Some people like to think that building muscle is easy. All you need to do is spend enough time lifting weights in the gym, eat plenty of protein, and avoid fatty foods, right? Sadly, anybody who has tried to bulk up knows that it’s a lot harder than that. Making any amount of progress with an
exercise regimen takes a lot of time and hard work, and that is especially true about putting on muscle.
There are some muscle-building mistakes that are easier to make than others. Luckily, they are just as easy to avoid. Here are five of the most common and easily avoidable mistakes that people make when trying to build muscle.
1. Following the Wrong Diet
If you don’t eat the right foods, it won’t matter what you are doing in the gym. You won’t build the muscle that you want, and you might end up gaining weight in all the wrong ways.
In order to gain muscle mass, you need to have a calorie surplus. This means taking in more calories than you burn. You’ll definitely lose fat if you don’t have this surplus and you keep going to the gym, but you will lose muscle mass too. The trick to eating to gain muscle mass is finding the right ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Everybody is a little different when it comes to what they can and should be eating, but a good ratio to start with is 25 to 35 percent protein, 40 to 45 percent carbohydrates, and 15 to 25 percent fat. You can make adjustments as your body adjusts to your new diet.
2. Relying Too Much on Supplements
Some people think they can have the perfect muscle-building diet if they just take the right supplements, but even the "best" supplements are poor substitutes for eating the right foods. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on different weight loss and muscle-building supplements, invest in buying better foods and getting all of your nutrients and protein from natural sources. Save the supplements for when you actually have a deficiency that you cannot fix any other way.
3. Pushing Yourself Too Hard
While it’s important to work hard when you’re in the gym, your body does need to rest. If you don’t take a day off from your intense workout regimen, your workouts will start to have a detrimental effect on your body. This is known as adrenal fatigue, and it can quickly derail your exercise program before you know it.
Instead of buying into the “no pain, no gain” philosophy, take a day off once in a while to let your body rest and recover from what you are putting it through. Your “growth” hormone will be released while you sleep, and you will be that much healthier thanks to your much-needed break.
4. Having Poor Range-Of- Motion
Many amateur bodybuilders make the mistake of ignoring their flexibility in favor of simply getting bigger muscles. Sacrificing your range-of- motion so you can lift heavier weights and have larger muscles is a bad idea that can result in serious injuries. Simply put, you won’t do your body any good if you can barely move, even if you have gigantic muscles. Focus on flexibility and stretching so your muscles won’t tear as they grow.
5. Being Inconsistent with Your Exercise Program
It’s easy to get excited about a new exercise program and hit the ground running only to give up after a few weeks. Keeping a regular workout schedule is hard, especially with everything else you have going on in your life. You start to skip few sessions here and there, and before you know it you’ve undone nearly all the progress that you’ve made. This is arguably the most common mistake people make with any workout plan.
As much as we would like to say that there is a magical cure to keep yourself from slacking off, there really isn’t. This really comes down to your own discipline, although there are some things you can do to make it a little bit easier. First of all, talk to a personal trainer to develop a program that works well within your own schedule. Building muscle in the gym is only part of your life, so accept that other commitments can and will get in the way of your fitness goals and work around them as much as possible. Second, tell yourself that you will stick to a training program for at least two months.
That’s enough time to comfortably work your program into the rest of your life in a way that it becomes part of your regular routine. Slowly increase the intensity of your workout during those two months without pushing yourself too hard, and you will start to notice some change in your muscle mass. It won’t happen overnight, but your new routine will eventually give you the body you want if you stick to it.