Putting on muscle does not mean you have to look a certain way, but it does mean that you are focusing on strength building exercises which are beneficial for your body. Muscle helps to protect your bone health, helps you to move better and is amazing for life because you can do and move things more easily. Win-win!
Have you been exercising with the goal of increasing muscle but feeling like you are not making progress? Here are 5 reasons you might not be building muscle.
Too much cardio
I am a fan of cardio, so I’m not here to tell you not to do it. It’s beneficial and should be a part of a complete, balanced workout plan. But… too much cardio can work against your muscle building goals.
Running long distances, for example, requires fuel. After a while if you aren’t properly fueled, or not fueling during the long amounts of cardio, your body will tap into energy stores in your body –> your muscles. Instead of building those muscles, it breaks them down to give you the energy you need to carry you through the long distance.
Too much cardio? Try finding a balance between cardio and strength building exercises.
Lifting too light
Only lifting light weight for excessive amounts of repetitions isn’t going to define and shape you the way lifting heavy weights does. Muscles grow by being pushed and broken down. When you lift weights tiny little tears happen in the muscles. It is during the recovery of those tears when you see growth, change and an increase in strength and muscle.
Ladies do not have as much testosterone in their bodies as men do naturally. Testosterone is the muscle builder, so we actually have to work a lot harder to gain muscle than most men. Picking up weights that are a little heavier will have a positive affect on muscle growth.
Lifting to light? Try increasing the weight by a few pounds and see if you notice a positive challenge.
Skipping needed food
Muscles need food to repair grow. If you deprive your body of food, muscle can’t grow or repair as well. One of my favorite pre-workout snacks are snack balls. They provide you with quick burning carbohydrates, sustaining fats and a little protein to give you energy during your workout.
Skipping needed food? Remember to eat before and after your workout.
Missing out on protein
Along with not skipping a meal, don’t skimp on the protein. This is especially true after a strength training workout. Your muscles need a combo of protein and carbs to help with repair and rebuilding (when they grow and get stronger!). Have a goal of eating within 30-60 minutes of ending a more rigorous workout.
Missing out on protein? Try these protein packed recipes:
Keeping it the same
Variety is key here. If we want to see change, we have to give our body variety. If you’ve been following the same routine for a while now, switch it up. Try to change your workout routine up at least every month.
Keeping it the same? Try switching it up in these ways: different exercises, change the tempo of your movements, change the number of repetitions, change the number of sets or take a whole new class or new workout.