You’ve been working out for months, but you still don’t have that sculpted look. You’re starting to feel a little discouraged…..
Sometimes all it takes is a couple small tweaks to kick things into gear. Building muscle is the result of the right hormones being released at the right time, and your body being in the optimal state to react to them. But if just one of these systems are off, it can result in “all train, no gain”.
Look at these tips and see if there’s anything here you’re missing:
1. Not getting enough sleep
Not getting 7-9 hours per night will cause you to release extra cortisol. This hormone inhibits fat burning and promotes fat storage around your midsection. It also causes you to retain water. But even worse – during sleep is when you release growth hormone – a necessary hormone you need to build muscle. Make sure you’re getting enough
2. Doing too much cardio
And by too much I mean more than 15-20 minutes 3 times a week. Your body needs to be in an energy surplus to build muscle, and if you’re in the gym lifting weights PLUS hanging out on the elliptical for 45 minutes, that’s too much. Even though it can be nerve wracking to cut back, it could make a ton of difference.
3. Not eating enough carbs at the right times
Most women have been indoctrinated into this in “low-carb” mindset, thinking carbs are bad and you should avoid them at all costs. But without carbs, your body will dip into its muscle stores for energy and you’ll probably feel like crap, too. The most important times to eat carbs (like rice, oatmeal, pasta, sweet potatoes..) are about an hour before training and within an hour afterwards. This gives you enough energy to fuel your workouts and replaces used muscle glycogen when you’re done, ensuring that you will preserve your muscle mass -plus, insulin (hormone released after eating carbs) is highly anabolic (builds muscle). Timing your insulin release to happen after your workout means your body is in an optimal state to repair the muscle you just broke down while training. Which is what it means to build muscle.
4. Not drinking your BCAA powder.
Otherwise knows as Branched Chain Amino Acids, this usually comes as a powder that you mix into your water and drink during a workout. BCAAs are the building blocks of protein and help muscle recovery and repair. You’ll also notice you feel less sore when you’re using it – BONUS.
5. Working out less than 4 times per week.
Your muscles need adequate stimulus to build, and less than this is not going to cut it. Doing an upper-lower split will mean hitting each muscle group twice per week, and this will give your muscles the stimulus they need.
6. Doing the same exercises all the time
Just like anything else, your body will adapt to whatever you’re doing. Don’t go for more than a couple months without changing your exercises. For example, instead of a bench press with a bar, do it with dumbbells, do use an incline bench.
7. Doing 3 sets of 10-12 reps all the time.
Same principle as above. Try adding a few drop sets (start with a weight heavy enough that you can only do 3-5 reps, drop the weight and bang out a few more, drop the weight again and go till you can go anymore). Ouch.
8. Not getting enough protein at the right time
You should get about 20 g of protein about every 3-4 hours throughout the day.
Get these 8 things in order and I’l bet you see