Despite intense training, the muscles do not grow and increase in volume? Perhaps ten reasons that are not obvious at first glance are to blame for this.
You are eating few calories
Those who are actively involved in sports often set a goal — to “pump” their body: to become slimmer, more flexible, more resilient and stronger. Therefore, they choose the path of reducing the caloric content of the diet. And while the body is losing weight, as planned, the muscles for some reason are in no hurry to grow.
What to do? For muscle growth, proper nutrition is very important! And it should be in surplus. That is, the athlete needs to calculate the daily calorie content of the diet, taking into account his individual performance and level of stress, and add another 500 calories. You will get an amount that will allow you to build muscle and not increase weight.
On a note!
The most accurate formula for calculating the norm of calories (BMR) National Dietetic Associations considers the formula Mifflin St. Jeora. It looks like this:
BMR men = [9.99 x вес (кг)] + [6.25 x рост (см)] — [4.92 x возраст (в годах)] +5.
BMR women = [9.99 x вес (кг)] + [6.25 x рост (см)] — [4.92 x возраст (в годах)] ‑161.
Your diet is low in protein
Strictly speaking, with the use of a sufficient number of calories and active training, the muscle mass of the athlete will grow. But if he focuses on the “wrong” food, the growth potential will be limited.
What to do? Fitness experts have long defined the ideal daily menu parameters for an athlete building muscle mass: 30% of the calories of the entire diet should come from proteins, another 50% from carbohydrates, and the remaining 10% from healthy fats.
There is another way to calculate the optimal amount of protein for an athlete. It is necessary to multiply the weight of the athlete, expressed in kilograms, by 1.5–1.7 grams of protein. The resulting value is the amount that a person should consume per day.
You only have three meals a day
How and when you eat is just as important as what you eat. Studies have shown that split meals not only stimulate an active metabolism, but also help maintain, lose or gain weight. While large portions of food, on the contrary, contribute to a slowdown in metabolism, and, consequently, a slower increase in muscles.
What to do? Eat fractionally, in small portions. The optimal meal schedule is one in which 6 servings of food are distributed evenly throughout the day. The specified amount includes not only main dishes, but also sports drinks and cocktails. So you don’t have to spend all your time in the kitchen.
You don’t want to give up alcohol
There is nothing wrong with a glass of wine before bed. But if you can’t sleep without it, something needs to be done about it! “Frequent drinking of alcoholic beverages does not allow the athlete to progress, because it inhibits the ability of muscles to recover,” fitness trainer warns Jay Cardiello.
What to do? If you want your efforts in the gym to give visible results, you need to completely give up alcohol, or at least drink it no more than once a week. In this case, you should strictly limit portions of alcohol, allowing yourself no more than three per day.
Your body is on the brink of dehydration
Water is an amazing gift of nature, necessary to maintain all the chemical processes that occur in the body. Many athletes underestimate its importance, and therefore do not respond to the characteristic signs of dehydration: feeling thirsty, tired for no apparent reason, dry mouth and headaches, decreased appetite, dark urine with a strong odor.
What to do? Drink as much water as possible throughout the day. Calculate your rate using the calculator and try to take it every day. Please note that if you are taking creatine monohydrate, you should increase your water intake as this dietary supplement promotes dehydration.
On a note!
Use simple formulas to calculate how much water you should drink per day!
For men: body weight (kg) X 35 = water norm (ml).
For women: body weight (kg) X 31 = water norm (ml).
Are you overexerting yourself with cardio?
“Cardio workouts are great for those who want to lose weight. They effectively burn body fat. But if you practice this type of exercise very often, you may encounter muscle catabolism, that is, a condition in which the body does not build muscle mass, but “utilizes” it, ”warns the fitness trainer, nutritionist Jim White.
What to do? If the goal of your training is to gain muscle mass, cardio should not predominate in them. You can incorporate HIIT workouts and light cardio sessions into your routine, but they should complement strength training, not replace it.
You train without days off
“Some bodybuilders believe that the more they train, the faster the progress and muscle mass grows,” says the fitness trainer Jay Cardiello. “But it’s not!” If an athlete does not allow the body to rest and works every day, the muscles do not have time to recover, which leads to the effect of overtraining and inhibition of growth processes.
What to do? For those who train for health, 3–4 training days per week are enough, each of which alternates with a day of rest. Advanced athletes who practice daily training should plan a day off every 7 days of training.
You never learned how to deal with stress
Stress is a common occurrence in everyone’s life. For an athlete, it is dangerous because an increase in the stress hormone cortisol increases appetite and promotes weight gain. But that’s not all! Cortisol also inhibits the use of glucose by the body’s cells, which can lead to muscle breakdown. This data comes from a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise.
What to do? Try 12 Easy Solutions in the fight against stress! And in addition to this, start drinking rooibos tea. It contains the flavonoid aspalathin, which helps reduce stress levels.
You are not loading all the muscles
If you only train those muscles that you can “play” in the gym or on the beach and don’t train all the rest, you lose the opportunity to see really beautiful volume and relief. The muscles of the press and biceps, of course, are very important to work out, but you should not lose sight of the legs and back.
What to do? Keep in mind that isolated training of individual muscles can lead to injury and create an imbalance. “By refusing to load the main muscle groups, the athlete will not be able to increase the overall percentage of muscle mass in the body and build a noticeable relief,” the fitness trainer warns. Jim White.
Did you know?
While you need to maintain high-intensity workouts for muscle growth, don’t overdo it! Active training cannot exceed 60 minutes. This is due to the fact that after 45 minutes of high physical activity in the body, the level of the stress hormone cortisol rises rapidly.
Do you have a boring curriculum?
“Your muscles have to work at different angles and at different intensities. Training must be complex and varied, only in this case the muscles will grow, says the fitness trainer Jim White. “Loading the same muscles with the same exercises will not give the expected progress.”
What to do? Athletes need to change their training program every 6–8 weeks. “If you notice that your strength or other physical abilities have begun to decline, this is the best time to supplement your workout with new exercises, increase the number of sets or free weight,” the expert adds.
Daniel Bubnis, fitness trainer, certified weight loss coach
The growth of muscle mass depends on many factors, including genetics, the age and gender of the athlete, the level of estrogen and testosterone in the body, and the intensity of training. But regardless of the gender of the athlete, muscles grow at different rates in people with different body types:
- Mesomorphic. People of this body type tend to be muscular and usually build muscle much faster than people with other body types.
- Ectomorphic. Athletes of this type have a slender, lean body. They are less likely to build muscle mass, but they can significantly increase strength through strength training.
- Endomorphic. People of this body type are distinguished by a rounded, plump body. To build muscle, they must practice strength training more often.
The best fitness direction for muscle growth is strength training, but cardio loads are also useful. Therefore, athletes prefer to combine them.
Rest plays an important role in building a beautiful body relief. By not allowing muscle groups to rest between days of training, the athlete reduces their ability to self-repair, which ultimately slows down growth. In addition, insufficient sleep per night increases the risk of injury.