatty Acids

          I'm not going to spend a lot of time on these. They are simply the artificial fatty acids occurring from the hydrogenation of a monounsaturated fatty acid. This results in a fat that spoils less and is easier to cook with but in turn is not good for you ... at all.

I also want to note that oils are the liquid form of its solid counterpart fats. We've already covered fish oil being a liquid form of omega-6, olive oil being the liquid form of omega-3.

Now it would make sense that because Trans fatty acids are hydrogenated then hydrogenated oils are more or less the liquid form of a trans fatty acid.

Not Enough Fluids

        Athletes sweat more than anyone. We have to replace our fluids constantly. Stay away from Cokes and coffee as these actually dehydrate you more. I suggest consuming at least a gallon and a half of water per day and it wouldn't hurt to throw in some Gatorade around your workouts and games.

Making sure these mistakes are a thing of the past.

Once you get in the habit of doing things correctly and you see the results, you will be locked in. You will never go back to your old way of training.

Tips For A Beginner

I would suggest that any one new to training follow the routine I included. Follow a sound diet and enjoy the benefits of being new to training. Remember to work hard and set goals for yourself.

How Can They Help?

Supplements do just as their name says, they help add to your diet and training, they are not alternatives to a good diet however. In this article I will be going over the basic supplements, their dosing schedules and their advantages.

Protein: What should I use?

      Protein is an essential supplement. Protein is used throughout the day to help the body pack on that mass you have always wanted. With out protein your muscles are not able to rebuild. There are many different types of protein. I will describe each type in order for you to get a better understanding.

Whey Concentrate

        Whey concentrate is a fast acting protein used post-workout. Concentrate is a good choice for those who can digest it. Concentrates are also cheaper than isolates. Some popular whey protein concentrates are:

Whey Isolate

        Whey isolate is an easily digested protein. It goes down smooth and causes little to no stomach distress. I recommend whey isolates for anyone who has trouble digesting concentrates, or anyone who can afford the more expensive of the two. Some popular forms of isolates are:

        • PrimaForce Substance WPI
        • Syntrax Nectar
        • AST VP2

Other Proteins

        Many other proteins are available to help you meet your individual goals. MRP or meal replacement powders are popular for in-between meal snacks, when choosing in MRP it is important to keep your goals in mind. You should tend to lean toward a MRP high in protein and low in carbs and fat. Some solid MRP's are:

        • AST Ny-tro Pro
        • VPX Micellean
        • ProLab Lean Mass Matrix

Casein Protein

        Casein protein is a slow digesting protein. What does this mean to you? It means casein protein stays in your system up to 7 hours. This makes amino acids found in the protein available to your body for a long period of time.

This makes casein a great choice of protein for in the morning, or pre-bedtime. However most caseins taste bad and are chalky; they may be less pleasurable to drink but are worth it. Some popular caseins include:

        • VPX Miscellean
        • Xtreme Formulations Ultra Peptide

Protein Blends

        Another way to meet your daily nutrition needs is to use a protein blend. You can customize your protein to meet your needs. You can use whey proteins, casein proteins, egg proteins, and milk proteins. This is just another way to meet your needs. My favorite retail protein blend is:

      • Syntax Matrix 5.0


      Creatine is a valuable extra when used on a balanced diet and training. Creatine comes in two forms creatine monohydrate (CM) and creatine ethyl ester (CEE). The main difference is how they are absorbed in the body.

CEE is absorbed more efficiently; therefore you have to take less. The standard dosing on CEE is to take 3 grams in the morning, and 3 grams pre-workout. Where as with CM you need to take 5 grams morning and 5 grams pre-workout. Creatine monohydrate also uses a loading stage.

During this time you take 20 grams a day spread out throughout the day, for a total of 5 days. This is not required, but is recommended by most. Most people buy creatine ethyl ester in bulk, however Bodybuilding.com does not sell it this way. Therefore I have listed some of the best CEE products on BB.com:

Creatine Ethyl Ester

      • Omega Sports Cre-Ethyl Thunder
      • VPX CEX
      • VNS Jacked

Creatine Monohydrate

NO2: Nitric Oxide: Cell Volumizers

      NO2 products are popular do to the pump they give you while training. Most NO2 products claim to also help aid in strength and recovery. I personally do not feel they are worth the "hyped up" prices. However some popular NO2 supplements are:

Thermogenic, etc.

      Ahhh yes, the ever so loved fat burners. There are so many choices, which one is right for you? Should you use a thermogenic? Or a Stimulant free burner?

Thermogenic Fat Burners

        Thermogenics' use stimulants to increase your metabolism. The use of a Thermo usually causes your body temperature to rise a little, and increase sweating. These are great if you don't mind feeling a little jittery.

        • Nutrex Lipo 6
        • BSN Thermonex EF
        • MAN Scorch

Stimulant Free Fat Burners

        Stimulant free fat burners can help you lose weight without the jitters of thermogenics, however they are less effective.

Bottom Line

Supplements are made to help with your gains. They are not made for replacements of solid nutrition and training. Make sure your diet, and training are in line before you waste your money on supplements.

My Mistakes

When I first started I followed was it commonly know as the chest and biceps routine. Yes I did it to. It's OK though, I've given you a head start, trust me ... get a real routine and train your legs. Once you train legs you will love the feeling.

I also did not follow a diet and eat whatever I wanted thinking my protein and creatine would make me huge.

Learn from my mistakes follow the big 3: Training:Nutrition:Sleep.

Sounds diet + good routine and sleep = results.

Good Luck.


  • Hp's Article for mass

  • Aftershocks nutrition article

  1. Joe Defranoc's westside articles

Review Of Other Articles
Or "Why Wasn't Mine Picked?"



  • Good organization.
  • Answered all questions.


  • Not in-depth. This article could have been more in-depth and detailed.
  • Used 59 consecutive words from this link.

    They are:
    "Begin by setting your eating pattern to include 5-7 small meals evenly spread out 2 1/2 to 3 hours apart. Include a protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat source with every meal. Examples of good protein sources are: chicken breasts, tuna, whey or soy protein powder, eggs, small amounts of lean red meat, turkey, cottage cheese, protein bars"

    This should have been quoted, or marked and cited with a reference.


    With the reference problem put aside, the article still lacked detail. The article could have been expanded and fully developed.



  • Good organization.


  • Little detail. This article could have gone into more depth, expanding on their ideas.
  • Grammar errors. There were a few grammar errors throughout the article.


    With more time put into this article, it should develop nicely. It is important to go into full details with ideas. It is also good to read over the article for grammar errors.