Building muscle is a difficult task and if you’re not 100% dedicated, you’re going to find that the results won’t come. You need to make sure that you’re eating healthily, getting enough protein and exercising regularly but sometimes, even when you do all that, it seems as though nothing is changing.
A lot of people complain that they are hitting the gym multiple times every week and still not seeing any increase in their muscle mass or overall size. Often, they are trying exceptionally hard and believe that they are eating the right foods and doing all the right things, but to no avail.
So why aren’t you gaining muscle? What exactly is going wrong? Well, here are a few of the reasons that you might not be gaining weight:
#1 – Overtraining
Believe it or not, it is perfectly possible to do too much in the gym and if you do, you will find that you see just about as much of a result as if you didn’t bother doing anything at all. But what exactly is overtraining?
Basically, overtraining is a condition where you put so much stress on your body that it is not able to physically handle it. Every time you life weights in the gym, you are actually creating microscopic tears in your muscles and it is when your body repairs these tears that you notice an increase in muscle mass.
Your body actually repairs these tears not while you’re in the gym, but whilst you are resting. This means that if you don’t rest enough between your gym sessions, your body will not be able to repair your muscle tissue adequately and therefore, won’t build any muscle mass. All that will happen when you keep training is that you will create more tears in your muscle tissue which will eventually lead to a loss of muscle mass rather than a bulking up effect.
How can you avoid overtraining? The good news is that overtraining is relatively simple to avoid, you just need to takes things a bit easier. You’ll notice signs that you’re overtraining if you have difficulty sleeping, fatigue, strength loss, a high amount of muscle pain or even just general irritability.
If you feel that you’re overtraining, you should take a few days off to recover. To avoid it, you need to make sure that you take at least a couple of days off from the gym every week and get a good eight hours sleep every night. You should try to reduce stress in general too.
#2 – Not Enough Calories
Another reason you might not be gaining enough muscle is simply because you have nothing to gain muscle with. If you aren’t eating enough and getting enough calories, then your body isn’t going to have anything to repair muscle with and therefore, you won’t see any increase in muscle mass at all.
In order to gain muscle, you need to be consuming more calories than your body actually needs. For example, if you need 2500 calories a day, you might be consuming 3000 calories a day in order to gain muscle. You do need to make sure that the extra calories are coming from lean protein sources however, as this is what your body is going to be able to use in order to gain muscle mass.
How do you avoid under eating? Although it might sound pretty simple to avoid under eating (i.e. eat more), there really is more to it than that. You need to make sure that not only are you getting enough calories on a daily basis, but also that your body has all of the nutrients and proteins required to build and repair muscle. For example, you need to make sure that plenty of calories come from high protein foods and well as high-fibre carbohydrates and fruit/vegetables.
By supplying your body with everything it needs to be able to build muscle, you will be able to ensure that your workouts are much more effective and that you see more results.
#3 – Too Much Cardio
One of the most common reasons that people don’t build muscle as fast as they’d like is the fact that they are doing too much cardio. Cardio exercise is great if you’re looking to lose weight as it will burn calories and lead to a calorie deficit. However, this is not something that you are going to want to be doing (as least not too a large extent) if you’re looking to build muscle.
If you are creating a calorie deficit, then it is highly likely that you won’t build much muscle at all. Cardio will also actually increase your fitness and therefore, you won’t burn as many calories throughout the day as your body won’t be working as hard. Of course, this is a good thing but if you’re burning too many calories on a daily basis with cardio, you’re going to need to eat more in order to maintain a calorific surplus that is required to build muscle fast.
How do I avoid doing too much cardio? The truth is that cardio is pretty pointless if you’re only focussed on building muscle but some cardio is still good for you. If your main goal is to build muscle, then you should limit cardio to just a couple of times per week at the most. If you’re really slim already, you might want to limit it even more as it will only hinder your progress. If you’re quite overweight, cardio won’t be a bad thing but still, don’t overdo it by doing it every day and make sure that you’re eating enough too.
#4 – Not Enough Water
If you aren’t keeping yourself hydrated, you’re going to make the whole muscle building process a whole lot harder for yourself. The truth is that most people actually don’t drink enough water on a day-to-day basis either.
Water is required by the body for almost all functions including physical and mental functions. By not consuming enough water, you will not only be hindering your body’s ability to recover from those long workout sessions but you will also be hindering your own progress in the gym. A dehydrated body will not be able to work as hard in the gym so make sure that you’re hydrated on those gym days.
How do I avoid dehydration? It is recommended that you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. If you’re working out and working up a sweat, it is likely that you’ll need to drink even more than this in order to keep hydrated.
When you’re going to the gym, it is even more important to stay hydrated but you need to make sure that you don’t leave it until the last minute to do this. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day if you’re going to the gym and even if you aren’t. Oh, and we’re talking about water, not soda or anything else that contains heaps of sugar!
Basically, there are a whole host of things that can hinder your progress and while it is exceptionally difficult to do everything perfectly, you will be almost certain to increase your results simply by implementing the points above. Drinking more water, getting adequate rest and eating the right foods will not only help you on your muscle building journey but will also make you feel a lot better in general too.
So cut out the fatty foods, soda and gruelling workout routine and opt for a simple, healthy diet and moderate routine consisting of mainly weight training rather than cardio. It’ll be sure to go a long way!