If you are training regularly, there is nothing more frustrating than not noticing any changes. I mean there is no greater compliment that when someone you have seen in awhile says ‘you look bigger or have you being working out’. Let’s face it if you ever had that happen you it’s a great feeling your ego just fills the room. On the other hand, if you are training day after day and not noticing any results or no one else is seeing them it can be frustrating. You can get disheartened and quit quite quickly. Before doing that you should ask yourself what you are doing wrong and not, blame outside factors like genetics and what not, the sole reason you are not growing is you and the only person to blame is you.
The good news is all you need is a bit of motivation to stay true to your goals and more importantly information. Information is the most powerful tool you can have in your gym bag.
Your calorie intake is too low.
To put it really simple if you are not getting enough calories to maintain your current weight you a certainly not going to put to build muscle.
The number of calories that your body would require to maintain its current weight is calculated using a basal metabolic rate (BMR). It use’s a number of factors to determine this such as height, weight, activity level and age. Eating fewer calories than your BMR requirements is known as a caloric deficit, when your body’s in this state it absolutely impossible to gain muscle. A caloric deficit less than what your BMR requirements are and working out will certainly result in weight loss. So by eating more calories than what BMR are results in a caloric surplus, this will result in weight gain and is what’s needed for building new lean muscle.
How to figure out your BMR
For men: BMR = 10 x weight in (kgs) + 6.25 x in height (cm) – 5 x age (years) +5
For women: BMR + 10 x weight in (kgs) + 6.25 x in height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161
Once you have your number you then need to multiply by one of the followings which ever applies to you.
- Sedentary: 1.2
- Lightly active (easy exercise 1-3 days/week): 1.375
- Moderately active (moderate exercise 3-5 days/week): 1.55
- Very active (hard exercise 6-7 days/week): 1.725
- Extremely active (extremely hard exercise or a physically demanding full time job): 1.9
You simply take your BMR multiply it by one of the numbers above that apply to you and now you add 500 calories on top, this is the total number of calories you want to be consuming a day to insure you are in a state of caloric surplus and start to gain weight and build muscle.
You’re not eating properly
Ok, to put it better you’re not eating intelligently, it’s not just enough to eat what you want if you are looking to build muscle you need to eat right foods appropriates to your goals not just to meet your caloric goals. Also, you need to eat at the right times, it’s important to space your meals out. There no point eating the majority of your calories in the morning and starve yourself for the rest of the day. You should spread your meals out, so you are having 6 – 7 meals over the day eating like this although is not practical for some people will keep your body’s metabolic state up.
The next thing to consider is your macronutrients. This is where are body gets its energy from these macronutrients are broken down into three categories they are proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
This is how many calories are in 1 gram of each of these macronutrients.
- Carbohydrates produce 4 cal/gram
- Proteins produce 4cal/gram
- Fats produce 9cal/gram
So if you are looking at building muscle it is generally accepted that you should be aiming for a diet where 30 % of it is comprised of Protein 50 % carbohydrates and 20 % fats.
Your training isn’t suited to you or your over training.
Ok so we sorted you’re the problem with are diet and got are ratio’s sorted. Next thing to sort is the way you train. Ah good diet and poor training method will just slow your progress down. This is more geared towards beginners and novices but if you have gotten your workout from a body building magazine that shows some ripped up beast stating this is how he trains stop, that’s how he trains he is a professional an built his body to that standard. I have seen it many times over the years guys stacking plates doing crazy number sets spending the next 3 days walking like a duck, simply pushing too hard to fast. When you are beginning try keeping the following points in mind.
Sufficient rest is important, your muscles grow and repair while resting not lifting that feeling you get in the gym is called the pump. It’s your muscle’s filling with blood.
Avoid overtraining any one muscle group. This is common, am sure you know some who trains chest and biceps everyday of the week every gym has these people.
When starting do all over body workouts build up to isolating muscle groups.
Use both isolation and compound movements to work large muscle groups and individual muscles.
Most important don’t forget to warm up before lifting.
Poor lifting technique
Don’t get caught up in digits of how much weight you can lift, how many reps or sets you can hammer out. It’s how you lift the weight that has more of a bearing on your trainings the outcome. A poor lifting form or technique limits the muscle growth that an exercise can achieve, but also greatly increases the chance of getting injured.
Always use slow controlled reps. Time under tension is essential for building muscle, you control the weight not other way round. Simply put muscles react to the tension they are placed under, controlled slow reps places the muscles under more tension for a longer period of time. Rather than swinging a much heavier weight you can’t control.
Next point you lift the weight not swing it, I’ve seen this many times am sure you have to some doing a bicep curl and swinging the weight with no real control twisting their hips and shoulders into the movement, this is a result of two things serious bad form and the weight is just too heavy.
Using a full range of motion is important too. Half reps result in half the results.
Make sure you get enough rest time.
If you don’t allow for a sufficient rest, you are actually hindering yourself and preventing one the most important factors involved in building muscle. The gym isn’t where you build muscle its actually where you damage and tear muscle tissue, these tears need to be repaired to allow the muscle fibers to expand and get stronger. If you hit the weights an keep working and tearing them they don’t get a chance to do this.
Rest is important also for more than just your muscles, think the stress weight lifting puts on the rest of your body, your ligaments and tendons also need time to recover. If you are doing serious training sessions you might want to take more than a 24 hour break between sessions to allow full recovery. You should aim to take a solid week off every 10 – 12 weeks contrary to popular belief you will not lose muscle and size in this week off, you’ll actually gain it and come back feeling fully refreshed and energised ready to go again.