Most people who go to the gym want to build muscle (and maybe lose fat), but as it turns out, this is easier said than done. We all know at least a few people who seem to be all about the gym but never actually get anywhere. It’s actually kind of sad when you think about it…
But why is that? Why is it that certain people just never get anywhere? Well, if you’re not making gains, it’s probably due to one or more of the following…
#1 | You don’t actually lift
This one may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of people who reach out to me on twitter and ask how they can gain muscle without lifting. You can’t! Sorry guys! If you don’t lift you have exactly a 0% chance of making any gains.
You can increase your body weight by simply eating a lot, but you won’t become muscular unless you hit the gym and hit it hard…which brings us to our next gain-drain.
#2 | You lift, but you don’t go hard
This actually applies to the majority of the people that I see in the gym…And I go to a real gym. Most people feel like if they just GO to the gym, they’ll make progress.
Okay, so here’s the thing…
Walking into the gym and staying for a certain amount of time won’t get you anywhere. Once inside, you have to actually go hard! That’s right, you need to push yourself each and every time or you’ll just stay the same.
The body is remarkably adaptive, so you really need to shock it to make progress. Putting up more weight than you did last week is the whole point of going to the gym. Do the same weight over and over and you’ll remain the same forever.
#3 | Your diet sucks
We’ve become conditioned to believe that a “healthy” diet is one that contains a wide array of different foods, but if gaining muscle is your goal, eating a bunch of different foods isn’t necessarily going to help you.
You need to ensure that you’re getting enough protein to support your goals. If you’re serious about making gains, constructing all your meals around a solid source of protein is the way to go. If every meal you eat contains a solid amount of protein, your body will have no trouble building muscle. Deprive yourself of the protein your body needs to build muscle tissue and you’ll have no chance.
If you’re not sure how much protein you should be taking in daily, we discuss precisely that in this article.
#4 | You’re not taking recovery seriously
Recovery is just as important as exercise itself. You need to sleep, eat, and rest your muscles. If you’re not taking these things into account, you’re surely sabotaging your chances of making gains in the longrun. Over time, you’ll most likely become fatigued and won’t be able to train very hard.
We discuss the necessary steps to optimizing your workout recovery in this article.
#5 | You neglect certain body parts
This is something most people are stubborn to accept and I’ll be the first to admit that I was the same way when I was younger. What body part did I neglect? Legs of course! So many people avoid training legs as much as possible and focus way too much on their upper body muscle groups.
Well, what if lifting legs would help your bench press? Would you do it then? Well that’s actually true. You see, you’re legs do more than just get you from point A to point B. They provide stability and grounding for the rest of the muscles in your body.
Focus on strengthening your leg muscles and your other lifts will actually go up slightly without any direct progression themselves.
I actually super set squats with bench press every now and then and I find that after squatting a certain weight for several reps, I’m able to rep that same weight better on bench. I won’t get all scientific about why this might be, but it makes sense if you think about it.
#6| Too much cardio
Okay well here’s where are few people will get mad at me, but sorry…it’s true! Cardio isn’t the gain-killer that so many bodybuilders and powerlifters think it is, but too much of it will absolutely stunt your gains.
You see, when you do any type of long-duration cardio, some muscle breakdown will eventually occur as your body’s glycogen (stored carbohydrate energy) stores become depleted and it starts to harvest glucose from the amino acids in muscle tissue. This may have been quite an evolutionary advantage when our ancestors were hunting and running from predators, but when it comes to building muscle mass, it just kind of sucks…
Again, I’d just like to reiterate that cardio is not inherently bad, but too much of it will certainly prevent gains.
If you’re going to do cardio, you should consider supplementing with a BCAA-based supplement. I recommend Amino Beyond of course because I formulated it specifically to prevent muscle loss during my fasted training sessions.
Amino Beyond features a clinical dose of Leucine, the most powerful amino acid when it comes to stimulating muscle protein synthesis, which prevent muscle breakdown and encourages optimal muscle growth, even when you haven’t consumed protein in a while (as is the case when you train fasted). That means you can do cardio AND keep your gains!
There Are No Limits, Only Plateaus…
If you’ve reached the point in your training where you feel like you’re unable to make further gains…you’re wrong. You CAN keep making progress, you just may have to re-evaluate some of your training, nutritional, or lifestyle habits.
Of course, there’s a never-ending list of reasons why you might not be making gains, but hopefully it has something to do with one of the 6 most common reasons we discussed in this article.
If not, feel free to comment with your thoughts!
I'm Matt, Founder of Momentum Nutrition and SuppWithThat.com. I've spent the better part of the last decade researching and experimenting in the areas of fitness, nutrition, and supplementation, and this is where I write it all down.