Skinny Guy Muscle Building Mistake #1: Broken Focus

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” Bruce Lee 

“The shorter way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.” Mozart

“Often he who does too much does too little.” Italian Proverb

“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” Anonymous

I’ll just say it:

YOU are your own worst enemy when it comes to transforming your body.

Not your genetics. Not your metabolism. Not your environment.

YOU!

And while I have one finger pointed at you, I have three fingers pointed right back at me because I’ve learned this the long and hard way and don’t wish you experience this major muscle building mistake.

It’s hard to say to yourself:

“I AM RESONSIBLE for how I look and feel right now. I’m getting everything in life that I deserve right now based on the person I am being!”

It’s far easier to say, “It’s my genetics… or metabolism… or environment…” Right?

GIMME A BREAK!

That’s the line loser’s play. Don’t even try playing that card on me. You’re only fooling yourself. If you believe that, I hope you discover it sooner than later…

Today, you have to be ten times more focused than ten years ago (when I first transformed my body) because of the millions of blogs, websites, magazines and books available.  Not to mention that the Internet has no “gate keepers” so anyone with a pulse, Faecbook page/You Tube channel and decent physique can become a “fitness expert” overnight!

When it comes to building muscle, the most superior scientific muscle building knowledge is useless if you cannot focus on the information you do have and execute it with consistency and sufficient intensity.

Here are some of the deadly pitfalls of broken focus:

Goal Hijacking-
I learned this phrase from my friends John Barban and Brad Pilon. Right now you have a goal, consider it the original goal when you first entered the gym. It might be to increase your bench press by 50 pounds, or add 30 pounds of muscle, or achieve 8% bodyfat or maybe you want to compete in a fitness model show. Most likely you have a combination of visual goals and performance goals.

The key to achieving your original goal is to stay focused on the optimal training style that supports your goal. For instance, an individual purely focused on gaining 30 pounds of muscle should stick to traditional bodybuilding workouts. An individual purely focused on adding 50 pounds to his bench press should stick to traditional powerlifting workouts. Somebody who prefers to train for the circus should stick to crossfit workouts. :)  Somebody who prefers to train for a comedy club should do wobble pad and Bosu workouts!   :)

With dozens of new training programs and solutions that offer you a new way to train and even a new identity (can you say, “I’m a CrossFitter for life…” or “I’m a functional trainer” or “I’m a hardcore powerlifter” etc), it’s easy to forget that your original program was already designed to achieve your original goal!

Before you know it, you’re distracted and “testing out” every fitness solution out there, even though the training style is not harmonious with your original goal!

Here’s the truth, your goals are your responsibility. Write them down. Review them daily. Only take advice that SUPPORTS YOUR ORIGINAL GOAL! If the advice does not support your goal, file it away or discard it until you accomplish the goal in front of you.

Program Hoping-
Here is program hopping at it’s worst…. You start off January following the 1-6 Wave Loading Principle to get your entire body stronger. February roles around and you think your arms are lagging so you jump ship to the Swiss Ball Arm Workout. That lasts about one week, but since you still want to work on your arms you try out The One Day Arm Cure because someone told you Swiss Balls suck for mass building (they do).  So you try the Arm Up workout promising 17-inch arms in 4 weeks. You gain a solid inch but notice some extra fat accumulating that you’re not happy with. This calls for the latest Bodyweight Stimulator workouts to blast the fat….  Whatever happened to your original goal of getting stronger in January? This story is far too common.

Listen, there is a belief that the grass is greener on the other side.  (This can apply to all you dudes still playing the field and not getting any younger!)

This is a flat-out lie.

You know where the grass is green? The grass is green where you water it!

If you start doubting and second-guessing every program you start you’ll just spin your wheels and become a consumer, not a action-taker.

A program works only because you make it work!  It’s your responsibility to follow it consistently, progress it incrementally and execute whole-heartedly.

If you want a jaw-dropping physique you have to believe in yourself and the program and follow it until completion. Don’t be that guy who’s tried every muscle-building on the planet but has nothing to show for it. That’s just lame.

Too Many Chefs In The Kitchen-
This is a metaphor often used in business. Just as if 6 people were trying to season the same meal, similar chaos can exist when you take advice from too many fitness coaches at once. One of the reasons I gained 41 pounds of muscle in 6 months when I first started is because I decided to follow one coach and one coach only.  While I was taking his advice I shut myself out from the rest of the worlds advice.  I adopted a low information diet.

Many people never achieve their fitness goals because of the “too many chefs in the kitchen” syndrome.  I believe this happens because, deep down, you’re afraid to put one person in charge, they may screw up. So you put many people in charge of your fitness goals.

But that’s an even bigger problem: You end up with too many solutions that lead to overlap, inefficiency and truckloads of confusion, contradiction and complexity.  Months pass and there’s still no agreement amongst your favorite fitness coaches and your body has barely changed.  You’re trying to learn by reading instead of doing.

My advice? Keep it simple.   Pick one coach (with a proven track record of success) who helps you organize the chaos into a single, well-designed program, and don’t add another coach into the mix. You’ll be shocked by how fast your body changes when you apply a laser-like focus to your program and decide to learn from doing, not talking or reading about it. Less is often more!

Chasing Two Rabbits-
A martial arts student approached his teacher with a question. “I’d like to improve my knowledge of the martial arts. In addition to learning from you, I’d like to study with another teacher in order to learn another style. What do you think of this idea?”  ”The hunter who chases two rabbits,” answered the master, “catches neither one.”

The simplest example of “chasing two rabbits” in bodybuilding is the “Should I build muscle or lose fat, first?” debate. Also phrased like, “Should I bulk up first or should I cut first?”  Rabbit 1 = bulking. Rabbit 2 = cutting. The question you must ask yourself is this: Which one is more important right now? Or where would you like to be in 3 or 4 months from now?

Would you look better by adding 20 pounds of size to your frame? Or, would you look better losing 20 pounds off your frame?

Trying to build muscle and lose fat at the same time is possible but extremely difficult and requires perfection of so many variables that bodybuilding would need to be your full-time job. Literally.

Here’s my strong suggestion: Focus on one goal and one goal only until you complete it.  Do not deviate your focus towards anything else until you accomplish this original goal.  If your goal is to build muscle, submerge your life around muscle and don’t even give cutting a second thought until you achieve the muscle you desire. Then, and only then, can you refocus your energy and plan towards cutting. While you’re cutting apply the same laser-like focus. The end product will be a dramatically bigger and leaner person and your friends won’t recognize you.  This is the only simple way to catch both rabbits.  Very few people dramatically transform their bodies because they want to chase both rabbits at once but catch neither one. Don’t be that guy. It all comes down to avoiding broken focus. 

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Conclusion
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That is muscle building mistake number one. Which one did you resonate with most? Which one do you need to fix? Let’s get 100 comments below and I’ll upload Mistake #2!

4 Responses to “Skinny Guy Muscle Building Mistake #1: Broken Focus”


  1. yonas

    nice one

  2. Joseph

    Is very similar a the situation of high school.
    if you need to pass a written, you need focus in the study and after you can go to the night or other a activity do you like.

    Good Job Vince.

  3. Kristin Jessen

    This article was very insightful!! Thanks for posting, I agree set your mind to one goal and only one, then once achieved move on to the next goal. This is hard to do but worth it right :)

  4. Taylor

    I LOVED the article. The last one on chasing two rabbits resonated with me most! Can’t wait for the next one. I truly believe that developing focus is the most valuable skill you can learn.