Getting big is not easy! No matter how many ads you may have seen from supplement companies showing how their users gained “30 pounds of rock hard mass in 6 weeks”, the fact remains that in real life mass gains are a lot slower.
However the most important point is that mass gain is possible, and it requires a lot of dedication and hard work. But what if you have not made any progress for 6 months or more since beginning your weight training journey, or even worse for a year or so? If that is the case then you need to do some investigation.
There may be many reasons for your failure as you can understand. Do remember that rest and recovery are no lesser factors that must be considered when you do your investigation. More often than not over eager beginners will neglect recovery, and thus fail to grow. Remember that your muscles grow the most outside the gym. So not taking recovery seriously is a major mass killer! Try to get 7-9 hours of deep sleep each night, and try to keep participation in other sports under control if getting big is a priority.
Besides rest and recovery there are 3 very common factors that are often neglected too. Read on and see if you too have been making these mistakes.
Now to be honest with you, I will admit these are not going to be some secret hidden factors that you were never probably aware about. They are on the other hand going to be factors that you probably knew from day 1 but maybe did not give much importance to. Here they are:
1) Not eating enough - I am aware that nowadays diets that call for fasting are becoming very popular. But hey, whether they work for fat loss or not, the fact is that you are not trying to lose fat! Your goal is to gain size, and for that you must eat big. And if you are serious about size gains then you will do best not to plan a program that aims for maximum fat loss while gaining maximum muscle mass at the same time.
No, you do not have to eat 10 meals and total 600 grams of protein a day, but a steady supply of nutrients is a must to help your body grow big. Somewhere between 3-5 meals a day is a great way to go depending on your daily schedule. In those 3-5 meals try to get in 2500 calories or more depending on your need. If you make progress good, if not then add some further calories.
You will also do well to maintain a good balance of nutrients. To have too much of one nutrient and completely avoid another food group is not the best way to go when looking to add inches to your body. This means that do not ignore carbs or dietary fat in the quest for a very high protein intake.
2) Trying to follow advanced or complicated programs - Picture this and tell me what’s wrong with it:
A guy who has been training for 3 months benches 100 pounds for 3 sets of 5 reps on a particular training day. After the session he feels that he has a weak point in his bench press which he must eliminate. To do so he starts wondering if it is the lower position or the last ¼ of the press at the top that is his limiting factor. He then tries different methods like board presses, compensatory acceleration, etc to improve on his weak point. Now what do you think went wrong?
Here is the real deal the guy is just too weak everywhere! If you are benching only 100 pounds then every point is a weak point and you must work the whole movement to get good at it. Yes, once you get stuck at 220-250 pounds, then you can think about weak point training. But until then stick only to benching to help your muscles get more efficient at the movement to be able to lift more. Think of practicing the move rather than working out.
And don’t even get me started on other similar complicated way to enhance your lifts. Just be patient and work hard, that itself will take you a long way before you will need to think of the more complicated methods.
3) Too much variety and too little progression - Search the net and you will probably find millions of mass gaining programs that you can follow. Some of them are good while some of them are just simply rubbish! Unfortunately the availability of so many programs tempts many trainees to keep changing programs too frequently and not progress at all.
One of the most important factors to get big is to get strong. Yet, many trainees will keep trying different sets, reps, tempo of the same exercise without increasing the actual weight that they are lifting. In a nutshell, too much variety and too little progression!
Think of doing shoulder presses one day with dumbbells and the other day with kettlebells while still lifting the same 35 pounds. Sure, the two bells require a slightly different amount of effort, but at 35 pounds pressing them both overhead is not that significantly different as say pressing 35 pounds and pressing 53 pounds! So evaluate your journal and see if you have made any actual progress or have just been pushing the same weight for the last 6 months.
So there you have three reasons that probably did not reveal any new top secret that has been stolen from the most scientifically advanced top secret lab (if that is what you were looking for). You do however have three factors to look into that may very well be holding you back or more appropriately the muscle fibers that are wanting to grow big in your body. Work on eliminating the mistakes and get ready to grow!