In a way mass gaining is a simple process, eat more, exercise more, and gain mass. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things, and a lot of people make a lot of mistakes along the way.
Mistakes can lead to injury, too much body fat, and not enough muscle.
Any one of these issues would be a hammer blow to your physique, but many people suffer from all three at the same time.
In this article we are going to identify eight of the most common mass gaining mistakes, and help you to avoid committing them.
Mistake #1. Not resting enough between sets
How long you rest between sets can massively affect your overall results, studies have shown that 3 minutes is the perfect amount of rest time for both strength training and hypertrophy. But most people are still resting for less than a minute between sets!
This is a bad idea. Your muscles won’t be able to recover properly from the last set, so any future set will be compromised.
Take your time and recover from the last set before moving on to the next one, remember you’re here to build muscle, NOT to lose fat. Save that for the cutting phase.
Mistake #2. Not concentrating on form
If you want to build mass, most people know that you need to lift heavier weights and that you need to overload the muscles. But that does not mean that your form can go out the window.
If you cannot bench press 100kg properly (bar down to your chest and then back up) then lower the weight!
Do it properly at 90kg or 80kg or whatever you can manage, and then work your way up.
Mistake #3. Ignoring free weights
While resistance machines have their place, they will never be better than free weight exercises.
Studies have consistently shown free weight exercises to produce more testosterone and growth hormone, and to stimulate more muscle fibres than machines.
Don’t be afraid to add a couple of resistance machine exercises into your program, but concentrate on free weights as much as possible.
Mistake #4. Ignoring compound lifts
Any mass building program needs to have deadlifts, back squats, bench presses, pull ups (if you can do them), dips, barbell shoulder presses, and bent over rows.
Make sure that you aren’t ignoring these exercises in favour of easier or more enjoyable exercises – because these are the ones that are going to build the most muscle for you.
Mistake #5. Not being consistent
There is no point starting a mass building program if you are going to give up after four weeks, nor is there any point if halfway through you get worried about gaining fat and decide to switch to a cutting phase.
Plan out your program beforehand, make it between eight and twelve weeks, and follow that program.
Mistake #6. Not eating enough protein
Exercise alone will not build muscle mass, you need to combine it with a high calorie diet. One that contains a lot of protein.
This is because protein is necessary for the repair and re-growth of muscle tissue.
Studies have shown that someone trying to build muscle will require around two times as much protein per day as someone who doesn’t do any exercise.
You can drink protein shakes, look for lean meats such as chicken and turkey, search out high protein dairy products (protein yoghurt, protein ice cream), and you can even buy high protein bread, high protein popcorn etc … Experiment with these to find out what you like/ don’t like.
Mistake #7. Not eating enough carbohydrates
There is a belief among people that carbs are the devil and should be avoided at all times, this is ridiculous.
Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred source of energy, and are absolutely necessary if you are looking to build muscle mass.
Without carbohydrates it will be very difficult (bordering on impossible) to hit the necessary calories to build muscle tissue and to fuel your workouts.
Mistake #8. Not sleeping enough
When you are attempting to gain muscle mass you will need to be working out at a very high intensity each session.
This means that your body will need a lot of recovery, part of this can come from diet – we’ve spoken about the importance of adequate protein and carbohydrates in this article. But the majority of your recovery will come from sleep.
Try to hit at least eight hours every night, this will help increase protein synthesis and will also improve focus in the gym the next day.
Your mood will be better, testosterone and growth hormone levels will be higher (which increase protein synthesis), and you will be less likely to become ill.
So there you have it, 8 of the most common mistakes that are made by people trying to build mass.
Try to learn from them and use the solutions to create an amazing program that will get you the results you need.
If you are looking to gain mass with minimal fat gains then you really should read the following article.