Now, this is a very commonly asked question that a lot of lifters ask, especially when first starting out, and that question is, why am I not gaining muscle, or why am I not gaining muscle even though I workout?
Now, this can be due to a multitude of reasons, such as poor exercise selection, an improper diet, bad recovery, or even too much stress. Whatever the reason, maybe I’m going to give you 3 solutions to fix your problem and help you start gaining again.
With that quick intro out of the way, let’s hop into the article.
Why Am I Not Gaining Muscle?
Now, there are so many factors that play into muscle growth such as:
- Training quality
- Macronutrient intake
- Caloric intake
- Micronutrient intake
- Mental health
- Hormonal levels
Those were just the ones that I could name off of the top of my head. Now any one of these can screw with your gains. However, when first starting out, it’s usually a couple of these going wrong at the same time that stops you from building muscle.
I will now go over the most likely reasons on why you’re not gaining muscle.
Why Am I Not Gaining Muscle (Signs You’re Not Gaining Muscle)
Why Am I Not Gaining Muscle Reason #1: Your Training Sucks
A lot of you beginners and novices have no idea how to train, which will lead them to usually just follow what the most popular influencers are doing, which is usually a heaping pile of bullshit.
If your training sucks, unless you have really good genetics, are on PEDs, or have everything thing else a 100% totally dialled in, you won’t make any gains if you’re doing a bunch of mindless, high-volume fluff.
You need to give your body a reason to grow.
As a beginner, or novice in the gym you must be actively trying to make progress on your lifts workout to workout. If you’re not progressing, you will not make gains, it’s that simple.
Your training should mainly consist of heavy, multi-joint, free-weight movements, whether it be with barbells, dumbbells, or even body weight. If your training is machine and isolation movement heavy, well, there’s your answer.
Why Am I Not Gaining Muscle Reason #2: You’re Not Eating Enough
Ok, this is another one that tons of people mess up on, especially the aesthetic brahs. In order to build muscle, you must eat!
I know for a fact that a lot of you skinny guys, or “hard gainers,” are scared to bulk. You know how I know, because not even 2 years ago, I was in your exact same situation.
If you don’t give your body the fuel and energy it needs to grow, you’re going to stay a novice forever. You can have the most optimal recovery and training plan known to man, but if you aren’t eating, you won’t grow.
I know the CICO (calories in, calories out) crowd gets a lot of heat nowadays, but at the end of the day, it does come down to how much food your body is intaking on a daily basis.
So if your training and recovery are on point, but you’re still asking yourself, “why am I not gaining muscle” well, here’s your answer.
Why Am I Not Gaining Muscle Reason #3: Your Lifestyle Is Not Conducive To Building Muscle
Ok, let’s say you know how to properly train and diet. You’re on a 3-day per-week novice 5×5 and are in a 500-calorie surplus, eating primarily whole foods, but you still can’t gain muscle.
Well, what’s the problem?
Do you sleep well? Do you party often, go out, get drunk, do drugs, have a stressful job, or are just going through a lot at the moment?
Well, anyone of these things can screw with your gains.
No matter how clean you eat or how hard you train, if you’re only sleeping 5-6 hours per night, consuming copious amounts of alcohol, or are regularly going out clubbing multiple times per week, your going to have a harder time building muscle, then someone who’s got their life together.
Now you don’t have to become a complete hermit, you’re still allowed to have a social life, but you’re going to have to make some sacrifices.
Limit the partying, get to bed earlier, and start taking steps to reduce your stress levels.
3 Fixes You Can Implement To Start Making Gains
Ok, now that you know the reasons why you’re not gaining, here are some ways you can circumvent these issues.
Solution #1: Hop On A 3 Day Per Week Novice Program
Now for those of you who are suffering from a lacklustre training stimulus and have no idea how to properly build an effective workout routine, I would suggest finding, or purchasing a solid 3-day per week full body novice program.
Now to save you the trouble of going out and finding one on your own, that may or may not work, I have compiled a list of the most well-known, and effective novice programs on the internet.
*This list isn’t in any particular order.
The Top Novice Programs:
- Starting Strength
- Stronglifts 5×5
- The Ice Cream Fitness 5×5
- The Alpha Destiny Novice Program
Try one out and stick to it. They are all fairly similar, with the Alpha Destiny Novice Program probably being the most “out there.” Anyone of these programs can and will kick-start your gains. Alongside good diet, and recovery of course.
Hey, as long as you can follow instructions and give a decent amount of effort during training, you’re pretty much set until the intermediate stage with these programs.
Solution #2: Start Bulking
This is for you aesthetic brahs who only eat 2500 calories a day and expect to grow. Here’s a lifting black pill that a lot of you need to hear but probably don’t want to, and that is, in order to grow, you must eat!
When you ask yourself, why am I not gaining muscle? You should really be asking yourself am I eating enough?
You need to give your body energy and fuel to grow. You can’t cut or maingain your way into a top 1% physique. You need to build your base first, which means putting down food and lifting some heavy ass weight!
If you’ve had trouble with bulking in the past, here are some tips to help you stay on course.
My Best Bulking Tips
- Track your calories
- Eat calorically dense foods
- Do some light cardio (this will increase your appetite)
- Take it slow (add calories slowly to let you appetite adjust)
- Learn how to properly cook, and season your meals
- Buy a blender
I, too, used to struggle heavily with this one. I would train and train and would never make any gains. I would constantly ask myself, why am I not gaining muscle?
It wasn’t until I decided to give bulking a good honest effort that I started making gains.
Solution #3: Get Your Life In Order
Now for those of you who love to go out, party, and socialize well, this may be a tough pill to swallow, but in order to build muscle (in an efficient time frame), you’re going to have to start going out less.
This doesn’t mean becoming a complete hermit and cutting off your whole social circle entirely (even though, for some, that may be a good idea); what I mean is just limiting the number of times per week you go out.
Let’s say you used to go hit the bars and go clubbing twice a week; well, now, you only go out once. Or maybe you spend a lot of time just hanging with the boys, doing a whole lot of nothing when you could instead be getting meals in and sleeping.
You can still have a social life; you just have to start becoming a little stricter and more pick and choosey with your time.
Here are some quick actions that you can take today, that you can use to improve your recovery, and overall quality of life:
- Schedule out your day, or week
- Set a bedtime, and stick to it
- Invest in a sleep supplement
- Mute unimportant notifications
- Limit yourself to partying only once a week
- Plan out your meals beforehand, and consider meal prepping
Once your schedule becomes more organized, regimented, and manageable, that’s when you’ll see rapid growth, both inside, and outside of the gym.
1) What prevents you from gaining muscle?
There are many things that can prevent you from gaining muscle. The most common ones are poor recovery, lacklustre nutrition, and low-quality training.
2) Can some people not gain muscle?
Only a very, very small percentage of the population cannot gain muscle, usually due to some sort of messed up disorder. For the 99.9999% of you reading this, you can all gain muscle when you’re doing things correctly.
3) How can I increase my muscle gain?
Eat in a 500-calorie surplus, train hard, get 8-10 hours of sleep per night, and make sure that you’re making progress on all of your major compound movements.
4) How long does it take to gain muscle?
From my experience, you will start to notice gains within a month of training. After about 2-4, you will start to see some very noticeable changes to your physique.
5) How to Gain More Muscle Than Fat?
In order to gain more muscle than fat, when bulking, you should try to primarily eat whole clean foods. Always make sure that your lifts are going up to ensure that you’re gaining strength, and do not rush your bulk. Take things slow.
Ok, you’ve reached the end of the article. I would like to thank you for reading, and I hope you found the material helpful, if not at least entertaining.
If you’d like more fitness content, similar to this you can check out the rest of the blog by clicking here.
With that, I’ll catch you in the next one, peace.
Leave a Reply