3 Reasons Why You’re Not Growing

3 Tips to Grow Muscle Faster

I’ve been noticing a pretty consistent pattern of questions from guys in our support ticket system where they’re wondering what they can do to add mass.

I or someone on my staff usually asks about their current training regimen, diet, rest, and body stats to see if we can recognize where the shortfall is in their approach.

Here are the 3 main things I see that are keeping guys from putting on quality mass.  The good news: they are all very simple to fix!

Reason #1: Not Eating Enough Calories

This might seem a little elementary, but by and large when we get into the nitty gritty about what dudes are eating, it’s just simply not enough to support putting on mass. Listen – eating for mass is hard.  Sometimes it downright sucks because you feel like you’re always pounding down something and you’re still full from 2 meals ago.

But if you ease into it over a couple week period you can start to consistently get down the 3500-4500 calories you need to grow (depending on your current size and goals, of course).

If you need a guide for knowing how many calories you need to support real mass acquisition, I wrote an article a while back on the exact topic, including  a formula, here.

Hopefully it goes without saying that I don’t just mean any calories, but the right calories and breakout for your specific goals.

Reason #2: Not Lifting With Progressive Weight & Intensity

Again, this might seem basic, but until you get the basics down trying for the complex only slows and/or reverses progress.

Muscle grows when it is taxed at a high enough level to initiate the rebuilding process during recovery.  If you don’t push it hard enough, you’ll get a nice pump, but as soon as the pump is gone, so are your “gains”.

You must consistently be adding weight to your lifts and you must be pushing yourself.  If you’re not working up a good sweat and breathing hard while you’re lifting, you’re doing it wrong.

You’ve also got to keep track of your progress if you ever hope to stay on track with your continually increasing weight.  Trust me: you will forget what you did last week if you don’t write it down in a training journal.

Don’t know how to do that?  I wrote about it here.

Reason #3: Not Getting Enough Rest

In our hyper-paced society with 8 million things begging for our attention all the time, it’s hard to actually get a decent amount of rest.

But if you really want to grow, you have to make it a priority.

Trust me – I understand what it’s like to be way busier than you want or should be for an extended amount of time.  It sucks, it wears you out, and it wreaks havoc on your progress, both when you’re trying to add mass or cut down.

You need to get 8+ hours of sleep per night in order to let your body recover from what you put it through earlier in the day at the gym.  If you don’t, your recovery is slowed and your performance the next day at the gym is sub-optimal…and the downward spiral ensues.

So take a look at your schedule and your life.  Is there anything you can cut out?  Anything that’s not really important but is making it hard for you to get the rest you need?  If so, take some initiative and move things around and delete what isn’t helping you achieve your goals so you can be sure to get at least 8 solid hours of sleep each night.

If you do that I’m positive you’ll start to see better results in all areas of your life, just from being rested.

Anyway, those are a couple of patterns I’ve been noticing, and I figure if I’ve got 20 guys asking the same thing, then there’s probably anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand guys with the same question and they just haven’t asked yet.

Obviously this is super-big-picture, but hopefully it helps bring your thinking in line with where you need to focus first.

Train Hard,

Leave A Reply (13 comments so far)

  1. Angus Fairbairn
    6 years ago

    GREAT ARTICLE MATE!!! I put to use your calorie calculator but the result at the end was over 14,000 !!
    Surely that cant be right :S

    • Rick Gray
      6 years ago

      Hey Angus, make sure you're using the right units – that can really throw off the answer. That or you're 7'3", 335lbs shooting for 450! :)

  2. M. Jamal
    6 years ago

    Great. I was just thinking about "How much I'm eating" and weather I need to up my calories.

    Turns out I need to go up by some 600 cals.

    Can you please shed some light on eating plans, right now I'm testing out the Gironda diet plan:
    high protein, high fat very low carbs. Just wondering about this versus other plans particularly
    for packing on mass without adding much fat around the waist!

    M. Jamal

    • Rick Gray
      6 years ago

      Hey M, as far as adding mass without adding a lot of fat, the Gironda-style diet is fantastic. The thing to watch out for is that if you go too long with low/no carbs, eventually your workouts will start to suffer due to lack of glycogen available and your fat burning will actually stall, so at least once a week you need to get some quality carbs in (even a little junk food now and then won't hurt either if you're staying super clean the other 95% of the time). This will refuel the glycogen stores, give you a little more "go" in the gym, and keep your metabolism going once you've let it know you're not starving!

  3. John
    5 years ago

    Thanks Rick – not enough calories in my down fall – thanks for the instruction…
    Can I ask a question – I am aware that there are some supplements to take to repair muscle whilst sleeping – do they really work and does the body need these?

    • Rick Gray
      5 years ago

      Hey John, good question. The gist is muscle is always repairing while you're sleeping…the variable is how much and how well. In order to repair and grow, your body needs all the building blocks required to do so – and that includes proteins and the amino acids to actually put everything together. Different hormones also play a role, like growth hormone, testosterone, IGF-1, etc. So the supplements that help in these things are obviously a protein supplement, and any products that help increase those specific hormones.

      For protein, a slower-burning protein like a micellar casein and/or an egg protein are going to digest more slowly and be in your system longer for use during the night. You could also take a whey protein mixed with peanut butter and the fat in the PB would slow the digestion of the whey, thus lengthening the time it's in your system.

      On the hormone side, there are supplements that help with those – like JackedUp and DAAStack for testosterone, and we're working on a GH and IGF-1 formulation. There are others on the market that work as well (based on what I see on the label), but I can't recommend any off the top of my head.

      I would recommend digging into the ingredients in the products you're looking at and then doing a little research on those ingredients to see if they actually help with boosting those hormone levels. Hope that helps!

  4. jerome north
    5 years ago

    In june 17 i left 315 5 times after that day i been weak i lost 17 pound

    Since june i been weak every since june an this oct

    Wat u think happen i lost 17 pound in a month

    • Rick Gray
      5 years ago

      Hey Jerome, that’s a tough question not knowing everything else that might be going on with your diet, rest, immune system, etc… As long as you’re not sick and don’t need to see the doctor, I would say it’s primarily due to lack of caloric intake, and you probably smoked your central nervous system with that big lift, which can take a couple weeks to recover. Obviously we’re into Oct so it’s been a few months, so that’s probably not still the cause, but it could have started a downhill spiral at some level. If you’re still eating the same and lifting the same as you were then I might say give the doc a call to just get it checked out to be on the safe side. Obviously I’m not a medical professional and can’t give medical advice, but if you don’t see it turn around soon and your eating is good, give them a call.

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