10 reasons you’re not building muscle…

1. Not eating enough

Building muscle requires a lot of energy. You need to be consuming more calories than your body needs (a caloric surplus) to effectively put on muscle. If you don’t consume enough calories, your body will resort to breaking down muscle tissue for energy. A little counter productive, wouldn’t you say?

2. Not working hard enough When you initially start lifting weights, the results come pretty fast and easy. This is often referred to as ‘newbie gains’. Once the magical newbie gains period wares off, building muscle gets tough. You can’t just rock up to the gym, half-ass your way around the weights area and watch your t-shirt or gym leggings tighten. Put on some heavy music or get yourself some caffeine. Whatever you need to do, make sure you get yourself pumped up for the session and ensure you are working hard enough!

3. Not enough protein This one is often overplayed and some people take it to the extreme. Yet, one reason you might not be building muscle is that you are not consuming enough protein. Government protein guidelines are all well and good if you are a sedentary adult. If you are exercising regularly and wanting to build muscle, your body’s protein requirements increase somewhat. 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight is the current UK recommendation if sitting down is your hobby. If building some guns is your game, aim for somewhere between 1.4-1.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight.

4. Too much cardio Although most gym rats seem to be allergic to cardio, it is difficult to ignore the health benefits and cardio should not be ignored completely. However, if you are on the other end of the spectrum and performing long cardio sessions on a regular basis, then you might be stunting your growth. Firstly, you need to be sure of what your fitness goals are. Training for a marathon? Excellent, keep at that cardio! Wanting to build a big physique? The odd cardio session can be used to supplement your training plan, but make sure the majority of your workouts are in the weights area.

5. Not tracking your workouts A lot of guys and girls are reluctant to start tracking their workouts. They feel a little silly walking around the weights area with a notebook. But once you start, you’ll never go back to freewheeling your sessions. If you don’t write down your workouts, how are you going to know how much you lifted last time? Don’t you tell me that you remember every set, every rep and every weight you’ve ever lifted. Leave the ego at home and buy yourself a notebook.