It’s very easy to feel defeated if you regularly lift weights and don’t seem to put on muscle. So what do you do to improve your gains? You increase the volume of your workouts, but still don’t see the results you desire. What’s the reason for this? Slinging all that weight around has to be doing something, or why else would you be in the gym?
Oftentimes, your ability to grow your muscles has more to do with what you do outside the gym. What you do in the gym also plays into your muscle-building goals, and this relates to how you structure your workouts. And many people forget that you don’t simply build muscle overnight. This is a lengthy process that requires a certain equation to yield your desired results. In this article, we’ll highlight the five primary reasons that you aren’t gaining muscle, even though you regularly work out.
You Don’t Eat Enough Calories
If you want to gain muscle, you have to eat, plain and simple. The body cannot be in a caloric deficit if you want to maintain or grow your muscle size. The first thing that the body does after a workout session is repair muscle fibers and then prioritize other biological processes. If it still has resources and energy leftover, then it will put effort into building muscle. In a 2016 study, scientists monitored men who wanted to lose weight and gain muscle. The men were able to succeed with this goal by increasing their protein intake and doing more intense strength training. Protein isn’t everything; rather, you need to eat enough calories, many of which should come from complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. In order to grow muscle, you need adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which you only get by having glycogen in your cells, and that comes from eating carbohydrates. Consider increasing your caloric intake by 200 to 300 calories per day if you want to gain muscle.
You Are Under Too Much Stress
There are many things that cause stress, including work deadlines, relationships, or not meeting your muscle growth goals. Too much stress in the body can put it in a state where anabolic processes, including muscle building and sex drive, start declining. If you live in a state of chronic stress, your hormonal levels are likely imbalanced. This hormonal imbalance decreases anabolic hormones, which promote the growth of lean mass, and increases muscle-destroying hormones, according to a 2015 study. A 2014 study also found that stress can make it more difficult for muscles to contract. If your muscles can’t contract as hard, it becomes difficult for them to grow.
You Don’t Get Sufficient Sleep
If you do not allow the body enough time to rest, you ultimately hinder your ability to build muscle. Any personal trainer will tell you that rest is necessary. If you sleep less than seven hours per night, you decrease testosterone levels, which reduces protein synthesis. Testosterone is a hormone that the body needs to build muscle, which many workout studies confirm. Try to average seven hours of sleep each night of the week because restorative zzz’s encourage muscle growth and recovery. The different stages of sleep have effects on the release of melatonin and antioxidants. Failure to release sufficient melatonin and antioxidants can cause you to build up reactive oxygen species, which cause inflammation in the body. Too much inflammation inhibits your ability to build muscle.
You’ve Been Training For Too Long
Spending your entire day in the gym does not cater to your gains. The gym is not your second home, meaning you need to take time to properly relax and recover. The body already has the challenge of recovering between your workouts. If you spend too much time working out in the gym, the body is unable to recover properly, which adds to your stress levels. If you don’t cheat your sets and do the proper compound movements, you can get plenty of work done in 60 minutes. Too many sets and hours in the gym can actually hinder your muscle growth process. Focus on your workouts, do the work, and then go home to rest.
You Eat Too Fast
This sounds like a silly reason, but inhaling your food may contribute to your inability to gain muscle. When you eat too quickly, you overhaul the body’s natural hunger cues, meaning the body doesn’t know if it is hungry or full. The digestive system has six primary activities and it starts when you see food. The salivary glands activate before you even put food in your mouth. Once you eat your food, you can moisten and dissolve the food, and carbohydrates start to break down. The body releases lipase to release and break down lipids before you swallow through the process of lipolysis. After swallowing, the pharynx moves the food into the esophagus, where it moves the food to the stomach. If you don’t chew your food well enough because you eat too fast, the body skips those first steps that help break down food. You are only as good as the food you absorb, and the necessary digestive functions need to occur for proper absorption.