Gaining muscle is one of the most challenging fitness aspects. It’s even more frustrating when you’re eating enough food and going to the gym. This article shows you how you have been sabotaging your workout and the steps to take to start seeing result
Gaining muscle features prominently on most people’s fitness goals. But the killer physique remains elusive despite increasing your food portions and working out religiously. The difference between hard gainers and their buff counterparts is knowledge. These factors could be blocking your pursuit of gaining muscle.
Too Much Cardio
Cardio is the perfect definition of how to lose body fat without gaining muscle. Performing cardio too long, frequently, and intensely burns the calories your body uses in gaining muscle. Think of your body as a jar of water, and cardio, the tap draining it. The harder the aerobic exercise, the more water the bucket loses. Not to say you should ditch cardio altogether. A session or two each week is enough to improve cardiovascular health without standing in the way of gaining muscle. Cardio also:
- Boosts your immunity
- Controls cholesterol levels
- Regulates blood sugar
- Improves your mood
- Reduces asthma symptoms
- Boosts brain power
- Increases endurance
While skipping rope and cycling burn calories, some cardio workouts are useful for gaining muscle. An example is walking lunges that help in gaining them on the legs. What’s more, sled pushes benefit your spinal extensors, abs, and oblique muscles.
Wrong Muscle Gaining Foods
You’re not getting bigger because you don’t know what to eat when gaining muscle. For starters, you need complex carbohydrates in your gaining muscle weight diet because they break down slowly, fueling your workouts longer. The spacing of your meals also matters. Exercising after a heavy breakfast and lunch makes you sluggish. Instead, eat small portions in the morning, mid-morning, afternoon, mid-afternoon, and train in the evening.
Since they’re free of side effects like anxiety and insomnia, caffeine-free pre-workout supplements are some of the best muscle gaining supplements. You also need to eat after exercising to make up for the lost nutrients. A protein shake does the trick, coupled with a well-rounded meal afterward (fats, simple carbs, and proteins). Apart from fish and eggs, consider other plant-based proteins like quinoa.
<img alt = "don't forget to take with you to training">
Gaining muscle depends on your choice of exercise. Maybe you’re replacing compounds with isolation exercises or focusing on your favorite workouts. Since they’re more tasking, compound movements recruit more muscle fibers than their isolation alternatives. You can follow a 3:1 compound-isolation ratio, where you do three compounds for each isolation exercise. An exception is the calves and arms, where most workouts are isolation movements. Apart from squats and dips, consider exercises like deadlifts and rows for gaining muscle.
You could also be doing the best muscle gaining workouts but in the wrong way. Aside from inviting injury, an improper technique makes the exercise less effective. However, imitating other gym members isn’t the correct way of gaining muscle. While exercise procedures vary, these rules suit most workouts:
- Slow controlled reps are ideal for gaining muscle
- Avoid swinging
- Cover an extended motion range
- Avoid locking joints
- For weight-lifting, don’t stretch your limits
Gaining muscle doesn’t occur in the gym. By splitting your tissues, weight training channels blood into your muscles, causing them to swell. Your body needs rest to repair the torn tissues and start gaining muscle. Even if you don’t feel it, training non-stop takes a toll on your wellbeing. Likewise, your body is begging for rest if you are sore.
While most muscle categories require a weekly training session, you can exercise smaller groups like abs twice. However, a minimum of two days’ rest is necessary between the sessions. Adequate sleep is also crucial because it activates the growth hormone. But what if you can’t sleep? You can relax by silencing your phone, television, and computer during bedtime. Additionally, listen to soothing sounds and dim the lights. Remember, it’s not only the muscles that need a break but also your joints, tendons, and mind.
Hydration is not only essential for survival but also gaining muscle. You need fluids to sustain your muscles, seeing they’re 75% water. During exercise, your muscles shrink due to external resistance. The contraction pushes water into your cells and neighboring tissues to expand them. If you’re dehydrated, water moves from the muscles to the blood to maintain pressure. When it comes to gaining muscle, water carries nutrients to the relevant cells and eliminates toxins. It also forms glycogen and protein, which are critical elements in gaining muscle.
Again, water allows free muscle movement. Otherwise, you’ll cramp and become dizzy because of electrolyte shortage. Another benefit is muscle toning. That’s because dehydration triggers fluid retention, resulting in swollen hands and feet. This goes together with cooling your body after physical activity. Dehydration symptoms include headaches, thirst, dark yellow urine, and a sticky mouth.
Gaining muscle requires dedication. You cannot miss your Tuesday workout, binge on junk food, leave your session halfway, and wonder why you’re not gaining muscle. Developing a routine increases your commitment. Likewise, monitor your progress. You may be gaining muscle, but are you hitting your fitness targets? Be thorough with your assessment to know what you should eliminate to start gaining muscle.
At the same time, stick to one training regimen. Although your sessions should include different activities, you won’t see any progress if you switch routines daily. Wait at least three months to gauge the program’s effectiveness. Consistency goes hand in hand with progression. By steadily raising your workout intensity, you increase the body’s rate of gaining thew. You can do this by lifting heavier weights and doing more reps.
Stress activates cortisol, a hormone that raises fat retention and appetite. Similarly, it hinders glucose use by body cells. What follows is protein breakdown and smaller muscles. However, don’t drown your sorrows in booze. Liquor interferes with your recovery. Instead of gaining thew, the body uses antioxidants to metabolize alcohol. A better option is identifying the stressor and dealing with it, whether it’s a breakup, financial issues, or family problems.
Alternatively, merge the routine of gaining thew with mindfulness. Stress journals also come in handy. Record each stressful situation, noting the date, time, and place. Don’t forget to rate every episode by how it made you feel. By so doing, you understand your stress triggers and develop coping mechanisms.
Gaining Muscle Is Easier With a Trainer
Trainers take the guesswork out of your exercise routine. Aside from developing unique workouts for gaining muscle mass, they fit into your schedule, so you have no excuse to skip the gym. They also consider your age when creating routines, whether you’re gaining muscle mass after 50 or 20. Do you have other tips on how to build muscle without gaining weight? Please share it with us in the comment section below.
Rachel Burns has been writing on topics related to fitness and healthy eating for 2 years now. As a mother, she really appreciates the ease of raising children with her advice.
Rachel specializes in plant-based diets. In addition to nutrition, she is also an exercise enthusiast.