Why You're NOT Building Muscle!

This article takes a close look at the reasons why you're not building muscle and gaining weight. Read this is you're having trouble getting big!

Here’s a question I see time and time again in online bodybuilding & fitness forums:

“Hi, I have been working out for __ [insert long time period here] months and I have only gained __ [insert small amount of weight here] pounds. I train hard and have been taking XYZ supplements. I can’t gain weight or get stronger! Please help!”

This is an all too common story for people with no experience or knowledge on how to build muscle and gain weight. In most cases, after trying to gain weight for several months the person will quit. That’s a pity, because the only thing stopping the person from progressing is knowledge.

In this article I’m going to discuss in detail the possible reasons why you’re not building muscle. I’ve got 15 reasons listed below, which covers 99% of reasons why you’re not growing. If you feel you’re doing everything I’ve talked about here, and you’re still not growing, let’s take it one step further and talk about it on our forum.

15 Reasons why you’re not building muscle:

1. You’re not getting enough calories

Calorie consumption is the solution to about 90% of the complaints lifters have about not being about to get bigger and/or stronger. Your body requires a certain number of calories to maintain your current weight. This figure is known as basal metabolic rate (BMR), and varies from person to person depending on your weight, muscle mass, activity level, age etc. If your calorie intake is lower than BMR, you will lose weight. This is known as a calorie deficit. If your daily calorie intake is higher than your BMR, you will gain weight. This is known as a calorie surplus.

How do you know how many calories your body needs?

The easiest way to calculate your BMR is to use our BMR calculator. This calculator uses the Harris Benedict Formula (one of the most accurate methods) to calculate your daily calorie requirements. Go over to the calculator and work out your daily calorie requirements. Most people are surprised at how many calories they need just for maintenance!

Let’s focus on your goal. You want to build muscle and gain weight, so your calorie intake needs to be more than your expenditure. Take the figure the calculator gave you and add 500. This is how many calories you should be eating every day to build muscle.

Example:

  • Your calculated BMR is 2,760 calories
  • You require 3,260 calories for weight gain
  • You require 2,260 calories for weight loss

Muscular physique

Calorie consumption is the solution to about 90% of the complaints lifters have about not being about to get bigger and/or stronger.

2. You’re not eating the right foods

Generally speaking, if you’re eating excess calories every day and training with a decent workout you’ll grow. But, if you’re not eating the right foods, the chances are that you’ll be limiting your potential, putting on excess body fat, and not growing enough lean muscle.

The best way to plan your muscle building diet is to split it up into protein/carbohydrate/fat (P/C/F) ratios. Arguably the best ratio of muscle growth is 30/50/20. This mean you’re getting 30% of your total calories from protein, 50% from carbohydrates and 20% from fats.

So let’s look at our 3,260 calorie diet from above and break it up:

  • 30% of 3,260 is 980 calories from protein.
    Divide by 4, and that’s 244g protein per day
  • 50% of 3,260 is 1630 calories from carbs.
    Divide by 4, and that’s 408g carbs per day
  • 20% of 3,260 is 650 calories from fat.
    Divide by 9, and that’s 72g fat per day

Now all you need to do is spread those amounts over 6-7 meals per day. For more detailed information on building a diet see our how to create a bodybuilding diet article.

3. You’re not eating enough meals

When you eat is just as important as what you eat. The days of eating “3 square meals” are long gone. Research has shown that eating more smaller meals is not only great for promoting a fast metabolism, but helps maintain, lose, and gain weight. Think of your body like a log fire. If you put too much wood on at once, the fire burns slow and sluggish. But if you gradually add more wood as the fire gets bigger, it burns more efficiently and gets bigger.

You should be aiming for a minimum for 6 meals spread at even intervals throughout the day. You want to make these meals as even as possible, but it’s OK to eat a bit more at breakfast/lunch/dinner if you don’t have time during the other breaks.

So you’re probably thinking, “I don’t have time to eat all those meals”. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that I could retire. The truth is you can, it just requires a bit for forward planning. There are endless ways you can cook and store food for meals throughout the day. Spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon cooking up your lunches and snacks for the week. Use your imagination. Here’s some examples of foods you can cook, then freeze or refrigerate.

  • Chili
  • Stir fry
  • Mexican chicken & potatoes
  • Pasta bowls
  • Potato and chicken salad
  • Beef stew

The other option is weight gain shakes. There’s nothing easier than banging some water into a shaker with some powder, having a shake, and drinking. Good meal replacement shakes usually contain around 600 calories with good amounts of protein, BCAAs, glutamine and carbohydrates. It’s literally a meal in a cup. All you need is a few shaker bottles, add the powder before work, then just add water and drink on the job. Simple.

4. You’re not getting enough water

Water is nature’s wonder supplement, it’s essential for a whole host of bodily functions. Many lifters underestimate the importance of being hydrated well before they step into the gym. If you feel dehydrated just before you’re about to train, it’s too late, you won’t be able to rehydrate yourself time. Keeping yourself hydrated should be a priority from the moment you get out of bed. Dehydration is a serious problem, and in extreme cases can lead to death. Here are some signs of dehydration you should look out for:

  • Feeling thirsty (obviously)
  • Fatigue. Feeling tired for no apparent reason.
  • Dry mouth and possible sore throat
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine with strong odor

Drinking an adequate amount of water is easy, and there’s no excuse why you cannot do it. Just take a bottle wherever you go and keep sipping out of it throughout the day.

Some supplements, like creatine, may lead to dehydration. If you’re using creatine monohydrate you should increase the amount of water your consuming.

Dumbbell rows

If you’re not gaining it may be due to lack of motivation. Can you honestly say you put in 100% every time you hit the gym?

5. Your workout routine sucks

Choosing the right routine to suit your body type, training experience and goal is vital. Many new lifters get their workout routines from magazines and articles written by professional bodybuilders. These workouts are not designed for beginners, and will only lead to a lot of wasted time, energy and frustration.

A good workout routine needs the following:

  1. Training days arranged to allow for adequate rest
  2. Muscle groups arranged so overtraining does not occur
  3. Muscle groups arranged so that each muscle can be worked to maximum effect
  4. A good selection of compound and isolation exercises
  5. Good warm up and cool down

We have a big database of workouts on this site that have been designed for beginners right through to advanced lifters. Check out our workouts section.

It’s also important to know and understand the characteristics of your body type. Different body types respond to different methods of training. What works for your friends may not work for you. For more information on body types see our “which of the body types are you?” article.

6. You’ve been using the same workout too long

Building muscle is simply the process of the body reacting to increased stress. You put stress on your muscles in the gym, and they grow bigger to cope with the stress. The body is very quick to adapt to any changes, this includes your workout. Once your body adapts to your workout routine, it will not see the need to build more muscle or get stronger. You have to change.

As a general rule you should change your workout when you stop getting stronger or heavier, or after about 8-10 weeks. If you’ve been doing your workout for 12 weeks and you’re still growing, don’t change it, everyone is different – if you’re still growing, stick to it. We have plenty of great workouts on this site for all experience levels. Check out the workouts section.

7. You’re not focused on progression

Progression builds muscle, without it you won’t grow. Progression is the constant increase of weight, stress and intensity required to tell your body that it needs to grow more muscle.

You should aim to improve at least one aspect of your workout every week. It could be increasing the weight, it could be your increase the reps, but it has to be something. This is where a training log becomes so important. Before every workout you should look back at what you did the previous week, exact weights and reps. Choose the areas you want to improve, and get in the gym and do it.

If you’re finding that you can’t progress (ie you’re not getting stronger) read the other points in this article, especially the points about diet and workout routines.

8. Your exercise technique is bad

You’re doing the right exercises, but are you doing them right? If you want to place the maximum amount of stress on the muscle, and prevent serious injuries, you have to execute every movement with good form. Don’t copy what others are doing in the gym, this is how bad habits spread. Here are a few general rules that apply to most exercises:

  • Keep your reps slow and controlled
  • Don’t use momentum to move weight (no swinging!)
  • Use a full range of motion
  • Don’t lock joints out at the top of movements

Check out the exercises section on this site for instructional videos on how to do all the muscle building exercises correctly.

Barbell deadlift

It’s important to know and understand the characteristics of your body type. Different body types respond to different methods of training.

9. You’re doing the wrong exercises

This goes hand in hand with a solid workout routine. Doing the wrong exercises is a common mistake made by new lifters. Usually, the lifter is either doing too many isolation exercises and not enough compounds, or only doing exercises they “like”.

Big compound movements recruit the most muscle fibers and place the most stress on the body. These are your big muscle builders. A good compound to isolation ratio is 2-1, or 3-1. So for every 2-3 compound exercises you do, you do 1 isolation. This of course does not apply to arms, forearms, and calves where most exercises are isolation movements. Here are some big mass builders that you should be including in your routine:

  1. Squat
  2. Deadlift
  3. Wide grip pull up
  4. Chin up
  5. Rows
  6. Bench press (dumbbell and/or barbell)
  7. Dips
  8. Shoulder press (dumbbell or barbell)

Check out the exercises section for instruction on these exercises.

10. You’re not training your legs

Want to increase your bench, increase your squat. Yeah, yeah, I know we all want big biceps and chests, but here’s 2 reasons why you should train your legs just as hard as the rest of your body.

Firstly, think long term here. Do you want to get the ostrich look?! A big upper body on thin legs does not look good, in fact I’ve seen it in extremes, and it’s laughable! Secondly, exercises like squats have an impact on your whole body. Not only does it use most of your upper body muscles in the movement, but this exercise is so stressful that the body releases growth hormone to try and cope with the load. This effects the entire body.

Leg training is hard, but essential for a well developed physique. See the leg exercises section for detailed instructions on how to do leg exercises using strict technique.

11. You’re not getting enough rest

This point kind of goes back to point #5, your workout routine does not allow for adequate rest. Rest is just as important as training. Many people believe that muscle building takes place in the gym, but it’s actually the opposite. Weight training is actually creating millions of tears in the muscle tissue. In effect, you’re actually damaging the muscle. Your muscles get “pumped up” because of the swelling caused and increased blood flow to the area. The actual muscle building (repair and growth of new muscle tissue) takes place out of the gym, when you’re resting and sleeping.

There are 2 ways you may not be getting enough rest. First, you are training too many days without taking as day off. Although you may not feel it, you body needs days of complete rest to recover from hard training sessions. It’s not just the muscles that need to recover, it’s your whole neurological system, tendons, joints, even your brain need rest.

Secondly, and this comes back to your workout routine again, you may not be allowing muscle groups to fully recover between training sessions. If you do not allow enough recovery time, your muscles will not grow. It’s that simple. If your muscle group is still sore from the previous workout, don’t train it. For most muscle groups, one training session per week is adequate. Some smaller muscle groups like calves and abs may be trained twice, but still need at least 2 days of rest between sessions.

12. You’re not getting enough sleep

Sleeping is you body’s time to recharge. For you, the weight trainer, it’s your body’s time to repair damaged muscle tissue, and grow more muscle. As I discussed in the previous point, no rest, no muscle. Aim to get around 7-8 hours of good quality sleep every night. Here’s some tips on how to get a good night’s rest:

  • Only sleep when you’re tired. There’s no point it trying to when you’re not.
  • Develop sleeping rituals, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.
  • Refrain from stressful activities for 1-2 hours before bed
  • Don’t take stimulates within 4-6 hours before bed time
  • Have a light snack before bed

13. Your post workout nutrition sucks

Your post workout shake/meal is arguably the most important meal of the day. When you finish your workout, your muscles are crying out for nutrients that were lost during training. Your protein levels are down, creatine levels are down, and glycogen is depleted. Most people think that a simple whey protein shake is all that’s needed after your workout. This is not true. While a protein shake is better than nothing, it still falls well short of a good post workout shake. Here’s what would be better:

Shake containing the following:

  1. 30-40g of whey protein powder
  2. 5g of creatine
  3. 60-70g of dextrose

1 hour later:

A well rounded meal containing protein, complex carbs and fats.

You see above I’ve pimped out your post workout shake by adding dextrose and creatine. Dextrose is the simplest of simple carbohydrates. Studies have shown that taking dextrose in these doses creates a huge spike of insulin in the body. Insulin is an extremely anabolic hormone and helps move nutrients quickly throughout the body. This means that the creatine, protein and BCAAs are quickly absorbed into muscle cells where they’re needed for muscle repair to begin.

14. Your pre-workout nutrition sucks

Carbohydrates are the key to having adequate fuel in your tank for a hard workout. There are 2 types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates (like dextrose mentioned above) are quickly converted into energy for use in the body. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and process, but provide you with long lasting energy. Complex carbohydrates are your primary fuel source for your workouts.

What you eat throughout the day, and 1.5-3 hours before your workout is going to affect how much energy you have. Like I mentioned at the start of this article, you need to space your meals out evenly throughout the day. If you eat a big breakfast, a big lunch, then train after work, you’re probably going to feel tired and sluggish. What would be better a better approach would be to eat a small breakfast, mid morning meal, smaller lunch, afternoon meal, then train after work. This gives you about 2 hours between your last meal and training, which is ideal.

So what should you have in your pre workout meal? This meal should be well rounded, containing protein, complex carbohydrate and fats. The amount of calories in the meal depends on your personal diet plan. Try and keep the protein/carbs/fats (PCF) ratio to around 30/50/20. Here is some examples of quality sources of complex carbohydrates:

  • Brown rice
  • Potatoes
  • Brown bread
  • Pasta
  • Oats
  • Pita bread

15. You’re not motivated

Finally, if you’re not gaining it may be due to lack of motivation. Can you honestly say you put in 100% every time you hit the gym? There are several ways you can help yourself stay motivated and focused on your goals.

  • Keep a training diary
  • Set small bi-weekly achievable goals (use your training diary to record results, good or bad)
  • Take before and after pictures
  • Get a picture of someone you want to look like and stick it someplace you’ll see it all the time.
  • Get involved with discussions about muscle building and learn more (check out our forum)
  • Watch training and workout videos from the pros before you train
  • Fire yourself up before a session with some music that gets you going

OK, let’s recap.

Let’s quickly recap what I’ve just talked about in this article. So if you want to build muscle and gain weight you need to…

  1. Know how many calories your body needs, then eat 500 more than that every day.
  2. Eat the right amount of protein, carbs and fats in your diet.
  3. Eat 6-7 meals spread out evenly throughout the day.
  4. Keep yourself hydrated all day, whether you’re working out or not.
  5. Get a good workout routine to suit your goals.
  6. If you’re not growing, change your routine.
  7. Make sure you’re progressively adding more weight.
  8. Always use correct exercise technique
  9. Do the right exercises for your goal
  10. Train your legs as hard as the rest of your body
  11. Get enough rest between workouts and muscle groups
  12. Get enough sleep
  13. Have good post workout nutrition and supplementation
  14. Have good pre workout nutrition
  15. Keep motivated!

I hope this article has shown you the light, and you can see where you’ve been going wrong. If not, you can always head over to our muscle building forum and ask one of our experienced members for some advice on your training, workout, supplements or diet.

Good luck with reaching your goals!

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86 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 04/07/2015 - 15:22
Brandie

I realize the craze over these workout shakes are warranted and help maintain nutrition in our crazy chaotic lives. The problem is, I can't take any of them. I have IBD. I can't have any dairy products (proteins or sugars) because I'm allergic to dairy- literally. I can't have pea, egg, soy or any other protein as I have the worst reaction from them. I can however have an egg in its natural form. I can have salmon... Other than that- I'm not sure how to increase my protein without gaining to much fat. I'm currently 125 lbs and 64 inches. Id love advice on increasing my protein with things that are soy and dairy free because I've been realizing that they add soy and dairy to everything. Of'course I can eat a chicken breast or a steak... What else? My workout:
I run on alternating days ( 3 miles on weekdays, 6 miles weekends at 7-8mph pace with sprinting)
Arms: I do all arm centered machines at gym three days a week. I do a circuit of free weights after including chin-ups with about 30lbs assistance still. My free weights are 35lbs. Most arm machines I'm using 55-70lbs. I preform 4 sets of max reps which is usually 12-15 depending on exercise.

Legs: squats on smith machine (5 sets 12 reps of 130 lbs), add and Abbductor ( 210lbs same rep/set), hamstring press (90 lbs same rep/set), leg press ( 210lbs same rep and set), stair climber for 30 minutes.

Abs: p90x etc

I eat healthy with no dairy as it eliminates a great portion of fat;however, I still am not gaining muscle after months of increasing weight and intensity. I know it has to be calorie or protein. I recently stopped doing cardio on training days because doing cardio afterward wasn't reaping any results.

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Posted Thu, 01/01/2015 - 05:14
prakash

I have been training for 17 months from now. in the early months of my workout I did see considerable difference in my mass of my body getting shaped. but later after 4 to 5 months it stopped to grow. now after 17 months I thing I am doing something wrong and not gaining anything.

I do workout a home. I have a bench and weights. my workout is:
1) Monday chest
2) Tuesday biceps forarms
3) wed triceps neck
4) thu-back
5) frid--leg
6)sat--abs
7) sun--rest

I have see that my body is not gaining muscle also my weight line is 37 inches which is not going down at all.

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Posted Thu, 11/27/2014 - 13:17
Reza

Hello, and thanks to the author of this article for covering everything so well. As someone who hasn't worked out alot in teens and early 20s, I feel I have much potential and definitely count as a 'beginner' lifter. The problem is, even before I find fault in potentially not exerting myself hard enough and/or often enough, I know I struggle badly with factor # 1; also a bit with #12 (enough sleep). I have erratic sleep patterns and don't always sleep to easily if others around me are still awake. This can easily be the more minor problem that I will hopefully find a way to overcome. Major problem still being #1- enough calories. I know I am relatively an ectomorph- probably somewhere between ectomorph and mesomorph, but closer to the former. Calorie counting seems like an exercise in futility and laughableness. I know I need to be able to measure , track, and record important factors. But how do you tell how much calories is in a small or medium piece of squash??! Everyday foods that aren't straight out of a package or fast-food and you're unsure of their portion size- how do you know how much calories these are?? In anycase, if I at least for one day get through to estimating and actually counting calories- as if I have nothing else to do or think about- I will be glad. I'll just try to model all other days like that one to minimize or rid myself of the counting issue on future occasions. Weight scales for food?? Don't have one. Any help is appreciated.

Also an aside question: do pushups mostly work arms and shoulders only, for the person who is weaker in those areas (and feels he hardly gets much chest exertion from this)?

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Posted Wed, 10/01/2014 - 00:21
Albert

NIce one

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Posted Wed, 10/01/2014 - 00:19
Albert

Great comments. This should be read by new beginners and old ones who wants to achieve physique at their desire level. Thanks for this article.

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Posted Thu, 08/14/2014 - 03:39
Horacio Antuna

I workout late night. After my post workout nutrition I'm off to bed, thus not being able to get that last meal on after an hour. I consume my Marcos throught the day and meet my numbers.

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Posted Thu, 08/14/2014 - 03:36
Horacio Antuna

What if you train late night, and after your post workout protein shake you go to bed. I can't get that last meal in.

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Posted Thu, 08/07/2014 - 19:14
Mark C.

Outstanding advice, just what I needed!

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Posted Sat, 06/07/2014 - 08:47
merlinwhitfordm

I have read a few good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you put to make such a magnificent informative web site.

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Posted Wed, 05/07/2014 - 08:07
ryan

less of the supplements eat real food ofcoarse you could eat the food while drinking your protein that could work but your actually replacing meals with your supplement you should never skip a meal supplements are there to help along with food to get you bigger, you need to do good sets when working out push your body to the limit and you will see results

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Posted Tue, 04/08/2014 - 01:51
Johnny_Moss

Very new to this and at my age of 32, I know I can't eat as I did when I was 16 and have the lean body that I did. I gained weight a while back, 230 lbs., and have lost it all. I am now at my high school weight of 145 but I'm not as lean as I was when I was younger. I drink water all day long but feel bloated at the end of the day and that feeling is was makes me feel tired at the gym. Is there a way I can get this bloated feeling to go a way? It's slowing me down and keeps me from eating too. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Posted Mon, 03/24/2014 - 11:41
nippy

hey its been almost 6 months since i joined a gym nearby. i was slightly overweight. so i focussed on weight loss as well as muscle. after 6 months i dont see much gain but strength has increased. weight remains constant now. i can do 12.5 hammer curls of 10 reps and 4 sets, with tricep pushdown at 45 kg 4 sets. can u suggest me how can i increase muscle size?
i supplement myself with one scoop of iso100 whey after workout. i want to gain some size. i have strength but not size. what should i do?

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Posted Mon, 02/17/2014 - 21:14
Dawud

Would you like to maximize your results of any of these workout routines?
Many people often are lost when it comes to nutrition for building muscle or
increasing strength. You could be busting your butt in the gym and not
maximizing your ability to build muscle. Why limit your gains because of lack
of quality nutrition? Luckily there is a solution for you –http://health.hasansite.com/index.html

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Posted Sat, 01/25/2014 - 02:33
Ian

Im doing chest , shoulder and bicep and tricep. And abs.. What should i do?

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Posted Wed, 01/15/2014 - 10:38
Stevie

Hi, I am a 21 year old male who has been working out for around 2 months. I feel i am doing most things right although i aint getting the results. heres what you need to know, i am 6", 175lbs. Also, i am and endomorph

My diet is

Breakfast: USN Muscle Fuel Anabolic shake (100 grams of powder, 400 ml water)
Bowl of oatmeal (unsugared)
Fish oil supplement

Mid Morning: 1 can of tuna on wholemeal bread
Orange
0.5 litres of water

Lunch: Turkey slices on wholemeal bread
Apple
Bannana
0.5 litres of water

Pre workout: 100 grams wholemeal pasta with 1 can of tuna
Orange
L-arginine supplement

Dinner: 2x chicken breast/steaks/turkey breasts or 100 grams very lean mince
50 grams wholemeal (brown) rice
Leafy green veg

Post workout: Another protein shake
5 whole eggs drunk raw (it aint that bad)
BCAA supplement

My workout:
I purchased the arnold encyclopedia of bodybuilding and am near enough copying the level 1 6 day workout, i workout in the house so cant do it exact but i have added different excersices to compensate for the machines i dont have.

I always workout in the 8-12 rep range, at roughly 75-85% of my one rep max, however i add 2kg per set and workout for four sets of each exersice.

I always feel i get a good pump and enjoy my workout but i am not getting the results, where am i going wrong?

I get at least 8 hours sleep per night, stick to my diet and do not eat any rubbish, i have worked out i am gettin aroun 213 grams of protein, but as i am an endomorph i try to keep the fat low and calories low.

i know it does not happen overnight but i am considering giving up, supplements are expensive and so is eating clean, so why waste the money is what i am thinking.

Please help

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Posted Thu, 01/09/2014 - 13:53
CC

Hello. I'm a 14 year old in high school. I work on my shoulders, triceps, biceps a lot. Sometimes chest, stomach, legs and forearms. I'm pretty strong for my size, I can beat people much bigger than me in arm wrestles, if that counts as a benchmark. I'm also very light, around 10 stone to be precise.
But my question is:
-Why am I getting stronger, but not bigger?-
I use a heavy weight, so I can just do around 10 reps, about 5 sets. I don't workout that often, Maybe 3 times a week at minimum. And honestly, I don't really diet either. I do eat a lot of calories though. What can I do to improve?

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Posted Sun, 11/10/2013 - 05:00
vikas

hi wassup well i have been hitting gym 3-4 days a week but no gains really ..work out for 45 mins ..but i feel my muscles keep getting shifted within my body ..not able to add any new muscle ..i feel my internal protein(muscles) are fuelling the muscles i hit on that particular day ..so when i hit upper body my lower body compensates and vice versa ,.any solution
i do compound movements
monday- shoulder trapezius
tues- back biceps
wednesday-off
thursday - chest and triceps
friday-off
saturday -legs and calves
exercises included flat bench press ,inclined bench press,close grip bench press,skull cursher...wide grippull down ,deadlifts,bent over row.close grippull down ,biceps curl ,hammer curl,squat &miscellaneous legs exercises,military press
ifollow each of the things u said and yet not able to gain weight ..any medical condition i may be suffering from or do i have low testesterone levels (i have a lump beneath my nips which makes me think i have low testesterone)

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Posted Tue, 10/22/2013 - 17:28
mohamed mohsen

60-70g of dextrose how many bananas ?

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 14:23
Ebrahim

There is no shortcuts to success when building muscle. Consistency is very important to make any sort of gains.

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 09:38
jim

to gain muscle mass eat good lift heavy and fast and work hard and trick is drink a shit load of water ... LIFT HEAVY . and dont over do it and let your muscle rest

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Posted Sun, 07/07/2013 - 08:26
ahmed

hey guys, im not sure if i am meeting the gain expectation. im 19, mesomorph and have been working out for nearly a year now. my aim was to get bulk. i was 141lbs now i am 161lbs (thats 20lbs gain). im eating a lot and consistently throughout the day. i can see that i have gone leaner, i gained a little bit of height too. but i dont believe i am as big as some friends that have started later than me. they are the same age and body type, but i see they have better body shape.
i dont take any protein powders or anything, just bought whey protein yesterday actually. i just thought maybe that is the case? that im not meeting my caloric/ protein intake, but i checked my caloric intake, and its around 3500 calories a day (no fast or junk food at all, all veggies and meat and all that healthy stuff)
so in general, is 20lbs gain in one year good, as in meeting the expectations or not. (i know that not all that is lean muscle, but i can tell its close, cause my body fat hasnt changed much)
thank you

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Posted Sat, 07/06/2013 - 14:50
sugen

i'hv jst started workout. I'm skinny with big tummy. I'm trying 2 follow ur precious tips n its working. Thanks a lot !

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Posted Sat, 05/11/2013 - 16:26
Joe

Steve, I'm 28 64kg trying to gain muscle mass, I work 7am to 1630 ish. My question is when should I work out and eat my meals and shakes? Currently I eat a large ish breaky and lunch with 3 or 4 snacks between, then work out mon,tue,fri after work followed by dinner then a shake before bed. I don't think I'm getting enough kalories but can't see when to fit it all in? Should I wait till after dinner to work out?

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Posted Sun, 04/21/2013 - 08:18
himanshu

Sir i am 5ft 10 inchs and my weight is 77kg . i want to build muscle...which i am not able to build...i had read ur article...so sir i wanna ask u that can i take a weight gainer to fullfill my carbs intake....along wid protien..?i want to build lean muscle not fat...so it will be good to take a weight gainer rich in carbs to fullfill my carbs intake..?

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Posted Wed, 01/16/2013 - 10:05
genuwinewine

I don't understand. I do all of the above mentioned and I am only getting stronger, I am not gaining any weight on the scale. I eat before and after a workout, I make sure I get enough calories each day, and enough protein each meal, I change up the rep-range in my workout routine every week, I sleep 6-8 hours every day, I only train a muscle group once a week, and I go to the gym 4 days a week. I do cardio 3 times a week, maybe this is the problem? Someone help?

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Posted Wed, 01/16/2013 - 16:35
Joey

You're still not taking in enough calories.

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Posted Thu, 01/03/2013 - 23:50
Milton Acevedo

First of all, congratulations!
This article is amazing, I learnt a lot with it.
I have a question:
Would you allow me translate this article to brazilian portuguese / spanish, and post it in communities and forums?
I think it will be very helpful to people who can´t read in english.
Of course, I will mention who was the author and the link for original article.
Thanks in advance,

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Posted Sat, 12/15/2012 - 04:51
shane

Thanks for giving knowledge to others.This is really helpful for all who like to build muscles.

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Posted Mon, 11/12/2012 - 23:38
James

I started working out 3 days a week a few months ago, and I have noticed I am gaining weight. I've switched between a lot of different protein mixes, and I am working to increase my caloric intake (due to financial restrictions, it's hard for me to get adequate foods to eat multiple times a day until next month hopefully). Regardless, I try to get in close to 3000 calories a day. I weight around 165, but from eating so much, I can see some fat in my stomach. I have noticed my muscles getting bigger, and my lifts are heavier now. I am worried that if I start picking up cardio again to rid some of my belly fat, I will slowly start to lose weight again, and lose all progress I have made so far.

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Posted Tue, 12/04/2012 - 19:39
mnsjason

Hey James,

As I'm sure you are aware, it takes a calorie surplus to build muscle mass. Unfortunately, this also leads to your body storing a bit of fat. You can limit this with your diet, adjusting calories where needed. Be careful not to cut too many, obviously. I recommend cardio on rest days with any mass building routine, so don't worry about losing progress as a result. The important thing is to pay attention to how your body responds. If you're losing weight, then adjustments need to be made. 

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Posted Sat, 10/20/2012 - 15:19
prakass

hi i am 20 years of age i am 60 kg with 5.8 ft.i would like to gain mass on my body i am workin out almost 4 months now.no chage at all.
here it is my work out rotine
monday..bicep tricep chest trap
tuesday leg,abs,
wed....bicep tricep shoulder
thursday rest
friday.. chest abs bicep tricep
saturday..legs shoulder trap back
so my diet is like regular food
i am asian so i eat much rice
morning egg with bread
lunch..fast food mac,subway,burger king,or grill cause i need to work at lunch time
dinner,,rice with chicken,vegetable,white rice
and i also take protin shake called muscle and size gainer
so need some help please ...

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Posted Sat, 09/22/2012 - 09:46
Mark Panzer

I lost alot of muscle over time because I've gotta busy and I'm also a ectomorph and I need help from you like maybe you could email me a workout routine please? My bench used to be my bodyweight (like 110) now it's only 60 pleAse help me and give me some tips for beat muscle growth and how long it will tAke, thank you.

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Posted Wed, 09/26/2012 - 14:29
Joey

Hey Mark,

Read over this article. Pick a good beginner routine and stick with it - focus on progression! https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner

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Posted Tue, 10/02/2012 - 22:25
Mark panzer

Thank you, do you think 100 rep challenge might be worth trying? Then just do different workout routine after ? Like 1 day of 100 rep

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Posted Tue, 08/07/2012 - 23:14
Abhishek Vastrad

hi Steve, this question may be strange and weird but this has what happened over past 6months with me while weightlifting to gain muscle, im a ectomorph and weigh 136lb(current weight) i started to workout about 6 months ago during which i took ON Serious mass weight gainer suppliment , although i noticed a good change in weight and strength it wasent the issue, i increased my height instead of building muscle ,im 21years old now and i went from 175cm to 177 cm while taking ON serious mass, later which i noticed my increased height more than my muscle gains, i left suppliments for a month due to budget cuts and later bought another pack of MHP up your mass,, and again this time instead of gaining muscles over period of another 3 months i noticed yesterday that my height went from 177cm to 179.4cm, im quite not understanding why my body is increasing my height instead of building muscle ,my nutritional intake is correct , taking teh rigth amountt of carbs, proteins and fats, 6months before my weight was 124lbs now i weight 136lbs ,although my weight has increased when i look in mirror i look almost similar to what i looked 6months back, but what in the world is going on inside my body?

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Posted Sun, 07/22/2012 - 05:41
Danny Mac

Hi Steve and all, i am new to going to the gym im getting into it and have great motivation but am still pretty clueless!! I need a good weekly eating plan and a plan of what to work each day i go 3 times a week to my regular gym can you help me out with guidelines what to eat and what to work which days or point me in a good direction to elsewher, Thanks found youre pages useful and have saved them to read

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Posted Tue, 06/12/2012 - 13:19
rahul

i have been training my self since a year.....but i am not able to gain even a single pound.....still am very regular to gym.....what to do when i joined the zym i was 75 i had good weight....but now 68 ....please help......

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Posted Sat, 06/09/2012 - 08:01
smith

Dear conard its my advice to please stop training at the age of 56 no matter how hard you try you wont see any improvements you wasted your young age studying now is not the time....you will hurt ur bone or back forever just spend time with your family....

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Posted Sat, 03/08/2014 - 19:02
David

There is some bad advice on this comment thread but this is by far the worst. I know someone who trains at the same gym as me and he is 74. He has serious muscle and lifts big. As you age you lose more muscle so it is more important to train in order to maintain your muscle mass. But if you have never trained before you can still build a lot of muscle too. Obviously don't overdo it, especially at the start. But don't quit. You should definitely train at 56; and you should definitely train at 76.

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Posted Mon, 06/04/2012 - 11:26
conrad

I have been working for almost 2 years with a trainer. i am an ectomorph and am having a tough time gaining muscle mass. My trainer is very thorough, and says that age could be playing a role. I am 56. Changed my diet 6 months ago to increase protein, around 120 to 150 g per day now.I weigh 216 lb and 6ft 5.5in. We use a digital scale that measures hydration, etc. and prints it. Last month I weighed 220lb, gained 4.4lb total from which he calculated that 1.6lb was lean muscle, 1.8lb fat, 1.0 lb hydration. Now Iam back to 216 lb again. Could you comment? I have 2 questions: what can I do to offset the age factor? Are these types of scales accurate? Thanks in advance.

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Posted Fri, 06/01/2012 - 08:21
Nancy Gazzaz

How many times should i work out my gluteus area if i want it bigger!
in a week??

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Posted Tue, 05/01/2012 - 08:12
jack

at 17 , would it in some cases be really hard to put on mass regardless of diet , rest , intensity , hydration , and technique. becuase that seems to be whats happenin with me, is it becuase im still growing? i dont think its my somatotype becuase ive never been ectomophic , allways had a layer of bellyfat and love handles but small arms , lower legs and narrow shoulders.

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Posted Fri, 04/20/2012 - 15:49
wade

i'm eating right i'm taking supplements and working out two times a day fir the past three months and yet still not seeing little to no results in my body yet my strength keeps increasing what could i be doing wrong?

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Posted Sat, 03/31/2012 - 10:03
jakew17

hi, im jake from wigan
my current weight is 190lbs, yet i can bench 374lbs for a set of 8, i can also deadlift 396lbs for a set of 4
my problem is i have been 190lbs for over a year now, but ive just gained huge amounts of strength, i used to bench 198lbs and now im doing 374lbs, what is going on?
my diet consisters of 3 whey protein shakes 1 in the morning, enening and night with 55g of protein in each, i dont know the ammount of carbs due to the fact that i pulled the label off.
my meals are generally yet i seem to be missing something, im only 17 years old and currently do hours of cardio a week due to my college choice, level 3 extended diploma in sports industry
im just stuck on the reason why i am only gaining strength and no weight what so ever.
itsactually quite demotivating, i need to gain weight to get into the next weight category for my MMA and i just cant seem to.

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Posted Wed, 12/28/2011 - 18:24
Nate McCord

I am doing everything that you put on there sir and i am still not getting bigger. I am 19 years old and i am a semi-pro cage fighter and all the workouts and things my coach has me doing is not working very well. I really wish i could look like a body builder or a really big and ripped guy so please help me out if ya can thank you.

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Posted Wed, 12/14/2011 - 17:02
cristian

i have a total gym pro and i do all types of workouts like dumbells at the gym but i really do get like an afterworkout symptoms ... but i think its original.. but idk since ive been taking whey protein since a month ago.. i start an hour of workout like tuesday- curls, chestflies, pullups, dead curls, tricep workouts, and ab routine workouts. then wednesday rest then next day same but on other types of workouts in adding the same as tuesday. later on i feel like mid skinny looking hands and i have to mid flex to feel good . how do i stop... i drink water and good nutrition foods... please i need help

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Posted Tue, 12/20/2011 - 13:46
Steven

I am not really sure what you are asking...

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Posted Fri, 10/14/2011 - 19:50
Distrought lifter

Hey, I eat 3600 calories a day 250-300g of protein, 200-300g of carbs and 100g of fat. I have been eating that for 9 months, I started at 160lbs, now I weigh 173(180 if I take creatine, but quickly goes to 173 after a week or so if I stop taking it). Gone from 9% BF to 11%. Figuring it all up, I am definitely seeing ___ results. What the ___ am I doing wrong, I feel as if I've wasted 9 months of my life.

My trainer has me doing anywhere in excess of 12-15 reps/3sets, I don't think that is right. I have been thinking I need to do something like alot heavier and starting at 6 reps, 6 sets.

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 10/16/2011 - 14:17
Steven

Hi DL,

You are not seeing bad results. That's a nice improvement. I'm not sure what your expectations are but you are on track to gain over 126 pounds your first year of training and that is very good progress.

If you feel like you're not adding muscle then you need to make sure you're progressing. You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here are some articles that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/building-muscle-eating-like-a...

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Posted Tue, 09/20/2011 - 09:06
lckxdg

Hi everyone! Before I joined just for you. I have a lot to write, so I start!