7 Reasons You Fail To Put On Lean Mass
Putting on weight isn’t the easiest objective for some. Putting on lean weight is even harder. This article will discuss why you still fail putting on lean, quality mass.
1. Cheating Means Nothing To You
How many of you out there have gotten all excited to start a brand new fitness regimen only to find yourself having a “cheat” meal one too many times? This sounds all too familiar to many and some simply cannot allow themselves a cheat meal. That in itself sounds like cheating doesn’t it?
Let me explain the difference.
When you decide to regulate something in your life you are taking on the task of managing it responsibly. With cheat meals that means you are ONLY having a cheat meal “once in a while”. Well get that out of your head and say only “once a week” or “once every two weeks”. You get the idea. If you set a time frame you are less likely to cheat- on your self and your lean mass gains.
Now some have no self control or lack discipline. You know who you are. If you know you will not abide by your own rules and will have an extra cheat meal or two that will jeopardize your lean mass, simply cut them out altogether. Some would call this strategy a little ‘cheap’ or think these people are taking the ‘easy way out’ because they are not managing their self control- simply taking it out altogether.
I see nothing wrong with people who choose to use this method of cutting cheat meals altogether- so long as they have tried the other method. Then we can look at the alternative of those who simply don’t believe in cheat meals which is another discussion altogether. For now lets pick a both time frame and portion size allowed each cheat meal. This will greatly decrease our chance at failing to put on lean mass.
2. You Drop The Ball Early
So you’re weeks onto your new bodybuilding and diet program and your seeming awesome results. Good job, you’re putting on that quality lean mass we’ve been talking about! Now comes the hardest part. Do not let up! The number one reason people tend to fail at putting on quality lean muscle mass isn’t that they cant- it’s that they screw up way too early. Let me quickly elaborate.
Lets enter a scenario. You are 3 weeks into your diet and bodybuilding program so you decide that one little day off won’t hurt. In this day off you not only skip your workout, you decide to eat anything you want. Over the course of the next few days you find yourself all of a sudden craving these bad foods you ate. Your chances of putting on lean mass just went down the drain. You are now on a slippery slope to constantly cheating.
Get out of that mentality that you look good! Here is a ‘big secret’ that the pros use (shhh!): most bodybuilders, models, etc., made it to where they are because they are NEVER satisfied with how they look. They always have a drive and want to achieve further.
Have this mentality and you can’t fail. You won’t allow it and you won’t drop the ball early on lean mass.
3. Your Math Skills Suck
Remember that if you want to put on lean mass you had better not fail at math. What’s that, you failed your high school math class? No fear, you just need simple addition and subtraction skills to calculate most of your caloric intake and output. When you eat a meal you don’t have to meticulously count calories, but know about how many are in each item you bring to the table. This way you can quickly come to a conclusion. “OK, I ate 3 eggs, only one with a yolk, two pieces of toast, and a glass of milk.” This would be roughly 400-500 calories depending on how big that glass of milk was! You will get much quicker and more accurate at estimating calories I promise you. Just start putting a little extra time into looking at labels in the beginning.
After you have food labels down, your math should be a breeze! Just estimate that your 45-1hr workout is roughly 500 calories. For those of you who really want to know how many calories you’re burning I recommend getting a caloric watch or arm band to track this, but this is unnecessary at this point. Now take your total caloric needs and subtract how much you are burning off during your workout. This is how much you need in food calories throughout the day! We’ll get into this more in the #4 reason you fail to put on lean mass.
4. You Don’t Know Your Macro Nutrient Ratios
This is one of the most important part of your diets and don’t forget it! I will say that there is not one, clear cut answer to putting on lean mass when it comes to macro nutrient percentages. Oh, and for those of you who don’t know, your macro nutrients are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Having the right percentages of these can mean lean, quality muscle gains. Having incorrect or down right ridiculous percentages can make your physique fail.
And by the way they are called, “MACRO-nutrients” because they are the taken into the body in much bigger quantities than micro nutrients. Micro nutrients are just as important, but are taken at much smaller doses such as vitamins and minerals.
A good rule to live by when dealing with macro nutrients is this: 40-60% carbs, 30-50% Protein, and 20-30% fats
So decide on what your macro nutrients will be right now. After deciding be sure to watch your muscle gains and make sure you are not accumulating too much fat. If you do, try downing the carbohydrate intake and upping either protein or healthy fats.
I wish there were am easier way to tell you exactly what your own personal macro nutrient ratio is bu it takes trial and error to come up with the “perfect ratio” for you. Some might find they add too much fat even with a low percentage of carbohydrate while others believe they need tons of protein to build quality lean muscle. If you are interested you can read more on diet percentages for lean mass.
5. You Think You’re Eating More Than You Actually Do
This particular reason of failing to put on lean mass will apply to the average ectomorph. For most bodybuilders there is nothing more annoying than an ectomorph stating that they don’t know why they aren’t putting on lean mass and that they eat constantly. They might not even be lying about the constant part. It’s the how much part.
For those of you out there that have a hard time putting on lean muscle mass due to your high metabolism know this: you can put on weight when eating enough! Its that simple. If you think you are eating a ton, I invite you to begin counting calories or at least writing everything down that you ate. Now a few weeks down the road re-assess. Did you put on more weight or the same size? If not add more food to a meal and repeat this until you put on weight.
Always try to eat about 300-500 calories above your daily caloric needs to put on weight. Of course, if you are already eating this amount over your limit, add more calories.
6. You Eat Anything In Site Without Remorse
This particular reason of failing to put on lean mass will most likely apply to the average meso- or endomorph type bodybuilder. If you want to put on quality lean mass, you have to get out of your head that you can eat whatever you want! Yes you will gain weight if that is what you really want in the end. But the weight will result in you looking like Newman from Seinfeld.
I look at it this way- a bulking diet is nothing more than an intense summer diet. Why do I say this? Because you should still be eating all the healthy lean foods, just at a much higher quantity. Think of your bulking diet as a much harder summer diet. Not only do you still have to eat clean, but you must now eat more at every meal. For some this might seem awesome but just wait until you 1000th chicken or salmon meal. For the purpose of relieving this boredom I recommend reading up on healthy recipes online or through a cookbook. There are many creative ways to cook a chicken.
Don’t think of this bulking diet as a way to sneak in a high calorie cheat meal because ”nobody will notice the extra weight anyways.” Oh they will once you have to get nice and lean for summer. And by that point it will be too much of a task to burn off all that extra fluff you added to your body. Start eating clean now, you’ll thank yourself later.
7. You Break Consistency With Too Much Variety
One of the biggest reasons you fail to put on lean muscle mass is consistency. This should be a word so ingrained in your head that you eat, sleep, and breath it. Literally.
Oftentimes bodybuilders will get bored with a certain routine or style of lifting and want to try something new even though they are seeing nice gains from their current routine. They think that they are going to plateau on their current workout routine so they decide to switch gears to ‘keep the body guessing’. Well you’re hurting yourself in the end.
You need a solid, consistent plan to proceed with gaining lean mass. If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it! Keep at your current regimen if you are seeing results. That style of training, eating , and sleeping is obviously working for YOU.
Only once you notice the gains slowing or stopping should you decide to change something. At that point you can either switch up your plan altogether (not recommended) or simply manipulate your current plan (recommended). You could increase the weight by x% or reps by x%. Something smaller that leaves the foundation that was working for you intact. Don ‘t gamble your hard earned lean muscle gains for a regimen you barely know or have never tried.
There you have it. 7 reasons you fail to put on lean mass. Take each of these seven points to heart and I promise you will be on the right track for building quality lean muscle mass you can truly be proud of. Remember, results are earned, not given.
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