Are you failing at increasing muscle size?

After plying my trade in the fitness industry for more than a decade, one of the recurring frustrations I encounter is to see successive waves of young boys turning sixteen years of age walking through the doors of health clubs, fitness centres and gyms only to fail at increasing muscle size. How eager you all are, full of testosterone, lust and hope to ultimately lure a young female into your arms.

“I’m gonna get massive. I’m gonna get ripped. I’m gonna get lean”. It rarely happens though does it? You keep coming and keep failing and every year it gets worse and worse. Why is this? There’s so much information out there on exercise and nutrition. We’ve got great gyms; really affordable gyms too. It costs next to nothing to exercise and we all know how to train right?

Let’s examine why you are always failing at increasing muscle size….

  1. Once deciding that you’re going to get in shape you consult your older mate, your big brother or your dad on how to do this and you follow the advice.

Reasons for Failure:

  • You are following the advice of the previous generation of failures.
  • READ! Research and read up yourself. Read articles by those who know what they’re talking about and who have a proven record of success.
  1. Advice on exercise is go to the gym and perform a split routine. Something along the lines of:

  • Monday – chest & triceps
  • Tuesday – back & biceps
  • Wednesday – shoulders
  • Friday – arms
  • Saturday – chest
  • And somewhere in your week if you really have to then you’ll put up with ‘doing’ your legs.

Reasons for failure:

  • The exercises in this split routine are small and ineffective. You need to be performing large muscle group exercises in order to produce large muscle gains.
  • Forget phrases like ‘chest & triceps’ or ‘back & biceps’. You aren’t a professional full time bodybuilder who has eight hours per day to dedicate to the cause. Perform Squats, Dead Lifts, Pull Ups and Bench Presses. It is these moves that use an incredibly large amount of muscle mass. This is noted by the amount of weight you lift. The more weight you lift, the more muscles you are using.
  • Get up! Get on your feet! Most of your exercises should be away from machines. Make the barbell your best friend.

  1. Attitude & behaviour. It is not a case of simply turning up that is going to launch you into Herculean mass.

Reasons for Failure:

  • Turn your phone off bozo! Checking your facebook updates or texting your friends can wait. Every time you check your phone you could be lifting something heavy!
  • Train with no more than one partner. If you’re in the gym for an hour, you’re wasting more time the more people you have to wait for.
  • Work to your absolute limit. Whoever got to be the best by stopping when it hurt a little? Your final lift should feel like your head’s going to explode.

  1. Calorie Consumption. You are not eating enough.

 Reasons for Failure:

  • A protein shake is not going to make you increase size. It is a supplement. It is extra. It is something to eat and drink ON TOP OF your regular food. Just because it comes in a large tub with a picture of a big man on the front does not mean that is what it does. Do you really think it is that easy?
  • You need to increase what you are eating.  Don’t forget that every time you exercise you are actually losing weight! You are burning calories and becoming smaller. If you do not eat large amounts of food to build and repair the muscle you have broken down then you will shrink.
  • Whole milk, steaks, chickens, whole eggs, pork, lamb, fish, rice, pasta, potatoes, nuts, vegetables. Nutrition is a whole separate issue but I want you to bulk clean.
  • Avoid sugar and processed foods. Similar to the protein shake – a protein chocolate bar will do little for you on its own. It’s still a chocolate bar!

If you follow some of the advice above then you have a chance. Be with people that know, seek the help of a coach, read, learn, live the life.

Oh and finally, wear suitable clothing. What world class athlete ever turned up to a training session with his shorts around his knees showing all his underwear?