There is nothing worse than training hard for months on end without seeing any significant results. If this sounds a little too familiar, then this post applies to you! The truth is, results take time. So don’t be disheartened when you look in the mirror a week after starting out. Sometimes the only thing you’re missing is a couple tweaks here and there. Without any further a due here are my 7 reasons you’re not gaining muscle:
Can your age stunt your muscle growth? The answer? Yes. Unfortunately. Everyone matures at different ages, most males go through puberty between ages 9 and 13, and it’s probably safe to start lifting weights around age 14. However you may have noticed body builders as young as 16-17 looking shredded. Besides body type, this is because our bodies are fully grown at different stages. For example one lad may have reached full muscle and physical maturity when they’re 16 making it much easier to pack on the pounds. Where as others may have to wait until they’re 18-19. This doesn’t mean to say you should stop working out until you’re older…it just means progress will be a little slower. Hit all the other boxes I’m about to talk about and you’ll still be way on your way to getting jacked!
On the other end of the spectrum; unfortunately we all get old, and after around 40 years of age our testosterone levels begin to plummet. Which consequently leads to lower levels of hypertrophy. Fortunately it’s an easy fix if you’re focused and committed to your diet. It’s just a factor to take into account.
You’re neglecting compound lifts
Deadlifts, Bench Press, Squat and Military Press are all exercises you NEED to be doing. Compound lifts are basically movements that engage multiple muscle groups. To put it simply, the more muscles engaged the more testosterone. The more testosterone the more muscle growth. Simple right? To help put it into perspective a barbell squat engages 85% of the body’s muscle mass. Compared to a single dumbbell curl which engages 2-3 muscles at most. (if you’re doing it right) This doesn’t mean to say you boycott the classic curl; but it does mean its essential to incorporate these compound lifts into your routine. (Aim for more of a high weight low rep approach with the compound movements.)
You’re just not eating enough
Your body needs the fuel to rebuild those teared muscle fibres suffered from physical activity. If you don’t consume enough calories then it’s no surprise you’re struggling to build muscle. Eat big, Get big kind of thing. Our bodies need calories. How many you ask? You’re going to want to consume between 3000-5000 everyday for sustainable growth. Now that’s a big window for manoeuvre this means you don’t have to track every meal, because believe me its juts not fun. Finally try to include a sufficient amount of protein, Carbohydrates and fats in each meal. These macro nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy muscle growth. You got this!
You’re not eating regularly enough
Linking back to my last point we need 3000-5000 calories each day. But what we didn’t discuss is when to consume these calories. Common sense tells us that it’s not a good idea to consume 4000 calories in 2 meals. This is why it’s very important to regularly eat throughout the day. This way the body is constantly fuelled, and you don’t need to devour a feast twice a day. I recommend a minimum of 4 meals a day with a couple protein packed snacks in-between.
If you want to go into a little more detail then here’s the deal. You’re going to want to have a nutrient dense breakfast with plenty of calories (No Less than 400) this way you kick-start your metabolism early in the day. Your breakfast should ALWAYS be accompanied with a glass of water. Hydration is key. Following a workout you want your post workout meal to put you into a caloric surplus. (This means you want to consume more calories than you just burnt) The key to success is in the details.
You’re not working hard enough in the gym
In the gym, in the box, or even in your garden. Where you workout really doesn’t matter, the important thing is that you push yourself! Physically and mentally. It’s a common mistake to finish your session thinking you’ve smashed it, although unfortunately the chances are you just haven’t pushed yourself hard enough. Here’s a little tip: If you can still lift your one rep max at the end of a weight lifting session you defiantly haven’t worked hard enough. When you think you’re finished, give it one more set. When it starts to burn DO NOT put it down!! Remember that muscle grows from time under tension. Therefore slow, heavy, controlled reps are the way to go. You don’t always need to go to failure; although you do need to push yourself.
You’re not taking recovery time seriously
Who doesn’t love sleep? Sleep, rest and recovery are ESSENTIAL to sustainable muscle growth and a saucy physique. Here’s the deal: You want to go for at least 8 hours of sleep each night, followed by a 20 minute nap in the afternoon. (If you have time) Finally, you should give the gym a rest for at least one day each week. Sleep works wonders, it really does; however combined with simple stretching before and after your workout and you’re basically a recovery machine! Finally if you’re looking for that little extra, feel free to explore the benefits of yoga and a form of meditation. Time to relax.
It’s a sad reality that we live in an uneducated world. Especially in the gym. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that performing an exercise incorrectly can not only injure you but actually make it x10 harder to develop muscle mass. Why? Simply because when an exercise is performed incorrectly the chances are that its no longer working the area you wish to target. The most common mistake is swinging the arms during a EZ bar bicep curl. Gentlemen, if not for me then for yourself. Do it properly!
In conclusion there are a lot of reasons as to why you’re struggling to gain muscle. Fortunately for us, most of which are an easy fix. Just remember to get sufficient rest, consume plenty of calories, and incorporate compound lifts into your routine. Accompany this with proper recovery, and a serious grind in the gym, and you should have no problems gaining plenty of muscle mass and developing your physique.