Building muscle may seem about picking those weights up and throwing them down with swag but it isn’t.
Let’s accept the reality that gaining muscle isn’t an easy task and you need to undergo some serious training before you can become shredded and jacked. But sometimes it happens that despite putting in your best, you don’t see the results. This can be quite frustrating.
So, what’s holding you back?
This is what we’ll discuss today and share with you top 9 reasons as to why you aren’t making gains.
9 Reasons Why You Are Not Building Muscles
As mentioned above, it isn’t just about those workout days and hours and going to the gym. Many times we don’t notice but it happens that in the middle of your sets you start scrolling your Facebook news feed or checking out chicks on Instagram. Or you might be reading a magazine while you are training — yeah, I’ve actually seen that before.
Whatever the case may be, here are a few things that might help you clear things up.
1. Being Obsessed with Lifting Heavy
I know the ego lifters would come bashing at me but building muscles are not about lifting heavy. Though there are times when you have to go through your maximum strength but this obsession is wasting your time.
You might be thinking that the girls around you are impressed by you bouncing that weight off your chest, but in reality, no one actually cares. This is what we call a careless execution of exercise that negatively affects your gains (decreasing them instead of increasing) and can possibly lead to an injury as well.
A simple rule here to remember is to focus on creating tension in the muscles you are trying to work out. Moreover, when lifting the weight, keep your mind totally focused on the muscle or area you are targeting. For example, when training biceps, keep your eyes on your biceps while you lift the barbell or dumbbell.
2. You Don’t Eat Enough
Probably the second biggest mistake many bros out there make is not eating enough. Muscles aren’t something that appears by magic. They require the essential and right number of nutrients to grow. This includes the protein, carbs, and fat.
It is important to follow a nutritional program that suits your style of training and that will help you meet your goals, in this case, making gains.
3. No Plan to Progress
Many guys enter the gym and have absolutely no idea what they’re going to train on that day. This is inviting failure at its finest. There must be a proper plan, workout schedule, and a diet plan. Doing what you like isn’t going to help.
Always plan your program in advance and then execute it. By a proper plan, I mean setting the rep ranges, rest periods, tempos, and even possibly the amount of weight you need to use.
4. Not Prioritizing Your Recovery
Even if you’ve made it all smooth up until now, that will all be for naught if you don’t prioritize your recovery periods. By not prioritizing recovery, you are essentially throwing your efforts in the gym away.
It’s an elementary rule that after you train hard, you should allow your muscles a recovery time to grow. Workouts happen inside the gym but recovery is outside of it.
So, how to recover?
First and foremost, you should get enough sleep. It is an essential element of recovery and growth. A good night’s sleep makes your hormones function properly and increases your energy levels. To get the most benefits, sleep at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
Secondly, consume enough nutrients so that your body can recover from workouts, allowing your muscles to grow.
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5. Your Rep Scheme is All Wrong
Whenever doing strength training, you are used to doing three sets of 10-12 reps but this could be holding you back says Chicago-based personal trainer and running coach, Meghan Kennihan.
The ideal number of reps for muscle growth is between 6 and 12 reps per set. You should do fewer reps with heavier weights, 4-6 reps, and more reps with lighter weights, 15-20 reps. This variation brings about a great change in muscle growth.
6. Your Workout Lacks Variety
Are you the one doing the same exercise daily just because you love doing it or because you only want that part of the body to grow?
Doing the same exercise daily can lead to a decline in hypertrophy.
When you perform a particular exercise like bicep curls, your muscles suffer micro-tears and needs time to recover and grow. When you do it again the next day, they simply don’t get any time to recover, rather they begin to shrink. There must be enough variety of exercises in your workout. Make a proper schedule and follow it.
7. Doing Too Much Cardio
Although doing cardio is important, overdoing it can cost you those hard-earned muscle tissues. Unless you have a big lump of fat on your body, and you want to get rid of it, you should only do cardio once or twice a week.
8. Not Lifting Heavy Enough
While we did mention that lifting heavy can sometimes lead to a decline in muscle growth, not lifting heavy enough could be just as detrimental to muscle growth. Lifting as heavy as you possibly can each and every day will bring you nothing but fatigue and possibly injuries.
Finally, you are inconsistent with your workouts and/or diet plan. Not following them can also hold you back from making gains. You will never achieve your goals this way.
If you look at successful people you’ll notice that a contributing factor of their success is that they kept consistent with their work ethic. So why not apply the same rule to your fitness endeavor? If there’s anything you should take away from this article it’s that consistency always wins.
Whether you’re training for a show or studying for an exam, staying consistent will help you achieve your goals. Combine that with hard work, and you’ve got a winning recipe.