Alright guys, today we’re going to look at a subject that I see all the time in the fitness community and it actually goes hand-in-hand with many of the other things I write about.
This one is no different. You might ask yourself: “Why Am I not Gaining Muscle?” Today I want to explore the 5 major reasons for this and what you should be doing to overcome them and do the correct things instead.
If you’re guilty of doing any of these 5 mistakes when it comes to attempting to build muscle, you will surely shoot yourself in the foot and leave some muscle growth on the table. I don’t want to see that be you which is why we will be discussing this today.
If You Aren’t Gaining Muscle, It’s Got Nothing to do With Your Genetics. Period.
There is generally one or more of these mistakes at play here that, if you actively abolish, you will surely gain the much anticipated muscle growth you desire.
This is by no means an exhaustive list – but in my experience, the 5 most important things are on here.
Read through the list and let me know in the comments what you think and if you’ve made any of these mistakes.
You Are Not Eating Enough
Your body burns a certain amount of calories everyday just to support its necessary functions. This is what’s known as your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. I am not going to go into detail here as to what that means – a simple Google search will yield a wealth of knowledge. However, a brief description would be as above. The basic energy your body needs daily without any activity taken into consideration.
Now, when you add exercise into the equation, especially cardiovascular exercise such as interval training or HIIT, or resistance training, this BMR will increase slightly.
Also taken into consideration would be daily activity levels, how much you walk, how sedentary you are, how active you are – all of these things contribute to how much energy you’ll burn on a daily basis. This is what’s known as your daily calories to maintain your current body weight – or maintenance calories.
If you want to learn more about how to properly calculate your maintenance calories please read this article to get a better understanding of that.
Now, without further ado – this is why you’re not eating enough. When you eat and lift weights, the food you put into your body aids in various functions that will lead to muscle growth. Food provides your body with the essential nutrients it needs in order to have enough energy for your workouts and to synthesise protein.
In addition to this, you must provide your body with slightly more calories than it needs to maintain your bodyweight if you want to have a shooting chance at building muscle.
If your body doesn’t have enough energy to maintain its bodyweight, how can you imagine it having enough energy to build muscle? Aim to eat 300-500 calories on top of your maintenance calories otherwise muscle growth will be severely restricted.
Inadequate Protein Intake
When you are building muscle, there are a variety of factors that need to be taken into consideration to determine whether someone will be successful in this endeavor or not. Things like hormonal balance, rest, food intake, macro nutrient splits and recovery are all good predictors of how well your muscles will grow.
One of the most important aspects of muscle growth, however, is protein synthesis. Without adequate protein intake, you’re surely leaving muscle gains on the table and will not be able to keep up with your body’s demands. In order to maximise muscle growth, you should be aiming to consume about 0.8-1g of protein per pound of body weight – any more than this and you will be sacrificing carbs and fats which can lead to hormonal imbalances.
With that said, it’s ok to miss some protein intake here and there as long as you are within that ballpark on a fairly consistent basis. No one is perfect, and if you’re not trying to win Mr. Olympia, hitting your macro split perfectly everyday is not going to force major disturbances to your muscle building journey.
You are Inconsistent and Make Up Your Own Workout Program
Look guys, I am not going to lie to you here – making up your own workout program isn’t going to work. Are you at your goal physique right now? Chances are that you’re not – so what makes you qualified to program your own workouts?
I’ve talked about this before. The other thing you want to make sure you’re paying attention to is consistency. It would be ideal to workout on the same days, or, at least, the same number of days each week. Even if the days change, you should workout for 3 days every week or 4 days every week. Don’t begin skipping days, working out only 2 days this week, 3 the next, etc.
Consistency and persistence is the key to any endeavor you take on in life – so what makes you think that fitness is any different?
- Go out and buy a proper workout program
- Follow it to a T and be consistent with it
If you were here and you already had 2-3 years of serious weight lifting under your belt, you wouldn’t need to worry about it. You would be more than qualified to program your own workouts. However, I know some of you that still wouldn’t be – those of you who have wasted years and years bullshitting around. That is not a good qualification.
Your Frequency, Intensity, Volume and Rest are out of Whack
Mini Gym-Lesson: What is…?
- Frequency – the number of times you hit the gym each week
- Intensity – the physical weight on the bar
- Volume – how many sets and reps
- Rest – time for recovery during sets
This goes hand-in hand with the above. If you are not striking the correct balance between frequency, intensity, volume and rest, you will never get your goal physique. Fortunately, there are half a dozen or so qualified fitness professionals out there that can help you immensely with your physique goal because they have years of experience and countless testimonials.
I don’t care if you’re a man, a woman, old, young etc – there is a program out there for you that will be better than any programming you can do for yourself. Unfortunately, when you’re new to weightlifting, you probably haven’t the faintest clue what these terms mean. This is the exact reason that you will need to learn about working out by buying a program. That’s the only way.
As you get to know your body more and more you will soon discover that you’re hitting a plateau or that you need to increase volume, decrease intensity, have more rest etc – but this is something you’ll discover in time and through trial-and-error and through years of experience.
Once you get to know your own body you will surely be in a better position to be able to make adjustments on your own. If you adjust your workouts yourself too early you will just continue to spin your wheels and get nowhere really fast/
FINAL MISTAKE #5:
Your Mindset Isn’t Geared Towards Advancing
There is one term that is ubiquitous in the fitness sphere and for a good reason: Progressive Overload. This means that every time or every few times you hit the gym, you’re growing a bit stronger and are therefore able to lift weights that are slightly outside of your comfort zone.
Without progressive overload, you’re literally giving your body zero reason to grow and build muscle. However, employing progressive overload into your workouts is a lot easier said than done. The main reason for this is your mindset. If you don’t have the right mindset and believe you’re capable of lifting heavier weights, you will never do so.
Those who go to the gym and lift the same weights over and over again are similar to those who work dead-end jobs without having a clear focus on how to advance their own lives. They will fall by the wayside quickly and swiftly only to be left in the dust by driven, ambitious and motivated men and women. Don’t be this guy.
If you want your muscles to grow stronger, don’t only employ progressive overload, embrace it because it’s the only way to trigger muscle growth.
When you want something in life, you need to work for it. You can’t just do the same bullshit every day and expect different results. One must take deliberate action – whether this is in the gym or in your personal or business life.
I want to hear from you! What are YOU doing to progress your life? How are you employing strategies to advance in the gym and in your business/personal life? Leave me a comment below!