building muscle mass

Five Reasons Why Building Muscle Mass Might Be Challenging

When it comes to building muscle, hitting the gym and lifting weights isn't the whole story. Sometimes, there are factors that could be hindering your progress. Let's explore five scenarios that might be the reason you're not seeing the muscle gains you desire.

Situation 1: Uncertainty about Calories

You've probably heard your workout buddy claim, "I eat a ton!" However, when asked about their calorie intake, it often remains a mystery. Being labeled as a 'hardgainer' often stems from a lack of understanding regarding calorie consumption.

What's the solution? Keep a food diary for a week. Carefully note down everything you eat and drink. Then, utilize calorie calculators to gain insights. This simple step might reveal that you're actually consuming fewer calories than you think, which is crucial in comprehending how to support muscle growth.

Situation 2: The Protein Puzzle

Sure, you may devour chicken, drink protein shakes, and add some eggs into your diet. But do you truly know how much protein you consume daily? Active individuals and weightlifters require a high protein intake.

Here's what to do: jot down every source of protein for a week. Aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. If you're not seeing the desired results, you might want to increase your protein intake. Remember, while supplements are helpful, they can't replace the goodness of food.

Situation 3: Exercising vs. Training

Exercise is great for health, but it doesn't automatically mean you'll develop a muscular physique. Working up a sweat doesn't always equal muscle growth; it could simply indicate calories burned.

Smart training involves exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. It's about progression—lifting weights or doing more repetitions over time. This consistent drive for improvement is the ingredient to building muscle.

Situation 4: Too Much Cardio

If your goal is to gain muscle mass, excessive cardio might hinder your progress. While cardio is beneficial for health and weight loss, doing too much can interfere with muscle growth.

Limit your cardio sessions to 3-4 times per week, lasting around 25-30 minutes each session. This strikes a balance between reaping the benefits of cardio and focusing on building muscles.

Situation 5: Worrying About Losing that Six-Pack

Obsessing over having a six-pack may mean sacrificing the muscle mass you desire. Instead of fixating on staying extremely lean, consider adding some muscle weight. An additional 15 pounds of muscle can give you a "jacked" appearance that overshadows any extra pounds.

James Freeman


Meet James Freeman, a California native whose passion for fitness emerged during challenging times, reshaping his life. With over two decades of coaching experience, he's not just a coach; he's a real-life example, shedding over 100 pounds in a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond his coaching career, James is passionate about inspiring at-risk youth and promoting wellness in schools. In his downtime, he enjoys swimming and cycling, connecting with nature. Join him on his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles for insights into his empowering fitness journey.