Who wants to spend countless hours at the gym, only to see minimal or no results? Not me. I don’t think anyone would want that. So, with that being said, here’s what you SHOULDN’T do when trying to gain muscle. It’s all about them gaaaainz.
1. Be impatient
The first thing you shouldn’t do when trying to gain muscle is be impatient. Patience is key when building muscle and changing your body composition. If you’re a beginner, the first changes you will see in your fitness journey are the non-physical ones. For example, you may feel more energised throughout the day. Be patient, consistent, and I promise, you’ll see results.
2. Have no structure
Not having structure is another big mistake people make when trying to gain muscle. Make yourself a training program and stick to it! This will help you achieve your fitness goals, whatever they may be. Having a good structure is crucial when trying to build muscle.
3. Do too much cardio
Believe it or not, cardio doesn’t always do you good. Especially when you’re trying to gain muscle. If size and strength are your fitness goals, then the bulk of your training should be weight training, with minimal cardio. You should be aiming for 3-4 weight training days a week, with only 1-2 HIIT workouts or easy cardio sessions. However, do not prioritise cardio over your recovery. Recovery is so important when trying to gain muscle.
4. Eat like a bird
To gain muscle, you need to eat in a slight caloric surplus. Sorry, but eating tiny salads all day isn’t helping you. Being in a slight caloric surplus will support muscle growth and help you get closer to your fitness goals. However, just because you need to eat more, doesn’t mean you fill up on junk. Eat healthy whole fresh foods. You need to ensure your growing body is getting the nutrients and building blocks it needs, and remember if you eat junk all of the time, you’ll get junk results.
Yep, you heard me, stress is taking your muscle gains and plummeting them into the ground. Make sure you rid the negative stresses from your life, get an adequate amount of uninterrupted sleep (typically 8-9 hours), eat fresh whole foods and stay hydrated! I know it’s easier said than done, but stress will not only affect your fitness goals, it will detrimentally impact your general well being. Chill out!
6. Be a gym junkie
Believe it or not, being addicted to the gym may be the reason you’re not gaining muscle. Spending hours on end in the gym isn’t doing you any favours. Your body will not be able to recover properly if you do too much in the gym, and remember, recovery is key for gaining muscle. You could actually stall or reverse your progress completely by spending hours in the gym and doing way too much as you run the risk of ‘burning yourself out’.
7. Be afraid of compound movements
Another reason you may not be gaining muscle is that you’re afraid of compound movements and delay them when you workout. You should focus your big compound lifts at the beginning of your workout when you have the most energy and aren’t feeling fatigued. For example, perform your squats, deadlifts, cleans, presses, and/or pulls at the start of your workout and complete isolation exercises like curls, front raises, lateral raises, and calf raises the second half of your workout. Focus on performing the right exercises at the right time to optimise muscle gain.