Have you been going to the gym regularly for a few weeks, or even months, and not adding the muscle mass you hoped you would by now?
If you answered yes, it’s time to take a step back and regroup.
Building muscle is not rocket science and if you’re not making gains then you’re probably doing something wrong.
Though there are many factors when it comes to building muscle, there are four common mistakes I see people making that keep them skinny and prevent them from adding muscle.
Let’s take a look at them and see if you’re making any of these four common muscle building mistakes.
Four Common Muscle Building Mistakes and How to Overcome Them
Mistake #1: Not optimizing your diet for gaining muscle
It’s time to get out of the 3 meals per day mentality that most people subscribe to (you know, the people are either too skinny, too fat, and out of shape).
If you want to gain (or lose) weight you need to feed your body clean, whole foods, six times per day. This means splitting your large meals up and eating about once every three hours.
Not only is this good for your metabolism, but your body will use the foods instead of storing them as fat.
Your six meals per day should consist of mainly complex carbohydrates and protein.
You should aim for at least thirty grams of protein per meal. High protein foods include lean meat, chicken, fish, egg whites, cheese and milk products. Complex carbohydrates are found in brown rice, brown bread, and potatoes.
And definitely stay away from foods high in salt and sugar
Mistake #2: Not taking the right supplements at the right time
If you can afford supplements you should be using them.
The core two supplements you should be using are protein and creatine. Whey protein supplements are the fastest known way to deliver quality protein to your muscles. This makes shakes particularly effective after your workouts when your body is craving protein for muscle repair and growth.
There are three key times that protein should be taken: First thing in the morning, after your workout, and before bed.
If your diet is up to speed you shouldn’t need supplements at any other time. Don’t use supplements to replace meals. Supplements are supplements, not meal replacements.
As for creatine, this one should go without saying… if you’ve read any magazines, blogs, or website about building muscle then you know creatine is one of the most highly researched and proven supplements to help you make gains in the gym.
Mistake #4: Training too hard and not smart
The biggest mistake that new lifters make is thinking that the more they workout the bigger faster they’ll get results.
This couldn’t be further from the truth!
Two basic rules you must remember when it comes to weight training:
First, quality is better than quantity.
Compound exercises require at least two joint movements. Big compound exercises include: the squat, bench press, wide grip pull up and seated row, to name a few.
These movements recruit many more muscles fibers to move the weight. This means more muscle groups are worked, the exercise is more challenging and the potential for growth is much greater.
Generally, you should be doing three compound exercises for every one isolation exercise (if you’re doing them at all).
For example, your back/biceps workout might consist of wide grip pull ups, seated row, bent over row and standing bicep curl. You might think that this is not enough work for your biceps… but you’d be wrong. Your biceps are worked heavily in all of these exercises; the bicep curl just finishes them off.
The length of any training session should not exceed one hour and you only need to train one muscle group once per week.
This means a split routine should only need to be three days per week. In fact, most professional bodybuilders only train four times per week.
Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity.
Mistake #4: Not getting enough rest and recovery time
When you workout you’re not building your muscles, you’re actually breaking them down. The reason why you looked pumped up when you’re in the gym is that your muscle tissue is swollen and damaged, causing blood to rush into the muscle to repair them.
Your muscles actually grow when you are resting. So in simple terms, no rest equals no muscle growth.
So take it easy when you’re not working out. Ease up on the cardio. And make sure you get plenty of sleep.
Sleep is the body’s number one time for building muscle. This is also why it’s important to eat before bed, so your body has the fuel to repair your muscles while you sleep.
Simple isn’t it?
As you can see, despite what you read in magazines or on the web about building muscle (and there is a lot of bad information out there)… it’s surprisingly simple.
If you avoid these common mistakes and make some tweaks to your diet, exercise, and recovery you’ll start building muscle fast.