5 Reasons you’re Not Building Muscle explained.
There can be a number of reasons why you’re not building muscle. Let me shed some light..
To be honest there are so many myths circulating the fitness community which can hinder your muscle building potential and I am sure you may have heard of some of them like, “Avoid carbs”, “Train for size not strength”, “Eat Clean, “High reps are only for definition” and so on..
Now I want to shed a bit of light on these myths and at the same time share simple and effective methods for building the muscled body you want
Myth 1: Carbs Make you Fat
The reason why most people believe this myth is understandable, as carbs increase insulin and insulin is a storage hormone that forces our body to store fat. However the evidence is pretty clear that the insulin response from food intake doesn’t determine the amount of fat you store. What they fail to mention is that insulin is responsible for driving amino acids into our muscles thus elevating protein synthesis this is vital for maximizing muscle growth. The fact is that if you’re not building muscle through weight training you should never avoid carbs. The reasons are twofold.
- Carbs are converted to glucose, our body’s main energy source and glucose is stored in the muscle as glycogen.
- Blood glucose and muscle glycogen are the most important elements in the formula for maximizing physical performance
Studies have shown that fats are more efficiently stored as body fat than carbs, as excess dietary fat leads to greater fat accumulation than does excess dietary carbohydrate which actually makes perfect sense especially since there is plenty of evidence that carbs are inefficiently stored as body fat.
The Bottom Line is that if you’re not building muscle eat carbs and lots of them.
Myth 2: Train for size not strength
It boils my p-## each time I hear this saying, they both go hand in hand. Muscle is a byproduct of strength and unless you’re getting stronger you’re not getting bigger period. Seriously when’s the last time that you saw a ripped muscle builder struggling to lift 140 pounds, it just doesn’t happen. Now I am not saying that your rep range should always be under 5 reps or that you should drop bicep curls and triceps extensions and replace them with squats and deadlifts but what I am saying is that that unless you’re adding more weight or more reps you’re not going to stimulate new muscle growth.
The way the body produces new muscle tissue is quite simple we introduce a stress and our body adapts to that stress by building muscle in order to handle it again later.
This can be done in two ways
- Increase weight without sacrificing reps
- Increase reps without sacrificing weight.
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Now I know what you’re thinking, you’ve said that the main pathway by which we build muscle is volume so doesn’t that mean we could just do more sets. Sure this can be done but studies show that it’s only possible to a certain degree before we experience diminishing muscle growth returns.
The Bottom Line is you don’t need to train like a powerlifter but you should always walk into the gym and do better than you did last time.
Myth 3: You only need to train each muscle group once a week.
You can make gains training one muscle group once a week but if you want to maximize muscle and strength low-frequency training just isn’t going to cut it. So whenever you hear someone crying about how sore their quads are from leg day it’s not the intensity of the workout it’s because they’re training their legs too infrequently.
If your trainer tells you you’ll over train if you hit chest twice a week point him to a study published in the journal of strength and conditioning which compared training one day per week using a split body workout versus three days per week using a full body approach. They found that subjects who trained a single muscle group more frequently throughout the week despite no changes in total volume experienced significantly more muscle growth than the low-frequency group.
The Bottom Line follow a higher frequency training split that targets each major muscle group at least twice per week
Myth 4: You need to eat clean.
What exactly does this mean? I am sure if we were to ask ten different experts we would get ten different answers. Although I admit I am an advocate of preparing my meals mainly with whole foods and minimizing processed foods to a minimum. But you do need to have a degree of flexibility because the fact is it’s not just about what you eat but how much of it. Unless you’re in a positive energy balance and consuming enough protein fats and carbs you won’t build muscle.
The Bottom Line is that one of the reasons you’re not building muscle could be that you are not in a caloric surplus by this I mean consuming more calories than you’re expending and following a diet that provides sufficient protein dietary fat and carbs is critical. If your goal is to build muscle I don’t care how clean you’re eating if you’re not eating enough you’re not going to grow.
Myth 5: High reps are only for muscle definition
Give me a pound for every time I have heard this in the gym. The idea that high reps shape or tone the muscle is complete bullsh#t. A muscle can do only three things
- Grow larger
- Get smaller
- Remain the same size
The shape of the muscle is determined by the genetic make-up of the individual. What is exactly meant by high reps 20 30 or 50 etc., because one thing is for sure training in a rep range of that magnitude requires that we reduce intensity. In one recent study it concluded that you would have to perform three times the volume when using a lighter load to get the same results you would from a moderate weight.
The Bottom Line is that if you want to build muscle as fast as possible you’ve got to lift heavy.
As you can see there may be a number of reasons you’re not building muscle but take action and follow these simple rules to set yourself on the right path to a muscle physique.
• Eat carbs to build muscle
• You need to build strength to build muscle, always increase the weight when you reach your aim reps easily.
• Train each muscle group twice a week
• Consume more calories than you expend
• Lift heavy with good form to build muscle.
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