If you are either gaining too much weight with the new bodybuilding nutrition and exercise plan, or are simply not gaining any at all, chances are that you are making a few mistakes. Let us home on the five most common mistakes we all make when building muscle, and find out how to move past them.
You’ve spent weeks and weeks creating a detailed nutritional chart and talking to multiple instructors about the best bodybuilding exercises and yet you have hit a roadblock.
- Either you are gaining too much fat as compared to the muscle mass you are gaining.
- Or you are simply not seeing any gains at all, no matter what you do.
The answers are simple – either you are not training hard enough, or are eating incorrectly. But these simple answers so not pinpoint the real solution. So let us divide the five mistakes you make under these two major sections, so that you know exactly what to change for maximum muscle gain alone.
Mistakes You Make With Training
The biggest reason your muscle gain is below average is because you are not training hard and smart. Some people work out hard at the gym, but their workouts are not smart. By SMART we mean their workouts are not optimised for the right kind of muscle gains; they sweat it out on the treadmill and lift heavy weights and still see no positive results. Reasons are that bodybuilding requires a disciplined workout, and what you have been doing though is great for overall health, it will not help to build your muscles and strength.
So what do you need to avoid?
Mistake No 1# – Poor Choice In Exercises
This is by far the most common mistake. Choose exercises that are going to offer you maximum gains. Your aim is not to simply break into a sweat, but to actually do the right exercises that target the right muscles for muscle building. Do not opt for easier alternatives; in training, the more effort you put and challenge yourself, the better the results.
Try exercises like:
- Squats and its variations
- Overhead press variations
- Barbell/Dumbbell rows
- Bench press and its variations
- Pull ups
- Chin ups
When it comes to training, you need to remember four simple things:
- Perform the more challenging workouts earlier in your routine and keep the simpler ones for later
- Choose compound exercises over isolation exercises
- If working out on machines, choose those that offer chances for weight progression in the future
- Do not underestimate the potency of simple exercises like dips and pull-ups that don’t include weight but are rather body weight exercises
Mistake No 2# – You Don’t Have A Weight Progression Plan
If you haven’t planned for weight progression, or don’t know what it is, it is no surprise that you haven’t been able to add muscle mass. Progression is adding weight or intensity into the same exercise over a period of time, to keep your body challenged. For example, if you do bicep curls with 2.5kg weights, you need to slowly progress to 5kg weights over the next month by adding 1kg every week. It is progression that results in bigger and stronger muscles. Without progression, you will not see much strength or muscle gains after the first month or so.
But, that doesn’t mean you can keep adding weights week after week. There are several ways to achieve weight progressions. The reason is that your body becomes accustomed to a certain level of intensity in an exercise within a few weeks. And after this point, the exercise becomes rather in effective when it comes to muscle gains.
To keep your body challenged, you can try one of these methods:
- Increase weights
- Increase number of reps in a set
- Increase number of sets per exercise
- Decrease rest time between sets
- Add more weight to subsequent sets or the other way round
- Do circuit training – do two to three exercises, a set of each, without rest in between
Mistake No 3# – You Make A Lot Of Excuses
Bad workout days happen to all of us. So only because you feel you aren’t motivated enough to finish your scheduled workout, don’t cut it out. Instead, push yourself to work despite how you feel. Most seasoned bodybuilders will tell you that some of their best workouts happened on the day they weren’t feeling ‘up to it’. As they stayed focused on working out, they managed to get more reps, more sets and more exercises done that day to beat the frustration.
Unless you are seriously injured and really shouldn’t go to the gym, don’t find excuses to skip a workout. Feel a twitch in your arms? Concentrate on lower body or abs. The more often you de-load because of a ‘bad workout day’, the more your muscles suffer.
Mistakes You Make With Nutrition
Perhaps you have been consistent with your gym, have been following progression and already do the best exercises? In that case, if your weight is still stagnant, you are not eating enough. And if your weight is increasing too fast and you are retaining fat, you are eating too much.
Mistake No 4# – Basing Your Daily Caloric Requirement In BMR Calculators
The BMR calculator is a good place to start, but many times it isn’t exactly taking your physical exertion into account. The BMR gives you a good set limit if you are a moderately active person looking to lose weight. However, if you are a skinny 20-year-old man who goes to the gym six times a week, chances are that the BMR suggested caloric intake is far too less.
The simple way to ascertain if you need to change your caloric intake is to see whether the scales are moving. If you fail to see weight gain two months after you started your diet and exercise programme, start increasing your caloric intake.
Mistake No 5# – Not Eating Enough For Fear Of Becoming Fat
Only because you want to bulk up doesn’t mean you will get fat. Many people tend to put on fat around their waistlines and the reason is that they are not training hard enough. But if you are consistent with your workouts, eating a little more will do you good. On the other hand, if you do train hard and still undereat, you are not only limiting your progress, you are letting your hard work go waste. This is because all the muscle you build during workouts gets broken down to fuel energy for your body because your caloric intake is not sufficient, based on your rate of metabolism.
All these mistakes are going to result in no progress. Simply put:
- If you eat big and don’t consistently add progression to your workouts, you will gain weight in fat because your body isn’t challenged.
- If you work hard at the gym and constantly under eat, you will never put on muscle mass.