If despite the hard workouts and the time you spend in the gym, you still struggle to build muscle, you might want to take a look at theses 5 scenarios that might be happening to you. Chances are you are making some of these basic mistakes. Trust me I've made a few if not all of these mistakes when starting my fitness journey.
#1 - You have no clue how many calories you eat in a day
Ask someone in the gym who is very slender how much they eat and you'll get the answer: "I eat a LOT" (this was me). But when you ask them to specify what they ate this week or how many calories they consumed every day during the last few days, I bet they can't give you an answer.
The solution? Take notes of what you drink and eat during the next 7 days. Then check out one of the numerous calorie calculators online to find out how many calories you really are consuming. I've always used MyFitnessPal to keep track for me. It is an excellent starting point. This way you'll be able to calculate exactly how many calories you are consuming each day, and how many you should consume to support certain muscle mass.
Just don't be surprised when you find out that you are actually eating a lot less than you are claiming to eat :P
#2 You have no idea how much protein you consume on a daily basis
Perhaps you have eaten lots of tofu, drink a protein shake or two, and maybe even some beans - but the truth is...you have no idea how may grams of protein a day you eat.
Studies suggest that every active individual has an increased need of protein. Athletes need about 0.8-1g of protein per lb. Bodybuilders and weightlifters need even more protein. Have no idea of what your daily protein requirements are, it is time to find out.
In a world focused on carbohydrates, it's easy to consume less protein needed and you don't need to get it from animal products. This is why you need to do the same things as you did with the calories. Write down every protein food you eat and go through your log after a week or so. Again MyFitnessPal can track all this for you to save time. Aim to get around 1g of protein per lb of weight and it you are not gaining in a couple months increase the protein a but more. You can reach your daily requirements by consuming some supplements like amino acids (xTend BCAAs) and plant-based proteins (Raw Fusion). Just remember - supplements are just supplements, nothing can replace the most anabolism thing - real food.
#3 - you are "Exercising" instead of "Training"
I don't know how many times I've heard women wondering why they haven't made significant progress even though they claim they "eat really healthy" and "workout 5-6 days out of the week". Although exercise is great for overall health, it does not guarantee that you will build muscle mass or get achieve the tiny waist, tone arms and legs most women want. Sweating while working out means only on thing - your body is regulating its temperature, and it usually happens when the body burns calories.
Hard workouts are not equal to smart workouts. Smart exercises involves the use of the best muscle building tools in the gym - complex exercise such as bench press, squats, dead lifts, shoulder press, barbell rows, etc. You also nee to focus on progression or becoming stronger with each session in the gym Lifting 10 pounds for 30 minutes can really make you sweat, but you will do next to nothing for increasing your muscles.
Do your weight training smart. After your warm up sets, do a few work sets where you will lift a heavy enough (for you) weight. For most people this is a weight that they can lift 5-8 times till failure. Also try to increase the weight you lift every two to three weeks. These don’t need to be big increases – a pound or two more on the bar is just enough.
You can do the same thing with the reps. If last time you did squats with 250 lbs for 8 reps, this workout try to do 10 reps with the same weight. This constant desire for progress is the magic behind the process of building muscle.
#4 You do too much cardio
Story of my life right here! Try running every single day and lifting weights but complain because you can't seem to put on muscle mass.
Cardio exercises are great for overall health and losing weight. They have their own role in every training routine. But for hardgainers, too much cardio can only hamper the process of gaining weight and building muscles.
Limit your cardio sessions 3-4 times a week, and let your cardio sessions last about 25-30 minutes. This is quite enough to rip the benefits of doing cardio and improve your health.
#5 You want to keep your six pack so badly that you are afraid to gain a little weight
Ok, so you may be able to see your six pack, but that’s only because you are too thin. Take a look at your arms, legs, back and shoulders. Are you missing about 15 or more lbs on your frame?
Rather than having to worry about the level of fat in your body, focus on adding more muscles. The extra weight will make you look great and toned, so no one will notice those extra 2 pounds you are currently obsessed about.
Start your custom training program today!