Building muscle seems to be an easy job. Lift ass heavy weights, go home get the right nutrition and go off to sleep. Believe me; it is as easy as it sounds. Yet people make the process tough and stressful.
If this article seems interesting to you, chances are that you’ve already started your fitness journey and have already seen changes in your body. When you started, everything was new for your body and it responded back well because nothing like this happened to it before. Just when time passed and you went over the same exercises again and again you suddenly saw your body hitting a plateau. A plateau is when you work out and eat same as before but your body just won’t grow.
I have been at the same place and so have most of the people in fitness. There could be many reasons why your body has stopped responding to your workout, the most common being that it has adapted to it. If you’re not seeing results, chances are that you have been following the same workout plan for months or even years. The capabilities of our mind and body are way beyond our imagination.
When you follow the same workout for a long time, your body adapts to it and knows what you will be doing next and is already prepared for it. This way your body has already prepared for the future attacks and is just not ready to grow. You need to constantly shock your muscle to grow by changing your workout routines every 6-8 weeks.
A great example could be to completely change your workout type. If earlier you were performing a gym workout, you could now go for an outdoor workout which would be completely new for your body. In order to constantly see results you need to prevent your body to adapt to a certain workout plan.
If you’re following all of the muscle building principles and changing your workout every 6-8 weeks and still not seeing results, read the following points:
- You’re Not Eating Enough: Let’s face it. If you wish to build muscle you obviously need to eat a lot more than what your body burns in day. Lifting heavy in the gym and then eating only 2000 calories a day would lead to overtraining and fatigue rather than building muscle. In order to build lean muscle, try to eat a calorie surplus of 300-500 calories per day. Make sure that all the extra calories come from clean foods.
Another point to remember here is that you have to make choices between different foods. You can easily meet your caloric requirement by eating pizzas and burgers but you wouldn’t get the desired results then. I advise you to first focus on the quality by eating only clean whole foods and then increasing their quantity just to meet your caloric needs.
- You’re Not Tracking your Macro Nutrients: Merely eating a calorie surplus is not enough. Within calories you need to focus on you macro nutrients namely protein, carbohydrates and fats. You first need to calculate an approximate value of macro nutrients you need each day to build muscle. Now you have to follow a diet that equals the amount of calories you need and at the same time supports your macro nutrient needs. I urge you to keep track of the food items you consume so at the end of the day you could check if you were able to meet your requirements or not.
- Your Workout is Inappropriate: If your workout includes only exercises like chest flys, bicep curls and triceps push down then it sucks big time. In order to build muscle, you need a combination of compound and isolation exercises. Compound exercises which involve more than one muscle at a time, will help your body release more Growth Hormone. On the other hand isolation exercises will make sure that you perfectly isolate the muscle. In order to constantly build muscle you need to work on a combination of compound movements followed by isolation movement.
Advise: Start your workout with heavy compound movements followed by 1-2 isolation exercises.
- You Do Not Focus on Your Form: We all know it. An incomplete range of motion isn’t going to help you build a body you want. So is the case with improper form.
Most of the beginners have a completely false mindset. Lifting heavy is the key, but not at the cost of form. All I see in the gym now is people lifting tons of weight while their form literally sucks. You first need to master the form before you increase the weight. Do not just move the weight from point A to B. Feel the contraction and create a mind-muscle connection to constantly push nutrients into your muscle helping you get a better pump. If by now you have realized that you increased the weights without mastering the form, next time you go to the gym leave your ego at home and reduce the weights until you’re able to perform quality reps with proper form.
- Your Body Isn’t Recovering: Another mistake that 90% of the beginners make is overtraining and not giving your body enough time to recover. First thing you need to know is that your body wouldn’t grow in the gym, but at home when you provide it with adequate nutrition and enough time to recover.
When you work-out, you create tiny micro tears in your body. These micro tears need to be fed so that they can grow back stronger than before. Working out for hours and all 7 days a week would lead to more muscle breakdown than you could ever repair. Spending hours in the gym wouldn’t help, instead focus more on getting the right nutrients and getting quality sleep at night.
The best approach I follow is working out for 4 days a week and 45-60 minutes a day. There are some simple tips you can follow to get better sleep so that your body recovers well from intense workouts:
a) Turn off all the appliances 1-2 hour before you sleep.
b) Try to eat your last meal 2 hours before you sleep.
c) Turn off all the lights and all the gadgets that could harm your sleep.
d) Try considering a casein supplement which would prevent muscle breakdown at night.
- You’re Inconsistent: Nothing in this world can be achieved if you are impatient and inconsistent. In fitness industry, the first and foremost quality that is required is the consistency both in terms of workout and nutrition. You need to constantly put in efforts and hard-work if you wish to transform your body. Sticking to your workout and nutrition regime despite of the fact that you would not see results in a short span of time is what it takes to transform into the best version of ourselves. You may not see results in near weeks or even months but in the long run it is surely going to give you an edge over people who spend most of their time in alcohol and smoking. Put in all your hard work and dedication on your body because it is the only place you have to live all through your life.
Rohan has been into fitness and nutrition for over 3 years and all the articles are based on his personal experience. He is currently working as the administrator of Gaining Tactics– a personal blog which aims to provide free articles and reviews on healthy weight and muscle gain.