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The SLFitness Muscle Building Series Pt. II – 5 reasons you’re not building muscle.

From personal experience and from coaching countless clients in the gym, I know first hand just how difficult it can be to add lean muscle. I put together some of the top mistakes I find people make when it comes to reaching this particular goal (you can read Part I on my Facebook Page HERE).

This goal however is a tough one and theres a lot of factors to consider when trying to reach it. So I’ve got a few more things for you to consider when it comes to your training and nutrition. By fixing these mistakes you could make a HUGE difference to your body…..

1. You’re Obsessed With Weight – so many people believe that they need to lift the heaviest possible weight in order to add size. Whilst lifting heavy weights is crucial for anyone with a strength or even power goal, it shouldn’t be your top priority when it comes to adding size. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be pushing yourself in every session and lifting a weight that challenges your body, but what you should be focusing on is ensuring your form is a as good as possible. Don’t be afraid to drop your weight slightly and focus on the actual movement, think about the muscles you’re working and make sure you’re actively thinking about contracting them. By getting this right you can create more tension in the muscles you should be working, Don’t let you’re ego get the better of you, its not all about size, its how well you use it……

2. You’re STILL Not Getting Your Nutrition Correct – like any goal it doesn’t matter if you go the gym twice a day, seven days a week – YOU WONT REACH YOUR GOALS IF YOUR NUTRITION ISN’T RIGHT!

When it comes to building muscle your body needs to be in an ‘anabolic’ state. This basically means it needs to be in a muscle building state. In order to do this you need to be training in the right way, but more importantly you need to get your calorie intake correct. To build muscle and be in an anabolic state, you need to make sure you are in a calorie surplus, or in other words you need to be consuming more calories than you are burning off each day, this allows your bod to build muscle from the surplus of calories. You also need to make sure you’re getting enough protein. Protein is quite literally the building blocks of muscle. You should be aiming for 0.8g – 1.2g of protein per day per KG of bodyweight.

3. You’re Not Training Enough – frequency plays a big role in muscle building and you need to make sure you’re training enough times to stimulate enough growth. We know the reccomendations for exercise is 3-5 times a week but you need to look at it differently when it comes to building muscle. You need to be training each muscle group more than once throughout the week. So if you’re opting for a split routine (lets say legs and shoulders, back and biceps, chest and triceps for example) going to the gym three times in a week allows you to train these muscle groups only once a week, this isn’t enough frequency to stimulate growth. If your serious about gains then I’d only reccomend following a split routine if you can dedicate 6 times a week to your training. of course this simply isn’t possible for everyone. If you can only realistically get to the gym 3-5 times a week (which I believe EVERYONE can manage) then you might be better opting for an all body programme. This sort of routine allows you to hit each muscle group several times a wee. But what I’ve just said almost borders on finding a way to not train as often, if you are REALLY SERIOUS about adding size you need to be trying to increase the frequency of your sessions regardless of which routine you’re following.

4. You’re Sticking To The Same Set and Rep Range – the amount of sets and reps you should be doing for muscle growth is the subject of ongoing debate and probably will be for a long time. However its generally accepted that a rep range of around 6-12 reps is best for muscle growth. So we should be training somewhere within that range, but nobody has said exactly where. My advice? Mix it up a little. Everyones different and our body responds in different ways. When it comes to volume I like to try and hit around 45 – 50 reps per exercise but i’ll sometimes break it down into different sets and reps depending on what exercise I’m performing. Lets take chest for example, one of the best compound exercises you can do is the bench press. For big multi joint movements like this I prefer to break it up into something like 6 sets of 8 reps, but then for smaller isolation exercises (chest flyes for example) I’ve found that hitting 4 sets of 12 reps works really well. Don’t be afraid to vary your sets and reps up and find out what works best for you, just stick to the couple of rules I mentioned above regarding overall volume.

5. Get Some Sleep – one of the most overlooked variables in a muscle building training plan is sleep and rest. Sleeping gives your body chance to recover but its also one of the body’s optimal times to build muscle. lack of sleep can also affect hormones and the body’s metabolism.

Thank you for reading. X

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