The 6 Most Common Muscle Building Mistakes | Stephen Coleclough
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The 6 Most Common Muscle Building Mistakes

The 6 Most Common Muscle Building Mistakes

None of us are perfect.

We all make mistakes in our daily lives and have some bad habits that we are trying to get rid of.

Unfortunately, when it comes to building muscle, a few silly mistakes can dramatically impact your gains.

If you have ever wondered why you aren’t seeing the results that you expect from weight lifting, you may be making some of the common muscle building mistakes listed below.

Mistake #1 — Not getting the protein you need

The body requires amino acids to build new muscle, which can be obtained from protein-rich foods.

Unfortunately, it’s common for people to underestimate the amount of protein they require, which can impair their ability to gain new muscle.

 The recommended dietary intake of protein for someone who is interested in building muscle is 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight (1 gram per pound of bodyweight).

However, you may fid that you benefit from adding even more protein if you have just started working out and your muscles are growing quickly.

Try 3.3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight (1.5 grams per pound) for the first six months.

After this period, you can return to 2.2 grams per kilogram bodyweight.

Ideally, the majority of your protein intake should come from “complete” protein sources, which have all of the essential amino acids that your body requires.

This includes foods like chicken, turkey, eggs, dairy, fish, and beef.

Mistake #2 — Not getting the fat you need

Fats have had a bad reputation in the fitness community for many years.

Fortunately, the myth that all fats are unhealthy has finally been debunked.

We now know that many fats are an essential part of a healthy diet.

Even if you want to develop a ripped or lean appearance, you must eat fats to remain healthy and to build muscle.

Fats are a subset of lipids — water insoluble compounds that are used to store energy, balance hormone levels, and synthesise protein.

There are many types of fats including some forms which which the human body cannot create.  These fats much be obtained through your diet.

So, why does fat matter?

Here are a few reasons:

  • Fat is required to synthesise protein, which is required for building muscle
  • Fatty acids like omega-3, -6, and -9 carry out several essential tasks including facilitating the absorption of nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, and K for starters)
  • Fat provides you with additional energy during workouts
  • Eating fats helps you maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is essential for creating testosterone ( a hormone necessary for good health and muscle growth)
  • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol, helps the body produce growth hormone, which increase production of amino acids used by muscles
  • Healthy fats can boost metabolism and actually help your body burn off fat

It’s important to make the distinction between trans fats and saturated fats, which are unhealthy, and Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats — which are healthy.

The best sources of healthy fats include avocados, olives, peanut butter, cheese, whole eggs, fatty fish, nuts, chia seeds, olive oil, and flaxseed oils.

Ideally, between 20 to 30% of your total daily calories should come from fat.

Mistake #3 — Not eating enough

You will soon discover that gaining muscle involves eating a LOT of food.

If you  are an adult male working out regularly and attempting to gain muscle mass, aim for about 45 calories per kilogram of bodyweight (20 calories per pound).

If you fail to obtain sufficient calories, your body will go into a caloric deficit and will not support new muscle growth.

Mistake #4 — Not eating frequently enough

Another common mistake made by people attempting to gain muscle is sticking to 3 square meals a day.

If you only eat once ever 5-6 hours, there may be periods where the body does not have enough fuel available for muscle growth.

Eating a huge amount of calories in a single sitting may also result in the body storing excess calories as body fat.

The solution is to spread your calorie intake evenly across a minimum of 6 meals each day.

This will provide your muscles with sufficient nutrition but prevent the storage of fat from over-eating in a single sitting.

Mistake #5 — Not using supplements the right way

While dietary supplements can make a huge difference to your muscle gain, care must be taken to use them appropriately.

Beginners often chug down protein shakes all day and are surprised when they start getting fatter!

It’s important to time your supplements well and to be careful with the levels of each supplement you take.

For most people, the best approach is to take have a pre- and post-workout shake, along with a bedtime shake.

The pre-workout shake should contain at least 20 grams of protein (whey and casein mix is usually best) and 40 grams of slow-digesting carbohydrates for energy.

The post-workout shake should have 20 to 40 grams of liquid protein and 60 to 100 grams of fast-digesting carbs for recovery.

Both shakes should be consumed with a 1 to 3 grams of Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), which is a metabolite of branched-chain amino acid leucine.

It will reduce muscle breakdown and stimulate muscle growth.

They should also contain 3 to 5 grams of creatine, which will help with muscle growth.

The bed time shake should contain 30 to 40 grams of casein protein.

You can also mix in some natural ingredients like peanuts butter, flax seeds, and nuts.

This will ensure your muscles have plenty of fuel to grow as you sleep.

Mistake #6 — Being afraid of carbs

After fitness “experts” bashed fats for 50 years, they moved onto bashing carbs.

However, there is nothing wrong with eating carbohydrates.

They are not your enemy and are essential for providing your muscles with glycogen for energy.

Importantly — if your diet doesn’t include enough carbohydrates, your body might begin to cannibalise your muscles for additional energy, sabotaging your efforts to build muscle.

If you are working out frequently, at least 50% of your calories should come from carbohydrates (more if you perform a lot of cardio).

Some of the best foods to incorporate into your diet include wholemeal pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, oatmeal, green leafy vegetables, and beans.

Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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