The Real Reason Why You Can’t Build Muscle

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You may be asking yourself: “Why can’t I gain or build muscle no matter what?”

If you’ve been having a hard time putting on muscle and strength, you’re going to want to read this post.

Face it, most advice around gaining muscle is flat out wrong! It’s not focused on gaining muscle, but rather, gaining fat. That’s fine if you want to look like a soft and pudgy Seth Rogen. But chances are, that’s not the look you had in mind!

I’m guessing you’re more after the physique of a Greek God or modern day Superhero. Think Brad Pitt in Troy or Chris Hemsworth in Thor.

Well, eating tons of food, is simply not the answer. Looking great comes down to strength and maintaining a low body fat.

This Is The Real Reason Why You Can’t Build Muscle

When I talk to someone that complains that they can’t gain muscle, there are a few things that are always common denominators, without fail.

In nearly all cases, these so called hardgainers, are NOT tracking their lifts, and they’re DEFINITELY NOT pushing themselves to lift heavier and heavier weights overtime!

The most important takeaway I have for you in this article is that – muscle is a byproduct of strength. We build muscle as a functional response to training.

So if you’re having trouble building muscle or gaining weight, ask yourself; why would your body pack on muscle? It needs a reason to, my friend.

That reason is strength! Muscle serves a functionality, so if you’re not getting stronger, muscle growth is useless.

greg 120 db incline bench

I guarantee that if you get a journal and start tracking the weight lifted on each workout for all your key exercises, while constantly pushing for that weekly progress, you will grow.

Your body will be forced to.

It’s actually not all about eating. Reason being, if you try to stuff more and more food into your diet in hopes to build muscle, that’s just going to result in a bunch of fat gain.

Most muscle building programs are marketed at gaining 10-20+ lbs of muscle in a very short period of time.

In truth, this is next to impossible.

The research is clear on this! Here’s a good table to base your expectations off of:

muscle gain table

That said, when you see the scale going up by 5 lbs a month, you truly believe it’s all muscle. What’s more, when you’re gaining a lot of bodyweight, it’s easier to lift heavier weights. So you think the program is really working.

Unfortunately, you aren’t getting as strong as you think.

True strength, is strength in relation to your weight. Bench pressing 275 lbs isn’t very impressive if you’re 220 lbs.

So if you’re overeating to build strength, you’re missing the point completely!

As well, you’re killing your aesthetics in the process. Any muscle you build will be obscured completely by a layer of fat; a layer of fat that will require a long period of time to shed off.

Your best bet is to eat in a way that allows you to stay lean while supporting lean muscle gains. This is what my Greek God Program is honed in on. It’s designed to add about 15 lbs to your ‘key lifts’ per month. If you’re adding 15 lbs to your weighted chin ups and incline presses each month, you’ll be adding dense muscle by the pound.

transformations ggp

*Your results may vary. Testimonials and examples used are exceptional results and are not intended to guarantee, promise, represent and/or assure that anyone will achieve the same or similar results.

Another thing to keep in mind while strength training is to use proper form. But more specifically, I mean to make sure you are working the particular muscle efficiently.

For example, someone could only be going half way down to their chest while incline barbell benching and limit themselves by not giving their chest a sufficient workout. So, it is important, as you gain strength you make sure to use proper form and take yourself through a solid range of motion.

As you get stronger and stronger, your body will become better and better at utilizing your muscle groups effectively to produce maximum strength and muscle gains.

What Does Building Muscle Ultimately Come Down To?

If you want to build a physique that is awesome, I suggest focusing more on incline presses, overhead presses, weighted chin ups* and single leg squats.

*Note: On weighted chin ups, make sure you’re using a high-quality weight belt that won’t distract you from your training or cause you discomfort.

Most importantly, it’s going to be about making the strength gains. If you’re only incline benching 45 lb dumbbells, you need to get that up to 100 lbs in each hand for your chest to really start developing.

You don’t need to worry about eating a ton of food.

And what’s really interesting is that, once you begin to really put in the effort in the gym and start making strength gains, you’ll naturally begin to eat more food in the perfect amount because your body needs the energy to make the adaptations/grow from your training.

Muscle building is a slow process. Simply trying to eat your way to muscle gains is just going to make you fat.

Focus on eating a balance of wholesome foods to give your body the proper nutrients it needs and also make sure you can enjoy yourself too.

There should not be any struggle to build muscle. It takes time, but keep pushing for those consistent strength gains and your body has no choice but to grow and the eating will work itself out.

Need help reaching your fitness goals? Use the Kinobody Physique Builder to find the best strategies for your body type.

Your Kino Question For The Day: What mistakes are you making when trying to gain muscle? What did this article help you most with? Let me know in the comments below.

Greg O'Gallagher

Greg O'Gallagher is the founder of Kinobody, a site dedicated to helping men and women achieve the lean, muscular, and aesthetic "Hollywood" physique. His fitness programs have helped hundreds of thousands of people transform their bodies and change their lives in the process.

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