Find out why you still don’t seem to be gaining any muscle
Too much cardio
“The first thing to do is to cut down on your cardio – especially running”, explains personal trainer James King. “This is because, the body’s response to cardiovascular exercise is to maximise its strength to weight ratio and this process will cut the muscle mass you are trying so desperately to build.” If you’re going to do cardio make sure you take in extra carbohydrate and switch to explosive interval training rather than slow continuous training.
Not enough food
In order for your body to remain in a constant anabolic state (building muscle) it has to have a constant supply of energy. Eat at regular intervals, typically 5-6 small meals throughout the day. If you feel hungry, chances are your catabolic (your body is breaking down muscle as a fuel source). “Building muscle is low on your body’s to-do list, explains King. “Only when more important functions have been met will your body start building muscle – and that is only if there is surplus energy.” Make sure there is – eat.
Not enough intensity
“The more stress you put on your muscles the bigger the rewards”, says King. “It’s absolutely vital that every set is performed to failure and make sure you have someone to spot you, if not cheat the last few reps!” he adds. In addition, ensure that every week you are lifting heavier – even if this is the weight of a barbell collar, tiny incremental increases will ensure you get a growth response. Grit your teeth and go heavy.
Too much quantity
“A common mistake is to confuse intensity with quantity,” says King. In the world of bodybuilding less can be more. Each muscle group requires no more than three sets of three exercises. These exercises should not be performed more than a maximum of twice a week at a high intensity. Any more than this and they will be unable to super-compensate (the process whereby muscles grow in size and strength), the result being limited gains in size and strength.
Not enough compound
It is a necessity to include the following compound exercises in any bodybuilding program: squats, deadlifts and bench presses. These huge movements engage large muscle groups allowing your body to move some serious weight. “It’s the stress from moving heavy weight that causes a surge of testosterone”, explains King, “and that’s what stimulates serious muscle growth.”