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6 Mistakes Why You’re Not Gaining Muscle

Are you not seeing the muscle gain you’ve been working to achieve? A few simple tweaks to your workout routine can help you melt fat and build your dream muscle. These 6 muscle building mistakes could be the reason your bodybuilding journey has not been a success.

You have been hitting the gym consistently, focusing on weight training, and maintaining healthy eating but you’re not gaining muscle. Hitting your bodybuilding milestones takes much more than just lifting weights. If you’re not achieving lean mass gains despite committing to your workout regimen, you might be making these muscle-building mistakes.

1. You’re Not Eating Enough 

Muscle requires the right nutrients to grow, including carbohydrates, fat, and protein. If you don’t eat enough food with a balance of all these nutrients, your body will not use calories to repair and build your muscles. A good muscle gaining meal plan should provide overall nourishment and ensure your body is not deprived of essential elements.

Some people don’t consume enough protein. You should eat 1.3 to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight if you’re an athlete and 1.0 to 1.2 grams if you look to maintain your current body weight. It’s recommended to throw in some protein powder cookies to plug the protein deficit you have when consuming common foods.

2. You’re Not Eating the Right Food 

While eating enough is a sure way to accelerate your muscle gains, eating the wrong foods will cancel out your efforts. Eating enough does not mean you should start ordering boxes of pizza. Choose a muscle gaining diet that does not cancel out your gains or make your work harder.

Focus on eating the best foods for gaining muscle, including eggs, salmon, lean beef, tuna, tilapia, beans, milk, and brown rice. Many of these foods contain minerals and vitamins your body needs to perform at its best. Such proteins are recommended as they also help in gaining muscle on keto.

Don’t forget to throw in vegetables and fruits, including kale, broccoli, avocado, oranges, raspberries, bell pepper, and spinach. Besides proteins, your body needs all these other nutrients, especially carbohydrates, which provide the fuel to keep you energized through your workout.

3. You’re Not Lifting Heavy Enough 

One of the tips for gaining muscle you should follow is switching to heavier weights and fewer reps. You need to give your body the reason to build more strength and muscle. If you’re lifting the same weights, you’ll not grow beyond your current strength level. Your body needs a stimulus to trigger the synthesis of new muscle tissue. Lift heavy weights to create that demand for more muscle mass. Combine this with the best muscle gaining protein and you’ll begin to notice progress after a few weeks.

Intensity also matters when trying to gain muscle. Going light by lifting 5-pound dumbbells does not have much impact and would only count as wasting the opportunity to experience actual gains from your gym routine. Challenge your body by pushing beyond its normal capacity. This is how you make significant gains in building muscle.

4. You Don’t Rest Enough 

Despite doing everything above, you’re probably wondering, why am I not gaining muscle? One reason could be that you’re not giving your body enough rest from all those intensive workouts. Recovery is crucial if you want your muscle to grow. The best way to induce recovery is by having a quality sleep and resting before you get back to the gym. The human growth hormone, which activates the muscle-building process, is most abundant when you sleep.

Also, many studies have attributed cortisol hormone to lack of sleep and rest. The cortisol hormone breaks down muscle tissues, which is something you don’t want if you’re working to achieve muscle gains. Cortisol is also linked to stress. Therefore, staying awake longer than recommended could be hurting your muscle-building journey and your health in general. Just like your phone needs to recharge, your body needs rest and sleep to recharge and rejuvenate damaged tissues.

5. You’re Inconsistent 

In the same way it’s not recommended to stick to the same workout routine, you should not hop routines. Changes to your workout routine should be a gradual process that transitions from one level to the next. By lacking consistency, you confuse your muscle and damage the foundations of your muscle growth.

In general, a workout routine should run for at least three months before you make some changes. That’s about the period you max out neural adaptations and achieve muscle growth and strength gain. Neural adaptations refer to the strength you gain from trying out new exercise as your nervous system adapts to the new routine. Consistency and switching gradually are the hallmarks of losing weight while gaining muscle if you combine your workout routine with the right diet.

6. You’re Overdoing Cardio 

While some people say you don’t need those cardio sessions as they cost you muscle gains, the truth is that cardio has its place in your muscle-building journey. What’s wrong is overdoing cardio because this will, in actual truth, cost you muscle gains. If you perform hours of cardio every week with the ambition of losing weight while gaining muscle, you’re most likely going to achieve weight loss with no muscle to show.

Doing too much cardio reduces your force generation capacity, which means you’ll lack the energy to stimulate the muscle gain you need during lifting sessions. And, if you’re eating a lot to compensate for lack of energy, you should maximize strength training; otherwise, you’ll add fat in places you want to build muscle.


So, if you’re working to build muscle and you do not see significant gains, these tips for gaining muscle could help you get back on track. Combine a good workout routine with the right diet and you’ll hit incredible muscle building milestones.

Are there gym mistakes you commonly make on this list? Let us know how your muscle building journey has worked out for you. Share in the comments below. 

Author’s bio:

Rachel Burns has been writing on topics related to fitness and healthy eating for 2 years now. As a mother, she really appreciates the ease of raising children with her advice.

Rachel specializes in plant-based diets. In addition to nutrition, she is also an exercise enthusiast

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