7 Reasons You’re Not Building Muscle

To build muscle, you first need to understand that muscles burn two forms of fuel: Sugar and fat. Quick bursts of energy such as lifting weights require quick fuel such as sugar. Longer bouts of exercise require more long-term fuel such as fat. If you are unfit or overweight, your body is poor at burning fat and can use the protein in your muscles as fuel instead, causing you to lose lean body mass. Therefore, the best way to build muscle is to improve your body’s fat-burning ability through two forms of exercise: Weight lifting and aerobic conditioning. Aerobic exercise increases oxygen to the tissues and improves overall metabolism. Weight lifting increases muscle size, and muscles are the engines that drive the metabolism. The more muscle you have, the easier it is to burn both sugar and fat. In this study , high reps and light weight (24 reps with 30 percent) were shown to increase post-workout protein synthesis, a sign of active muscle growth, for 24 hours after exercise, and to a far greater degree than low reps and heavy weights using 5 reps and 90 percent. In yet another study, light weight training, not performed to muscle failure or muscular fatigue, was found to promote and activate protein synthesis just as much as heavy weights.

Muscle confusion only ends up confusing you. You gain strength quickly the first weeks you do a new exercise. But this isn’t because you’re building muscle. It’s because your form is improving – you’re getting more efficient. You’re switching exercise before the muscle growth kicks in.

If you’re trying to bulk up, it can be tempting to grab a pile of bargain-shelf cow remnants, but you wouldn’t expect them to provide the same glorious results as a grass-fed, 28-day aged ribeye steak. Similarly, when you’re looking for a powder, it can be tempting to head to your health food shop’s bargain aisle and grab the bucket of protein that offers the highest powder-to-pounds ratio, but by doing so you’re probably short-changing yourself. Go for quality, and the gains will come.

On harder training days, I consume upward of 500 g of carbs. It all comes down to finding the amount of carbs your body can actually utilize and consuming them strategically, rather than letting cravings or social situations determine it for you. Out-of-control carb intake leads to unwanted spikes in insulin, which lead to fat gain. It’s that simple.

Everyone knows that a lot of those fitness transformation shots are phoney, but well, a lot of them aren’t. It is possible to go from skinny to shredded in a month, but it takes hard work and dedication. It’s hard to know how long it takes to get ripped, and some people will gain muscle faster than others – it can sometimes just depend on our bodies, but as long as you combine the right diet, supplements, exercises and attitude, then there’s no reason that you can’t reach your fitness goals.

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