It could be that you have started performing a variety of exercises, but not able to see the desired results. This can be quite frustrating especially if you do not see muscles forming even after sweating hard. The truth is growing muscles is not an easy feat. This is irrespective of whether you are a husky guy or a string bean!
Why not gaining muscles?
You do need to evaluate where you are going wrong as doing exercises and not gaining muscles will only be sheer waste of time and energy. This can be due to several reasons which when properly understood, can be avoided easily. Therefore, if you feel stuck with the same weight or at the same place, you do need to make some vital changes.
Valid reasons why you are not gaining muscles?
- Not keeping proper track:
Just like the program, you need to maintain training logs. You should be aware of what exercises to perform today and what has been done last week or so. Track weights used, all workouts & repetitions performed, exercise tempo and breaks between sets. Doing so can help optimize muscle hypertrophy. The training log can help you to know your energy levels and progress made. Logs will also allow you to know how you got over-trained or injured.
- Being impatient:
For true beginners, results derived during the initial training phase changes something that is not visible. With every exercise performed, coordination improves while co-contraction amount between muscles reduces. Brain communicates more effectively with muscles, thus activating higher muscle fiber percentage, known as ‘neuromuscular efficiency’. Avoid looking yourself at the mirror after two weeks. Rather, be patient and do your exercises sincerely. Results are sure to come by.
- Excess Cardio:
You need to first set your goals clearly. If strength and size is what you aim for, then your program should not get dominated by cardio workouts. Rather, you should incorporate easy cardio and HIIT workout sessions within your program. However, the initial priority here will be to get 3 to 4 weight training days. Between workouts, you are also to recover well. Hence, include cardio sessions in-between. However, it should not affect your recovery.
- Not having any well-created structure:
Stick to a well crafted plan and eliminate randomness from the workouts. It helps enhance body strength as well as muscle size. As a beginner, random training might help you to gain muscles. However, experts do not suggest it. Rather, you should avail a well planed, periodical training session. Linear periodized plan appears like this:
-1st Week: 3×12-15
-2nd Week: 3×10-12
-3rd Week: 3×8-10
Again, a non periodized plan will appear in this format:
-1st to 3rd Week: 10-12 reps, 1st set; 6-8 reps, 2nd set; 3-5 reps, 3rd set.
Rather select a plan that suits your needs. Try to stick to it to derive optimum gains.
- Having food like a bird:
Consuming salads throughout the day will not help you to gain size. For muscle growth, include slight calorie surplus. It includes all energy that is expended from internal processes and physical activities. Consume whole fresh foods. Plan meals carefully and avoid junk foods, fast foods and sugary drinks. Encourage having organic milk, meats, healthy fats like coconut oil and avocados. You can stay lean and still put on size by adopting ‘Perfect Health Diet’ or ‘Paleo Diet’. Remember, your growing body should get lots of building blocks and nutrients. But eating junk will only make you to get junk results.
Excess negative stress if faced in life is user to cause trouble on your overall health and body’s chemistry. You need to stay calm as much as possible and chill out. Do a job that you enjoy. Drink lots of water and consume fresh whole foods. Do get uninterrupted sleep every night of 8 to 9 hours. Meditate daily. Lower stress will allow you to recover better and make healthy progress in your workout objectives.
- Worried about compound movements:
Experts recommend doing calf raises, lateral raises, front raises and curls, but at an appropriate time. During the start of your workouts, focus more on those large compound lifts. You will be fresh to do so and not tired. Do exercises like squats, deadlifts, pulls, presses, cleans, etc. They should make your workout’s first half regimen. Isolate exercises are best done in the later half part.
- Cheat reps:
The gym sessions generally involve quarter or half reps. Avoid it since half reps will only provide half-assed results. Rather, for each exercise, learn to perform full motion range. You are to use less weight. To optimize gains in the long-term, make progress with full motion range exercises using light weights. For half reps, avoid using heavy weights. Quarter & half reps are great if used to main lifts as assistance exercises. But this should be done only if main lifts are performed with full motion range.
- Not doing drop-sets:
This exercise involves sub-maximal weights and is generally trained for ‘the pump’. Grab a weight for instance that can be curled for about 8 to 10 reps. After this set, grab pair of dumbbells that is 10lbs lighter. Perform reps immediately to failure. Do this drop for another set and take a quick break and repeat it. Such mini-sets will help create constant muscle tension thus inducing hypertrophic mechanisms in the muscle. Drop sets should be part of the isolation exercises as it helps optimize size gains.
- Being a Gym addict:
You are not likely to gain favorable results if you spend a lot of time in the gym. Rather it will give you negative results since you will not be able to have sufficient recovering time between your workouts. You need to chill out instead of increasing your already high stress levels. Beginners are recommended to get lot of work within that 46-60 minute workout. Excess hours and sets at the gym only cause diminishing returns.
Therefore, getting to know the above reasons will allow you to make the right choice and gain muscles as desired.