No muscle is built in the gym. Muscle is only torn down in the gym. Which sets it up to become larger muscle when it heals. But it is this healing process that is the important stage. Lifting the weights is actually the easy part, and only the first part. If you don't watch yourself out of the gym you will never actually grow, you will just break down.
There are countless mistakes that you can make when you leave the gym.
Lifting Weights Is The Easy Part.
It is important to remember that your fight for muscles goes far beyond the gym walls. It involves how much you eat, how much you sleep, and the activities you are involved in. It's the lifestyle you live that determines the weight you lose or gain. I remember reading about a personal trainer that used to teach a cardio class. In his class he said that there seemed to be people who lost weight as planned, and those who never lost any weight. He said he didn't really understand because they all performed roughly equally in his class.
Then he said he discovered the problem, it was their lifestyle outside of his class. Those who went home, watched what they ate, and ate less, eventually lost the weight. Those who went home, jumped on the couch and ate chips never did lose weight. You can't just expect to spend 40 minutes in the gym a day and expect to look like you live in there. In order to look above average you must work above average.
You must eat right, and treat your body right, which means cutting out harmful drugs, especially alcohol. All this cannot just be done as a pastime. This requires a lifetime commitment, and involves all aspects of your life.
When I first started weightlifting I never knew what I was getting involved in. I figured that just curling a few weights every day would get me the huge arms I was after. Soon I discovered that in order to grow big arms you must work your entire body. This is because there are many supporting body parts and also your body likes to stay in proportion. So, I started working the whole body. I also knew that I needed additional sources of protein in order to grow muscle more successfully. So I began to supplement protein into my diet to make sure I reached my daily needs. It didn't take long before I outgrew my little home gym and started going to the base gym around my area.
After that I discovered the importance of compound movements in my gym schedule to help make my body grow. And I learned about the negative effects of alcohol and slowly phased alcohol out of my life, which meant less partying overall, and more sleep. Before I knew it, I was living a bodybuilder's lifestyle, even though when I started weightlifting I had no intention of doing anything like that. It's just that the little things started adding up, and when I combined all of them together I was living a completely different lifestyle than I started with.
Gains Come with Lifestyle Change.
Now, of course, I realize that bodybuilding is a lifestyle. There are too many different aspects of it to just be a past-time. And if you attempt to make it something you can just do in your spare time you'll never hit the same level you would if you totally indulge in the lifestyle. Eating, training, and sleeping properly takes a high level of dedication. And those who manage to survive will find their bodies looking as good as they possibly can. Just don't expect to do second-rate work and end up with a first class body, because weightlifting is definitely the sport in which you get out of it what you put into it.
It is those who do not change their life accordingly that have problems making gains in the gym, they complain that they don't make progress in the gym and blame everything but themselves. People complain about being "hard gainers" but the vast majority of people would be hard gainers if they didn't get enough protein, or didn't sleep right. So before you blame your genes for hindering you in the gym, take a look at the way you live and see if that could be the cornerstone in your gym problems. Proper nutrition is key to growing, not lifting weights. And eating right means every meal of the day, cutting out the junk, adding in the protein, and keeping everything balanced over the day. This is a 24-hour per day, 7-day per week job, but those who are up for it will see the results that the "part time" weight lifters could only dream about.
So remember when you head out to the gym that you are about to do the easiest part of your weight lifting program. When you come back in the house and you toss your gym bag on the floor, make sure that isn't the last thing you do with your bodybuilding until the next time you hit the gym, or you will be wasting your time in the worst kind of way.
Wake up bodybuilding, go to sleep bodybuilding, and make sure you are living the lifestyle everywhere in between.