Building muscle is a slow process especially for natural lifters. It takes time, effort and patience to develop the physique you envisioned for yourself. I’ve made mistakes during my own journey and helped identify mistakes from clients I’ve trained and/or coached. Building muscle isn’t an easy task but by avoiding the mistakes below, you’ll increase your chances of developing that physique you desire.
Practice Proper Form: If you aren’t performing movements correctly, you could be wasting your time and/or putting yourself at risk for injury. Performing an exercise in a Full ROM(Range of Motion) will give you better results than a partial ROM also known as “cheat reps” especially on those big compound lifts. I suggest everyone make a list of the exercises you perform in the gym that you’re not quite comfortable with. Then spend some time looking up tutorials or demonstrations online of how to perform them correctly. Always be a student. Always be willing to learn. That’s the recipe to become better.
Use Progressive Overload: In order for your body to change, you must continue to challenge it. Doing the same exercises with the same weight, number of sets and reps will definitely cause your muscle building progress to stall. Progressive overload simply means in order for your muscles to grow, strength to be gained or improve performance, your body must be forced to adapt to a stimulus that is greater than what it has previously experienced. Please refer to the “Progressive Overload Is The Key To Continuous Progress In The Gym” on how you can incorporate progressive overload into your current training.
Too Much Cardio: Even though cardio is a great tool to keep additional body fat off as well as getting blood flow to muscles to improve recovery, doing too much cardio can add to muscle loss instead of muscle gain. Obviously muscle isn’t being built while performing cardio on the treadmill, stair master or elliptical therefore performing more that is needed is only adding or creating a deficit to your calories. In simple terms muscles need calories to grow. Burning too many calories doing cardio will only take away from the calories your muscle could have used for recovery.
Track Calories: Most people typically track their calories when they are trying to lose weights but fail to do it when they are trying to gain weight. The same way a weight loss plateau can occur, so can a weight gain plateau. This is where you’ll need to increase calories to continue to gain weight at a healthy pace. If you don’t know exactly what you’ve been doing before, how can you know for sure what adjustments need to be made in the future? Easy fix just track your calories and you thank yourself later!
Drink Enough Water: The blood that runs through our bodies is primarily made up of water. Aside from delivering oxygen to muscle and organs, our bloods other function is to deliver nutrients to our cells and transport waste out of the body. This is where water consumption is very important for muscle building. Even though you can build muscle while being in a small calorie deficit, most individuals are in a surplus of calories. So the more food you eat, the more water you should drink. This allows those nutrients from our diet get to our muscles to recovery. Drinking enough water has other benefits such as preventing muscle cramps and improving muscle contractions. If you want to guarantee great training sessions, drink enough water throughout the day.
Prioritize Rest: Rest is the most important piece to the puzzle. After an intense training session, rest allows the muscles you have broken down to heal and recover. Most people have the theory that the muscle growth occurs during a training session. That is so far from the truth. In fact during training all that is taking place is breaking down muscle tissues but through proper nutrition and rest, muscle grow bigger, better & stronger.