My 8 Biggest Workout & Nutrition Mistakes (DON’T MAKE THEM)

What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, We’re going to get up close and personal here,
today. You and I. pull up a chair. Let’s spend some time together. We’re going to talk. What we’re going to talk about are my mistakes. The things that I did over the years – nutrition
and training – that you can benefit from because you don’t have to make the same
mistakes. So maybe you’re currently making them and
you’re going to be able to identify them today and be able to stop. You know, as a good coach I think a lot of
times we have to resort to our own experiences in order to be able to coach from, and a lot
of times those experiences aren’t always positive. They can be negative, but when taught can
become positive because you can learn from my mistakes. So in no particular order, the first thing
I would tell you to avoid – and it’s not so much of a problem these days as it was
when I was in my formative years training – that was I avoided fat for far too long. You see, there was a time when I growing up
in the ’80s and ’90s – really, mostly in the ’90s – when fat was something to be
avoided. Especially in a body builder’s diet. Fat was kept for a very, very, very minimum
and we looked at protein and carbs. That was it. For the most part, all it did was cause adverse
health for me. Because I experienced some things that, looking
back now, were actually pretty disturbing and had I realized it I would have increased
my fat intake then. When I finally did learn and start to increase
my healthy fat intake my gains started to skyrocket. I was limiting myself hormonally because I
was not taking in enough fat in my diet. The fact was, I was able to, literally, I
was standing on a college campus in my early years of college unable to open my eyes because
the sun was so bright in my eyes. I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t even open them. That’s how intolerant I was to sunshine. At the same time my hair – this hairline
that you see here today – had thinned considerably because I used to have a helmet head of hair
and it thinned considerably because, again, my nutrition wasn’t there. But more importantly my performance and my
gains weren’t there either. So if I could have changed one thing, if I
just knew what the impact of what it had, which easily would have just incorporated
a little bit more healthy fat into my nutrition plan – I hate the word ‘diet’ – into my
nutrition plan, at that point I would have seen much bigger gains. Second thing that I did: I talked about it
before here, exerphobia. Exerphobia is avoiding the exercises that
you tend to know in the back of your head are probably the ones that are most worthwhile. Why? Because they’re the most uncomfortable. Why? Because they require the most effort. Why? Because when you perform them they really
hurt. Those exercises that create the most trepidation,
or fear before you do them are generally the ones that provide the most results. So if you’re the type that will always avoid
these because you’d rather just go to the comfort of a bicep curl machine, or you’d
rather go and do a tricep kick back, or you’d rather do something that is a lot easier to
do – maybe a leg extension machine – that’s fine. But I’m telling you, you’re going to hold
back the gains that you could see by starting to get over the fear and addressing them. Don’t start by going big after them. Start by just learning the technique with
lighter weights, and then building your confidence up so that you will be able to perform those
exercises with more aggression. That you would be able to attack them and
get what you need to get out of them. The third mistake – tying right into that
– is realizing that not all exercises are for everybody. The point being here is that biomechanically,
as I started to get a bigger appreciation of the biomechanics of the human body, I realized
that not every single exercise is made for everybody. You know, if you have really long femurs,
or your femurs sit in your hip sockets in a completely different way than someone else’s,
squatting may not be as comfortable for you, or squatting the same width may not be as
comfortable for you, or even biomechanically impossible in the right form. So you have to be able to identify that. You don’t want to continue to hammer your
head against the wall saying “Well, I was told that this is what I have to do. So I’m going to keep doing it”, realizing
that what you’re probably doing is breaking yourself down. That’s exactly what I did. I broke my knees down so bad in my early years,
before I was even 20 years old. I had shitty knees because I continued to
bang my head against a wall that was not giving in. I wound up having knees that gave in instead. You have to be willing to be creative and
try things just to see if you respond better to them. I could tell you one thing I can do these
days. I can reverse lunge, and I could reverse lunge
with 205lbs across my back. Sometimes even more. And I can get a great workout doing it. Guess what? I don’t have any knee pain doing it. So for me, it’s something that works, but
it took a little bit of trial and error. It took a little bit of courage to try something
other than squats to realize that “Hey, I can still do other things and get gains.” And you have to be able to have the courage
now to start experimenting with what those are for you, and find the things that work
for you. And if they work, that’s the key. The next thing I did is actually a little
bit embarrassing. But hey, we’ve all been there at some point
in time. That is, I relied too heavily on supplementation. As a matter of fact, said more clearly and
more of an admission; I felt that supplementation could overcome bad training, or at least a
lack of intensity in my training. You see, I thought that “Hey, as long as you’re
doing the right things, taking the right things supplementally, you can sort of just show
up for the workout an everything else will be good.” I talked about before how I used this program
called Cybergenics, which was a series of pills in a bottle. I don’t even know what the hell they were. Al I knew is when you took them and you smelled
them they smelled like absolute garbage. I used to take one and pop them down. I thought “I am on Cybergenics. I am just going to show up. I’ll perform the workout. I won’t necessarily be invested in how much
effort I’m going to put in that workout, but as long as I complete it the supplements will
do the rest for me and take care of that.” And that is not how supplementation works,
guys. If you are willing to put in the hard work
and not use supplementation as a substitute to hard work, then you will see some great
results from supplementation. They are supplementing your hard training
and your proper nutrition, and the combination of all of those actually gives you a great
result than any of the three individually. It gives you a – not only one, plus one, plus
one equals three – but a one, plus one, plus one, equals five, or six, or seven, or
ten. So you need to get that added effect, but
they all have to be there. Not one at the exclusion of the other. Certainly, supplements are really, really
easy to take, and it’s a lot harder to actually put in effort, but you cannot think that is
going to work for you in the long term. Next is another one that’s a little bit on
the embarrassing side, but hey; what we’re talking, you and I here today. So why not? Body building magazines were my bible. They’re what taught me how to lift. They’re what taught me how to make early gains. I didn’t have the internet. I’m going to be really, really embarrassed. The internet didn’t exist when I was young,
and training, and I just started out. I don’t have that. I didn’t have a YouTube channel like mine,
hopefully, that could guide you and give you real world things that you can do and apply
because you know it’s coming from somebody that’s playing on the same playing field as
you are, on the same level playing field, and has experience guiding what it is that
I do that allowed me to be able to dispense this information to you confidently, that’s
going to work for you. But I was following guys that I didn’t really
know any better. I knew that they only outweighed me by about
150lbs, and I knew that they were much more capable of handling workouts that lasted two,
three, and four hours long, but it was all I had. And I modeled myself after that and I followed
the same 50 set workouts for just chest, and I followed the two and three hour workouts,
and I did all that garbage, and I didn’t see results. I saw enough to know that I could make a muscle
and see some kind of a bump come up, but not enough to actually be really proud and say
“Hey, look! I work out for three hours a day. Can’t you tell?” It wasn’t working for me that way, but again,
it’s all I had, and it’s one of the things I wish I had different. I wish I had a different resource. I wish I had something like this channel a
long time ago that would have been able to teach me the things I should have done a lot
more quickly. The next thing is back to nutrition and it’s
another admission of mine. That is, I actually felt that protein and
carbs were the only thing that existed. I already had ruled out fat, and as far as
carbs I’m thinking pasta, rice, oatmeal; the things we talk about. I even mentioned some of them in the last
video about hard gainer nutrition. I completely overlooked – for two reasons
– plant based nutrition, fibrous carbohydrates, because I didn’t like them. You know, as I said before, exerphobia; I
had food-phobia. I didn’t like the taste of vegetables. You couldn’t get me to eat them. I didn’t see any value in them, right? They were there to gross me out, or have some
point of discussion for my family to be yelling at me. “Make sure you eat your vegetables.” That’s what it was to me. It was always a negative thing, but when I
finally adopted an appreciation for the other kind of carbohydrates here – the more fibrous
carbohydrates – everything changed. It was an eye-opener for me. And I think the real power behind it was that
I was actually, finally, for the first time – especially as I started to increase my
fat intake again – was I started to round out my diet and nutrition plan, and complete
my nutrition plan. Where I finally was now getting the micronutrients
that a lot of the fibrous carbohydrates, and the plant based nutrition is abundant in,
that was complementing and filling in my deficiencies. From relying solely on protein and starchy
carbohydrates. So I would advise you, if you’re the type
that was like me, that just tends to hate the taste of some of those vegetables – which,
by the way, I’m completely over these days. I love Brussel sprouts, believe it or not. I love asparagus. I love broccoli. There’s so many vegetables these day that
I love and I look forward to having that I feel embarrassed to admit that I was the other
way. But it’s a reality, and it’s a reality that
a lot of you guys face. The inspirational part that I can tell you
is that by adopting a more well-rounded plan, by incorporating a lot more plant based nutrition,
you’re going to see results. A lot of times, I feel, because you’re finally,
for the first time plugging in deficiencies that you were unaware that you even had. Next, this is one of my favorites. Point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. When I trained that’s all I cared about. I had no respect for the process. I had no respect, or appreciation for the
‘A’ to ‘Z’. Not just ‘A’ to ‘B’, but ‘A’ to ‘Z’. Meaning every step of the rep along the way. You cannot focus on the rep as the metric
of your workout. If you do, you will not see the gains you
should see. I don’t care what it is you’re training
for. If you’re training for power you still have
to respect the ‘A’ to ‘B’ because it’s not just providing speed through that rep and
its range. It’s speed through the rep in this range,
and it’s speed through the rep in this range, and it’s speed through the rep in this range. The speed through the rep in the entire range,
trying to accelerate the rep through the entire range of motion. So really being invested in that single rep,
and then repeating it, and repeating it, and repeating it. You can see right there the mental capacity
that you have to have, and the concertation that you have to have to do that for every
rep, and invest yourself so heavily in every rep. it’s challenging, but it’s worth it. It is worth it. If you just think about the reps – I used
to go there and go “All right, I know I’ve got to get from here, to here. Here, to here.” If I could have gotten there this way, fine. If I had to bow my elbows out to get it up
there, oh, it was actually a good thing because I could actually divert some of the focus
away from the biceps so that I knew I could get to ten reps – the magic number – or
12 reps, without it actually wearing me down prior to reaching the 10 or 12 reps. God forbid I failed at eight, or nine. I would feel like it was an unsuccessful set. That is the wrong mindset. If I had devoted every ounce of effort I had
into enjoying the rep all the way up, and making sure that the tension was going to
the muscle I was actually trying to place it on, who cares if it was eight reps? It was eight way better reps than the other
ones that I did the 10 or 12 where I did about two good ones, and nine or ten half-assed
reps. You cannot have that mindset and see a lot
of success in the gym. Make every one as productive – and if that
means uncomfortable, as uncomfortable as you can make it, and the gains will start coming. I promise you. Lastly, I have to say, for a very long period
of time I was on the wrong side of the volume and the intensity balance. Right? On this scale. If you go heavy on the intensity then you’re
going to have to go light on the volume. If you go high on the volume, then you’re
going to have to lighten up the intensity. And for me, again, as a natural lifter, the
thing I found to be the most productive thing that I did in my training, was I increased
the intensity. So be it if I had to decrease that volume
because, guess what? That meant that those two and three hour workouts
that I was following for chest alone, from the muscle building magazines had to go. Yeah, that was hard to say ‘goodbye’, but
man. I actually had a life now. In the afternoon I was able to actually go
home and do something else other than be at the gym for three hours. You know what happened? I started to see results and I realized that
the impossibility is something that makes so much sense. You can’t train as hard as you possibly can
and do that for a long, long, long period of time. Now, I’m talking about within a single workout,
and among several workouts strung together. You do it within a single workout, eventually
your effort level is going to diminish, and what you’re putting out in the end is really
half-assed effort, which is not really capable of delivering the results that you’re looking
for. If you string together those after workout,
after workout, after workout, eventually you start to dip into your capacity to recover. Again, you’re going to start to see your ability
to perform high quality workouts diminish. So you need to be able to see that and make
that trade, and I’m imploring you to do what I did. Give up the time and invest more in the intensity. When you do that you will see much better
results. I promise you. So there you go, guys. My eight biggest mistakes that, hopefully,
you can start to learn from and stop making, if you’re making them right now. I promise you this: nothing more beneficial
can come from this video than from you writing in and saying “Jeff, number two and number
four,” or “number three and number seven”, or “All eight of these things helped me dramatically.” I don’t care if you have to learn from my
mistakes. I made them so that you can’t make them, all
right? So you don’t have to make them. By having this channel and this platform,
hopefully I’ve been able to be given an opportunity to educate as many people as I can to the
same things that I did so that you do not have to make them. The faster you can avoid mistakes is the faster
that you can point yourself in the right direction to consistent gains. That’s what this channel is all about. I hope you guys can appreciate that and will
leave your comments and let me know what you think below. How many of these are you making? How many have you avoided yourselves? How many of your friends are continually bashing
their head against a wall making the same ones over, and over, and over again? Just share the video with them and you can
hopefully educate them to not do that anymore. If you’re looking for a program that takes
all the things that I did learn, and puts them into one place, in one program; head
to and get our ATHLEANX training system. Nutrition and training all carved into one
plan over at In the meantime, if you’ve found this video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. I’ll be back here again in just a few days
with another video. I’ll see you guys soon.

100 thoughts on “My 8 Biggest Workout & Nutrition Mistakes (DON’T MAKE THEM)

  1. Sorry got half way and couldnt take advice anymore from someone who rolls the sleeves on his t shirt up to show off his shoulders.

  2. Hey guys. Could someone advice me? If I feel more or less pain in muscle group I have trained yesterday does it mean workout was good for muscle grow?

  3. OMG I remember Cybergenics! It was such a con. The pills tasted disgusting and had no effect at all on anything. Just a collection of "you too can look like this is just 5 weeks!"

  4. Love your Channel and you've helped me immensely with techniques, exercises and info… For that I can't thank you enough!

    So I'm gonna return the favor here… with info… the Internet was certainly around when you were a kid. I know cause it was around when I was a kid and I'm older than you. The World Wide Web (WWW) is what you meant. WWW didn't arrive til ~93-94. The Internet has been around since the 60s & probably late 50s once the US space program really got going. The internet is made up of many components with the WWW being only One of them. To put it another way.. ALL of the WWW is the Internet, but NOT ALL the INTERNET is the WWW.

    I started using the Internet in '80, when Jimmy Carter was still president and it was well established.

  5. My biggest mistakes (keep in mind these are my mistakes and not “the biggest mistakes”) were that I wouldn’t do any exercises in the same order ever, I didn’t ever track or remember what kind of weight I had on the bar, I would only do 3 sets of 10 and that’s it, I wasn’t consistent with both my wait times in between sets and exercises, I didn’t diet what so ever, and I had shitty form 🙂

  6. This man is so well spoken and kind. I’m thankful that he’s so willing to share his knowledge and wisdom with his followers. Jeff you’re the best 🐐

  7. Another great video. I really appreciate your sharing with us how/what you did wrong so we don't have to.
    This is invaluable. I wish you could show us different variations of some excercises in the section where you are talking about those excercises that may not be suitable for everyone.
    Anyway thanks again.

  8. In the past I made so many mistakes with my workout lifting crazy amounts of weight I ended up with knee and shoulder problems but most of all I made so many mistakes with my "nutrition plan" that I ended up seriusly sick with my colon, I was so sick I thought I had colon cancer or somethjng….I lost all my gains I was unrecognizable, thank God there was a solution and I had to change completely my nutrition plan, now I am on FODMAP and it is ok, now I try fruits and vegetables I not even knew they existed and they keep me with a very low fat % but healthy. On the other hand, I am not lifting weights anymore, now I love calisthenics, bodyweight training and this channel! I am sharing this video! 😎👍

  9. Wow! I remember Cybergenics….all the supplements came packed together in a box. I still wonder what was in there…can't remember anymore.

  10. Jeff I have a injured shoulder. And I’m doing bands everyday, but I’m still hitting the gym cause I’m determined. I really wanna see gains in the gym I just feel like this is pushing me to only do certain exercises, and I’m limited to what I can do. My doctor said i can’t deadlift nor lift heavy. Does anyone recommend any plans or exercises?

  11. Hi Jeff, I discovered your vídeos recently, I am really a fan now…they are so instructive, I am learning New things that will help me to gain muscles and have a beautifull body!

    Hi from Algeria 😉

  12. Giving up the time and increasing the intensity has changed my workouts also adding the carbs that are from plants has changed my life.

  13. Jeff…. you didnt need to have a guide or channel like this one because thanks to you and your experience. Here we have the most valuable information about fitness. You are quite a brilliant coach!

  14. Imagine if Jeff had an athlean-x-like channel back in the days to learn from. He could probably master the ability to levitate and become transcendent.

  15. I’m the same age as Jeff and did all the same things including cybergenics and reading the muscle mags where the guys were monstrous and the workouts unsustainable for a skinny teenager there was much learning to be had

  16. The things you don't want to do are probably the things you need to do the most. It is especially true when working out (excluding improper technique)

  17. I bought the Charles Atlas kit in 3rd grade in 1980 thinking I’d get ripped. The desire was there, but had yet to even experience under arm hair. Boy! Have come a long way. Good listening to you, Jeff – it’s always a pleasure.

  18. Might be a silly question but…when I was a kid and forced to do lunges and such, one of the knee sockets sort of…slid to the side. It reverted back fast and I did not have problems other than the strong pain in the moment. Now, whenever I perform a lunge I feel like the knee is about to do the same thing … should I just avoid them altogether or push through? Or maybe perform then differently to reduce the risk of this happening?…. i don't want to ditch the exercise if I'm just being afraid for no reason :))

  19. I know this is an old video, but I just wanna say I love your videos man. I get addicted to things very easily. For years, it was the wrong things. On Monday, I started focusing on training and on my nutrition. Within just 3 days, although I haven't lost any weight yet, I've seen my waist size go down a tiny bit. I feel pumped and motivated. I've been watching these videos before going to the gym to motivate myself. Although it's difficult for me to make my own meals since I stay in hotels a lot, I've been looking at every bit of nutrition on the food I eat. I will keep this up, and I will make progress. One day at a time.

  20. How do you spend 3 hours on chest? I love your channel..Just getting back to weight lifting myself and these help a lot and are great motivation as well..

  21. I knew I had to add veggies and avoided it also because I felt they were a wast too. Lol. I started to blend mine in an energy boosting fruit smoothie every morning before my workout!

  22. jeff, you sire have single handedly widened my horizon to the absolute extreme. I used to be 300 lbs 2 years ago and im now 6ft 2, 9% body fat and 193 lbs. Thank you so much for your extremely helpful videos and honesty. your the man

  23. number 8 is enormous! coming from a person who is already pretty lean and decently muscular, this is advice combined with an athlean workout program helped me get to the next level

  24. Jaw dropped to the ground! Cybergenics came out while I was in high school and I bought their standard, minimum version of the product for over $100. There were maybe 10-12 bottles of pills at the least. Half tasted of seaweed, the rest of dog food. Jeff is not exaggerating!

    I didn't follow the nutrition instructions in the manual at all, which they wrote as if they knew some secret magical recipes like "sashimi is best." All they had to do was say "eat KFC on leg day and avoid sugar like the plague." That brought back such memories. If a man like Jeff can mention Cybergenics with regret like I still do then perhaps there is hope….

  25. All I can say is THANK you I maybe a woman in my 50 and going to school through NPTI, Physique Competitor I thank you have helped me more than you think keep it up.!!!!!👍🏽

  26. i try to limit fat intake because for me, it's HARD to eat too little. (i try to keep to 0.4g/lbs of bw and that serves me well)

  27. Holy Sh*t "Cybergenics" remember that?! yes the bottles of pills…how about the droplets under the tongue as well lol. The things we put in our bodies. I don't even want to know what the stuff was made of.

  28. How are we supposed to see the differentiate between us being biomechanically unable to do an excercise and being just too weak?

  29. Honestly i doubt really make those mistakes now, but i used to. Once thing I'd like to add on "the rep" i honestly like when the proper rep "fails" it tells me that ive literally taken everything i can get from my body.

  30. #8 it's a hard pill for me to swallow but it's hard since I am in Anatomical Adaptation phase, I always finish with resistance (bands) but start heavy (the most I am able atm)

  31. Obviously you shouldn't smoke weed before a workout but people do. I don't before but I do after I'm done. I'm eating healthier foods & getting a better sleep routine too. Can you make a video on how marijuana can affect workout goals/results? I believe with it being legal now in California it would help people make the change when trying to live a healthier life style. Thanks for your time man.

  32. DUUUDE thank you! I have longer than average femurs and always wonder why I'm throwing out my back from doing squats. Man I really wish I knew someone like you that I could talk to about these things.

  33. Jeff, thank for the awesome videos. Do you have a video that talks about rest periods between exercises?

    Something that answers the questions: How long of a rest period between exercises will help you make the most the gains.

  34. #5 eating more plant based food is so important but it is hard to do; i recommend you guys to use a Vitamix blender, you can put Carrots, spinach, ginger, kale, lime mixed with some berries and a scoop of isolate protein and BOOm you got a tasty shake Super concentrated with ALL your micronutrients; that's the SECRET guys, and it takes 1min to do it💪💪

  35. #6 The key to pack on a lot of intensity and sets within an hour is Super, triple sets and even Dead sets, whereas you can do Three sets of three different exercises back to back, and can end up with hammering 9 sets in approx 20 minutes!!!

  36. I struggle with anything Plyo. Jumping murders my knees and feet because of my years of cardio. I got a lot of runner's knees and severe plantar fasciitus. 🙁 I don't do anything requiring bursts or jumps and have to work around it. I'm afraid of seriously injuring my feet. ><

  37. Hey guys great content backed up by scientific data.
    Can you do a video on
    – getting a stronger lower back ?
    – flexibility training
    – increasing vertical jump, workouts and plyometrics
    – training neck muscles
    – strengthening the ankles and minor joints important for athletes, which are usually overlooked while training.

  38. Mistake #4 was my biggest problem even though I've had all the problems you mentioned. When people hear that you workout they always ask how much weight and how many reps. I love the mindset of enjoying the rep from A-Z and taking them to failure. Thanks Jeff for all the great info and keep up the good work!

  39. ATHLEAN-X™
    My eyes are very light sensitive and my hairline is slightly receded, I'm 30. Is it because I'm not eating enough fat?

  40. I do not care this video has any benefit for you or not,you sir are a noble man as you share your personal experience and knowledge to the world that no body offers in simple ways

  41. @Atlean_X
    One big big problem I have is my body recover itself very slow,I do not mean that i observe my diet and nutrition well but I think the way I feed it and giving rest to my body is practical but still I see my body recovery is very slow and I do not know why? maybe I push too much but the time I spend at the gym is less than 90 minutes,I do not know what is wrong

  42. I have made most of these mistakes, too. And more. Thank you for your great coaching and for being honest and approachable.

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