If you're one of those people who hit the gym consistently, you know whether or not you are making progress. You get in there, lift weights, sweat a lot, and probably sit there texting in between sets.
What really sucks is when you put in all of this work and you don't see any progress. What gives?
Related - Build Your Own Bodybuilding Workout
While there are hundreds of reasons why you aren't making any gains, here are six reasons why your gains are falling short.
All Kinds of Gains - Or Not?
You Do More Sets of Curls Than Compound Lifts
We get it, you want big arms. Not only that, but you want the girls to notice.
You gotta do curls for the girls, right? Look, just because your biceps are one of the end all be all muscles for bros, they are a small muscle group.
If you spend more time doing curls then you do heavy compound lifts, you're going to still be that flabby skinny fat kid... Except now you're going to have some oddly proportioned biceps.
Sounds awesome, right?
Heavy squats, deadlifts, rows, and pull-ups all build biceps more effectively than doing 30 sets of curls a day. If you are tired of people asking you if you lift, maybe you should start doing some compound lifts.
You Don't Progressively Overload
Okay, so maybe you're doing your compound lifts... But why have you suddenly stopped making progress?
If you have been using the same weight along with the same set and rep scheme, you need to start changing it up.
No, I'm not talking about the whole "muscle confusion" crap, I'm talking about progressively overloading.
What is Progressive Overloading?
If you bench 185 every time you go to the gym for 3 sets of 12, eventually your body will adapt. Your body gets stronger, builds muscle, and makes moving 185 easier.
Progressive overloading is when you consistently push your body to lift more weight, do more reps, or increase your intensity.
You don't have to implement super-drop-sets and extreme training techniques to make gains, just start adding more weight to the bar.
You Don't Squat or Deadlift
Before anyone tells me they have bad knees or that their friend's cousin's baby daddy's friend snapped up his back doing deadlifts, just stop.
Heavy squats and heavy deadlifts elicit such a huge hormonal response to get bigger, faster, and stronger, you are really shorting yourself if you don't do them.
Whatever the excuse is, shut up and do them. They take balls to do them, build slabs of muscle, and can quickly teach you how to stay humble.
If you want to step your training up to the next level, quit sitting on those machines and get your ass under the bar.
You Think People Actually Care if You Have a Six-Pack
If the gym bros had it their way, they would have huge biceps, huge traps, and a six-pack.
While I don't judge or tell you what goals you should have in the gym, I will say that no one really cares if you have a six-pack. The more you obsess about your abs and do endless crunches, the more you are apt to developing body dysmorphia and muscle imbalances.
If you start training with heavy compound lifts and stop being a wuss, you'll start getting lean enough to see that six-pack.
You Spend More on Supplements Than Whole Foods
Before someone ever steps foot into the gym, I hear "what supplements should I take?" While supplements are great and can really boost your gains, you need to start with eating whole foods.
You don't need supplements to make gains. If you are working with an already limited budget, spend the money on whole foods until you can start buying some MTS Whey.
You Party and Pull All-Nighters
Life is about balance. The saying "muscles are destroyed in the gym and built in the kitchen" is as true as you can get.
Getting enough food and sleep are important for your recovery and building muscle than going to the gym and demolishing your muscles. The only way you are going to start building muscle is if you quit partying and pulling all-nighters.
It's hard on your nervous system, your gains will slow, and you will start to notice a decrease in your strength.
The lesson you should take away from this is to party hard but be sure to get plenty of sleep and recovery.
Building strength and muscle to your fullest potential starts with your life decisions. Making poor decisions will yield poor gains.
Are you going to start doing heavy compound lifts instead of opting for the easy stuff? Are you going to start cooking your own meals and start getting enough recovery time?
If you don't, you're setting yourself up for failure.