Are you religiously pumping weights at the gym and following all the dietary recommendations given by your gym instructor, and still don’t see your muscles getting any bigger?
Muscle mass can be influenced by many factors and you might think that training harder alone should increase your muscle growth. However, research studies have shed light on the fact that there really is no superior mode of strength training that can induce muscle growth. Published in 2007, a study published in Medical News Today changed popular gym dogma, as more and more people realized that there is more to gaining muscle mass than simply pumping iron. So, chances are that while you are regularly going to the gym, you are also unknowingly making one or more of these muscle building mistakes, which is the reason you don’t see any gains.
Inadequate Protein Intake
This is often the most common reason you don’t see anticipated muscle growth. Sure, you are eating all the protein you can lay your hands on, but not all products or foods offer your body adequate protein. As a result, your body starts to cannibalize your muscles in order to get the much needed amino acids for muscle maintenance and repair. Simply put, you see no growth, thanks to muscle deterioration.
The solution: Find a high quality pre-workout and post-workout supplement, like whey powder, to ensure your body has enough amino acids it needs for muscle growth along with muscle repair and maintenance.
Lack of Sleep
Believe it or not, lack of sleep reduces your stamina and endurance. So while you might think you are putting in enough effort at the gym, it won’t necessarily help you if you aren’t rested. When you are asleep, your body repairs itself and your muscles grow in both size and strength. Conversely, lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your metabolism that in turn affects muscle growth. Now, while it's important to get the right amount of sleep, it's also equally important to sleep in the right position!
The solution: Aim for a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a day which will facilitate muscle growth and help you feel more energetic at the gym too.
It doesn’t really matter whether you want to great guns or killer abs; over-training any body part is never good for your overall muscle growth. You might see results immediately, but it will soon hit a plateau and increase the chances of muscle injury threefold.
The solution: Work on a whole-body workout that maximizes total muscle growth and then use simple exercises to get muscle definition in desired areas.
Not Making Use of Tension
If you only lift large weights at low repetition, and do not incorporate tension into your workout, you will hit a plateau and stop seeing muscle gain very soon. “Heavy low repetition work performed with plentiful rest between sets is not the way to gain quality size. Divorce yourself from this type of notion and any preoccupation with handling continual maximum weights, be it in singles or low repetitions where weight and not work is the motivator”, says Bill Kazmaier, former World Champion Powerlifter.
The solution: Don’t concentrate on lifting more load as this increases chances of joints and connective tissue injury. Use a combination of lighter weights and tension on the muscles you want to train instead.
Lack of Variety
If your workout routine hasn’t changed since Day 1, that is probably the reason you are not building muscle mass. “Variety is the key to muscle growth”, said Larry Scott, the first Mr. Olympia. Your body gets used to a particular workout and range of motions, so after a few weeks it stops responding to them. As a result you see no muscle growth, even though it causes repetitive stress.
The solution: Make sure you keep your muscles challenged by changing your routine often.
The Final Verdict
To sum it up, there are several factors that can influence muscle growth. However, these are the 5 most common reasons that negatively impact muscle mass gains, despite lifting weights at the gym. In fact, a study at McMaster University and published in PLOS ONE revealed that building quality muscle mass doesn’t really require you to lift heavy weights at all! So avoid these 5 mistakes and move past your plateau.
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