In this post I want to summarize the five most common reasons people fail at building muscle. As you will see, genetics has little to do with it. Use the tips in this post to optimize your diet and training. If you aren’t satisfied with your workout results, then this is the perfect read for you:
In a recent blog post I wrote about the Most Important Bodybuilding Essentials For Beginners; patience was number one. Even though you can build impressive muscle mass within a matter of weeks, for most of us the process takes a little longer. Don’t stress yourself out about this, it will only hurt your hormone balance and work against you. Patience is a skill you can and should learn. Stop looking in the mirror every day expecting drastic changes. If you put in the work and avoid the mistakes in this post, the results will come.
When we think about bodybuilding, we tend to focus on the training factor and neglect the (more important) dietary factor. If you don’t give your muscles the necessary tools for a proper recovery and growth, they won’t get bigger nor stronger. As all experienced bodybuilders know, you will never see any significant gains if you aren’t eating sufficient amounts of high quality food. Nutrition is about providing nourishment to your body.
The human body needs certain nutrients for the maintenance of our body (muscles, bone, tissues, etc.) and muscle growth. Macronutrients make up the majority of your diet. The most important ones are carbohydrates (carbs), protein, fat and water. Micronutrients are vitamins and trace minerals. They are called micronutrients because your body only requires them in very small amounts. To build muscle you need to cover both the macro- and micronutrient requirements. This should be done with real food and not just supplements.
Wrong Workout Routine
Get in the habit of doing mostly compound exercises that work several muscle groups at once. The barbell squat, bench press, barbell row and deadlift are your bread and butter. Always do them first and build your workout routine around them. Unless you are a professional bodybuilder, isolation exercises should make up no more than 25% of your workout.
Progressive Overload is probably the most important training concept out there. If you don’t increase the demand (=weight) on your muscles over time they simply won’t grow. In order to gain muscle and strength you must continually increase resistance and make your muscles work harder than they normally do.
Building an impressive body takes discipline. You have to hit the gym at least three times a week to build muscle and at least twice a week to maintain your current level of fitness. Many beginners work out regularly the first few weeks and then they start slacking off. A great way to overcome the inner temptation to stay on the coach is a workout buddy that will kick your butt if you don’t show up.