Heather Marr is an NYC-based personal trainer and The Model Trainer Method creator, whose A-list client roster includes some of the world’s most famous supermodels. Ahead, she reveals why those who work out may not be gaining muscle.
Although working out and not gaining muscle is extremely frustrating, it’s actually a very common problem. You're hitting the gym consistently, trying to make healthy choices but you're still not getting the results you're working so hard to achieve. This is why it's especially important to hire someone for programming and nutrition if you're new to the gym – no matter your goals. Otherwise, what often happens is you lose motivation and don’t get the results you want and quit altogether. Below are some common mishaps you might be making if you're trying to increase muscle mass.
You're Not Eating Enough
You can have the most perfect programming plan in place and be following it to the letter, but you will not add lean mass if your nutrition isn't supporting those goals. For most trained individuals, you will not be able to get shredded while simultaneously packing on muscle in a deficit. This is why many trained individuals do a muscle building, aka bulking cycle, followed by a cutting cycle. Where this goes wrong is when people use a bulk as a license to eat everything. Your body only needs a slight surplus of fuel to build muscle. If you go to town and eat everything in sight for months, you're just adding fat tissue that you need to work off during your cut. Aim for a few hundred calories above maintenance and adjust as you go when needed. Fill up on lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. It should be noted that for those just starting out training, the body is able to simultaneously perform fat loss and muscle building more efficiently.
You're Not Lifting Heavy Enough
Lifting light pink dumbbells for a million reps is not going to add lean mass or build a toned physique. The last few reps of each and every set you're performing should be a challenge. If you're following your programs but getting to the end of your set and could continue performing reps, it’s time to increase your resistance. Working sets should be a challenge, not a warm up. While varying rep ranges is very important, 6-12 reps per set is the hypertrophy rep range.
You're Not Lifting Often Enough
Recovery is an essential part of the muscle building process. That being said, you need to be working out consistently. If you're regularly skipping workouts this can certainly be detrimental to adding lean mass to your frame. It's important to get into a lifting routine you're following frequently. Many individuals looking to add lean mass to their physiques choose split training. Here, you typically perform exercises targeting one to two muscle groups per session.
You're Not Prioritizing Rest & Recovery
Again, proper programming is very important to have and follow in order to achieve your goals. When you're performing your workout, you're putting tiny tears in the muscle trained. With good nutrition – including ample protein – and rest and recovery, the muscle repairs and grows**. Rest days are often even referred to as growth days for this reason. Using split training (as mentioned above) is an easy way to make sure you're getting adequate recovery times for the muscle groups. In addition to smart programming, getting a restful night’s sleep should be a priority. Aim for 7-9 hours a night if possible.
Increasing muscle mass is simply a matter of setting up your lifestyle to support your goal. Your physique reflects what you eat and what you do. Follow an intelligent training and nutrition plan and you’ll be enjoying your gains in no time.