The 5 Mistakes That Hurt Your Chances Of Gaining Lean Muscle Mass
Posted on November 30 2018
You are aware that bodybuilding requires consistency, discipline and hard work. But despite training regularly, you may not be gaining the muscle size you expected. If you find yourself backsliding or you just wish to grow your muscles at a faster rate than your current one, then see what mistakes you may be making, learn how to correct them and up your game.
Seemingly small mistakes do add up over time to lower your muscle gains considerably. Given below are 5 common mistakes made by bodybuilders. See if you're guilty of any committing any of these bodybuilding sins.
1. Doing Too Many Sets
We often see guys pumping weights, set after set, in the gym. But more sets don't always mean more muscles. Muscle growth occurs in response to the stress you put on it. But overloading your muscles with way too much stress will lead to more muscle breakdown than muscle synthesis. So it's important to strike the right balance regarding the wights you use.
If you are able to do many sets with the same weight, then your chosen weights are too low to create the right impact. An ideal choice is a weight you can lift 8 to 12 reps, max three sets. Its ok if you are able to do just 6 to 8 in your third consecutive set as this indicates you’ve pushed your muscle to its limits without overdoing it. You should also be able to do your exercise with controlled movement, rather than using momentum to swing the weights.
2. Not Tracking Your Loads
How many times have you walked away from your sets knowing that you could have given it more? Low-intensity efforts will not get you anywhere. Progressive Overload is the most fundamental principle in strength training and muscle building. Lifting heavy weights is the stimulus needed by the body to build bigger and stronger muscles.
As mentioned above, most people keep lifting the same weights again and again. But even if you do more sets, your endurance may improve, but not your strength or the size of your muscles. The human body is very efficient, so it adapts to this stimulus and stops responding to it. To stimulate a new and effective response, you have to now increase the load. To progressively increase the load, you need to know your current strength levels. To ensure that you don’t lift randomly, you need to track your loads - in your mind, on paper or using a mobile app. Logging in your sets, reps, and weights help you to steadily increase and maintain the high levels of intensity needed for optimum muscle growth.
3. Lack of Good Nutrition
It can be said that bodybuilding is 20% workout and 80% nutrition. Even if you consistently do the best workouts possible, lack of proper nutrition will destroy all your gains. Bodybuilders can usually eat a lot of calories if they are training regularly and intensively. An occasional indulgence in pizza and ice cream is fine, but for the most part of your diet, you need to ensure you are taking in the right nutrients in the required quantities.
The secret to cutting fat and building great looking muscle is in the proportion of foods you eat before and after your workout, and all day long. Your diet should contain plenty of protein to aid muscle growth, adequate carbs to fuel your functions and enough of healthy fats to raise and maintain healthy hormone levels. Most trainers recommend a balanced diet for the day with a ratio of 45% carbs, 35% protein, and 20% fat. Ensure you have more of that protein share before and after your workout sessions.
4. Poor Supplementation
Sometimes it may not be possible to get all your nutrient requirements from food, especially if you are a busy person who doesn’t get time to prepare wholesome meals. This is where supplements can be helpful. Vegetarians or vegans especially may find it difficult to meet their protein requirements.
Whey protein powders are considered the best protein choices for a pre-workout or post-workout drink. Blend in some fruits such as bananas or apples to add in the carb. You can add in some fresh cream, avocados, or nuts to bring in some healthy fat to the mix. Drink up and you are all set to go. Soy and pea protein powders are good alternatives for vegans or those allergic to lactose. Nutrient-dense whole foods are always the best choice, but to ensure you meet your bodybuilding nutrition goals, supplementation is extremely important.
5. Not Focusing On Quality Sleep
You are working out correctly and eating right, but if enough sleep is not added to this equation, you are compromising your muscle gains. Just as you plan out your workouts and diets, you need to slot in your sleeping times as well- and stick to it. Sleep is your body’s recovery time. This is the time where your muscles are being repaired and rebuilt. Many studies have proven that maximum fat loss and muscle building occurs in those who sleep for 8 to 9 hours. The more or harder you train, the more the sleep you need. So ensure you get in at least 7 hours of sleep if not 9.