You’ve really put the work in. You’ve done everything you possibly can to build those muscles, but for love nor money they don’t seem to be getting any bigger whatsoever. You feel cheated, and you want answers – and you want them now!
Therefore, it’s a good job I’m here to give you assistance.
I’ve seen this many a time. A person has lifted well, eaten well, rested well – or at least they think they have. Nine times out of ten, what a person thinks they have done well, and what they have in fact done well are two completely different things. Or at the very least, significantly different enough to make a significant downshift in outcome.
There really are no more than 4 things you need to know in order to make your muscles bigger.
1: Train to failure, but don’t over train.
There’s a very fine line between training to failure and overtraining. By training to failure I mean by sticking to a set group of sets and reps, sufficient enough to make you fail or almost fail by the end few reps of the final set. Then, that’s it. Do not go overboard, there’s no need. Forget about lessening the weight and pumping out another half-dozen sets; that’s overtraining and you’ll just invalidate all of your hard work.
2: Make sure you eat enough.
Eat enough calories, and keep your macronutrient breakdown to as close to the tried and tested formula of 40% protein 40% carbs and 20% good fats. You should be eating around 15 calories per lb of body fat, plus an additional 500 calories daily, period. In some rare cases, this isn’t enough and more must be eaten. The diet should be the first place you look when you stop putting on weight.
3: Don’t get stagnant.
Particularly as you progress, your train will become stagnant if you simply do the same thing month in month out. There will come a time that what you are doing is ineffective at shocking the muscle fibres into growth. You can circumvent this by changing it up every month or two, by doing slight variations or substituting some exercises for others.
4: Get plenty of rest.
Rest days mean rest days – and you should have plenty of them. I tend to take around 3-4 days a week rest, and if I find my muscles aren’t up to lifting because they are still sore or tired, I simply skip that particular exercise. On rest days you should avoid physical activity, and also continue to eat the calories laid out, including the surplus.