When you hit the gym frequently and as a routine, when you do all the things your personal trainer tells you to do, and when you eat the way you know you’re supposed to eat, you expect to see results. Sometimes, though, you can be doing all sorts of the right things but still not progressing.
Wondering Why You’re Not Buff Yet?
While there are numerous genetic and environmental factors at play, here are a few habits you may need to break to get over the hill and into lean muscle gaining territory.
6. You Smoke
Sorry, guys, but it’s not sexy or good for you. Smoking puts carbon monoxide in your body which prevents your muscles from getting the energy they need to work their hardest and grow.
5. You Drink
Alcohol’s effect on muscle-building is, unsurprisingly, terrible. Empty liquid calories rack up fast, replacing muscle growth with fat. It gets worse: alcohol decreases testosterone and increases estrogen.
Testosterone is a huge muscle-builder, and estrogen loves to stimulate fat growth. Protein synthesis (AKA lean muscle growth) can decrease by as much as 20 percent when you add alcohol to the mix.
4. You Eat Too Much Sugar
Sugar comes after smoking and alcohol because it’s arguably just as bad. Sugar, especially in processed foods, just gives you a bunch of empty calories ideal for fat and bad for lean muscle. Curious about the evils of sugar? Watch this documentary.
Look out for “low-fat” options that just replace fat with sugar, as well as sugar-packed foods disguised as healthy, like dried fruit and juice.
3. You Don’t Sleep
Our bodies need sleep, and sleep is one of the best times for your body to repair itself and build lean muscle. Not to mention, working out is much harder when you haven’t slept enough, and you can’t push yourself as much as you would if you were well-rested.
2. You Don’t Eat Enough
Hallelujah, right? If you’re starving yourself in the hopes of gaining muscle rather than fat, take a step back. Are you losing weight or stuck at the same weight?
1. You Work Too Hard
Yep, you read that right. Working out and lifting creates microscopic tears and trauma in your muscles. When your body rebuilds them, you gain muscle. When your body doesn’t have the chance to recover, though, you don’t make gains and you risk energy.
Alternate lifting days with days off and cardio. If you’re doing compound lifts that require a lot of work, take a day off afterwards.
The Happy Medium
For lean muscle gain, you’ve got to play a balancing act. You need just enough calories, just enough exercise, and just enough sleep.
If you’re really hooked on smoking, alcohol, or sugar, try toning it down. These are real lean gains killers.
Have you made these muscle-building mistakes? Got any advice on how to avoid them?