At the start of everybody’s gym career they have one of two goals in mind. Either you want to get bigger, or you want to get smaller. In this quick article I’m going to focus on the 5 main reasons you are not getting bigger. I know that there are a lot of people with other, more in depth reasons, why you’re not growing but for this article I will keep it short and simple for new lifters starting their first bulk. 5 simple reasons, and some quick fixes, to get you started.
1. Not eating enough calories You may think you eat a lot of food, but you don’t. Everybody has a different metabolic rate (rate at which your body burns calories at rest). If you are trying to gain weight, I have a good guess that yours is very high. You need to eat more, then when you feel full, eat again. I never could grasp this until I went to school and got my BMR (Basil Metablic Rate) measured on a special scale (most commercial gyms have them). It said I burn 2438kcals at rest. Then, wearing a HR/cal monitor (you can find them at sportcheck), I had to figure out how many calories I was burning throughout the day. It told me I was burning upwards of 10,000kcal/day (mind you at this time I was practicing twice a day plus a weight training session). Now knowing my output for the day I had to eat more than that to fuel and grow my body. Its pretty simple. If you want to gain weight eat more calories than you burn. if you want to lose weight, burn more calories than you eat. SIMPLE.
2. Your gym routine consists of isolation movements doing bicep curls and cable flys should not be in your program… well not at the start of it anyway. Everyday you go into the gym your workout should start with one of the following: Squats, Deadlifts, Cleans, Snatches, Bench Press, Pull ups, Standing Shoulder Press or Lunges. Working multiple muscle groups at the start of your workout not only warms up the muscles and increases blood flow getting more oxygen and nutrients to the torn muscles, but also gives you a greater hormone release and testosterone boost. This is also the time when your body is the freshest and you should use it to complete the hardest exercises.
3. Fixed Movement Machines Should not be in your routine. Plain and simple as I stated in #2. You don’t get any core benefit from these exercises. Working 1 muscle group is just not effective and unless you have a serious injury and or are over the age of 65 I better not see you trying to push the stack on the chest press.
4. Lightweight Are you challenging yourself every session? Can you do more? For most people the answer is YES! How do you expect to tear and break down the muscle if you are lifting at 50% all the time. The opposite is also true, lifting at 90-100% all the time isn’t that effective either. In my experience, working between 70-80% for reps of 8-10 and 4-6 sets works best. The easy way to judge this is if you are not close to failing by the last rep of your set, you need to grab some more weight.
5. Not Enough Rest This one probably should have been 2nd on the list, but I put it last so you would remember it. “Muscles are broken down in the gym and grow while you sleep” this was something one of my first trainers told me and I have never forgotten it. Furthermore, don’t just aim for 8 hours of sleep every night, also aim to give each muscle at least 72 hours to fully recover and grow between sessions. You can’t train your chest everyday and expect it to grow. The same goes for your abs and every other muscle in your body.
So by taking these 5 easy tips and doing a little bit of homework before you start your training you should be able to put a few pounds on over the next few months. Remember there is a lot of hard work in building muscle, if it was easy everybody would be jacked.