Are you trying to pack on muscle and feel better about yourself? You’ve been in the gym for months, yet you aren’t seeing the gains you hoped for. Building muscle can take time.
Don’t worry, this happens to a lot of people and there are some common explanations for your lack of gains. The good news is, once you learn what’s holding you back, you can address the problems and see plenty of progress!
A poor diet
First and foremost, your muscle gains aren’t coming because you follow a terrible diet. To grow muscle, your body needs an ample amount of protein. Typically, this is around 1-2g per kg of body weight. Let’s say you weigh 70kg You’d need at least 70g of protein per day to fuel muscle growth and repair.
Alongside this, you also need enough calories to actually fuel your body. If you constantly consume fewer calories than you burn, you’re going to lose a lot of weight. This might mean you’re absolutely shredded and have a low body fat percentage, but it will be hard to build muscle. So, improve your diet by including lots of protein sources and ensuring you eat enough to actually grow bigger and bulkier.
Building muscle: An ineffective training routine
You want to build muscle, right? Okay, this means you need to follow a training routine that’s fairly high in volume. What this means is that you are pumping out lots of reps every set to break down your muscles and make them grow back stronger. Typically, your sets should consist of anywhere between 8-12 reps. For each muscle group, you should aim to get around 10 sets in per week. It doesn’t really matter how you split your sets and workouts, as long as you aim for 10 per muscle group.
For instance, on Monday, you could do a chest and back day consisting of 3 exercises for each muscle group. Each exercise can have 4 sets, meaning you’ve nailed 12 sets for the week for both chest and back. Or, you could go for 3/3/4 in terms of sets, hitting the 10 set mark. Tuesday could be a leg day, where you have 4 exercises, each for 3 sets, hitting your mark again. Wednesday could be a rest day, with Thursday a day for arms, and Friday for shoulders. This is a pretty standard workout split to try, and it shows how you can get the sets you need to fuel muscle growth.
One other word on your training routine and its effectiveness: you need to push yourself. Aiming for 8-12 reps is a guideline – if you can easily get 12 reps out using a weight, then it’s too easy for you. Ideally, you should be close to failure on your final rep, possibly even failing on the last rep of your last set. This shows you are pushing your muscles to the limit, and they’ll respond by growing back bigger and stronger.
Have you ever wondered why a man and a woman can both follow the same training program, yet the man will almost always put on more muscle? This is because women have naturally lower levels of testosterone, stopping them from packing on the same amount of muscle mass as men. As a hormone, testosterone is responsible for many things, including muscle growth. Therefore, if you have low testosterone levels, you’ll struggle to make the muscle gains you’re hoping for.
There are plenty of reasons a man might suffer from low T levels – for some, it could simply be an age-related issue. Nevertheless, there are ways to increase testosterone levels as naturally as possible. Ideas range from TRT to eating certain foods and altering your lifestyle. Either way, if you get your T levels back to a normal level, your gains will come.
Finally, your muscle gains aren’t appearing because you lack consistency. It’s all well and good having a good diet and training plan, but you need to stay consistent with it. Eating well for 5 days, then binging over the weekend, can undo all of your hard work throughout the week.
Likewise, working out once or twice a week is better than nothing, but you lack the consistency to really ignite your gains. You need to pick a routine and stick to it, or you’ll never achieve the goals you desire.
Which one of these issues do you think holds you back the most? Look at your lifestyle and training plan to figure out the answer to this question. From here, correct your wrongs and say hello to some gains.