Everybody has different aspirations in bodybuilding. Some have dreams of Mr. Olympia glory, others want to just to look a big badass and enjoy the attention on the street, while others just want to have a respectable and better muscled physique than they currently have.
Even if your aspirations are more realistic and grounded than Mr. Olympia, you may, at some point, find you are having a hard time building muscle. When this happens, it can be so, so easy to think you maybe just aren’t cut out for it. That you don’t have what it takes. That some have it, and some don’t.
But, before you throw in the towel, let’s take a look at what you may be doing wrong, what you may not be doing optimally, and what you can do to improve your training, diet, and inevitably, your results.
Firstly, the big mistake most make is they over train. It’s the biggest mistake most beginners make; their enthusiasm and lack of experience (and often, guidance) compels them to think they have to work out hour after hour, and never take a day off, because ‘that’s what it takes to build muscle.’ Well, that’s completely wrong. Each training session should take only one hour – you should make this your aim; train intensely. Not only this, but you should never train more than 5 times a week if you are a beginner, and you should aim to train each body part in such a way that it only gets hit once a week. There are exceptions to this, but I won’t get into this here.
Secondly is the diet. People just don’t get it; you are what you eat, as the old saying goes – and you have to eat properly to attain a proper bodybuilder’s physique. This means on a bulking diet, you’ll be eating 15 calories per pound of bodyweight, plus 500 or more – every day; and you’ll be aiming for around 0.7 – 1.5g of protein per lb of bodyweight.
Lastly, rest means rest. Just because you have a day off the weights doesn’t mean you aren’t still ‘in training’. Rest is as much a part of bodybuilding as the lifting – so don’t go doing anything too strenuous whilst having a day off, such as mile hikes, jogging and cycling. Rest – and eat.