Exercise 5 Reasons Why You’re Not Building Muscle

building muscle

Building muscle is one of the most frequent goals I get approached with by clients. Here are the top 5 reasons why my clients aren’t getting the results they want.

Reason 1: You aren’t training at the right intensity level

Training intensity is a broad spectrum of repetitions, sets, weight and rest periods. If you don’t have the right combination of these variables, you may be focusing your training on the wrong areas. The most important factor when looking for muscular hypertrophy is to be taking each set *close to or to failure*. This means taking every set close to the point where it would be difficult to complete another couple of reps. Foundations for individuals seeking to maximize muscle growth should be hypertrophy-oriented resistance training consisting of multiple sets (3−6) of six to 12 repetitions with short rest intervals (60 s). [1]

If your results are plateauing and you’re not finding the same exercises as difficult as you were 6 weeks ago, well firstly that’s great news! Your muscles have adapted to become stronger. But this does mean you need to up the game and add some adaptations such as increasing the load or decreasing the rest period in-between sets. Continuous adaptations are mandatory for hypertrophy gains.

2. You’re simply not eating enough

In order to gain weight (both muscular and fat weight), our bodies need to be in a daily calorie surplus. But what is a calorie surplus?

A calorie surplus means eating more food than what your body uses for energy each day. Basically, it’s the opposite of dieting. But how do I know how much my body burns for energy each day? And how do I know how much of a calorie surplus I should be in? Everybody is different and things such as our genetic make-up, our gender, our age, training experience and the way we train are all factors that contribute to how much we should be consuming each day. You can get a general idea of your daily calories by using a calorie calculator.  By keying in ‘muscle gain’ as your goal- you can determine your surplus.

All things considered- the number 1 most important factor when trying to build muscle is to ensure the calories you are consuming are quality and nutrient-rich. If you are unsure how to tailor your diet to maximize performance, we can help you with our tailored nutrition plans.

building muscle

3. You’re isolating your muscles too much

Compound Vs isolation exercises is an ongoing topic of conversation in the fitness world. But which type is best for muscle building?

Isolating individual muscles such as the bicep muscles in the bicep curl or the calve muscles in the calve raise are great integrations you can add to your workout routines to focus on areas of weakness or define certain muscles. However, compound movements should constitute a big chunk of your workouts if you’re wanting to improve overall muscle definition and strength gains. Your compound movements such as dead-lifts, squats and bench presses are going to improve muscle recruitment, overall muscular coordination and posture as well as improving strength and muscular hypertrophy.

If you’re unsure where to start in making your training plan, our online PT packages can be tailored to your home, gym and body-weight workouts- wherever you are. View them here!

4. You’re not getting enough sleep

sleep benefits

A good night’s sleep is integral for your muscles to repair. Without quality sleep, your performance in the gym is hindered. Also, your body’s ability to recover from the previous exercise session is dramatically reduced.

Many people think that muscles grow during a workout, or directly after. But the reality is, most of the muscle repair and rebuilding occurs when we are resting, specifically when we are sleeping. Scientists have hypothesized that when we are sleep deprived, protein synthesis activity is decreased and muscle degradation pathways are increased. This hinders muscle recovery and favours muscle loss. [2]. The balance of our bodies cortisol levels (the stress hormone), growth hormone and testosterone go askew- which means our body cannot recover as well as if we had a good night’s sleep.

It’s really important we aim to get a consistent 7-9 hours sleep each night. This is especially important for those days that we’ve been training. If you’re not sleeping enough, this could be the reason why you’re not building muscle as quickly as you’d like.

5. You’re focusing too much on cardio

building muscle

If you’re wanting to bulk up on muscle, it can be counterproductive to be spending too much time on the bike or treadmill. Spending too much time doing cardio can actually cause our muscles to be catabolised, i.e. broken down to be used for energy when our glycogen stores have been depleted.

So, if you are ticking all the other boxes and you are eating enough protein and other vital nutrients and have a solid weight lifting programme, slotting a couple of cardio sessions into your training regime shouldn’t affect your muscle-building progress. If you want to hit both the cardio and the weight lifting in one session, then be sure to properly fuel beforehand and complete the weight training before the cardio. That way, you aren’t tired out before you hit the weights. If you are unsure what the right balance of cardio and weights is for your needs, do contact us to see what we can do to help.

In Conclusion

If you want more guidance on the best approach to go for or need a dedicated and passionate personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals, fill out our free consultation form or simply purchase one of our valuable packages and let’s get started!

PT Marbella

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