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3 Reasons Why You’re Failing To Build Muscle Mass & What You Need To Do Instead…

06/09/2018
3 Reasons Why You’re Failing To Build Muscle Mass & What You Need To Do Instead…

Firstly, this article is for those of you out there who are struggling to build muscle mass… 

It’s for those of you who have the desire and discipline to go to the gym and work hard, but for whatever reason just aren’t seeing results or are confused as to what you need to do…

Maybe you’ve tried a couple of gym programmes but haven’t gotten very good results? 

Perhaps, you’re confused about how to build muscle and have read too many internet articles, leaving you puzzled and not sure what to do? 

Don’t worry, because In this post I’m going to help you.

We’ll look at the 3 Reasons Why You’re Failing To Build Muscle Mass and provide solutions. This post is going to be super easy to read and understand, and i’ll provide you with a bunch of ‘actionable steps’ so that you can finally start getting the results you want and deserve!

Lets dive in…

#1 Bad Nutrition

bad foods

I’m sure you’re aware that good nutrition is absolutely key. It’s no use doing a DIRTY BULK by eating lots of fast foods like Mc Donalds and KFC – this is a fast way to gain body fat not muscle. 

The more body fat you have the harder it is to build muscle so you want to try and stay fairly lean (12-15% body fat). 

You need the right mix of protein, carb and fats…

To keep things simple for you, i’d recommend on TRAINING DAYS having…

  • 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight 
  • 1.5g of carbs per pound of bodyweight
  • 0.5g of fat per pound of bodyweight 

That means if you’re a 170lb guy you’d need to have…

  • 255g of protein per day 
  • 255g of carbs per day
  • 85g of fat per day 

On your REST DAYS i’d recommend lowering carbs and upping your fats…

  • 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight 
  • 0.5g of carbs per pound of bodyweight
  • 0.75g of fat per pound of bodyweight 

That means if you’re a 170lb guy you’d need to have…

  • 255g of protein per day 
  • 85g of carbs per day
  • 127g of fat per day

In terms of foods rich in protein, you could have chicken, steak, mince meat, whey protein, eggs, nuts, salmon, tuna, cod. All of these foods contain between 15- 20g of protein per 100g (except Whey protein which has 80g of protein per 100g). 

Carb rich foods are things like: rice, pasta, sweet potatoes, bread, new potatoes, jacket potatoes, quinoa, beans

Fatty foods: avocado, almonds, brazil nuts, butter, olive oil, red meats 

Alongside following a set bunch of macros, you also want to aim for 4-5 meals per day, with at least 30-50g of protein in each meal.  

To further improve the quality of your nutrition and to balance out a diet rich in protein it’s absolutely imperative to add vegetables to your main meals, green vegetables are very important – lettuce, broccoli, sprouts, asparagus, peas, mange-tout. These foods are high in fibre which will help your digestion, they also contain essential micro nutrients which support important bodily functions. 

Alongside the vegetables i’d also recommend using a good multivitamin with breakfast – here’s the brand i’d recommend

As mentioned earlier in this post you also need to stay pretty lean, you don’t want to pile on body fat for the sake of it. I’d recommend being meticulous with your calories and macros and also use a fat burner, something like green tea to reduce fat storage. 

#2 Low Training Intensity

go hard or go home

How many of you reading this actually push yourself to the limit every session? I’m not talking about getting a good sweat on! but actually leaving the gym with nothing left in the tank, because you’ve given 110%? 

The truth is that most people really don’t train hard enough in the gym, and they are often capable of at least another couple of reps. In order to build muscle you have to increase your overall strength and you have to train with MAXIMUM INTENSITY. 

I’d recommend watching some videos on Youtube of the great bodybuilders, people like Tom Platz, Ronnie Coleman, Arnold Schwarzenegger – watch how hard they push themselves. Alongside watching videos you could also use a stimulant to help you focus, something with caffeine in it is perfect. 

For lots of people a strong cup of coffee does the job, for others however they prefer to use a pre-workout supplement. There are literally hundreds (maybe even thousands!) of pre workouts on the market and they all claim to be ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ – the truth is that there are many rubbish products, that burn a hole in your wallet and don’t do what they promise. 

From experience (believe me, i’ve tried a lot of pre workouts!) a good one is called ‘Pre’ by Jim Stoppani. that said it’s a little expensive at £39.99 per tub. Personally I think the bodybuilding.com signature collection pre workout is just as good and it’s only £23.99. 

One thing to watch out for with pre workout is not to abuse them. I’d recommend only using them 2-4x per week on your BIG training days or tough sessions i.e. when training legs. I’d also suggest only using them for 4-6 weeks before taking a break for a couple of weeks. 

#3 Poor Recovery 

why sleep is important for building muscle

Recovery is one of the most underrated aspects of muscle building. It’s no use spending hours in the gym, pumping iron and performing ‘back breaking deadlifts’ if your sleep is poor and you aren’t recovering between sessions. 

You will increase the likelihood of getting injured, and prevent muscle building, you may even lose muscle, especially if you are tired, and stressed. 

Aspects that you need to work on to improve recovery are:

Sleep: by far the most important area to focus on to ensure that you are giving yourself the best recovery. Ideally you want to be getting 7.5-9hrs sleep per night. 

One of the most important areas to focus on is building a consistent sleeping pattern, where you wake up and go to bed at set times. For example you wake up at 7am each day and go to bed at 11pm every night. I know this can be hard, and it’s not always possible (parents and shift workers will struggle) but if you can… make this your top sleep priority. 

Other sleeping aids that are worth investing in are either black out blinds, or a sleeping mask, to help filter out light that will wake you up. 

In terms of sleep aid supplements i’d recommend using ZMA – magnesium and zinc are great for helping the body repair, and can help you get a better nights sleep. 

My final advice on sleep would be to stay away from TV, phones and anything that emits blue light at least 1 hour before bed (ideally 2hrs). Instead of opting for the latest Netflix series or scrolling through your social media, pick up a book and take a relaxing bath. If you really want to switch off then why not add in some relaxing bath salts – magnesium salts are great for muscle recovery. 

Foam Rolling & Stretching – another area to focus on, and to help you recover is ‘foam rolling’ and ‘stretching’. I’d recommend foam rolling for 10 minutes before each weights session, target areas like the lower/upper back, and front shoulders. Other tight areas tend to be the glutes, thighs and hamstrings, so make-sure to foam roll these areas too. 

At the end of your session, focus on some static stretching for 10 minutes. By doing both foam rolling and stretching your will increase circulation and break up the tight muscle tissue. This can help you recover quicker in between session, prevent poor posture and also increase mobility and range of motion for exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. 

Putting It All Together…

So now that we’ve discussed the areas potentially holding you back, how do we put this all together? 

To summarise,  here’s what i’d recommend doing….

#1 Nutrition: 

  • Start tracking your macros – use my fitness pal and figure out how many grams of protein, carbs and fats that you need on ‘training’ and ‘non training days’. 
  • Make-sure to consume 30-50g of protein with each meal 

#2 Training Intensity: 

  • Get some inspiration for training hard by watching youtube videos – learn from the pros.
  • Buy a pre workout drink and take it before your workouts 

#3 Recovery: 

  • Spend some time improving your sleep. Invest in a sleeping masking or black out blinds, switch off your phone 1-2 hours before bed. Take a relaxing bath with magnesium salts and read a book. 
  • Dedicate 10 minutes before your workout and 10 minutes after training to foam rolling and stretching. 

If you have any questions or want some extra help, please get in touch below! i’d love to hear from you…

Thanks for reading,

best personal trainers in sheffield LEP Fitness

Nick 🙂 

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