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For anyone trying to put on muscle mass in the gym and in the kitchen, you’ll know how valuable every gram of new muscle is on the road to progress and reaching where you want to be.
Chances are you’ve done your homework and you’re doing your meal prep, watching your nutrition closely.
You’re probably putting in serious hours at the gym and pushing your body to its limits. For all intents and purposes, you’re on your way to building a killer physique.
The issue is, as tough as gaining new lean muscle can be, it can be taken away or the growth hindered so very easily. Some very basic everyday mistakes you never considered before could be holding back your gains without you even knowing it.
Take a look at some of the most common everyday factors that could be affecting your ability to make big gains:
#1: Not Getting Enough Sleep
We seem to say this time and time again but it’s such a common mistake. Eat, sleep, train, repeat. It’s more relevant than you might think.
What’s really important to remember is that when you’re making those 50kg EZ bar curls look easy for 20 vein splitting reps, you might feel pumped but growth doesn’t take place in the gym.
The gym is there for you to set hypertrophy in motion by stimulating and ripping muscle fibres while you lift.
The healing and recovery process is where the gains come from. Particularly while sleeping when the body reduces other functions in order to concentrate on that recovery and healing process.
Make sure you’re getting a minimum 8 hours of deep sleep when you’re gaining, you need it!
#2: Not Adjusting Your Macros
Another common mistake and one for long term consideration. The likelihood is you have a diet plan by now or at least a macro quota to hit.
If done correctly, when calculating your required macros, you considered your bodyweight (among other things) in the equation.
What’s very common, is for those strict on their diets to stay that way. Get their routine and follow it to the calorie.
That kind of discipline is admirable yes, but many don’t revisit their macros often enough. In the same way you change your routines in the gym regularly as you progress, you need to be reviewing your macros.
If you’ve been successfully gaining, then your bodyweight will have changed and you’ll need to re-calculate your macros in line with this progression if you want to keep it up.
Revisit your macros every 4 weeks’ as a minimum to make sure the required adjustments are made in line with your progress.
#3: Using Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
When we’re talking about anti-inflammatory drugs and medication there are a few culprits, but the most commonly available and over used is Ibuprofen or the recently removed from GP prescription Diclofenac.
This was found in recent research to cause heart disease and blood pressure issues with long term use. Not to mention these drugs have also been shown with overuse or use on an empty stomach to cause nasty stomach ulcers.
Let’s set these things aside for now. Anti-inflammatory meds have also been shown to slow your gains with excessive use.
If you’ve got toothache or some other note from your Mum, we’re not saying don’t pop a couple for temporary pain relief. Our advice though is that many regular gym goers and body builders practically live on pain relief for treatment of joint pain they’ve picked up from heavy lifting and even to relieve their DOMS.
Overuse of these meds could slow your gains, and we know you don’t want that. If you still can’t handle the pain then consider other treatment options for joint and muscle soreness:
- Applying ice regularly
- Stretching sore muscles
- Massage therapy
- For long term joint pain – see a consultant
#4: Static Training Routine
Everyone has their favourite workouts; you know what you’re doing, how much weight and you can arrive at the gym with a set game plan to destroy. We’re no different ourselves. But you could be boring the hell out of your body…
Our bodies react to stimulus; that’s part of what weight training is. Our bodies grow and develop to meet the challenges we send its way on a regular basis, essentially that is the very definition of fitness. Our ability to cope with the task ahead.
Now if you’re posing the same challenge to your body week in week out, yes, you’re going to feel awesome because that workout will get easier and you’ll feel stronger. But this is because your body has developed enough to handle this workout, to do each exercise, that it’s no longer really being stimulated.
By changing your routines every four weeks or so, or just throwing in a few new moves to mix up your favourite workouts, changing grips used or varying your reps etc. you keep your body guessing.
This means it will adjust to new challenges and you can continue to progress without hitting that plateau stage.