If after going to gym for a few months you feel that the great progress you were once seeing has ceased completely, then you are not the only one. In fact, most of the people who don’t have a trained person to guide them end up being in this state. Although, the reason can be different for different people.
It can be issues with diet or how much you rest or how often you masturbate. In this article, we will discuss all the possible reasons which is causing the plateau.
You have to see what things you are doing wrong and change them gradually. When I say gradually, it means at a time because implementing too many changes can get you out of the plateau, but after that you won’t be sure what really induced that change.
Things that can cause muscle building plateau
Diet is one of the most important thing when it comes to muscle development. Only problem with it is the fact that people can go terribly wrong with their diet, especially, when they don’t have a professional help. You will meet two types of people in the gym. Type I do everything without any limits and type II will limit themselves too much on everything.
For example, you will see people who are not afraid to taking carbs like crazy, even if it is making them fat. The other kind is so careful with the carb intake, that he/she won’t have enough carbs, thus effecting their performance and muscle building. The 3 macro nutrients that you require to build muscles are: 1) Protein 2) Carbs 3) Fat.
How to know if you are taking less protein and carbs?
The easiest way to find out if you are not having enough protein and carbs is by checking on your biceps(arms) muscles or even legs. If after working out on your arms you get really jacked up, but within few days it comes back to zero. Then, that means you are not feeding your body enough to build muscle tissue.
Secondly, if after a couple of days of workout you feel that your performance is dwindling, then it most probably means that you are not having enough protein and carbs. Especially carbs, because carbs get converted into glycogen which provides energy to your muscle. The lesser the glycogen your muscle has, the weaker it will become.
Have you ever heard that your body can get use to antibiotics. In a similar fashion your muscle can get use to a routine of workout and if that happens you will stop seeing any visible change in your muscle growth. The reason behind this is very simple and logical.
You brain decides to grow a muscle, if it feels that the muscle is performing greater task than it is capable to doing. So, if you lift same weight in the similar fashion for weeks or months, then your muscle will get use to it and won’t feel excessive stress and tension. Hence, it won’t feel necessary to grow.
What can I do about this problem?
First of all, keep on changing the sequence of exercise, number of sets, number of reps and weight on regular basis. Twice a month or so. You have to try different combination of these four variable mentioned before. That means, for some sessions drop the weight and increase the number of reps. Or increase the weight and decrease the number of reps. You can try switching between two exercise between the sets.
Gap between workouts
Rest is a very important factor in muscle building. Rest is not merely sleeping, it also involves the number of hours between each workout session. Although, I have heard many people exercise 5-6 times a week and still see good progress. There can be many reasons behind it.
First of all, not all humans are designed the same way. The genes of some man will assist the body in recovering very quickly. On the other hand, this process can be very slow for the unfortunate others.
And, supplementation is also a key factor. You can’t complete with a person who has a stack of all the possible supplements available in the market. For example, BCAA’s(brand chain amino acids) are considered good supplement for speeding the muscle recovery. Although, many whey protein comes with a little amount of BCAA’s, which might be enough in some cases, but not all.
What do I do about muscle recovery?
You have two options. Firstly, you can buy good supplements which will help you to recover faster. It might be some extra bucks out of your pocket, but if you have to train daily then you have to do it. Gylcogen, as we have discussed, is a currency for your muscles. To workout daily, you need to replenish it. For that, you need to have an ample amount of carbs.
Tip: Don’t eat lots of carbs at once, divide it and only take a small portion of it each time. It will make sure that you will replenish the muscle glycogen with getting fat.
Not enough testosterone
If you want to swell your muscles from here and there you can do it without high levels of testosterone, but if you want greek-god like body you’ll surely need testosterone flowing through your blood in abundance. The bodies you see in the newspapers and magazines are a product of testosterone.
So, to break your muscle building plateau, you need to increase the testosterone levels. There are 2 ways with which you can do that:
- Lift very heavy
- Compound exercises
It is very important to lift very heavy, sometimes. It doesn’t matter if you do only 5-6 reps. It is what weight lifters do. They lift very heavy weight for reps as low as 4. When you do that you’ll be sending your brain message that the muscle size is not justified to amount of load I need to lift. In-turn, the brain will release testosterone which is the responsible for muscle growth.
Secondly, compound exercises involves multiple muscle groups at once. The more muscle fibre you break, the more testosterone will be released to reconstruct these fibres. Eat enough fats from natural resource too.
Stop too much Masturbation
In recent times, many people appeared on the internet who claim that masturbation has no effect on muscle growth. They are both right and wrong. If you say any amount of masturbation won’t have any harm then you can’t be more wrong. Even if you drink an insane amount of water, it can kill you. Too much of anything is not good.
Too much masturbating can deplete your body of essential nutrients, like Zinc. Zinc is necessary for production of testosterone. And, without testosterone your muscle growth won’t be as good. When you masturbate frequently, your body gets exhausted. Such exhaustion won’t allow your body to recover for the next workout and hence effect the overall results.
If you masturbate more than twice a week, then it can cause a little bit problem. But, if you masturbate daily then you need to stop immediately. It might be the mere reason for the muscle building plateau.
Cut down on alcohol
Alcohol and its harmfulness comes hand in hand. Alcohol can effect your muscle building goal in a lot of ways. And, if you have to hit a plateau on the muscle building journey, then alcohol can be a genuine culprit. Consuming too much alcohol can cause decrease in the testosterone level. And, we have already discussed the indispensable contribution of testosterone in muscle building. The scientific argument behind this is the involvement of alcohol in activating an enzyme called aromatase, to a higher degree. Aromatase is responsible for conversion of testosterone into estrogen.
Alcohol is the enemy that kicks you on the face and then bites you on the butt. A study was conducted on the relation between the synthesis of muscle protein and alcohol. The results that came forward were quite conclusively not in the favour of alcohol consumption. The study showed that the weight of alcohol fed rats was decreased by, on average, 19%. Without any significant decrease in the body fat. Read the full study here.
Many people drink hard liquor instead of a mild beer which a logic that beer can make you fatter. Actually, if you look at the entire picture, you’ll realize that hard liquor can induce obesity to a much greater extent. This doesn’t mean you drink beer like crazy.
Implement proper form and technique
It is easier to go from zero to 40%, but it difficult to go from 40% to 50%. And, as the number grows the efforts that are required also grow. Without proper technique you can reach a level and that can become your plateau. But, if you want to transition to a great level, then you need to do things as they are supposed to be done. It is said that, there are million of ways to do an exercise, but only one of them is correct. I am not discouraging you to innovate, but before you try new things you must have an idea of the core concept.
You take the people with best bodies in your gym and you’ll find, all of them practise correct technique. You can talk to your trainer and ask him to check whether you are doing everything correctly. If you haven’t done your exercises properly until now, then one session of proper working out will show you the difference.
It might happen that in spite of doing everything you still won’t be able to see conclusive changes in your muscle size or strength. The best thing to do then is completely stop. Not, forever. But, for a little time. And, it is not for recovery or repair purpose.
In all fairness, there is no scientific research backing this claim or there is no convincing logic behind it. The only reason I can think of might be the fact that after doing excessive strenuous work in the gym, your body adapts to it. It stops finding challenge in the tasks and hence refutes the idea of growing any further. There is a Chinese saying, “When things reach an extreme, they can only move in the opposite direction.” So, it is better to give up what you are doing for a little while, rather than to seeing contradicting effects of your actions.