Working out regularly and still not seeing the toned muscular body of your dreams?
Not getting results when you’re a dedicated exerciser is frustrating to say the least, and is the number one reason people give up. But, just because you’re exercising doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing everything right.
Here are the top 10 reasons why you may not being seeing the results you’re after:
You may actually be building muscle, but if you’re not getting rid of the layer of fat between your muscles and skin, you’ll never look toned.
Some muscles (like abs and thighs) may seem hard to develop, but the reality is that fat seems to stick to these areas more than others. These stubborn areas are often the first place the fat goes when you gain it, and the last place it comes off when you’re losing it.
How do you lower your body fat?
With proper diet, cardio, AND strength training.
Many exercisers who are trying to gain mass will argue that cardio eats away at muscle and its best to stick with strength training. While that may be true if you over do it on the cardio, you still need it to lose that fat layer, or you’ll never look cut. If you feel that cardio is too time consuimg, may I suggest doing HIIT.
*** More on proper diet in #’s 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10 See how important diet is? 🙂
Your calorie consumption is very important to your muscle results. Your body needs nutrients to repair tissue, and grow. If you aren’t eating the right amount of calories and the right types of foods you will never gain the expected results for all the effort you put in at the gym. If you’re having trouble gaining mass you may be calorie deficient, and if you’re having trouble getting cut, you may be consuming too many calories.
The proper calorie count is different for everyone depending on many factors such as age, sex, and activity level. Consult a nutritionist, your doc, a personal trainer, or use a BMR calculator to find the calorie level that’s right for you.
3) You’re not eating the right things
Muscle requires protein, carbs, and fat to grow.
The more you stress your body, the better your nutrition needs to be. The best way to plan your muscle building diet is to split it up into protein/carbohydrate/fat ratios. Many experts say the best ratio of muscle growth is 30/50/20. Meaning, you’re getting 30% of your total calories from protein, 50% from carbohydrates, and 20% from fats.
Many people, especially women, don’t eat enough protein. Eat a source of high quality lean protein with each meal (egg whites, lean meat, quinoa, fish, protein powder, etc.)
For carbs, choose natural, complex carbs such as: vegetables, oatmeal (not instant), yams, potatoes, beans, and brown rice.
When I say fats I mean “good fat” like flax oil, fish fat, nuts, seeds, and avocado.
4) You’re not eating often enough
Research has shown that eating 5-6 smaller meals (instead of our standard 3 meals/day) is better for us, our energy levels, and quickens our metabolism.
Watch portion size, and try to eat at even intervals such as every 2-3 hrs. Think about it, if your body gets used to food coming into your system every 2-3 hrs it will be less inclined to store it as fat because it is sure food is coming and that you will not starve yourself.
If you don’t feel like you have the time to eat that often remember that not all meals have to be “full meal size.” A balanced snack or a protein shake will work just fine. This will require nothing more than a little bit of pre-planning, and taking food to work or on errands with you. It’s easier than you may think!
5) You’re not getting enough water
Water is SO important for so many different reasons. (Learn more about water benefits here) Many people think if they have water right before, after, and/or during their workout that they’re properly hydrated, but you must hydrate yourself at least 3 hrs before your workout for it to count. Make it a point to drink water throughout your day.
6) You’re not exercising with purpose
A lot of people get a workout plan and just go through the motions, or train “too light.” If you’re not challenging yourself, your muscles will never get bigger.
- You should up the anti as you get stronger. Keep a log of how much you lift and how many reps you do. As you feel the exercise get easier with every workout add more weight to the exercises. Your body will eventually get used to the workout and plateau. As a general rule you should change your workout completely after 8-10 weeks, or when you notice you are no longer getting results — whatever comes first.
- If you want to gaining muscle you should be doing 8-12 reps per set.
- I suggest doing mostly compound exercises such as pull-ups, and squats, and exercising to failure. What is exercising to failure? When you know another rep (with good form) isn’t possible to execute.
- Don’t only do what you like. We’ve all done it. You have to do exercises that may not be your fav. Curse all you want, but get through it.
7) You’re doing it wrong
Form is very important when it comes to exercise to ensure that you are putting the maximum amount of stress on the muscles being worked, and to prevent injury.
Keep your reps slow and controlled, don’t swing to move the weight (if you are, the weight may be too heavy for you), don’t lock your joints at the top of movements.
8) You’re not getting enough rest
Did you know that muscle building actually takes place outside the gym? Working out actually causing tiny tears in your muscles. The muscle “builds” when it’s healing, and that happens with rest and sleep. Make sure you are getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and to take at least one day off a week from working out. Your muscles aren’t the only thing that needs rest; so does you neurological system, tendons, joints, and even your brain. Give your body the rest it needs.
9) You’re not paying attention to pre and post workout nutrition
What you eat 1.5-3 hours before you exercise is going to affect how much energy you have for your workout. This meal should be well rounded, containing protein, complex carbohydrates, and fats. Your post workout meal is arguably the most important meal of the day because your body needs you to replenish the nutrients lost during training.
Complex carbs are very important to your pre-workout meal and protein is very important for you post workout meal, but both meals should be well rounded containing protein, complex carbs, and fats.
10) You Aren’t Supplementing Correctly
While supplements are a good “boost,” they aren’t as necessary as the other points above. Take a multivitamin to ensure you are getting all the necessary nutrients. Take a good quality fish oil or Omega-3 oil: fish oil has been known to increase metabolism and reduce inflammation. And last but not least, whey protein powder makes a great meal replacement and contains good nutrients and amino acids.
Remember, consistency is key. You should be working out a least 3 times a week, giving yourself rest days in between workouts, and eating properly. The only way to succeed is to stick with it.
Resources: musclehack.com, fitwatch.com, nobrainermuscle.com, mucleandstrength.com, bodybuilding.com