For the folks who have trouble getting bigger or thicker, this one’s for you. You might have tried eating tons of fast food or even supplementing with mass gainers but to no avail.
Here are 7 reasons why you are still scrawny. Hint: It ain’t your metabolism.
1. Not Eating Enough
Oh, tell me something I don’t know. Well, you don’t. There’s a chance where you are always eating a lot but without much results. You might just have a case of “I think I’m full”. If without medical reasons you aren’t’ growing, it means you aren’t eating enough. Period.
If you want to go all out, look at how a strongman eats. You shouldn’t copy their methods but customize them for yourself. Being full is a sign your body has enough for one sitting, but who says you should just eat 3 times a day?
Do not go crazy over fast and preserved foods. Consume fresh produce and whole foods instead and overtime you will see results.
Consume whole foods, increase meal frequency and healthy caloric dense foods will allow you to grow.
Intrinsically, you must be in a caloric surplus. Consume more energy than what your body requires daily and you will gain weight. Calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) here to determine the caloric intake your body needs.
On a side note, if you have any medical conditions, consult your doctor beforehand.
2. Too Little Intensity During Training
Fact: Muscle failure does not equate to bigger/stronger muscles, per se. The most important factor is to make sure you are lifting heavier week in week out. That is called progressive overload.
Make sure your body has proper and regulated fatigue to supercompensate and grow. Using weights that are too light or doing the same weight for months won’t make you grow.
Slowly regulate and increase the weights, reps and/or sets to increase training intensity.
3. Too Much Cardio
Having too much slow steady-state cardio like long-distance running will reduce your body’s efforts to maximize muscle growth.
In short, running creates type 1 muscles which use glycogen stores and is efficient for long periods of work (e.g. running), whilst strength/hypertrophy training encourages type 2 muscles to develop more, which are bigger per kilogram as compared to type 1 muscles.
Too much cardio (in essence) will trigger your body to break down muscle tissue for nutritional replenishment rather than fat stores. Thus, stunting muscle development.
4. Improper Training
If you head to the gym and what you do at most times are just bicep curls and machine work, you won’t grow. (unless you’re a true greenhorn and it’s your first time to resistance training)
You must practice compound movements like the bench, overhead press, deadlifts and I can’t stress this enough – squats. Increase the intensity over time and you will see significant results.
If unsure, look for an athlete or a coach to show you the ropes. Better yet, pick up powerlifting, weightlifting, bodybuilding or strongman as a sport. You won’t regret it.
5. Over-reliance on supplements
Supplements are great. They support your goals and give you the extra edge. However, just like its name entails, it supplements you and isn’t a basis for a good diet.
Save the money on mass gainers and instead, spend it on your meals. The supplements you should indulge in are creatine and whey protein. Unless it’s for medical purposes like glucosamine. Supplements will be talked about in another article.
6. Too Little Protein
Your protein intake should be about 2.2 – 3.5g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. So if you’re a 70kg individual, you should consume at least 154g of protein per day.
7. Not Enough Recovery
Overtraining is a real thing and that results in injury, lack of strength gain and muscle size growth. Drink up and rest when you need.
A good sign of overtraining is feeling constantly tired, lethargy, lack of strength/stamina and lack of mental focus.
There are many diets out there that flaunt that their methods are the best to gain weight. Truth be told, as long as you’re in a slight caloric surplus and if you’re training hard enough, you will gain weight.
The only thing left to do is to train hard.
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