6 Habits Preventing You from Gaining Muscle
Not Eating Enough
You need to eat big to get big. If you restrict your calories too much, you could cause your body to become catabolic and start to break down muscle tissue, the exact opposite of what we want! Strive to get in quality nutrition several times a day. Remember, the more we feed our bodies, the harder our metabolism has to work to burn it off. Just stick to whole foods with adequate protein and carbs (about 1g/lb. of bodyweight and 2-3g/lb. of bodyweight, respectively).
Too Much Cardio
If you do cardio for longer than an hour, you can cause your body to break down muscle and block anabolic hormones from being produced. Just keep your cardio sessions short and at a higher intensity.
Doing Too Many Single-Joint Movements
Try doing more compound movements that will recruit more muscle fibers at one time. Movements like pushups, squats, deadlifts, dips, strict press, etc. will target multiple muscle groups. Isolated movements don’t activate as much growth hormone as compound movements, nor do they burn as many calories.
You may not be allowing your body enough time to recover. The body needs about 48 hours for muscle fibers to repair properly. So not only is your post-workout nutrition important, but allowing your muscles to take a break is extremely important as well. Try not to work out the same muscle groups two days in a row.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep increases cortisol levels, which can breakdown muscle tissue. When you get at least 7 hours, adequate melatonin is produced, which fights off free-radical damage to the trained muscles.
Not Challenging Yourself
Once you’ve mastered 10 reps at a certain weight in one set, bump it up to 12 or 15 reps. Keep challenging yourself and your muscles. You won’t see any progress if you keep doing the same thing day in and day out.
by Samantha Coogan, MS, RDN, LD