There are only two main fitness goals we have, first is fat loss and second is muscle building.
Many of us start with the fat loss phase and then try to build muscles.
However, gaining muscles is not as much as difficult as losing fat, if you have proper guidance.
When we’re in the fat loss phase we tend to ask why I’m not losing fat and same for the muscle building phase, why I’m not gaining muscles.
In this article, I’m going to tell you the few basic mistakes most people make when it comes to building muscles and of course how to correct those mistakes.
Why You’re not Gaining Muscles?
- Progressive overload
This is the number one mistake most people do and it’s not your fault that you do this.
The reason why you make this mistake is because you don’t know what it is and how to do it.
Progressive overload: Progressive overload is a method of strength training that advocates for the gradual increase of the stress placed upon the musculoskeletal and nervous system.
You may not understand this definition.
So in basic language, when you gradually increase the weight you lift for a particular muscle over a certain period, it is called progressive overload.
Why doing Progressive Overload: We all heard the great saying by Arnold that in order to grow muscle, you’ve to confuse it and the only way to confuse it is by applying various methods of progressive overload.
So if you want to grow muscles, you have to do progressive overload with your exercise and weights.
How to do Progressive Overload: There are many ways to do it but most people do it by increasing/decreasing the number of sets and/or reps(Exercise volume) they do, the other most common way to do it is by changing the number of times the body part you train aka workout frequency.
Example of progressive overload:
Let’s assume that you can lift 50lbs on some exercise for 3 sets of 10 reps.
If you continue to lift that same weight without changing sets, reps, or anything for the rest of your lift, you will not gain any new muscle or strength.
I presume you already know the reason why there was no progressive overload.
When your body adapted to that tension(50lbs for 3 sets of 10 reps) and has already provided you with exactly as much muscle and strength as you need to be able to perform this task on a regular basis.
Because you are not increasing the stress being placed on your muscles, you are not giving your body/muscles any reason to improve further.
You can do everything right like eating enough protein, 8 hours of sleep and no other mistake but if you do not correct ths one, your body/muscle will not grow and/or change.
However, if you lift 60lbs for 3 sets of 9 reps(instead of 3 sets of 10 reps) on that same exercise next week or week after that, you will gain little muscle.
Why? Because you increase the tension/stress that are being placed on your muscle by increasing the weight/load.
It may seem like tiny improvement but if you apply progressive overload to all of your exercise over a long period of time, you’ll see significant improvement.
If you want to learn more about progressive overload like which other factors you can increase/decrease, check out this article.
If you’re on instagram, check out this awesome infographic made by me.
- Enough Protein Intake
We know that protein is one of the most important things if you want to build muscles.
However, many people still don’t know how much is enough and how much they should consume regardless of their goal.
There is an in-depth guide by examine.com on protein intake for various fitness goals.
In that guide they mention that, if a person wants to gain muscles, he/she should consume 1.6–2.4 g/kg.
Many people have this false belief that if I consume more protein, I will gain more muscle which is 100% false.
You can build muscle by consuming 1.6g/kg protein and 2.4g/kg as well, it all depends on your goal and the body fat percentage.
If you’re looking for the best protein source, check out the graphic below for all types of protein sources. .
Most people underestimate or ignore rest and never take enough sleep and/or rest and just train hardcore.
If you do not take rest days between workouts, you will not only hinder your muscle building but also reduce your rate of fat loss.
In order to build muscle, you first need to break them which you already do by lifting weights in the gym and then to repair and grow you need proper nutrition and rest.
Without enough rest, your muscles will have nutrition but not enough rest to grow your muscles.
Aim for around 8 hours of sleep each night and make sure to train the same muscle group after 72 hours.
- Excessive exercise
You may have heard this before that, if you only do cardio, you will not only lose fat but also lose muscle.
When it comes to strength training, you should do exercise according to your fitness experience.
I know you’re beginners and want to build muscles as soon as possible.
However, that does not mean you should do more exercise.
When you do more exercise than your body/muscle can handle, your body goes into catabolism mode(a mode in which your body uses muscle as a source of fuel).
And training your body in a catabolism state is the worst thing for someone who wants to grow muscles.
What I mean by excessive training here is doing more sets, reps and lifting more weights than your capability.
So, weight lift according to your fitness level and focus on progressive overload along with nutrition.
Read Related Article: Here’s Why You Are Losing Muscles Not Fat
- You’re not eating Enough Carbs
When it comes to achieving any fitness goal, it could be anything, you should not focus on only one macro nutrient.
Many people focus on eating less fat, while following a fat loss diet and for muscle building, eating more protein.
However, Carbs are the most underestimated macro-nutrient in the fitness industry.
Carbs are not only essential to fuel your workout, giving you more energy to work hard enough to actually build muscle, but they also help rebuild muscle tissue—which is a crucial part of muscle growth.