Do you ever feel like even though you’re working out daily and giving it your best, it still doesn’t help you reach your goals? Do you want to gain muscle mass and have been training for this but not seeing the expected results? If your answer is yes, then your problem could be that you’re making one or more of these mistakes and you didn’t figure it out.
#1 You are not training using a sufficient level of intensity
Muscle growth is your body’s way of adjusting to stress. When training with weights, you are going through a process were you’re damaging your muscle fibers. Although it sounds like a bad thing, it actually isn’t. After every workout, your body takes care of repairing the damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process, fusing the muscle fibers together to form new muscle. Muscle growth occurs when the muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown.
Your muscles go through this process of growth when you rest, and not actually when you’re lifting weights. Your body only experiences the direct physical stress it’s under, thus responding to it by adapting accordingly. So if you don’t cross an adequate level of intensity, your body won’t know to adapt and grow.
If you are giving 100% effort on every set you’re doing, squeezing out 1 or 2 more reps would get you to a level of intensity that is high enough to fully trigger the muscle building mechanism.
#2 You are not taking the law of progressive overload seriously
Because adapting to stress is what your body does best, you need to progress in the gym continuously in order to increase the stress level. This means that you need to increase resistance, sets, reps, frequency and intensity. If you manage to increase one of these factors every week, you will give your body incentive to grow larger on a regular basis. Ignoring these factors means neglecting the foundation of muscle growth process, making your gains inevitably stagnate.
To ensure that you gain size and strength in the most efficient way, focus your workouts on the basic compound exercises that train multiple muscle groups at the same time. These exercises would be: deadlifts, squats, lunges, leg presses, bench presses, chin ups and pull downs.
#3 You’re not taking the measurements needed to prevent injuries
Stimulating muscle growth means heavily stressing your muscles, but also joints and connective tissue. This is why following some guidelines to help you keep your joints and connective tissue strong will keep you safe from injuries – which are absolutely the last thing you would hope for.
The first thing you need is a proper warm up to lubricate your joint, move blood to the surrounding connective tissue and prepare your body for a new workout. You will also want to use proper form and technique with every exercise you’re doing, but especially with the big lifts.
You need to know your limits in order to prevent injuries. Building muscle and gaining strength is a personal battle, so you shouldn’t compare yourself with other people in the gym.
#4 You’re overlooking the law of energy balance
Energy balance is the relationship between calories taken into the body through food and drinks and calories being used by the body for daily energy requirements. This dictates whether weight is lost, gained or the same.
If your goal is to gain new muscle tissue, each day you must consume more calories than you burn. This means that you need a surplus of 15 to 20% above your calorie maintenance level.
Nutrition is as important as your gym workouts. To optimize your muscle gain results, you need to get most of the calories from these sources:
- protein – for building and repairing muscle : turkey, chicken, skim milk, sea food, fish, eggs and egg whites
- fats – both saturated and unsaturated : nuts and natural nut butters, oils, seeds, fish oil, avocado
- carbohydrates – to fuel your muscles during training sessions : oatmeal, pasta, potatoes, rice, quinoa, fruits and vegetables
#5 You are not tracking your progress
Tracking your progress is essential when you need to adjust the muscle stress levels. You will know if you’re progressing at your maximum potential and identify areas of your program that could use improvement.
You need to write down your strength gains, body weight gains, body fat percentage and your body measurements. this will give you a full picture of your gains progress
If you’ve got the inner drive to make it happen, you will need a proper plan to help you get there. Fixing these mistakes can help you reach your goals and achieve those muscle gains you’ve been working so hard on. Good luck!