Building muscle isn’t that easy process, but it isn’t as hard as you might think.
There’re some common mistakes you are probably making that even slower our progress, and most likely, you’re about to give up your motivation for not getting any noticeable results.
So, in this article, I’m going to share with you the 13 biggest muscle-building mistakes that you should definitely avoid for getting results as fast as possible by focusing on the things that truly matter when it comes to building muscle naturally.
13 Muscle Building Mistakes to Avoid
Here’re the 13 common muscle-building mistakes you should avoid to speed up your progress.
1. Not Following a Program
The first mistake that most beginners make is that they start working out without following a proper workout and nutritional plan.
They just enter the gym and start working out with the equipment or weights closer to them, which is a completely wrong approach, and you should definitely avoid it.
Remember the quote: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Similarly, if you really want to put on some muscle mass, you must follow a proper workout and diet plan to meet your desired goal in a sensible timeframe.
If you’re a beginner, I would highly recommend you read this article that guides you step-by-step three months beginner workout plan (with PDF) to kickstart your fitness journey the right way.
Or, if you want to gain some quality muscle mass fast, grab our Free workout and nutritional plan to build 12-15 pounds of crazy muscle within three months.
2. Not Taking Anough Calories
The next mistake you’re probably making is not eating enough calories, which is extremely important for gaining muscles.
To figure out the exact number of calories you need per day, first calculate your BMR, then multiply with 1.8 to get your daily required calories to build about 1 pound muscle mass a week.
- Required daily calories: BMR x 1.8 = 1lb gain/week
A healthy amount of protein, carbs, and fat is the fuel required to build muscle. And I think you probably know that we need more protein which is a building block of the body.
More specifically, when we’re trying to build lean muscle mass, our macro breakdown should be 50% carbs, 30% protein, and 20% fat of the total daily calories.
So, make sure you’re reaching your calorie limit every day to make some noticeable results over the weeks and months.
3. Avoiding Compound Moves
There are lots of exercises available to us that we can perform to train any specific body part.
But, a few compound movements you’re probably missing out on from your workout routine that majorly influence the body’s muscle building rate.
The exercises you definitely should include in your routine are:
- Bench press
- Military press
- Barbell row
These are some of the great exercises you can perform to get the insane amount of muscle pump by spending the least amount of time in the gym.
And avoiding them can cause you less muscle growth in the long run. So, be sure you’re adding these exercises to your workout routine.
4. Not Drinking Enough Water
We all know that our body contains about 70% of water, so its importance is immense not just for building muscle also for saving our life.
However, when it comes to fitness or promoting muscle gain, it’s crucial to drink more water, which helps transport the nutrients throughout the body and reduces fatigue.
I don’t need to tell much about water because we all know that.
But most of us aren’t drinking an adequate amount of water per day which causing dehydration, leading to many negative effects on the urinary tract, balancing metabolism, and important body functions.
A good guideline for drinking water is about 3-4 liters per day, especially when we’re intensely active and consume lots of foods to gain muscle.
5. Over Relying on Supplements
Another mistake too many people are making is that they’re overvaluing supplementation to build muscle.
You first need to understand the foundation of any diet is whole foods, where supplements are just add ons.
So, make sure you’re taking most nutrients from whole foods, then if you feel slightly shot in any nutrient like protein and want to boost your performance, you can add a few supplements.
You don’t need to go crazy with supplements because you need only a few, such as whey protein, creatine, and a pre-workout supplement to boost performance and increase muscle growth.
Taking whey protein (1-scoop) after your workout will fulfill your post-workout protein requirement, while creatine (3-5 grams) will increase your strength and endurance, and pre-workout before training will boost your performance.
Remember, you don’t need to take pre-workout supplements every day because your body will build intolerance, and you won’t feel energy-boosting effects after using it for a while.
So, it would be good to take pre-workout on the leg days and when you feel low (2-3 times a week at the most) because it’s used to enhance performance and get the extra push to perform tough workouts.
6. Low Frequency Training
The next mistake you’re probably making is training at a low frequency.
A 2016 meta-analysis shows that training the same muscle groups twice a week promotes superior hypertrophic outcomes and greater muscle growth than once a week.
In debate, another study concluded that resistance training frequency does not significantly impact muscle hypertrophy when the volume is equated.
So, the workout volume or the amount of load you’re putting on your training is also as important as training twice a week.
However, after several years of training, I experienced that training each muscle group twice a week with heavy weight-loads are leads to greater strength and muscle gains than once a week.
Summary: You should train each muscle group twice a week while putting the weights high with fewer (5-8) reps to maximize strength and muscle gain.
Don’t make the mistake of working out too much. If you are working out too much and trying to bulk up, it will hurt you more than it helps you.
Training too much will create a negative calorie balance which leads to weight loss. But that’s what we don’t want during muscle building.
Remember, what we are trying to do here — creating a calorie surplus.
Many people are making the mistake of doing tons of cardio because they’re afraid of putting on some fat while they’re bulk up or build muscle.
If you’re doing tons of cardio or training multiple times a day, you’ll probably be draining away energy from your calorie surplus while you are trying so hard to create.
This is why I highly recommend that if you’re really serious about building muscle and you’re a beginner, try to work out 3-5 times a week while more advanced people can get the extra benefit from training each muscle group twice a week.
So, following a workout routine according to your fitness level is critical. Head over to the first point of the article to find the right workout plan for yourself.
8. Not Doing Intense Workout
Even though you want to limit your total number of calories spent per week working out, you still should make sure that your weight lifting sessions are very intense.
And this is the next mistake that people are making — they don’t go heavy.
Lifting heavy weights is crucial for muscle growth. It helps to properly break down the muscle tissue and give the right amount of stimulus to the working muscle to grow. (1)
For example, if you aim for 8 reps, you should choose a weight that you bearly can squeeze out the 8 reps. And the same thing goes for other rep ranges like 12 or 15.
So you have to increase your weight and be sure you’re hitting failure by the last set of exercises.
However, it’s not always easy to lift weights heavier and heavier to beak the muscle plateau.
So you can either make changes to your workout program or lift different weights or give some break to your routine.
Besides these, you can also include things like supersets where you perform two exercises back to back, without any rest in between.
According to a 2016 study, you should attend repetitions to failure in the last set of exercises to make greater strength and muscle gain.
However, whereas for high load training, muscle failure does not promote any additional benefits. Muscle strength gains are superior when using heavier loads that claims another study.
So, whether you’re aiming for 5 reps or 12 reps, pick a weight that you know will be super challenging for you, but you can complete the desired reps.
If you can’t access the gym but want to tone up and gain some muscle mass, you can check out the article on how to build muscle at home with bodyweight exercises.
9. Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of our muscle, bones, and overall body.
We all know that protein is essential for muscle building. But most of us are lacking the consumption of protein which limit us to gain more muscle.
However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the more protein you eat, the more muscle you’ll gain.
So, how much is the right amount?
Multiple studies found that taking about 0.8-1 gram protein per pound bodyweight along with resistance training leads to superior muscle growth.
However, if you’re a beginner, 0.5-0.8 gram per pound body weight can be sufficient to get results.
Where an advanced athlete needs more protein, and it’s about 1.2 to 1.5 grams per pound body weight to maximize muscle building rate.
You should include some high-protein foods to your diet to meet your daily protein intake. The protein foods are:
- Chicken breast
- Beef Jerky
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Pumpkin seeds
- Whey protein
Add these foods to your meal to get the daily required protein.
You can consume your total daily protein intake by spreading 3-6 meals.
But make sure you consume protein in the three most important times: breakfast, post-workout, and dinner/before bed to maximize your muscle protein synthesis rate.
10. Rewarding Your Workout Too Often
The next mistake is rewarding your workout too often with salty or sweet desserts.
I’ve personally seen people who hit the gym and pick up some sugary or salty foods right afterwards to satisfy their post-workout hunger.
If you want to satisfy your hunger with foods at your closest food stores, you may probably overeat the bad foods you don’t want during muscle gain.
So, if you find trouble managing your hunger after workouts, it would be best to prepare your post-workout meal or protein shake before you hit the gym.
Sometimes, many people use a trick like if he workout, he will reward himself with some sugary or salty foods.
Although this’s a good strategy to get yourself in the gym, increasing that craving can minimize your results and even ruin your overall health.
Instead, you can do like if you work out for the whole week and stick with a healthy diet, you’ll reward yourself with your favorite fast food only once in every one or two weeks.
However, it would be best to try to increase the gap between your two cheat meals.
11. Not Building Neuromuscular Connection
The eleventh mistake you’re probably making is that not building the neuromuscular connection.
The neuromuscular connection is the ability of your brain to communicate with your muscle efficiently.
For example, you want to grow your biceps and doing biceps curls. You should be concentrating on engaging the biceps muscle that you intend to work.
Although it takes time to build a solid muscle and mind connection, a couple of things you do to speed up this connection, such as:
Go slow on your weight down, focus your mind on the muscle that you’re mainly targeting. Then, flex the muscle during and in between sets and ensure that you’ve proper form.
This way, you’ll build muscle mind connection that helps you break down the working muscle more efficiently, which is essential to increasing new muscle tissues.
12. Not Taking Enough Sleep
Workout, nutrition, and rest are the three main pillars of muscle building.
So, compromising any of these will minimize your muscle gain in the long run, and we typically don’t give that much priority to our sleep.
But we should definitely do it because that is when our body converts all our hard works and dieting into results.
That is the time when our body repairs broken-down muscle tissues and grow them larger.
So, we should try hard to take at least about 7 hours of quality sleep every night to get the optimum benefits from the workouts and healthy meals that we consume during the day.
The last but one of the critical mistakes that preventing you to gain muscle mass is inconsistency.
In the legendary books muscle and strength pyramids, Eric Helms says that “being consistent to your program is the foundation of achieving results.”
No matter what goal you’re trying to accomplish, you have to be consistent with your plan or strategy to crush your goal.
Here at muscle building, we need to be patient and consistent with our workout and nutritional plan for at least a few weeks or months to get visible results.
Okay, now you got thirteen of the most common muscle-building mistakes that you’re probably making, limiting you to gain muscle mass.
So, make sure you stop making these mistakes to get greater gains.
Now I want to know, which of the following mistakes are you already making?
And, what problems preventing you to achieving your goal?
Let me know in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you and help you out!