You hit the gym five times a week and lift some weight whenever you get a chance but your body still looks the same and you’re not gaining any muscle.
It’s a common problem for most people who exercise regularly and expect results but keep making some mistakes that can be easily corrected.
Here are some of the most common signs of not gaining muscle.
1. Too Much Cardio
There’s nothing wrong with riding a bike or sweating on a treadmill but if this is what your training sessions are mostly about, that might be the reason why there’s no expected muscle gain. Jogging, swimming, and riding a bike is great for burning calories and thus for leaning out but it’s not for building mass.
Weight lifting should dominate your training sessions while some cardio is okay but give priority to recovery time if needed. Experts suggest limiting cardio sessions to two times a week, so make sure you take their advice.
2. Not Enough Protein
A calorie surplus is a must if you want to gain muscles, so eating like a bird and focusing on salads won’t do you any good. Protein is essential for the muscle-building process, but it also helps overexerted muscles and repairs small tears that happen as a result of weight lifting. If you’re serious about buffing up, then you’ll need to up your protein intake through a proper diet and some healthy protein drinks.
There’s a good reason professional athletes and bodybuilders rely on protein shakes so much – they are a really good post-workout snack because they help your body create the amino acids that are necessary for muscle building.
They also keep your body from burning away muscle to use for energy, which is exactly what happens if you don’t pay attention to your diet and don’t eat a good, protein-filled post-workout snack.
3. Your Reps are Wrong
Some studies have shown that having 6 to 12 reps per set is an optimal number of reps for building muscles but that doesn’t mean all your training sessions should look like this.
Implementing some variety is desirable, especially for weight training so make sure you include some lower rep ranges with heavier weights and higher ones as well with lighter weights to give your body some diversity.
Also, cheat reps are a big no-no because half-done reps give half-assed results. Perform the full range of motion for each exercise and you’ll soon start seeing changes in your body.
4. You’re Lacking Sleep
When you’re resting, your body is using this precious time to rebuild muscles and grow even stronger so getting enough sleep is not just a matter of beauty. When building muscles, your body breaks apart the fibres inside your muscles and then it needs time to grow back more or different types of fibres.
If you don’t sleep enough in between your training sessions, you might risk tearing down your muscles and getting them weaker which is something you surely want to avoid. So, go to bed early and just relax – sometimes that’s enough to see results.
5. You’re Impatient
The most important thing to understand when it comes to gaining muscles is that it takes time so there’s no room for impatience in the process. Don’t look at yourself in the mirror after two weeks and feel disappointed you’re not seeing any results. This might cause your motivation to plummet and we all know how hard it is to get that back.
If you’re in the middle of a crisis right now, try a few nifty little tricks to motivate yourself again – get yourself quality bodybuilding clothing to put yourself in the right mood (it’s scientifically proven that proper clothes can motivate you to work out), subscribe to a fitness blog or YouTube channel, or surround yourself with motivational quotes and posters. These things might sound silly but they work like a charm.
6. Not Enough Weight
The golden rule of weight lifting to gain muscles says: when it gets easy, increase the weight. So, those 5-pound weights were fine when you were a beginner but now it’s time to do more. It’s irrelevant whether you’re using machines or free weights – if you’re not lifting enough weight, your muscle gain will stagnate.
Again, it’s all about breaking down the muscle tissue and rebuilding stronger and denser fibres and that can be achieved only if you challenge yourself to do more every day.
Now, reflect on your exercising, resting, and eating habits and check if you’re making any of these mistakes. Then, fix what needs to be fixed and watch the results come. Soon, your body will look just the way you imagined!
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