Do you spend hours in the gym, with nothing to show for it? Wondering why you’re not packing on muscle like the Hulk on steroids? There are a few reasons this might be happening. I can’t tell you specifically unless I know your situation, but chances are it’s down to at least one of the following things. Take a look:
You’re Doing too Much Cardio
If you’re doing a lot of cardio on top of your muscle building, then you could very well be counteracting it all. Although cardio can be great for cardiovascular health and keeping fat off, it can also contribute to catabolism. Catabolism is when the body uses muscles for fuel rather than fat; your body effectively eats your muscles. This only happens when you do too much cardio. What is too much for you might not be too much for someone else; everybody is different. One person may be able to stay lean without doing any cardio, while someone else may need to do 6 sessions a week. You need to experiment to see what allows you to keep the most muscle while avoiding that dreaded fat gain.
You’re Not Lifting Heavy Enough
Be honest with yourself; are your weights challenging? If not, you need to lift heavier. The art of building muscle is all about lifting weights heavy enough to tear your muscles. Sounds painful, and it probably will be the first few times you do it. But your body will soon get used to it, and you’ll get that satisfying ‘sore’ feeling afterwards. When your muscles tear and repair, they come back stronger and better than before. Light weights with lots of reps will not make a difference.
You’re Not Eating to Support Your Goals
You can lift as many heavy weights as you like, but if you’re not eating to support your goals, you won’t get anywhere. There are 3 main types of people: ectos, endos, and mesos. Ectos are naturally thin and will struggle to put on muscle; they need to eat the most. Endos will hold on to fat easily and will need to watch what they eat. Mesos are naturally muscular and athletic and should be able to build muscle/shed fat fairly easily. Know your body type, and eat to support your goals accordingly. You need lots of protein to support muscle building, and healthy fats. The amount of carbs you eat will usually depend on the body part you’ve trained that day and your body type. You can get more info on foods to eat here. Some people can afford to be simply ‘mindful’ of the things they eat, while others will need to count everything exactly. If you want it, you’ll do it no matter how much hassle!
You’re Not Resting
You need to take at least one rest day to allow your body to recover. Working hard every single day will be too taxing and you can stop your muscles from recovering. You need plenty of sleep too!
You’re Not Using Many Compound Exercises
Compound exercises work multiple muscles in the body rather than isolate a single muscle. Isolation exercises can help, but they aren’t the be all and end all. Focus on compound exercises for the best results.
Ready to get those muscles you’re longing for? Get started!