Building muscle is not rocket science. You need to train hard, eat correctly, and use the correct types of supplements.
I see it all the time in the gym, guys who have been training for years with very little to show for it. Chances are they are either not training correctly or are not eating enough to support new muscle growth.
The following list represents 5 of the most common mistakes people make in their pursuit to building more muscle.
#1 – Not Eating Enough
In order to build new muscle tissue you need to provide your body with the ‘fuel’ it requires. No matter how hard you train or how many supplements you take, if you don’t consume enough calories you cannot build new muscle tissue. Muscle cannot be built out of thin air.
Eating food provides your body with energy. And your body needs excess energy to build new muscle tissue. The only way you can provide your body with excess energy is by consuming more calories in a day than what your body requires.
This doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. To build muscle and not gain fat you need to consume quality foods such as red meat, fish, skinless chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, rye bread etc…
To read more about this, check our blog post eating for muscle growth.
#2 – Not Lifting Heavy
When you lift heavy weights you cause damage to the muscle fibers, this is referred to as muscle-microtrauma. When muscle-microtrauma occurs from weight training, the body responds by replacing the damaged tissue and building more. The body does this to reduce the risk of this type of damage occurring again. And this is basically why lifting weights builds muscle.
If you do not train hard enough and fail to cause muscle-microtrauma, your body will have no reason to build new muscle fibers.
If your workouts are not challenging enough for you, then you need to look at increasing the intensity. If you are able to complete a set on a specific exercise without any struggle, then the weight is not heavy enough. With every exercise you do, the weight should always be heavy enough so that you really struggle to complete the last few reps.
#3 – Overtraining
Training for 45 to 60 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week is all you need to build muscle. Spending 2 hours in the gym every day will not lead to faster muscle growth.
As mentioned above, training causes muscle-microtrauma, your body then builds more muscle to avoid this from happening again. So, a common thought is, the more you train, the more muscle your body will build. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Your body builds muscle when you are resting, by overtraining you are not giving your body enough time to rest and build muscle. Overtraining also increases stress hormones such as cortisol which can lead to muscle loss.
#4 – Using Incorrect Form
As you already know by now, lifting heavy weights is vital for muscle growth. But if you do not use correct form while lifting a heavy weight, you won’t be able to work the intended muscle group correctly. Instead you will be putting unnecessary strain on your joints and tendons which can lead to injury.
As long as a weight is heavy enough for you to struggle with while using proper form, you will build muscle. If you are unable to use correct from with a specific weight, then grab a lighter one.
#5 – Sticking to The Same Workout Routine
Your body is great at adapting. When you exercise, your body adapts to this by building more muscle. By following the same workout routine week after week, your body will eventually get to the point where it no longer needs to adapt. This will cause you to hit a plateau that can be hard to break through.
To avoid this from happening, you should change up your workout routine every 6 to 8 weeks. You can either follow a completely new workout routine, or change up your current one by adding and removing exercises, changing the intensity, the amount of reps and sets etc…