Going to the gym, training hard, and no results? Sure, you may feel healthier but you haven’t gained any muscle.
Muscle gaining not only has to do with working out but also your diet and other habits as well. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t despair! Your body CAN gain muscle, find out if you are making one of these six common mistakes:
#1: You Don’t Eat Enough Calories
Start by calculating your daily calorie requirements to make sure that you are consuming enough.
If you find it hard to consume enough calories, here are some tips:
Eat more frequently (5-6 smaller meals per day)
Eat more food at each meal
Eat more caloric dense foods – such as nuts and nut butters, seeds, dried fruit, whole grains, and meat
#2: Your Diet Lacks Protein
When it comes to bodybuilding, protein is absolutely essential. Your body needs protein to build muscle and many people simply don’t get enough protein-rich foods in their diets.
Whether you get your protein from animal sources (meat, eggs and dairy products), vegetable sources (nuts, mushrooms, quinoa, soy, beans) or from protein shakes, it is imperative that you hit your daily requirement. You can find out more in this article: How Much Protein To Gain Muscle.
#3: You Eat the Wrong Type of Food
Depending on your metabolism, you may struggle to gain any weight regardless of how much you eat, which can tempt you to switch to junk food. Eating lots of sweets and bad carbs like pizzas and donuts will eventually lead to weight gain – but not the type you are trying to achieve (also known as muscle mass).
As I’ve mentioned earlier, it is important to get your daily requirements of protein, carbohydrates and fats from healthy foods that bring nutritional value to your body and not just empty calories. Ideally, you should consume caloric-dense foods such as steak, oils, and peanut butter as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Everyone’s body is unique in its nutritional needs. We all need different foods and supplements to thrive. Find out more about your particular needs here.
#4: You aren’t lifting the correct amount of weight
While, it may be fun to work with small weights and be able do a lot of repetitions, you won’t grow your muscles this way. If you are a beginner, you need to constantly increase the weights that you are using in order to grow bigger and stronger.
If you can do more than ten reps in a set on a specific exercise, it’s time to increase the weight (without overdoing it)! You still need to be able to perform six to eight reps with that weight, otherwise it’s too heavy. Doing one really heavy repetition will only make you stronger, but will not lead to muscle hypertrophy.
Ideally, shoot for six to eight reps and try to add a bit of extra weight every two weeks. You won’t be able to add ten extra pounds at once, so even a two and a half pound increase is great! As always, make sure to properly warm up and stretch before using heavy weights. Do a ten-minute overall warm-up and perform two light-weight sets on any specific exercise before switching to bigger weights.
#5: You Don’t Do Compound Exercises
Modern gyms are filled with new and shiny machines that seem really fun to use. But barbells and dumbbells (aka free weights) are still the best when it comes to building muscle and strength. Also make sure to perform the compound exercises first (the ones that involve more muscle groups).
A good muscle building program should definitely include exercises such as the squats, the deadlifts, the bench press, the military shoulder press or various types of rows. Don’t switch programs and exercises too often (earlier than 3 months) but rather become better at the exercises you are performing right now. Gradually increase the weights (while still maintaining a good form) and your body will have no choice but to grow.
#6: You Don’t Sleep Enough
You need to get plenty of restful sleep in order for your muscles to grow. Try to aim for at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Not only you will feel better the next day, but your body will produce more growth hormone which will help you build muscle faster.
Alternatively, if you don’t get enough sleep your body will produce more cortisol, which will eventually lead to muscle loss. So make sleep a priority, something as important as your workouts and your nutrition.
Make sure to avoid these six common muscle building mistakes and you will get the results that you are looking for!
About Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson is a big fitness enthusiast, author and owner of www.Body-Buildin.com. You can visit his website for more interesting articles, tips and motivation!