You train hard. You chug down a protein shake after each workout. You even dropped $69 on a pre-workout supplement that had “proven to build muscle” on the label.
But nothing seems to be working. You have been sitting at 82kg for the last six months and it’s getting frustrating. The guy next to you at the gym is much bigger and more ripped.
Worse, it seems effortless for him.
You wonder: “What’s he doing that I’m not?”
He’s doing the basics, mate. And so should you.
Here are five things many people do wrong and what you should do instead.
- Not Eating Enough
It’s hard to pack on the muscle if you’re not eating enough. Hitting 3500 calories each day can be a chore. You may have to eat more often or choose different foods.
But remember this: Muscle is made from food. So unless you eat enough, you simply can not gain muscle.
For a quick calculation on how much to eat, take your bodyweight in pounds and multiply it by 19. That’s roughly the number of calories you should be eating, assuming you’re not overweight. Add or subtract based on your results.
- You Eat The Wrong Things
Hitting calories is one thing but hitting your macronutrients is another. Macronutrients are proteins, carbs and fats.
If you eat too many starchy carbs like bread and potatoes,you’ll add weight but not muscle. Don’t eat enough, you’ll continue to have the same results you’ve been getting.
Proteins like meat and fish are essential muscle builders. Amino acids make up the muscle. Without them, you will struggle to get that hard and ripped look.
Healthy fats in nuts and olive oil help maintain a healthy hormone profile. Eat enough and your testosterone will hit high levels promoting a muscle building environment. Just be wary of eating too many. Fats contain 9 calories to the gram whereas protein and carbs contain just 4. So plunging your spoon into the peanut butter jar and chowing down may not be the best idea.
3. Your Program Sucks
We’ve all used crappy programs with miracle methodologies that under deliver. But look on the bright side of side of life, as in this classic clip from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
Eric Idle was right. Cheer up and learn from your mistakes.
Just because you paid $19 for an ebook doesn’t make it good. Stick to foundations or find someone competent who can coach you.
There are a range of techniques proven to add kilos of muscle. These include rest/pause, super sets, giant sets, negatives, or my favorite, triple drop sets.
Next time you are on the leg extension machine do this.
- Take your set to failure (12 reps)
- Drop the weight so you can perform another 12 reps
- Drop the weight again and perform another 12 reps
- Drop it one last time and go to failure
Just try not to vomit.
- You Don’t Train Legs
Or at least you don’t train legs with the same intensity as you train chest.
I get it. Leg day sucks. It’s hard. It requires more energy and there’s DOMs…that just lasts forever!
The bad news: you have to train legs. It’s half your body.
The good news: it’s amazing for boosting testosterone levels, promoting fat loss, and not looking lke an upside down triangle.
Have a good set of legs means you can squat heavy. A heavy squat is going to annihilate not only your legs, core, and lungs. It will also treat your central nervous system to a beating. This will force your body to work harder to recover and use up more oxygen and fat. The end result? A solid physique.
- You Rest Too Long
Unless you plan to be a powerlifter, you don’t need to rest for three minutes between sets. Keep your rest periods shorter than two minutes. The higher the rep ranges, the less rest you need.
When you force fluid into the muscle (aka a pump) your muscles have to reconstruct themselves to accommodate this ie get bigger. If your muscles get ample rest time, this fluid can escape and the need to get bigger is no longer relevant.
Aim for 45-75 seconds for anything over 10 reps. It will be hard. But that’s the point.
Arm yourself with these tips. Act on them. Pretty soon people will start to look at you the same way you look at the jacked guy at the gym.
Start at the top and implement them one by one.
Count your calories. Adjust your macros. Start training legs again and keep up the intensity.
Don’t end up like Eric Idle on a cross trying to be happy. Go forth and sin no more. Build some muscle!!