Have you been wondering why you aren’t gaining muscle, losing fat or just making progress in the gym?
For most, the end goal of going to the gym is to gain muscle while maintaining a lean physique. You may know tons about working out, but many still make many common mistakes that can lead to hindering your muscle gains, causing you to gain body fat and slowing down your progress. Here are the top 6 reasons why this is happening.
1. YOU'RE NOT EATING ENOUGH CALORIES
Eating less calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolic rate puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel as well as slows your metabolism for survival.
When you’re not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs, fat, and protein as well as muscle. How many calories is too low? That depends on your current bodyweight, although you should never eat below 1,200 calories daily. While there are special circumstances this is pretty standard.
2. YOU’RE NOT EATING ENOUGH PROTEIN
Body fat loss isn’t just about eating enough food, it’s about WHAT food you are eating. Did you know that even if you are on a lower calorie diet that if you have efficient amounts of protein in your meals daily that you will burn fat and be able to build muscle? Eating complete proteins and getting all your amino acids helps to create that muscle building environment you want. The goal is to eat about 1g of protein per pound that you weigh. This will be approximately 30% of your daily calories.
3. YOU'RE NOT LIFTING WEIGHTS OR NOT CHALLENGING YOURSELF IF YOU ARE
To maintain and gain muscle, your body needs a push through resistance. The body won’t build muscle without working that muscle. Those who do resistance training will lose body fat and maintain or gain muscle, leaving you leaner and much healthier.
4. YOU'RE FORGETTING TO EAT AFTER YOUR WORKOUT
Eating after a workout is just as important as lifting weights. This helps with recovery and repair of the muscles you just broke down in the gym. Within 30 minutes of your workout, you need to take in at least 20-25g of faster moving protein.
5. YOU’RE FOCUSING ON WAY TOO MUCH CARDIO
While cardio does have its place in your fat loss journey, it’s not always the answer. Unlike weightlifting, which incorporates the fibers of your muscles., cardio doesn’t build muscle, it can actually cause you to lose it. To burn fat and avoid muscle loss try doing low intensity cardio 3-4 days a week then if you want you can add in sprints, HIIT or plyometrics to shock your system and get a good fat blasting session in. Try not to let this session go over 30 minutes, because your body will burn through your glycogen stores and start burning muscle.
6. YOU’RE NOT PRIORITIZING SLEEP
To burn fat as efficiently as possible one of the most key things is to get enough and deep sleep. When you don’t get enough proper sleep your hormonal system won't function properly. This can raise your stress hormones, like cortisol and create a more fat storing environment. When you don’t sleep enough you wont go as hard in the gym either. This means you won't build the muscle needed to burn fat and then your body will be storing even more fat with the lack of sleep. DOUBLE WHAMMY! Aim for 7-9 hours sleep nightly.