5 Reasons Why You’re Not Building Muscle
So you’re not building muscle? Why not? A lot of people think that if you hit the gym a couple of times a week and bust a few reps of their favourite moves then they’ll naturally become huge shredded monsters in no time. Unfortunately it’s not that simple.
If you want to optimise your muscle growth then you have to make sure you’re doing all of the following correctly.
If you are not building muscle you may need to evaluate how much protein you are getting.
Protein has a major role to play in muscle building, which occurs if protein synthesis exceeds protein breakdown. If you’re not eating enough protein then it’s more likely that protein breakdown will win out.
That doesn’t mean that more is better of course, as very high levels of protein quickly reach levels of diminishing returns when it comes to benefitting the muscle building process.
You want to aim for about 1.8g – 2g of protein per kg of lean body mass. A high quality protein powder
can help you to reach your daily targets.
#2 Calorie Surplus
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To add size you need to consistently hit a calorie surplus[/caption]
Quite simply; if you’re not eating enough you won’t be growing! Your body cannot get bigger without sufficient fuel. If you’re not building muscle you need to make sure you’re getting enough to eat.
This doesn’t mean you have a license to go crazy and eat as much as you want though – when you’re aiming for an increase in lean body mass you want to minimise the amount of fat you gain along with it. Some amount of fat gain is inevitable of course, but ideally you want this to be as little as possible.
When aiming to build muscle you want to start introducing calories gradually, aiming for a consistent surplus when you train. Everyone is different of course, but a 20% surplus over your maintenance calories is a good thing to aim for. Notice fat accumulating too rapidly? Lower the surplus. Hit a muscle-building plateau? Raise the surplus.
Another thing to consider – are you having trouble eating enough? It may sound odd to some people, but this can be a real issue!
In addition to eating a balanced diet that’s nutrient-dense, you might want to add in something like Pure Fine Oats
which allow you to get a good dose of calories in a healthy, nutritious, easy way.
Getting adequate protein and eating enough overall are two very important parts of the muscle building equation.
#3 Progressive Overload
Are you doing the same workout, week-in, week-out? If so, this could be a big reason as to why you’re not building muscle. In its simplest terms, progressive overload simply means adding weight to the bar over time. It doesn’t have to be a lot of weight, and it doesn’t have to be every session, but it does have to happen. You have to give your muscles a reason to grow!
No matter what training plan you are following, (and you should definitely be following one), any plan worth anything will include progressive overload. This could mean increasing weight, or it could be adding reps or sets; either way you’re increasing your total amount of work done and if you’re not doing this over time your muscles won’t have any reason to grow.
This is one of the main reasons that people are not building muscle as much as they would like, and is closely linked to the next point.
The total amount of weight that you lift over your entire session does matter. One of the reasons that you’re not building muscle could simply be that you’re not doing enough work! Even when you incorporate progressive overload into your training you still have to make sure you’re lifting enough overall volume.
Volume is typically calculated in the following simple way:
sets x reps x weight = volume
For example; 3 sets of 6 at 50kg = 900kg
Properly keeping track of your workouts will allow you to calculate how much you lift each session in total. This means you can ensure you are getting enough volume for the muscles to be suitably stimulated.
A good rule of thumb for this is 40-70 reps per muscle, at about 70-80% of your maximum lift, making sure that you hit every muscle at least twice a week.
If you then make sure that this volume steadily increases over time, (progressive overload), and you eat a suitable amount of protein whilst in a surplus, then you’ll be well on your way to getting that body that you want.
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For great results, you will have to work out consistently[/caption]
Missing the odd training session here and there is understandable and normal – everyone has a busy lifestyle outside of the gym! However, if this is happening every week, or even more often, you simply won’t be providing your body with the stimulus to grow. Being consistent is one of the most overlooked factors in achieving your goals and neatly encapsulates all of the above points.
So be consistent – always hit your daily protein targets; eat a suitable calorie surplus every training day; make sure you’re lifting enough total volume, and slowly increase the weight on the bar over time.
These are the cornerstones of building muscle mass, but you need to be doing all of these consistently in order to really achieve your goals.
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