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

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

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?

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

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.

Expert com­ment

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.

Train right!

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