“Why can’t I gain weight? I eat all day but I’m still the same. Help!”
You may or may not have heard something similar at the gym or from your family or friends. For some people, eating is more difficult than going to the gym and lifting. Other than lifting the goddamn weights, diet is absolutely crucial (next to sleep!) for muscle gain.
Have you maintained the same weight for a while now? Have you noticed you’re not as big as you should be by now? Lets jump into the reasons why you’re not growing
You’re not eating enough
This is the #1 reason why you’re not growing. I hear it all the time: “I’m eating 3500 calories a day but I’m the same, why??”. Chances are you’re not actually eating 3500 calories. Chances are MyFitnessPal is lying to you. When do you stop eating? If you’re on a cut, you stop once you’ve hit your caloric intake for the day. If you’re bulking, you only stop eating when you hate yourself (no excuses, fatty).
Your meals should be well balanced in terms of macro-ingredients and food variety. If your diet consists of lean meat, such as salmon or chicken breast, you have to eat a crap ton to get anywhere calorie-wise. Nutritionally, lean protein is just that: lean. It’s not full of fat, it’s low a calorie food with high protein ratio.
So if you’re eating one cup of plain white rice, that’s about 200 calories. Add to that meal your plain 12 oz chicken breast. Lets spice it up and add two cups of broccoli. Good job you’re at approximately 820 calories! Now eat 4 of those same meals and you’ll be just barely at 3500 calories. Can you actually eat 4 of those meals?
Tips: Switch out your lean meat protein with something with more fat. Trade chicken breasts for chicken thighs. Replace your extra lean ground beef to just normal ground beef.
You’re not training hard enough
Nutrition and training go hand in hand. If you eat well and consistently, you’ll have the energy to fuel your workouts. If you eat like a teenage boy, you’re going to have zero energy in the gym, not enough protein to actually build muscle, and you’re going to get fat.
So if your diet is on point, and I mean consistently on point, and your training is going well then what is going on?
Ask yourself this: when I’m at the gym, do I push myself?
Actually ask yourself this question and answer this. Do you feel good about that answer?
Now sweat isn’t always a good indicator of how hard you work in the gym, but progress is. You can measure progress by the amount of weight, repetitions, and amount of volume you’re hitting on the muscle group.
It’s okay to throw up the same weight on the bench for a few weeks, but if you’re not progressing in some aspect, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. Squeeze that muscle, go for the full range of motion.
Some aspect of your training is flawed and you have to find out what it is. Is the weight too heavy? Are you tired before you even get to the gym? My rule of thumb is that if you can hold a conversation at the gym, you’re most likely not training hard enough.
Progress is to be found in a steady workout regimen that you stick to. Don’t go willy nilly in the gym with your training. Don’t throw in bicep curls on leg day just because there’s a cute girl in the free weights section. Stick to your plan. There’s a reason why it’s called a plan: it will ultimately lead you to your goals.