Have you ever felt that despite doing all the right things at the gym, after a little success in the beginning, that the muscle no longer seems to be building? If yes, then you are probably getting some basic things wrong. For example, you might be overworking, which seems like the right way to go, but instead it’s counterproductive.
To know more about what you might be doing wrong, read this Bright Side article through to the end so that you not only correct your present mistakes, but also avoid the lure of other common mistakes in the future.
1. Constantly sticking to the same rep-range
Although there is a lot of debate about what the perfect rep-range is to build muscles, there is some sort of consensus that 5-8 repetitions are optimum. However, sticking to the same rep-range is not the right way to move forward, especially after you are no longer a beginner. For this reason, it is advisable to stick to 3 different rep-ranges: low, medium, and high. Beginning with the low rep-range, spend 2-3 weeks working on each level.
- Low rep-range (3-4 reps): It enables you to lift heavier weight, which will, over time, enable you to use heavier weight in the other rep-ranges.
- Medium rep-range (6-8 reps): It serves as a bridge while transitioning from the low rep-range to the high rep-range.
- High rep-range (12-15 reps): It helps increase your endurance.
Overworking is going to do you more harm than good. When your goal is to build muscles, and not lose fat, you have to eat a lot and not worry about gaining fat. Doing a lot of cardio can be counterproductive. If you work out a lot or do a lot of cardio, you will lose the calorie surplus that you need to bulk up your muscles.
3. Not eating the right food
Most people who start out with a muscle building goal think that they need to only eat protein to rack up muscles. While it’s true that proteins are important, since they are made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of life, neglecting carbohydrates and fat is not recommended. Carbohydrates provide energy to the body that is required to help bulk up muscle mass, while fats are responsible for testosterone and other growth-related hormones.
So, despite putting your best efforts in at the gym, if you are not getting the desired results, consider adding 500 calories to your diet, and if you still don’t see much growth after a couple of weeks, add another 500 calories.
4. Not eating enough food
When you are trying to build muscles, you need to eat a lot of food to get the energy that’s required to develop them. Eating just 3 meals might not be enough. So it is recommended to have at least 6 meals a day to get the required amount of calories.
5. Avoiding intense weight training sessions
The human body is designed to conserve energy so that we don’t end up starving. As a result, the body does not naturally want to create muscles. Weight training sessions are very important to force the body into building muscle. Whichever rep-range you are in, the weight should be so much that you are barely able to complete the required number of repetitions and the workout should be enough to be able to stimulate protein synthesis.
6. Not using barbells and dumbbells
Many people think that using cool looking machines in the gym will help them build muscle fast, but they’ve got the wrong idea. Barbells and dumbbells are better at stimulating more muscle fibers, and also help strengthen stabilizer muscles that will enable you to lift heavier weights. Also, since they have a free range of motion, the risk of injury is lower when you use free weights.
If you wish to use stabilizer equipment, put it at the end of the workout. Also, remember that while lifting a heavy load, do not take the load behind the head. Behind-the-head load-lifting engages the same muscles that would be engaged if the load was lifted in front of the head, and going behind the head puts your shoulder in a vulnerable position, thereby increasing your chances of getting an injury.
7. Being inconsistent
Being inconsistent is the biggest thing you can do to thwart all of your efforts. If you are inconsistent, the progress that you have made by exercising will be lost instead of adding up, which is what you should ideally want.
Which mistakes do you think you are committing at the gym? Also, do not forget to share this post with your gym aficionado friends. Your help can aid them in getting the bulked up muscles they desire.
Illustrated by Marat Nugumanov and Igor Polushin for Bright Side