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Negative Reinforcement: Learning From Mistakes!

Why do we learn best from making mistakes? Who knows, but let's look at some of the mistakes we often make when it comes to bulking, cutting, diet and injuries.

I always say, "If I knew what I know now when I started lifting, I'd be huge!" I'm sure everyone says that, but it would not be possible. Why?

Because the best lessons are learned through experience. In most cases, the best lessons are learned through a negative experience. The saying "Live and learn" holds strong for anyone involved in a fitness-oriented lifestyle. Why is that?

Why do we learn best from making mistakes? Who knows, but let's look at some of the mistakes we often make.

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The most common mistake made during bulking is overeating. The concept of "more is better" does not hold true here. It is easy to believe that, "The more I eat, the more I'll grow." But this isn't the case; the body just doesn't work that way. Just about every bodybuilder has gained too much fat during a bulking cycle before.

Is this a bad thing? In a sense, no. By gaining too much fat, they have learned a valuable lesson. They have learned the downside of overeating. Because of this, they will take more time to plan out and stick to a diet during their next bulking cycle. This is something they had to learn for themselves.

Simply telling someone that they will gain too much fat will not totally convince them. Only first hand experience will do this. In a sense, the overeater has taken a step backwards, but also forwards, as you will use this gained knowledge in the future.

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Now that you've gained all that extra fat, you have to lose it. To try to accomplish this task, you decide to severely drop your calories and do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This is what all the magazines say to do, so it must work, right?

Wrong, and as a result, you do lose some fat, but along with it you lose a good amount of the muscle you have worked so hard to achieve. Because of this, you decide to research a more appropriate way to lose weight and vow never to do this again. Yes, you did take a step back, but you've also taken a leap forward.

Cutting Down & Leaning Up!
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Sticking To Your Diet

Dieting is extremely hard. Going week after week without pizza can be devastating. It requires outstanding mental strength and endurance to do this. Often, you give in. You binge on pizza, ice cream, cereal, etc. After you do this, you feel like crap! You are disappointed in yourself.

But, you are now motivated more than ever to stick to your diet. This downfall has only made you climb back up, stronger than before. Despite cheating on your diet and taking a step back, you have jump-started your determination.

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Suffering An Injury

Ouch! My rotator cuff! Despite the warning signs and initial pain, you continue to push yourself through an exercise. "No pain, no gain." As a result, you hurt yourself.

You were foolish and hard-headed. Despite the advice that had been giving to you ("If an exercise hurts, don't do it."), you decided to push through it. As a result, you won't be able to lift for a couple weeks, maybe longer.

Sometimes it takes an injury before you fully understand the importance of training safely. You may be sidelined for now, but rest assured, you will never do that again.

When we experience a setback or a failure, we may feel like we have taken a step backward. But when you stop and look at the big picture, you see that you have learned a great deal from your experience. There is a positive side to almost everything.

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Whether or not you make the best or the obstacles you face and learn from your mistakes is up to you. Sometimes it might take a downfall for you to realize that you are doing something wrong. I myself have only become stronger because of what I faced.

It is impossible to "know what I know now, when I first started lifting," because it has taken years to gain this knowledge. It has taken injuries, setbacks, failures, to get where I am today. One cannot expect to have everything handed to him.

Does this mean you should go about everything haphazardly hoping to fail? H*ll no! You should be trying the best you can to avoid setbacks. This means carefully planing out your diets and training routines.

It means using your head when exercising; knowing when to push yourself and when to stop. This means never settling for less than your best. You should not go out looking to fail, but you must learn from when you do.