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In this article, readers will learn exactly why they may not be seeing any change in the mirror or on the scale. The article addresses both topics of weight loss and muscle gain, and discusses the biggest mistakes people make in the gym.

It’s been months. Everyday you’re hitting the gym hard, working every muscle you can. You’ve completely dialed in your nutrition, with your meal plan looking more like a chemical formula, 300 C, 160 P, 85 F, than an actual meal.

Even after persistent determination and perseverance, your goal of being more ripped than the wrapper of the protein bar you just ate only seems to get further and further from achievable. You aren’t any leaner, any bigger, or even any stronger. You're doing everything right, but nothing is working, or at least it seems that way. This tiring and endless cycle is very common among beginner lifters.

It is absolutely critical however, if you want to start making progress, to first determine your fitness goal: Do you want to build size and strength, or do you want to lean down? The solution to each of these goals is vastly different.

 

I want to build size and strength 

In regards to the first goal, building size and strength, there are many areas in which beginner lifters fail to address. These areas are program, types of exercises, and nutrition. Each component plays a vital role in seeing results.

Firstly, if your goal is to build size and strength, do not just enter the gym and copy what everyone else is doing. Do your research. Find a program that is geared towards building size, and stick to it!

 

One common mistake that beginners make is switching programs too quickly because they aren’t seeing results fast enough. This is a huge problem.

 

Most beginners believe that building muscle takes only weeks or maybe a few months; this couldn’t be further from the truth. At the fastest rate, beginners to the gym can gain 2 pounds of muscle per month.

 

The reality is, that building the size and strength many dream of takes years (about 2-5) of hard work and dedication, and as a general guideline, one should stick to the program he or she chose for about 8 months.

 

If limited progress is seen after this time, then it is ok to switch programs. Switching before this would be switching before results would even be visible!

What type of exercise should I choose? 

The type of exercises will play a critical role in how quickly you will build muscle. If your goal is to build as much strength and size as possible in the shortest time, it is vital that you focus on compound movements like the bench press, shoulder press, and deadlift, etc.

These lifts target multiple muscle groups and allow you to add weight in a relatively short period of time, which is the driving force behind adding strength and size.

 

Additionally, you will want to focus on workouts that revolve around high intensity (high weight) and low volume (3-5 sets of 5-8 repetitions), as this rep scheme will fuel muscle growth while aiding recovery.

What about nutrition when building muscle? 

Finally, the third area to focus on is nutrition. When building muscle there are only two aspects of bodybuilding nutrition you need to focus on: calories and protein. It is beneficial to eat in a 200-500 calorie surplus everyday, in addition to eating between .8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Although it is necessary to eat a sufficient amount of carbs and fat, you do not need to track them, just make sure they are in your diet. Follow these guidelines and progress is sure to follow!

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