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11 Reasons you aren't making GAINS!

Posted on December 01 2017

11 Reasons you aren't making GAINS!

1) Lack of humility/egolifting

When it comes to the gym, everyone wants to fit in and feel accepted among the others without feeling inferior. This is where humility comes into play. People are too stubborn to accept the fact that they must start from the bottom and work their way up. People feel the need to do the same weight that is commonly seen on a specific exercise, just so they don’t stand out as a “weakling”.

Here are some examples: A person starts off the FIRST set with 135 on the bench when they aren’t even strong enough to rep it for 12 or more without a spot; a person feels the need to hammer curl 50 or 60 lb (swinging) dumbbells just because all the other gym bros are doing it; a person lateral raises 35s/40s with terrible form because 15s/20s are “too light” and don’t look cool. 

If you are serious about making progress in the gym and developing your physique, it is imperative that you focus on yourself and only yourself without worrying about what others around you are doing. This will prevent you from being discouraged when comparing your strength/aesthetics to others, and will keep you determined on making self-improvements, lifting with impeccable form, and guide you to focus on achieving your goals


2) Terrible Form

If there is one thing you can do to guarantee you DON'T build quality muscle, it would be lifting with awful form. This directly correlates to ego lifting and choosing the wrong weight. In order to stimulate the muscle fibers properly, it is crucial that one lifts with impeccable form and focuses on getting a full stretch and achieving full range of motion during the exercise performed. 

 There is absolutely no reason to swing excessively while doing barbell curls (unless you are doing cheat curl negatives), or half repping on the bench press without touching the bar to your chest, or squatting without going all the way down or being parallel to the ground. If you aren’t performing the full range of motion during a lift, you are missing out on potential muscle fibers being worked; which can make difference regarding your muscle development.


3) You don't EAT

I’m sure you have heard the saying “EAT BIG to GET BIG”. Well… this isn’t anything new. The truth is, if you want to truly optimize muscle gains, it is necessary that you consume a huge amount of calories in order to force your body to remain in an anabolic state throughout the entire day. Eat every 2-3 hours whether you are hungry or not, this guarantees that you won’t burn useful calories from your daily activities, and that you’ll remain in a caloric surplus to grow. 

 Some may not like the idea of having to sacrifice aesthetics once in a while to maximize muscle gains, but it is what’s necessary to achieve long term success in your fitness. Put it this way, it’s much easier to sculpt a sharp/beautiful structure using a giant block of ice, rather than an ice cube. 

 You get the deal: if you want hard, dense, & fuller muscles after you finish shredding, you must EAT while bulking in order to pack on more muscle mass. 


4) No TuT or Volume

Heavy weight is a great way to improve strength and gain size, but understand that it is not the only way. In order to lift heavier weight and stimulate muscle growth, you must also have the endurance to put yourself in a hypertrophic range when it comes to the number of reps being done while lifting. 

 Continuously performing the same repeated exercises with the same intensity will make your body plateau and become accustomed to standard strength training. 

 If you truly want to make optimal gains in the gym, it a must that you include high volume and also focus on TuT (Time Under Tension). This is what truly stretches and works the muscle fibers, as the exercises will inevitably force the fibers to get bigger/stronger because they will become accustomed to withstanding a heavy load over an extended period of time. 


5) You avoid pain/discomfort

One of the main reasons people don’t pack on quality muscle mass is inability to withstand temporary pain/discomfort. When performing any exercise the RIGHT way, it is completely normal to feel an excruciating burn or “pain” in the muscle. This simply means that the muscle is being worked and forcing all the blood in the body to rush to the muscle in order to supply it the nutrients it needs to work properly and grow. Next time you are performing an exercise, don’t stop when it begins to hurt. Stop when you physically cannot do anymore. Train to failure and you will without a doubt be making gains! 

 There a big difference between “burn” pain, and “injury” pain. When it comes to lifting weights and training to get a solid pump, the saying  “No Pain No Gain” is talking about enduring the excess amount of reps no matter how agonizing the pump gets. Understand that anytime you begin to feel the excruciating burn, your body is releasing a great amount of testosterone/GH to stimulate muscle growth and improve recovery. Never stop an exercise unless you sense potential injury. 


6) Talking

See that fit, attractive girl squatting with the ball cap and headphones on? Yeah, there’s a high chance she doesn’t want to talk to you and truly wants to be left alone. Talking is the most common reason why people don’t get anything done in the gym. With the 5 minutes you spent talking, a true bodybuilder can get about 5-6 sets of an exercise done (assuming he is supersetting/taking minimal rest). Minimize the talking, focus on your workout, and get it done. 

 The time spent talking can truly compound over the course of time and add up to potentially equal multiple “lift sessions”. Put it this way, if you lift 6 days a week (313 days a year you train), spend 5 minutes a day goofing off & talking in the gym, in a whole year you just wasted 1,565 minutes from TALKING. Which totals out to be 26.08 hours. That’s equivalent to missing out on 26 1 hr lifting sessions! 

 Time is too precious to waste. Don’t be that guy who talks in the gym, get it done! 

 P.S: Most people usually spend 10-15 minutes talking in the gym. If you were to talk 15 mins every single day in the gym 6x a week, you're practically missing an entire lift session that would last an hour and a half! 


7) Lack of frequency

The only way to make a muscle truly grow is by hitting it with frequency. Want your chest to grow? Start working on your chest 2-3 times a week. People may see this as “overtraining” or counter-productive because you need “rest” to grow. Understand that the human body is smarter than you are. If you are forcing your chest muscles to lift weights 3x a week, it will inevitably become stronger/larger in order to adapt to the frequent stimulation it is receiving. If you keep your protein intake high, and stay on your diet, your body will recover fast enough to deal with a training regime similar to this.

 Bodybuilders change up their workout split depending on what they want to grow. Small delts? Expect them to hit delts 2-3 times a week. Frequency is a huge factor that will determine the size you put on for a certain muscle group. You should never be afraid to train a specific body part 2-3 times a week. Just don’t do it EVERYDAY. 


8) No Progression

You know the saying, “If you’re not going forward, you’re going backwards”. This is the plain old truth when it comes to bodybuilding. Another big reason people don’t progress and make any size gains is because they are not adding weight or upping the intensity of their workouts. If you continuously do what you have always done, you will get the result you have always got. Progression means pushing yourself in ALL aspects of the workout. Whether it be increasing TuT (time under tension), increasing the amount of reps you do, or increasing the weight/volume you do. The secret to massive gains, is finding a perfect balance between all three aspects mentioned above. 

 If you have the will to train heavy weight for high reps, expect gains whether you want them or not. Understand that you do not have to do it all in one set as some people may not have the endurance for it, but the volume will be the same. 

 One thing that I recommend is to set a floor on the rep range for the exercise you are doing. This means if you set the floor at 12 reps, you do 12 or more reps on EVERY set & exercise even if you are increasing the weight. This will add volume to your training sessions and will guarantee that you train to failure. Hit those 70 dumbbells only for 6 reps? Well… shake it off, reset, and finish the other 6 reps because you haven’t finished your set yet.


9) Too much cardio

This is self-explanatory. If you are doing too much cardio, you are burning off the excess calories needed to train with higher intensity & grow. You can still do a small amount of cardio to keep body fat low, but do not overdo it as you will actually LOSE/PREVENT gains. Instead of splitting time between lifting and cardio; spend all your time on lifting if you are serious about making gains.

 Save the cardio for when it is time to shred.


10) You skip leg day

What if I told you that training legs like an animal can drastically increase Testosterone and GH levels?

Since your legs are your largest muscle group in your body, they will release the greatest amount of Growth Hormone & Testosterone when put under a significant amount of work/stress. This includes heavy squats, heavy deadlifts, leg extensions, leg press, etc. All these compound exercises will cause your upper body to grow at 2-3x the rate due to the great release of hormones rushing through your entire body. 

 If you want to maximize your upper body growth, DON’T SKIP LEG DAY. 


11) Lack of Sleep

Sleep enhances recovery through protein synthesis and growth hormone release. It is important to get atleast 6-8 hours of sleep in order to grow. Sleep is also needed in order to utilize the consumed food to replace and restore the energy of the muscles in the body. If you want to get stronger & grow bigger, make sure you get your Zs at night! 





(Author, @chris_giraldo)

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