HELP - I’m Not Gaining Weight!!
No matter what you do, you just can't gain any weight.
If so, you're not alone. Newbies and seasoned vets alike all reach a point where building more size seems impossible. But it's not.
Check out the top four reasons below that prevent people from gaining more size. It's time to get your progress back on track!
Reason #1: You're not eating enough.
The #1 reason most people fail to add quality muscle mass is quite simple. They're not eating enough calories to grow.
So, keep a log of EVERYTHING you eat. A lot of people THINK they're eating enough. But when they write down every last calorie they eat, they're quite surprised.
A food log will help you meet your daily caloric needs. How do you determine the number of calories you need each day?
The easiest way is to multiply your bodyweight by 15. This will give you the number of calories you need to MAINTAIN your body weight.
For example, a 200lb male should consume 3,000 calories to maintain his weight (200x15 = 3,000).
Then, start by adding 200 - 300 calories (in the form of lean proteins) to your diet.
Conventional "bulking" programs recommend adding 500 calories. However, this is usually too much, and leads to fat gain.
The ideal ratio between proteins, carbohydrates, and fats is typically a 40/40/20 ratio. If you find that you're carb sensitive, you may prefer using a 40/30/30 ratio instead, consuming the bulk of your carbohydrates pre and post workout.
Reason #2: Poor exercise selection.
To grow BIG, your workouts should center on exercises that engage multiple muscle groups at one time.
These exercises are known as compound, multi-joint lifts and include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and others (see below).
The deadlift, for example, engages your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, lower back, your entire upper back, shoulders, forearms, and biceps.
That's a lot of muscles at once!
Isolation exercises, on the other hand, focus on only ONE muscle group at a time. For example, triceps press downs, side laterals, chest flyes and concentration curls.
Isolation exercises are valuable, but should only be used at the end of your workouts to finish off a body part.
Below is a list of the best compound exercises for each body part.
Back: Barbell rows, T-Bar rows, one arm dumbbell rows, weighted pull ups.
Chest: Bench presses using either dumbbells or a barbell on an Incline, flat, or decline bench.
Biceps: Olympic/EZ Bar barbell curls, hammer curls.
Triceps: Close grip bench presses, tricep extensions (with a barbell), weighted dips.
Quads: Squats, hack squats, leg presses.
Hamstrings: Stiff leg deadlifts, dumbbell deadlifts.
Shoulders: Barbell/dumbbell overhead shoulder presses.
Reason #3: Your body has adapted.
There's a phenomenon known as the "repeated bout effect," wherein you muscles create an impenetrable protective mechanism against muscle damage.
In short, your muscles adapt, and will no longer grow once they get use to your training routine. And, this can occur in as little as 3-4 weeks.
So switch things up.
If your gains have stalled, use a new training routine such as the 5x5 method or linear periodization. You can also introduce shock techniques such as negatives, forced reps, drop sets, triple drop sets, supersets and giant sets to encourage new growth.
Reason #4: Overtraining has set in.
Overtraining sets in when you're accumulating muscle and nervous damage faster than your body can recover. Over time, your body's recovery abilities simply cannot keep up, and you stop growing.
Common symptoms include a loss of strength, low energy, feelings of fatigue, depression, disrupted sleep patterns and immunosuppression (you get sick more often).
So, after every four weeks of training, take one full week off completely. Contrary to popular belief, your muscles won't shrink. In fact, you'll come back bigger, stronger, and fully recovered - the perfect stage for adding new size!