Have you keep asking yourself why am I not building muscles? Are you unable to gain significant mass despite regularly hitting the gym for a long time? If yes, then it’s time to examine the situation and make a better plan. It’s not complicated: there are only four key influences on your physical size. Take a moment to self-evaluate by asking yourself these four questions —


Have I optimized by diet for muscle building?

It is no longer necessary to eat 13 meals per day, and that method should be replaced by eating whole foods 5-6 times per day. Instead of eating three large meals, split them up and eat once every 3 hours or so. This diet is beneficial for metabolism in that it forces the body to use the energy from your food instead of storing it as fat.

These six meals should include primarily complex carbohydrates and protein. Each meal should have approximately 30 grams of protein, obtained from such foods as lean meat, chicken, fish, egg whites, cheese and milk products. In addition, complex carbohydrates can be ingested through brown rice, brown bread and potatoes. You’ll want to avoid any good that contains large amounts of salt and sugar.


Should I be using supplements, and if so, when?

Anyone who can afford to add supplements to their overall strategy should absolutely do so. You should consider the amount of protein, carbs, and creatine contained in each product.

Whey protein supplements have been shown to be the most effective way to supply your muscles with quality proteins. In particular, shakes are particularly beneficial after exercising because during this time the body demands extra protein for muscle regeneration.

Supplements should be taken at three key times during the day: morning, post-workout and night. Most of your nutrients should come from your diet, so don’t use supplements as a meal replacement.


Am I training hard and not smart?

Perhaps the number one mistake made by those new to lifting is thinking that more working out leads to a larger body. This is entirely erroneous. There are two simple rules when weight training — quality beats quantity and compound exercise is crucial to building muscle.

A compound exercise is defined as one which requires the movement of at least two joints. Examples of this type of movement are the squat, bench press, wide grip pull up and seated row. These exercises target a broad range of muscle fibers in order to complete the task. Consequently, more muscle groups are challenged and maximum growth potential is reached.

In general, for every one isolation exercise, you should do three compound exercises. An ideal routine for your back/biceps could consist of wide grip pull ups, seated row, bent over row and standing bicep curl. Don’t assume that this is not enough work for your biceps; they are worked strenuously in all of these exercises.

Never train for more than one hour in a session. Additionally, you should train your muscle groups by focusing on one group per week. Keep in mind, the key is quality not quantity, so your split routine should call for sessions 3 times per week. Even professional bodybuilder only train 4 times weekly.


Do I get enough rest and recovery time?

Exercise does not build muscles — it breaks them down. That extra bit of definition at the gym is due to swelling and damage to the tissue. Actual growth of the muscles takes place during times of rest. Therefore, without rest, muscles cannot grow.

I recommend a leisurely schedule when you’re not working out. Don’t go overboard with cardio, and make sure that you get plenty of sleep. After all, sleep is prime time for building muscle. Because of this, it is also important to fuel up by eating before bed.


As I said: it’s not complicated!

You can disregard what you may have read elsewhere about effectively building muscle. However, it can be approached very simply using the four principles that I’ve outlined here.

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