10 Things You Shouldn’t Do If You’re Trying to Build Muscle: Body Building

8. Ignore other forms of physical activity.

If you want to gain muscle then, yes, your focus will need to be strength training. But I caution against strength training to the exclusion of everything else. I don’t have much hard science backing me up here. It’s more of an intuition borne out of years of seeing people fail and succeed. But it’s the folks who do things other than strength train that often have the best physiques. They’re playing frisbee or paddle boarding. They’re hiking and sprinting and slacklining. They’re challenging their bodies (and minds and muscles) in different ways. They’re taking time out of their lives to have fun and simply enjoy the body they’re diligently creating in the gym. Everything in life must have balance; I have yet to see a counter example. Have you?

9. Do high-rep conditioning workouts.

If you just want to lean out and build stamina and the capacity to withstand great physical discomfort, programs like P90x work well. These are high-rep, low-weight workouts that never seem to end. You’ll do things like air squats into pushups into light dumbbell presses into reverse lunges into tuck jumps, with very little rest. If you ever go down to the local park, you might see hordes of people doing “boot camp” workouts that look very similar. And all these will make you tired and sore the next day, and you’ll get “fitter” and better conditioned. But to build muscle? To gain lean mass? These are not the programs you want to be doing.

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