1. Not Eating Enough
The solution could be simple, are you eating enough?
When embarking on a fitness journey it’s easy to get caught up on the training side of things and forget about the nutritional side, I’m sure you’ve heard if the saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ well it’s absolutely true, nutrition is 80% if not more of the battle.
In order to gain muscle mass you need to be eating enough of the right food, this includes carbs, protein and fat. Your body utilises and relies on nutrients from the food you eat to build and repair its muscles.
Primary sources and foods rich in protein are:
Lean ground beef
Other Foods include:
Beans and legumes
A diet high in protein is essential to gaining lean muscle mass. It is recommended you consume 1.2- 2.0g of protein per kg of body weight per day, this can sometimes be hard to achieve through diet alone which is where the use of dietary supplements can be useful.
Supplements for increasing protein:
Impact Whey Protein
2. Not Training Hard Enough
Another reason for the lack of muscle piling poundage, although you might not want to hear it, is are you training hard enough? Our bodies adapt quickly when put under stress and if you aren’t increasing the weight you’re using progressively, then you might see your gains plateau, keep pushing yourself!
Your body is unwilling to change and you have to put it under a lot of stress to induce muscle growth so if you’ve been using the same weight for a while it’s time to crank up the intensity.
3. Lack of Rest and Recovery
Rest is an important factor in any fitness regime. Your muscles need time to repair and this is why many body builders adopt split routines, for example they do legs one day and arms the next, making sure each body part gets one day of rest in between.
Sleep is highly important too, when we go into a deep sleep this is when our bodies repair the deep muscle fibres, the recommended time is 8 hours of sleep a night, I’d recommended more if you can get it.
4. Alcohol and Hydration
Consuming too much alcohol can inhibit muscle growth. Alcohol has no nutrients but does have a lot of calories, 7 to every gram to be precise, therefore it’s easy to consume a large amount of calories without even realising it. If you’re trying to lose fat then this can be a big problem. Alcohol slows down protein synthesis because it reduces testosterone, one of the main muscle building hormones!
It can also cause dehydration and increases fat storage in the body. The key in anything is moderation, it’s okay to go out and have a few drinks, just don’t go overboard, life is about having fun and finding a balance.
5. Are You Training Too Much?
Training frequently and consistently triggers muscle growth and adaptation, as a result it is therefore important to train often, whereby 4 days of lifting with 1-2 cardio is ideal. If you start a programme, finish it, to often people give up or claim it doesn’t work but the key is consistency. Programmes can take a while to kick in so stick at it.
A lot of bodybuilders, including Arnold talk about the ‘mind body connection’, try to really focus on your muscles as you execute an exercise, it’s all about ‘feeling the moment’ and how your muscles are contracting and expanding.
Instead of just going through the motions of an exercise, try to concentrate on the movement and visualise the muscle growing.
Sometimes what works for others won’t work for you, look at the above tips and see if there are any areas in which you can improve upon in your training, fitness is a journey and there is no destination so keep working hard and the results will come.