One of the primary reasons that people keep returning to the gym time and time again is to build muscle. In fact, there is some research that indicates approximately 25% of people in the USA visit the gym at least once a year. That may sound like a lot, but the truth is, most of them don’t go on a regular basis or they don’t go often.
One of the main reasons that people quit the gym is because they get frustrated. They work out and start doing well and then hit a weight loss or muscle building plateau and nothing more happens. In this article, we’re going to look at a few of the most common muscle building mistakes as well as some tips (and supplements) to help you build muscle.
12 Common Muscle Building Mistakes
Below are 12 of the most common mistakes when it comes to building muscle. If you can possibly avoid these, you should be able to get back to building muscle in no time at all.
Not having a plan
In order to effectively build muscle, you need to have a plan in place. A careful, well thought out approach is a lot more likely to succeed. After all, there are lots of aspects to creating a workout routine- including fitness goals and body shape. If you don’t have a plan, your workout doesn’t have structure, which means some parts of your muscle building efforts won’t get the attention required.
While it’s not easy to keep a workout routine straight, it’s necessary if you want it to be effective. Make sure that your goals are realistic and create a plan that revolves around those goals. Once you have your targets in mind, you can build your workout accordingly and make sure that you meet those goals/targets.
Not getting proper nutrition
When it comes to building muscle, there’s more to it than just the workout- nutrition is part of the process as well. Every time you stop for fast food or a sugary/salty snack, you are making a mistake. If you want your body to work properly, it’s important that you fuel It with food that is both clean and nutritious.
This does not mean that you should completely avoid fat- it does play an important role in building muscle. It’s the other things, such as saturated fat, processed sugars, and sodium that need to be left alone. If you don’t, you could be sabotaging your muscle building workouts.
Of course, it’s important to note that if you don’t enjoy your diet, it’s not likely to last very long. Therefore, make sure that you choose healthy foods that you enjoy.
Not staying hydrated
Unfortunately, most people don’t realize how much water you need when you are sweating or engaging in an intense workout. According to research, you can lose up to 2 liters of water per hour. All of that water needs replacing. If you don’t stay hydrated, you will not improve your muscle mass.
After all, dehydration can have a significant effect on your body. Chemicals and hormones enter the bloodstream, which lowers growth hormones and testosterone and prevents you from benefiting from your workouts.
Not getting enough sleep
If you want to build muscle, sleep is critical. When you don’t sleep, testosterone levels are decreased and muscle mass begins to break down. Even one night of not sleeping can begin the process that will begin muscle mass loss and fat gain.
Another issue that lack of sleep brings is that it ruins your motivation and makes you lethargic. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may struggle to motivate yourself for even a light workout. Two of the most common reasons people fail at the gym are lack of motivation and frustration.
Training too much
People commonly assume that the more they train, the more muscle they will build. While this is somewhat true- there is such a thing as too much. When you train too much (overtrain), you actually end up breaking down muscle mass. This is the primary reason people injure themselves in the gym.
There are lots of workout routines that make it easy to overtrain. These workouts are made popular by famous athletes and bodybuilders and are customized to their body/needs- so they are not going to work the same on you. In many cases, a lot of these people are actually using supplements and if you’re not using the same ones, you won’t see the same results that they get. We are going to look at three supplements that can help you build muscle later: protein powder, creatine, and pre-workout supplements.
Using poor form
When it comes to building muscle, proper form is essential. When you use improper form, you increase your risk of injury, and you are less likely to build muscle because you’re not engaging them the right way. Finally, improper form can also lead to an unbalance of your gains.
The first time you do a certain lift, have someone you trust, or a personal trainer watch you and critique your form. Even if it’s something you’ve been doing for a while, you may be making some mistakes. After all, input from trusted sources never hurts.
Strength training offers other benefits besides building muscle- but if you’re not doing it right, it could cause injury. Pay attention next time you lift to see if anything doesn’t feel right. If this is the case, you need to listen and make some adjustments.
Not consuming enough fat and/or protein
Earlier, we mentioned proper nutrition- the proper nutrition for building muscle is different than nutrition to facilitate weight loss. Many people make major mistakes when it comes to dieting. Muscles need protein to develop- so you want to avoid starving your muscles of the protein they need after an intense session of lifting.
Fat also plays a significant role in building muscle. As muscle mass increases, you’ll need to increase your caloric intake. As we will explore later, you can use supplements such as protein to increase protein consumption, but there’s nothing that is as good as whole foods. When you are building your nutrition plan, make sure that you’re choosing healthy proteins and fats- not junk food.
Lifting too quickly
Many people see weightlifting as a competition and try to see who can finish first, but this should not be the case. Don’t be trying to time your reps, there’s no reason to. This increases your risk of injury and when you lift too fast, your muscles don’t get a chance to engage, which means you won’t get the gains you’re looking for.
Another thing to remember is that negative reps can help you build muscle as well. A negative rep is when you slowly let down each weight after lifting it. This helps to stabilize your muscle and brings a wide variety of other benefits. Keep in mind that there are lots of reasons to go to the gym- getting hurt should not be one of them.
Only lifting light weights
You may think that it stands to reason that lots of reps with a light weight is the same as a few reps with a heavy weight- but it’s not. If you are able to lift the weight you are using 20 to 30 times, you won’t see any muscle growth. You need to increase to a weight that you can only lift for ten or less reps.
A heavier weight puts the muscle under stress, which increases testosterone and growth hormones and causes the muscle to grow so that it can deal with the heavier weight.
Not stretching before or after a workout
When it comes to building muscle, flexibility is key. You need to take the time to stretch both prior to your workout and after. When you stretch before your workout, you are decreasing your risk of injury because you are stimulating blood flow- which helps with building muscle. Stretching is not for looks, it keeps your mobility up during weight training, which is critical to the success of the workout.
Taking the time to stretch after a heavy lifting session rehabs your muscles so that you will be able to start training again sooner. Your muscles are not the only part that benefits from stretching- tendons and ligaments do as well.
Not taking a partner to workout with
Working out alone isn’t always a choice- everyone stays so busy, we can’t all go to the gym at the same time. However, having friends to work out with is critical. When you lift, you need someone there to spot you. If you don’t have friends that are willing or able to go with you, try to find people in the gym or even a personal trainer to help you.
Plus, having a friend go with you keeps you both accountable because you won’t feel alone/isolated in the gym. If you do find that you have to work out alone, you should still go work out, just don’t do any heavy lifting and don’t do anything too challenging. This way, you can still work on building muscle without worrying about injury.
Skipping leg day
You may think it’s fine to skip leg day. After all, there’s no reason to get your leg muscles bigger, right? Actually, the opposite is true. The muscles groups in your legs are huge compared to the rest of your body and any impacts to them will change your entire body. Testosterone levels after leg day are increased significantly.
Of course, it’s not just your legs. Any large muscles, including back muscles or quads have the same effect. If you’re only working out your arms and chest, you won’t see that many gains. Leg day is important- don’t skip it.
Tips for Gaining Muscle Mass
Now that we’ve gone over some of the common mistakes that people often make when trying to build muscle, let’s take a closer look at some tips to help you build muscle. Later, we’ll explore three supplements that are proven to help with building muscle: protein powder, creatine, and pre-workout supplements.
First of all, it’s important to understand that the ability (or lack thereof) to build muscle is determined by your genetics. That being said, there are always things you can do to improve your body shape.
Volume/Intensity make a difference
When training, you should use high volume with medium intensity. “Volume” is the number of sets/reps you can do. “Intensity” is how much weight you lift. Ideally, when weight training, you should perform 10 to 15 reps, taking less than one minute between sets.
You know that burning sensation you feel in your muscles when working out? That is lactic acid. Research indicates that this is what stimulates muscle growth, likely due to an increase in production of growth hormones.
Push past your limits
When you are working out, you need to push each exercise near failure- meaning you couldn’t do one more rep because fatigue is setting in. For example, if you are doing a 3-set exercise, start with a heavy weight for 15 reps on the first set and reduce each set by 2. Your last set will be 11 lifts. Even as you start getting tired, you need to push yourself to give it your best.
Choose appropriate exercises
When you are working out to build muscle, make sure that you are using the “big 3”. These are: squat, deadlift, and bench press. According to fitness experts, these are proven to increase strength and build and condition your muscles. You should always include these in one way or another in your workout.
Work out frequently
If you want to truly see gains, you need to be working out at least three times a week, which is the absolute minimum needed to stimulate muscle growth. If you have significant experience in strength training, you may be able to do more.
Make muscle building a priority
This should go without saying, but if you are trying to build muscle, this should be your main priority. You don’t want to try to build muscle and train for a marathon at the same time. While it’s true that combining cardio and weights is great, when you put both of them at extremes, the biochemistry and training physiology contradict one another and you won’t be able to maximize results.
Fuel properly (adequate nutrition)
As we mentioned, one of the mistakes people make is not getting proper nutrition and, without proper nutrition, you are not going to be able to build muscle. If you want to build muscle, you need to make sure you’re eating to encourage muscle growth. Ideally, you should keep your protein consumption about the same and reduce your consumption of refined carbs and fats.
Use caloric deficits
When you are trying to lose weight without losing muscle (or trying to increase muscle while losing weight), it’s necessary to cycle your food intake. On the days that you work out, make sure that you are eating well before and after your workout. On days that you do not workout, eat less. That being said, you should not use your workout days as an excuse to overeat.
Focus on losing body fat
If you are trying to lose weight, but build muscle, you must understand that your weight isn’t going to change much. In fact, you may actually end up gaining weight on the scale- which can be discouraging. Instead of measuring weight, measure body fat. This will give you a better idea of where you are.
Consume adequate protein
According to fitness experts, the maximum protein you need to build muscle is just under 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. A little more/less won’t make a big difference. As long as you are consuming enough protein in your diet, you should be okay- but if you need a supplement, we’ll be reviewing what we feel are the top 2 best protein supplements for building muscle later on.
Make sure that you consume protein prior to and following a weight training workout. In fact, approximately 10 to 20 grams of protein about 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to your workout is believed to stimulate a muscle-building effect once training is completed. Approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour after your workout, you should consume approximately 20 grams of protein along with some carbs. If you want to use a creatine supplement, this is an ideal time to do it.
Avoid skimping on carbs
Make sure that you are consuming sufficient carbs. If you are working out long and hard with cardio or doing circuits/bodybuilding programs, you need carbs to give you energy and maintain glucose levels. If you don’t do this, your muscle will be broken down to give your body protein and then carbs. Based on the intensity/volume of your workouts, you may need 2.3 to 4 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day.
Consider creatine supplementation
Creatine supplements are popular among bodybuilders and weightlifters. Though results vary, research indicates that approximately 5 grams each day can improve your ability to train harder and longer- which results in building muscle. Recent research has shown that creatine, along with protein and carbs, has a direct effect on building muscle.
Get adequate rest
As we mentioned earlier, not getting enough sleep can keep you from building muscle, so it’s critical that you make sure you’re getting adequate rest/sleep. This will help with muscle building and recovery. If you don’t, you may have a negative impact on your efforts and possibly end up sick or injured.
Set goals/timelines you can achieve
You must understand that you’re not going to get in shape overnight. You need to set goals and timelines that are reasonable- and be patient with yourself. Start out slow and don’t get upset if you don’t progress as you had hoped. Just keep training and eventually, you’ll have that body that you dreamed of.
Supplements to Help with Building Muscle
Now that we’ve explored common mistakes people make when trying to build muscle and also given some tips on how you can build muscle, we’re going to explore the three best supplements that can help with building muscle:
We’ll explain a little about each one and give you reviews on the top 2 best products in each category.
Muscle Building Supplement #1: Protein
When you spend any time in the gym or around fitness experts, you learn really quick that protein powder is quite popular. Many people use it for a variety of reasons: building muscle, losing weight, recovering from injury, and so much more. You can get protein through dietary sources, but unfortunately, many people don’t get adequate protein- so they turn to supplements.
At this time, there are two primary forms of protein powder: vegan and whey. Of course, since protein is so popular, there are more options on the horizon. While options are nice, it also makes it harder to choose the best one. That is why we’ve brought what we feel are the top 2 best protein supplements on the market today.
Top 2 Best Protein Reviews
XWERKS is a fitness supplement company known for bringing high quality products to the market. That being said, XWERKS Grow is a 100% pure whey protein isolate. It is sourced from dairy cows in New Zealand that are fed a 100% natural grass diet. The primary reason we chose this as the #1 supplement on our list is because of the quality that goes into it. As mentioned, it is an isolate, which means it’s easier for your stomach and digestive system to process it. This means that you don’t have to worry about gas/bloating. The best part is it is free from soy and gluten.
Each serving contains:
- Nearly 0 carbs/fat
- 25 grams protein
- 6 grams BCAAs
You can find XWERKS Grow in four decadent flavors:
- Peanut butter
The second protein powder on our list is Transparent Labs 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate. It is sourced from dairy cows in the USA that are fed a 100% natural grass diet and are never given hormones or other supplements. The primary reason we put this on our list is because it is 88% protein by weight. Each scoop is 32 grams and 28 grams of that is pure protein.
Each serving contains the following:
- 28 grams protein
- Less than 1 gram sugars
- 1 gram carbs
- 120 calories (max, based on flavor choice)
Muscle Building Supplement #2: Creatine
The next muscle building supplement we’re going to review is creatine. Creatine is a tripeptide that is naturally produced in your body, stored in the cells of your muscles, and used to produce energy during HIIT and heavy lifting workouts.
It is made up of three amino acids: arginine, methionine, and glycine. This chemical can help you push past your limits and increase gains quickly.
Top 2 Best Creatine Reviews
We know that XWERKS has proven they can bring high quality fitness supplements to the market and their creatine formula is no different. XWERKS Lift is everything you would expect from a high-quality creatine supplement. It is pure micronized creatine monohydrate, which means that your body can absorb and use it easier.
Each dose provides users with 5 grams of creatine. Since it’s unflavored, you can add it to your favorite smoothie, shake, or whatever beverage you prefer when working out.
CRN-5 by Crazy Nutrition
Crazy Nutrition is known for their high quality fitness supplements- from weight loss to weight gain, to building muscle. Their CRN-5 is actually one of the most well-known creatine supplements on the market. This formula contains 5 types of creatine:
- Citrate pyruvate
- Tri-creatine malate
- Ethyl ester
Also, CRN-5 contains electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, sodium) to help you hydrate and replenish following your workout.
Muscle Building Supplement #3: Pre-Workout
A “pre-workout” is a dietary supplement that contains a blend of ingredients formulated to improve energy and enhance athletic performance. Typically, they are powders, but there are some on the market that are capsules. This supplement should be consumed approximately 20 or 30 minutes before your workout. You will find that there are lots of formulations on the market- but typically consist of some combination of the following:
- Amino acids
- Artificial sweeteners
Now, we’re going to take a look at what we feel are the top 2 best pre-workouts on the market today.
Top 2 Best Pre-Workout Reviews
When it comes to pre-workouts, XWERKS Ignite is the greatest of all time. This product was designed with optimizing total performance in mind. This formula will improve your focus, stamina, and energy, which means that your workouts can be longer and more intense. XWERKS does not use “proprietary blends” but makes sure that every ingredient is listed along with the dosage of each.
Ingredients found in XWERKS Ignite include:
- Vitamin B6 & B12
- Rhodiola Rosea
As we have mentioned, XWERKS is well-known in the fitness industry for bringing high quality supplements to the consumer. They are a no-BS company and only use ingredients that are backed by science. This pre-workout comes in four flavors: green apple, blue raspberry, orange, and watermelon.
This formula contains several unique ingredients not found in others. This product is a favorite in fitness circles because of the beetroot powder, natural caffeine, l-theanine, and other certified ingredients.
Transparent Labs is a well-known company in the fitness supplement industry. This is a favorite among consumers because they offer a variety of muscle-building supplements that help users reach a variety of health and fitness goals.
At this time, Transparent Labs offers 6 pre-workout formulas. These are:
- Stim-Free Pre-Workout
- Bulk Pre-Workout
- HowToBeast Pre-Workout
- Lean Pre-Workout
- Jessie James West Bulk
This pre-workout comes in several unique flavors, including:
- Strawberry Lemonade
- Sour Grape
- Green Apple
- Blue Raspberry
Most people go to the gym in hopes of building muscle. When they don’t see results, they often give up. However, the reason they are not seeing results is because they are making mistakes. In this article, we talked about some of the most common mistakes that people make in the gym as well as what they can do instead to build muscle. We’ve also gone over the top 2 protein, creatine, and pre-workout supplements to help you get a better idea of what you need to do next.
RELATED:Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Men and Women
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