If you’ve been busting your butt in the gym for months, but aren’t seeing much progress it can be very disappointing.
Luckily, I’ll provide you with the best tips so you can achieve the physique you’ve always desired.
Why Don’t I Look Like I Lift?
If you aren’t eating adequate nutrition, you won’t have enough nutrients to repair and build your muscles. You also need to be implementing training techniques such as progressive overload and mind muscle connection to get the most of your workouts. If you aren’t training often enough, your muscles won’t be put under enough stress to grow. Your body fat levels and how you are recovering are also important factors.
1. You Aren’t Eating Enough
Many people make the mistake of training hard but not providing their body with adequate nutrition. Nutrition is actually more important than weight lifting for most people.
For example, if you are very lean and don’t eat enough, your muscles won’t have enough nutrients to grow. Start by finding out your maintenance calories and then add about 200 calories to that.
If your maintenance calories are 2500, start by eating 2700 and you should steadily gain weight. Check your weight every day and once you’ve stopped gaining weight, up your calories by 200 more.
By being in a caloric surplus you can ensure that you are gaining strength and size.
You also must be eating a gram of protein per pound of body weight so that your muscles can rebuild and regrow stronger after a tough workout.
Don’t forget carbs! Without enough carbs, you won’t have enough energy to push through your workouts and break your muscles down so that they can regrow.
2. You Aren’t Progressively Overloading
Progressive overload refers to when you gradually increase the weight, frequency, or numbers of reps every time that you workout. This can also include decreasing rest times or increasing intensity. Anything that allows you to train harder than you did last time.
For example, let’s say last week you did 5 sets of bench press and your heaviest set was 205lbs for 3 reps.
This week you could progressively overload by increasing reps by doing that set of 205lbs at 4 reps. You could also do 6 sets of bench instead of 5. Or, you could decrease all of your rest times to 1 minute if last week you did a minute and a half.
This ensures that you are constantly finding new ways to further break down your muscles, which will allow them to grow stronger.
If you are doing the same training routine every single week, you will plateau. Your muscles need new challenges to grow. If they are put under the same stress for 2 months in a row, they have no reason to grow.
Make sure that you are always using correct form and not going too heavy to prevent injury. If you try to increase the weight from what you used last week but can’t properly perform a rep, increase another aspect.
Lower the weight and increase reps or intensity instead.
Consider having a spotter if you are trying to increase the weight and aren’t sure if you will be able to handle it.
3. You Aren’t Training Enough
If you are only training a couple times a week, you won’t be stimulating the muscles enough to see the growth you desire.
Note that beginner lifters can get away with training less. However, if you aren’t noticing muscle growth consider training more frequently.
Research has proven that training each muscle group twice a week is most effective for building muscle. There are many training splits. Choose whatever one you enjoy most, as long as you are hitting each body part twice a week.
You should be waiting 48 hours after you train a muscle group before you train it again. This allows your muscles to fully recover and prepare for the next session.
Along with training comes training technique which is important to mention. You should be making sure that your form is correct for every exercise that you perform.
This can be done by watching videos online or by searching through our website at bestcardiorowers.com. We have plenty of detailed descriptions breaking down many big lifts.
Form is not only important for preventing injury, but also makes sure you get the most out of the lift and are training the correct body parts.
Another training term that you should be implementing is mind muscle connection.
Mind muscle connection is a highly mental technique where you really focus on whatever body part you are training. You really try to think of squeezing and contracting that muscle, which will help you target it.
Doing so actually allows your brain to cause a higher percentage of muscle fibers to complete the lift.
If you are struggling, try out these tips. Slowing the movement down is a great way to feel it more in the targeted muscle group.
Having certain cues will also play a role. An example of a cue is driving your elbows back during most back exercises as it helps incorporate the lats more instead of pulling from your biceps.
Warm-up sets with light weight are a great way to start feeling your muscles contract. Many people are bouncing around weight that is too heavy and you are not going to get a proper contraction when doing so.
They will also fill your muscles with blood and make them less tight, preventing injury.
4. You Have Too Much Body Fat
Not only does carrying more body fat lower testosterone levels, it will also cover up your hard-earned muscle. No matter how much you train, if there is fat covering up your muscles, they won’t be visible.
Many people with extra body fat are actually very strong. This is because they do have a lot of muscle, it is just not visible. If your goal is to look more aesthetically pleasing, like you lift, then you will want to cut down your body fat levels.
If this is the case, you should be eating in a calorie deficit and doing cardio to lose the fat so that you can see your muscle. Continue training helping burn extra muscle and increase testosterone levels.
Make sure you are eating enough protein so that you don’t lose too much muscle while cutting weight and continue to lift heavy.
5. You Aren’t Recovering Properly
Recovery is a very important process of muscle growth. Your muscles don’t actually grow in the gym, but rather when you are resting.
You need to be sleeping at least 7 hours a night for your muscles to properly grow and recover. Sleep enhances muscle recovery through the process of protein synthesis and human growth hormone release.
Without proper sleep, the production of growth hormone is reduced, which will affect your muscle gains. That’s why you may feel more sore after a workout if you do not get adequate sleep.
Muscle cells and tissues repair and grow mainly while you are asleep. Sleep also improves muscle coordination and memory, which will help you perform better in the gym.
Consider taking BCAA’s helping allow your muscles to recover properly. They are proven to activate cellular pathways that stimulate muscle protein synthesis and enhance muscle growth.
They have also proven to decrease muscle damage during a workout and decrease protein breakdown during training.
Make sure you are staying hydrated in and out of the gym. Water fills up the cells and plays a part in protein synthesis. Water also facilitates digestion, helping the body receive nutrients from food.
Stretching before you workout is also very important. Stretching prevents tight muscles which can lead to tears. If you injure yourself, then you won’t be making any gains at all.
Leave any questions or comments below and I’ll be sure to get back to you!