If you’re weight training, your goal is to gain muscle, not lose muscle. Unfortunately, some guys make disastrous mistakes that cost them precious gains. If you’re hitting it hard at the gym and not seeing the muscle growth you should be seeing, read this list. You may recognize that you are guilty of some of these.
1. YOU DON’T EAT ENOUGH
While extra calories can mean extra belly fat, if you’re lifting consistently and correctly, most of what you’re taking in should be converted into muscle. The truth is that your muscles will never grow without a surplus of calories. For a lean guy looking to put on muscle mass, 2,000 calories a day won’t cut it. In fact, this kind of restricted diet is actually the ideal recipe for losing muscle tissue and sparing fat as it causes the body to shift into starvation mode and shed calorie-consuming muscle. It also makes you store fat for emergency energy. And the less protein you eat, the less of a chance you give your muscles to recover after a workout.
2. YOU AMP UP YOUR CARDIO
There are three ways that cardio typically cancels out muscle gains: doing it too often, doing it for too long or doing it on an empty stomach. In general, daily cardio sessions simply burn too many cumulative calories to allow you the surplus you need for muscle mass. The same can be said for sessions that last 45 minutes or more.
3. YOU FAVOR BODY-PART WORKOUTS
Breaking your training down into chest days, back days and arm days overworks some muscles and neglects others. It’s an old-school way to train, meaning it’s incredibly outdated. Most guys still do it and may make gains for awhile, but their progress eventually comes to a halt usually due to injuries. Body-part routines also prevent your biggest muscles from ever learning to work together in the kinds of coordinated effort you need to lift really heavy weights.
4. YOU DON’T STRETCH
Boring? Definitely. But stretching has been shown to speed up recovery and increase a muscle’s range of motion, making more room for muscle fibers to grow. Simply lifting weights will increase your risk for injury and severely limit your ability to move athletically and with proper form.
5. YOU EAT SPORADICALLY
It’s true that eating infrequently is nearly as bad as not eating at all. When you go more than three hours without food, your metabolism slows significantly. When that happens, every time you do get a meal, there’s a good chance that a large percentage of it will be stored as fat. Why? Blame your body. Without food, your body slips back into starvation mode and starts to think it needs to hold on to every calorie it can get.
6. YOU DON’T DRINK SHAKES
Chugging a protein-and-carb mixture after your workout starts the recovery process immediately, replenishing lost glycogen (your muscles’ energy stores) and providing the nutrients your body requires to repair muscle and grow more of it. Skipping the protein shake and casually waiting an hour or more for your next meal is like ignoring a cry for help.
7. YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Sleep is when muscle repair happens. Getting 6 or fewer hours of shut-eye a night limits your body’s natural production of crucial muscle-building chemicals, such as growth hormone. Too much activity outside of your workouts, such as playing sports, all-night parties and extra stress – which are fine in moderation, but dangerous in excess – also cut into muscle gains.
8. YOU RARELY ALTER YOUR ROUTINE
Doing the exact same workout week after week will prevent new gains and lead to burnout. Failing to impose any new challenges on your muscles – such as increasing the weight you use or number of reps your perform – simply helps keep them the same size, whereas pushing yourself harder than you’re accustomed to will actually motivate new muscle and strength.
It’s not too late to correct your mistakes and push the gas pedal to speedy muscle growth. Knowledge is power. You now know 8 ways to lose muscle. Now it’s time to learn about the 5 forgotten muscles you can’t ignore: read now
Written by: Tristan “Lucky”