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So you’re still sticking to that new year’s resolution to get tough and buff all these months later (or you’ve been at it even longer), and still … no gains. What gives, right? The worst part if that you see others around you growing, getting bigger and stronger – all the while seeing yourself stagnating, even appear to be shrinking at times.
Lack Of Sleep
For some reason people believe they can workout like a maniac, then disregard every other aspect of their life – like sleep. Sleep is when your body repairs all those tears to the muscles you’re making during your workout. When you burn the midnight oil, spend each night out partying, or simply just not getting the recommended 8 hours a night – then you deprive your body of it’s recovery time. No recovery, no growth.
When it comes to getting buff, there are 3 parts: sleep (which we just discussed), the working out, and diet. Now here’s your breakdown of how much each plays a role in your gains: sleep: 15% working out: 15% diet: 70%. Did you catch that? Diet is 70% of the pie! Now don’t eat pie. In fact, don’t put any junk food in your mouth. And that includes those “protein” shakes you buy at the “health” food store. They’re full of sugar and do nothing for your muscles. Diet is the utmost important thing. You really are what you eat. And if you eat great, you’ll look great. So if you’re diet is anything less than that, time to go grocery shopping, like, right now!
This is the toughest one of all, because if you’re stressed – it’s not like you can just stop being stressed. But if there’s anything you can do about it – be it changing jobs, changing partners, getting a job, getting laid, whatever – work just as hard as you do at the gym at getting yourself out of stressful situations. Stress is a killer in so many ways, especially to your muscles and the way your body stores fat. When you’re stressed, your body uses its energy and sends it to other parts of your body – like your brain and organs, rather than maximizing or healing your muscles. Also, it stores your fat in places you don’t want it – like hips and ass as a reserve – because your body thinks there’s a crisis – rather than using it as fuel for your workout. Stress management. We can’t stress it enough.
One of the biggest mistakes gym rookies make, is trying to compensate for their lack of gains by lifting more to make themselves seem stronger, thus, fitting in with existing long-time members. But this only makes matters worse as it always leads to bad form, which not only does little to nothing for muscle growth, but also, puts you at risk for serious injury. And when you’re injured, you’re guaranteed to make zero gains. So lift weights that are manageable so that you can focus on, and isolate the muscles you want to grow.
We apologize for the above image, it’s the best we could find. But it’s not accurate, as a guy who overtrains never has a body like that. Much like a lack of sleep, overtraining prevents your muscles from repairing and growing. So as tempting as it is to go to the gym 7-times a week (twice a day even) to make up for lost time – don’t. It’s a bad plan that’ll definitely backfire on you.
Too Much Cardio
Think of your workout kinda like downloading software. What and how you train are essentially instructions for your body on how to grow. While cardio is a necessary part, too much cardio basically tells your body to stay trim and lean – the antithesis of the muscular gains you’re trying to make. So hit the treadmill or track to warm / loosen up – but make the weights (heavy weights at that) your main priority.
Some people never heard the expression “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Well if you want the body of a roman goddess, then I’m sorry to tell you but it’s going to take time. Lots of it. Everyone you see at the gym all started at different times, and, different stages in their physical development. Some come in being a former football or track star in high school So they’ve already got a good base. If working is brand new to you – even if you’ve been at it for months now – should you have come in with no base, you’ve got a much longer way to go than most. So be patient, give yourself so time to grow.