By Mark Hayward
There are literally thounsands of people training in gyms all over the world that have one thing in common- they are desperate to gain muscle but despite their efforts, nothing much seems to happen.
If this is you then read on...
Not Eating Enough Food
The first and biggest mistake is, are you eating enough food? It might sound obvious, but the body won't add weight to itself without the additional calories to do so.
You may think you are eating a lot but if you sat down and honestly worked out how many calories you are consuming you would be surprised. This means every day of the week too.
Gaining weight is really not too difficult; it's simply energy in vs energy out. Calorie dense foods are to be your friend, olive oil and nuts are excellent sources of good fats that will get you growing. If you have to get a quality weight gainer and carry it around with you, then your excuse of 'not having enough time to eat' will no longer be valid.
Also you will nee at least a gramme of protein for every pound of bodyweight. If you really must, use a protein powder to achieve this, whole food is far better though.
Lifting Light Weights
Your long term goal for the next few years should be to be squatting and deadlifting 180-200 kg and benching 140 kg. Most people will get near or surpass these goals if they train hard enough and will have the development to show for it. You don't deadlift or squat? Then stop reading and get back to the gym right now.
You will be able to handle more weight on these big lifts and other such as as chins, dips, barbell and dumbell rows, power cleans, close grip bench presses, barbell shoulder presses, glute ham raises, all deadlift variations and barbell and dumbell curls.
Try to add weight and/or weight to the bar every week, keep the sets low- no more than 3 per exercise, work really hard and you will get there. You will need a training log for this to see what you did the week before.
Tying in with above, if can't squat or deadlift 140 kg then I don't want to see you doing tricep pushdowns and having 'shoulder days' at the gym. You are working such a small amount of muscle mass and fibres with these exercises and training spits the body just has no reason to grow. Use multi joint movements NOT isolation movements until you are big and strong.
Don't forget you have a back and legs. Getting strong on these muscle groups will do far more for you than any other as their potential for size and strength is so much greater. The body wants to grow as a whole, a weak back and legs will act like the weak link in a chain, stalling your progress for eternity.
Burning Up Too Many Calories
If you play football 3 days a week, go out running then train six days a week at the gym then you are leaving little left for muscle growth.
You shouldn't be in the gym more than 3 days a week until you get a lot bigger and stronger, if football is your thing then do that but don't moan that you can't gain weight, some cardio is good, running is good for cardiovascular fitness, but not for health and body building, unless you do interval training style.
So relax more, if you really can't then start eating like you've not seen food for six weeks!
You will need at least 8 hours sleep most nights- go to bed at 9pm if you have too.
There are four types of bodybuilders- those who grow easily, those who take performance enhancing supplements i.e. steroids, those who train and eat sensibly for many years and the other 90% who look the same week after week.
All competitive body builders take drugs and are genetically gifted, so it is unrealistic to compare yourself to them. Even then they are only in top shape- huge and ripped for a couple of weeks at most.
We all know of someone who has been training for a few weeks and had surpassed everyone else in the gym, apparently without really knowing what they are doing. When asked how they did this the will always say 'just hard work'. Some may actually work hard but the truth is they could grow by lifting a cornflakes packet. They should really say ' I chose the right parents and don't really know what I'm doing'- never ever take training advice from people like this.
You should be the smart trainer- do your home work and work hard you can still look incredibly impressive. Just don't compare yourself to drug users and genetic freaks.
Have a Plan
Are you the type to go to the gym and when you get there say 'what shall I do today', or meet up with five of your mates and do what they are doing (usually every variation of the bicep curl known to mankind or sometimes chest and shoulders in between checking out the girls and gossiping like one).
Use a proven routine, such as 5x5 and stick with it for a few months. Don't worry what anyone else is doing and if you need a training partner choose one that is there to train not gossip and check out there puny 'pumped up' arms in the mirror.
If you follow the principles above you will start gaining muscle at serious rate, you mates will think your are on steroids and say you're 'training wrong', just let them drive themselves into the ground and give up in frustration. Enjoy the ride and train smart!