Muscle Gain

5 Factors That Prevent Muscle Gain

Are you attempting to gain muscle but not seeing any progress? Poor planning or a lack of knowledge could be sabotaging your efforts. Muscle building requires discipline and accountability. There could be a variety of reasons why you aren't gaining the muscle you desire. Here are five examples:

Too much cardio

This is a hotly debated topic. The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic (cardio) activity per week to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you don't have high blood pressure or cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity five times per week. These guidelines are the industry standard. However, if you're looking to gain lean muscle, strength training should be your primary focus, with some cardio thrown in for good measure. Low-impact cardio burns more calories than strength training, and if you do a lot of cardio, you'll need to refuel your body properly to keep building muscle.

Not enough rest

Overtraining is frequently misunderstood; it does not refer solely to workouts. Other physiological, emotional, environmental, and chemical stressors can contribute to overtraining. Overtraining is caused by a combination of factors, including excessive exercise. All of these stressors can lead to fatigue and overstimulation of your central nervous system, resulting in slower recovery and a negative hormonal response. 

When we are under stress, our bodies produce the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol in the body can cause systemic inflammation and even testosterone deficiency. My advice is to get enough rest and sleep, at least 6-8 hours per night, and to limit strenuous exercise to no more than five days per week. It's also important to keep in mind that other stresses in your life can have a negative impact on your performance.

Too much weight  

If you want to build muscle, you must use a heavy enough weight to stimulate growth. A common misconception among women is that lifting heavy weights will make you “bulky.” Women should discard this notion because it is false. In order to increase strength and stimulate growth, you must use a heavier weight than your body is accustomed to when building muscle.

However, it is critical that you master a move with a lighter weight before progressing to a heavier weight. If you're using bad form or momentum to lift the weight, or if you're experiencing pain other than typical muscle soreness, the weight is too heavy and you risk injuring yourself. Remember that a physical therapist or an experienced personal trainer can be a valuable resource for ensuring proper form and technique, so don't be afraid to seek assistance.

Incorrect diet

A registered dietitian can give you the best advice on dietary specifics, but the general rule is that you must consume enough calories in your diet to achieve anabolic growth. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will enter a state of catabolism (molecule breakdown) and defeat the purpose of strength training.

Protein consumption should range between 1.4 and 1.8 grams per pound of body weight per day for those attempting to gain muscle (multiply your weight in pounds by the appropriate number in this range). If you do 1 to 3 hours of moderate/high intensity exercise per day, the recommended carbohydrate intake is 7 to 10 grams per pound of body weight per day.

It should be noted that it is preferable to obtain nutrients from whole foods rather than supplements. Our bodies are designed to break down organic materials (lean meats, greens, etc.). Check to see if you're adhering to the recommended dietary guidelines. To build healthy, lean muscle, you must consume more calories than you burn through healthy meals. 

Poor planning 

The final and most important factor preventing you from seeing results is a lack of planning. If you want to achieve success, you must plan your meals and workouts ahead of time. It is extremely difficult to construct a house without a blueprint and the necessary materials. The same is true for your body. Plan your meals and workouts for one to two weeks at a time to ensure you're getting enough nutrition, working out enough to stimulate growth, and taking time to rest. It is critical to keep track of your workouts and nutrition.


Finally, look for workouts that you enjoy. Find something you enjoy that is also in line with your training objectives. Being “motivated” to go to the gym is insufficient because it feeds off your emotions and the ups and downs of your life. Instead, stick to a plan, be consistent with your workouts, eat a healthy diet, and get after it.


Why You Need Carbs for Muscle Gain

There is a lot of bad advice out there when it comes to health and fitness. Two common misconceptions about body composition and diet exist:

  • Reduce your carbohydrate intake to lose weight.
  • Increase protein only for muscle growth.

These two rules of thumb, however, are not absolute truths. Carbohydrates and protein are nutrients that both play important roles in body composition, but they both have inaccurate stereotypes.

Yes, if you want to gain muscle mass, you will need a lot of protein. However, you will require a fair amount of carbohydrates, which should not be shocking or frightening.

Protein is naturally credited with helping to build strong muscles, but don't overlook your carbohydrate intake.

You'll need to adjust the amount and type of carbohydrates you consume based on your body composition goals.

When someone wants to lose weight, the first thing they do — or are told to do by a friend who acts as their personal trainer — is adopt a low-carb diet. This will undoubtedly result in fat loss, but cutting carbs should not be a hard and fast rule in body composition, especially when it comes to gaining muscle.

Carbohydrates are usually not restricted if muscle growth is the goal. Weightlifters and athletes appear to understand something about carbohydrates that the general public does not: carbs are not the enemy of achieving your body composition goals.

There are carbs that will help you reach your goals and carbs that will keep you from reaching your goals, just like there are carbs that will keep you from reaching your goals. Complex carbohydrates, among the various types of carbs, play a significant role in muscle mass development.

Carbohydrates and Building Muscle Mass

Researchers discovered that carbohydrates are the primary source of energy in the human diet, out of all the energy sources for the human body. Carbohydrates aren't just for athletes, after all. Carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy for all daily activities, including exercise.

Complex carbohydrates, due to their slow-release properties, should constitute the majority of daily energy intake.

Complex carbohydrates can help you build muscle in a variety of ways, including:

1. Carbohydrates aid in the regulation of muscle glycogen repletion.

You've probably heard of glycogen stores. Glycogen is a type of glucose that is stored in the body for later use. When the body requires energy, glycogen kicks in and serves as a ready fuel source.

Carbohydrates and glycogen are inextricably linked because carbs are stored as glycogen. When carbohydrate stores are depleted, glycogen stores are depleted. When carbohydrates are consumed, glycogen stores are depleted.

Because glycogen is used for energy, it is critical to replenish those stores. This is why researchers recommend eating carbohydrates right after exercise; it replenishes glycogen stores for future use.

2. Carbohydrates keep muscles from deteriorating.

One issue with low-carb diets is muscle loss.

A Dutch study compared a low-carb diet to other diets and discovered that restricting carbs causes protein loss. This is due to the fact that restricting carbs causes an increase in the amount of nitrogen excreted by the body. Because nitrogen is a component of amino acids (the building blocks of muscle proteins), nitrogen loss indicates that the muscles are breaking down.

3. Carbohydrates aid in the recovery of muscles after exercise.

Carbohydrates' role in recovery is linked to glycogen stores. Athletes must replenish their glycogen stores immediately following exercise to avoid glycogen depletion.

Gluconeogenesis is caused by glycogen depletion, which occurs when glycogen stores are depleted. This is the process by which the body creates glucose from non-carbohydrate sources to compensate for the lack of glucose from carbohydrates. When this occurs, the body seeks to meet this need by utilizing sources such as fat and protein. When energy is required, protein acts as the last line of defense, implying that energy accessibility is extremely low.

When the body breaks down protein to produce more glucose, it depletes muscle, causing it to waste away.

Gluconeogenesis is more common in carbohydrate-free diets, so eat healthy carbs to avoid it.

It is critical to replenish glycogen stores with complex carbohydrates in order to avoid protein breakdown and muscle wasting.

When to Eat Complex Carbs for Muscle Building

The amount of complex carbohydrates you consume is determined by your body composition goals. In general, very low carb consumption (5% of total calories) is used for weight loss, while adequate carb consumption (55-60% of total calories) is used for muscle gain.

The timing of carbohydrate consumption has an effect on athletic performance and muscle building.

It is critical to consume complex carbs prior to an intense workout so that glycogen stores are sufficiently replenished to fuel the training. Consuming complex carbs right before a workout may cause digestive distress, so try to limit complex carb consumption to a few hours before an intense workout. If you're running low on energy before a big event, go for simple carbs.

It's critical to consume complex carbs after exercise to replenish glycogen stores for later use.


Best Foods to Eat for Muscle Gain

If you want to gain lean muscle, you must focus on both nutrition and physical activity.

To begin, it is critical to challenge your body through physical activity. Your progress, however, will be stifled unless you receive proper nutritional support.

Protein-rich foods are essential for muscle growth, but carbohydrates and fats are also required sources of energy.

If you want to gain lean muscle, you should exercise regularly and consume more calories per day from muscle-building foods.

Here is a list of the top ten foods to help you gain muscle mass and strength to get you started.

1. Eggs

Eggs are high in protein, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients such as B vitamins and choline.

Proteins are made up of amino acids, and eggs are high in the amino acid leucine, which is essential for muscle growth.

Furthermore, B vitamins are critical for a variety of processes in your body, including energy production.

2. Lean beef

If you want to gain muscle mass, this should be a staple of your diet. Lean beef contains a variety of nutrients that promote muscle growth, such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins. More importantly, it supplies your body with high-quality protein (not all proteins are created equal) as well as a high level of amino acid, which works with insulin to promote muscle growth.

This should be great news for those trying to lose weight – a 3oz serving of lean beef provides roughly the same amount of protein as 1.5 cups of beans but at half the calories.

3. Salmon

Salmon is an excellent source of protein for muscle building and overall health.

Each 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of salmon contains approximately 17 grams of protein, nearly 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and several essential B vitamins.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for muscle health and may even boost muscle gain during exercise programs.

4. Skinless chicken

Chicken, like beef, is an excellent source of high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle maintenance and repair, bone health, and weight management. And, of course, there are numerous ways to cook and prepare chicken.

If you go to the store, you can easily find chicken meat cut into single serving sizes that can be seasoned and cooked quickly.

5. Cottage Cheese

Many people are unaware that cottage cheese is almost entirely composed of casein protein.

Casein is a slow-digesting protein that is ideal for muscle maintenance. This is especially useful for people who have no choice but to fast for extended periods of time. Cottage cheese is also high in vitamin B12, calcium, and other essential nutrients.

6. Greek yogurt

Dairy contains not only high-quality protein but also a combination of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein.

According to some studies, people who consume a combination of fast- and slow-digesting dairy proteins gain lean mass.

However, not all dairy products are created equal.

Greek yogurt, for example, contains roughly twice as much protein as regular yogurt.

While Greek yogurt is a tasty snack at any time of day, eating it after a workout or before bed may be beneficial due to its combination of fast- and slow-digesting proteins.

7. Tuna

Tuna contains high amounts of vitamin A and several B vitamins, including B12, niacin, and B6, in addition to 20 grams of protein per 3-ounce (85-gram) serving. These nutrients are necessary for good health, energy, and athletic performance.

Furthermore, tuna contains a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which may benefit muscle health.

This may be especially important for the elderly. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in studies to slow the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with age.

8. Soybean

Half a cup of cooked soybeans (86 grams) contains 14 grams of protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals (23).

Soybeans are an excellent source of vitamin K, iron, and phosphorus.

Iron is required for the storage and transportation of oxygen in your blood and muscles, and a deficiency can impair these functions.

Due to blood loss during menstruation, young women are especially vulnerable to iron deficiency.

9. Quinoa

While protein-rich foods are important for building lean muscle, it's also critical to have the energy to get moving.

Carbohydrate-rich foods can help provide this energy.

Cooked quinoa contains approximately 40 grams of carbohydrates per cup (185 grams), as well as 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and significant amounts of magnesium and phosphorus.

Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of your muscles and nerves, both of which are used every time you move.

10. Milk

Milk contains a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Milk, like other dairy products, contains both fast-digesting and slow-digesting proteins.

This is thought to help with muscle growth. In fact, several studies have shown that drinking milk in conjunction with weight training can help people gain muscle mass.

Wrapping Up

A variety of foods can help you gain lean muscle. Many of them are high in protein and help your muscles recover and grow after exercise.

However, carbohydrates and fats must also be consumed in order to provide fuel for exercise and physical activity.

Furthermore, many of the foods on this list contain the vitamins and minerals your body requires to function properly.

To achieve your goal of gaining lean muscle, prioritize regular exercise and eating more calories per day from nutritious foods such as those listed in this article.


Top Fitness Goals to Achieve in 2022

It's the season for reflection and resolutions, when we begin to look forward to a new year with new goals and aspirations. What achievements has 2021 brought you? What do you hope to achieve in 2022? You, like many others, might be hoping that 2022 will be the year when you take significant steps toward better health and fitness.

With so much hyper-specific advice available on various training styles and areas of fitness, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture. Everyone has different fitness goals, ranging from simply staying active to viewing fitness as a way of life. We asked three experienced trainers what the most important fitness goals should be for almost anyone. These objectives will keep you grounded and force you to consider the big picture when it comes to incorporating physical activity into your life.

1. ​​Make fitness a long-term commitment.

You might be working out hard at the gym right now, trying to get in the best shape of your life. Of course, this will not always be the case, so accept that fitness should be a part of your life for the foreseeable future. A number of athletes refuse to take their foot off the gas pedal, going all out and then quitting exercise cold turkey. Others, obviously, never develop healthy exercise habits in the first place. Recognize that fitness is a lifelong commitment with ever-changing goals and expectations and that it can help you live a longer, healthier life.

2. Get on a healthy eating plan.

Nutritional goals are typically very important [in order] to achieve success. Choosing an effective nutrition plan is dependent on your fitness/health goals, but the general idea of eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates, is something that most people will agree on. The amount you consume of each will be determined by your specific fitness goals. Limit your intake of junk food and other sources of empty calories.

3. Keep an eye on your vital statistics.

This refers to your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and resting heart rate. Many guys don't keep these numbers in mind, and it's difficult to keep track of them all on a consistent basis. However, as you get older, these vital statistics become even more important, and it's in your best interest to make sure your numbers are correct now, so nothing surprises you later. Health and longevity are extremely important and should be prioritized by everyone.

4. Be consistent. 

Having a consistent workout routine is essential for optimizing your results and should be one of your primary fitness objectives. You'll become more efficient once you've established a program that works for you, and making changes to your routine shouldn't be too difficult as you progress. If you're not sure where to start, remember that simply showing up to work out is more than half the battle – you can work out a more specific schedule as you go. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or haven't trained in several years, getting into a serious rhythm always makes things more successful than starting and stopping all the time.

5. Boost your immune system.

In many ways, this could be a goal that flanks many of your other goals. Because one of the reasons you exercise is to feel better, exercise can naturally help to improve your body's resistance to a variety of diseases. Several studies have found that physical activity boosts your immune system, which obviously helps you now and possibly even more as you age.

6. Enhance your flexibility and balance.

With age, many people lose flexibility and balance. When your flexibility declines, the integrity of your joints is jeopardized, resulting in joint injuries, muscle tears, broken bones, and other complications. Flexibility and balance aren't typically at the top of the list for guys looking to improve their fitness, but they do play a role as a person ages. This is a more difficult goal to achieve because it is difficult to quantify, but there will be times when your next fitness goal will require a stronger base of flexibility and/or balance than your body can handle. Make sure that every part of your body is on the same page.

7. Prioritize healthy habits instead of results. 

You've probably seen other people doing the exercises you want to do and displaying the body type you want to achieve. It's easy to get caught up in results and what's going on in front of your eyes, but it's more beneficial to focus on what kinds of habits produce the desired results. Don't look at the numbers with someone who has accomplished what you want to accomplish. Take a look at the habits that person has. Other overarching goals are achieved as a result of habits.