It can be frustrating putting hours a week into the gym, suffering the pain but seeing no gain. Here are some of the most common mistakes that could be preventing you from building muscle and what you should do instead.
Skipping leg day
Let’s start with the biggest rookie mistake. Focusing wholly on your upper body may cause you to end up out of proportion, but more than likely than not this won’t be the case – you won’t be able to build the upper body muscle to begin with. Having strong legs allows you to support a bulkier upper body, making it easier to build this muscle. Many leg exercises such as squats are also better at upping our testosterone, which helps when sculpting muscles elsewhere. Sites such as Muscle For Life offer some great examples of exercises to use. Tone up your legs and the rest of the body will also fall into shape.
Too many sugary energy drinks and chocolate milkshakes could be taking away your ability to gain muscles. Whilst they may give you the energy and protein necessary to build muscle mass, the excess sugar could be inhibiting your ability to take in muscle-building amino acids. Look out for low-sugar drinks and snacks that will still give you the protein and energy.
Eating the wrong kind of calories
When trying to build muscle, you do need to consume more calories. However, it’s important to eat the right kind of calories. Fast food, ice cream and pizza will more likely cause you to pile on fat. Up your calories in more healthy ways by eating more fish, chicken, rice, potatoes and vegetables.
Some people can go overboard on the supplements like creatine and fish oil, using these instead of taking up a healthy diet or taking too many causing nutritional problems. There are then those people who take the wrong kind of supplements (i.e. performance enhancing drugs like steroids). Steroids are notoriously common amongst stars as sites like Are They On Steroids show, however they run all kinds of other health risks. You’ll bulk up, but you could damage your body in the process causing severe health problems later on.
Doing too much cardio
Cardiovascular exercise should be reserved to a minimum when bulking up. This is because it steals the calories needed for repairing muscles, instead converting these calories into fuel for aerobic exercise. Try limiting your cardio down to twenty minutes, three times a week and see if this has any impact.
Ignoring weight training technique
There’s a technique to most weight-lifting exercises. This isn’t just something for show at weightlifting competitions, there’s a practical reason for it. The whole deadlift form of keeping your legs apart, not arching your back and sticking your butt out will help you to build muscle more effectively whilst also protecting your spine and hips in the process. Make sure that you’re getting the right technique with each exercise, otherwise you could be preventing yourself from building muscle.