In the United States, 25% of people go to the gym at least once a year.

While that may seem like a lot, most of them didn’t go often or on a regular basis. One reason why people quit going to the gym is frustration. They hit a plateau during weight loss, or they hit a plateau during muscle building. Muscle building mistakes are a leading reason why people get frustrated at the gym.

What kind of muscle building mistakes are being made and how do you avoid them? Let’s take a look at 12 of the most common mistakes.

1. No Plan

Building muscle requires a plan, a careful and thought out approach will be more successful. A lot of factors go into workout routines, from body shape to fitness goals. Not having a plan means that the workout isn’t structured and therefore some areas of muscle building will not receive the attention they should.

Keeping a workout routine straight isn’t easy, but it is imperative. Even if you don’t have professional help in developing a workout, there are things you can do to help yourself. Try using a notebook to write down everything you’ve done or are planning to do.

Set goals based on a realistic expectation of what you can gain. Your plan should revolve around your goals, not the other way around. Once you have your specific targets in mind, you can plan the workout around those goals so that everything in your workout works together.

There are a lot of resources online you can look into as well. If you don’t know what to do, find help from a professional or do research on best practices. Start easy with a weekly workout schedule and then go into more detail as you learn more.

2. Improper Nutrition

Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of building muscle. You’re making muscle building mistakes every time you touch junk food and fast food. If you want your body to operate at a high level, you need to put clean, nutritious food into your body.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t consume fat, because fat plays a clear role in muscle building. It is the other things, like tons of sodium, saturated fat, and processed sugars that you need to leave behind. Failing to do so will sabotage your muscle building workouts.

No diet will survive if you can’t find some enjoyment in it, so make sure that you’re eating food that tastes good to you. It is a myth that healthy food doesn’t taste good, some people find they even prefer it after a short while. Diet and exercise are both keys to healthy muscle gains.

3. Dehydration

A lot of people don’t realize how much water you go through when you sweat or engage in heavy physical exercise. You can lose up to two liters an hour, and all that water needs replacing. If you don’t pay attention to proper hydration you will find yourself not gaining any muscle mass.

The reason for this is that dehydration has a negative impact on your entire body. Hormones and chemicals enter the bloodstream that lower testosterone and growth hormones. This makes your body less benefited by the workouts you’re doing.

4. Lack of Sleep

Sleep is important if you want to see any muscle gains. The reason for this is that not sleeping well lowers testosterone and causes muscle mass to break down. Even a single night of low sleep can start the process that will lead to fat gain and muscle loss.

Another big issue with lack of sleep is that it ruins motivation and promotes lethargy. If you are not getting enough sleep it can be difficult to motivate yourself for even light exercises. Frustration and lack of motivation are key reasons why people fail at the gym.

Solving this problem isn’t hard, you have to sleep a full night. If your schedule is so busy that you feel as though you can’t get enough sleep, you will have to make a sacrifice somewhere. If you don’t, forget about having the body or muscle mass that you want.

5.  Overtraining

It would seem to be common wisdom that the more you train, the bigger you’ll get. This is true within reason, but when you take it outside of reason you get other effects. Overtraining will break down muscle mass, it also is a main reason for injuries in the gym.

It is easy to overtrain because there are a lot of workout routines made popular by famous bodybuilders and athletes. Their routines are customized to their body and needs, so they won’t work as well for you. In fact, in a lot of cases, these people even use pharmaceuticals.

If you don’t have the same muscle building supplements you aren’t going to see the same results as a professional. In addition to supplements, diet control, and routines, they have teams of people helping them achieve their goals because they can afford to pay for help.

6. Poor Form

When it comes to building muscle and how to build muscle, adherence to proper form is critical. Not only does improper form come with a larger risk of injury, but it is also a lot more difficult to build muscle if muscles aren’t being engaged the right way. You also run the risk of unbalancing your gains.     

The first time you do a lift, make sure that you have someone you trust or your PT watch and critique your form. Even if it is a lift that you’ve been doing for a while, you could be making mistakes. It never hurts to get input from trusted sources when it comes to correct lifting form and posture.

Strength training does more than just build muscles, but it is dangerous if done wrong. Remember that next time you hit the weights, and pay close attention to how you’re lifting and if anything feels wrong. If your body is telling you something isn’t right, you need to listen to it.

7. Not Enough Protein or Fat

Having proper nutrition to build muscle mass is not the same as a diet designed to lose weight. A lot of people commit major muscle building mistakes when it comes to diet. Muscles are benefited from protein intake, so never starve your muscles of the protein they need after a hard lifting session.

Like protein, fat plays an integral part in gaining mass. As you increase your muscle mass, the amount of sitting calories you will consume increases, so your consumption of food needs to increase as well. At the highest levels, calorie intake is something that professional bodybuilders monitor every day.

You can also use supplements like whey protein to increase your protein intake, but nothing is as good as food. Make sure that you are ingesting a lot of healthy protein and fat, don’t resort to junk food for the calories. The same rules about nutritious food apply, even when building muscle.

8. Lifting Too Fast

Lifting weights is not a race, it doesn’t matter who finishes first. Don’t go crazy on timing your reps, there’s no need. Not only does this risk injury, but it also doesn’t allow the muscles to become engaged, which means you won’t see as many gains from lifting fast.

You can also make gains by doing negative reps. If you’re blasting through every set, you’re not giving your muscles enough time to work, either on the positive or negative side of the rep. Negative reps, or slowly letting down each weight will also help stabilize the muscle and lead to a host of other benefits.

There are some exercises that are designed to enhance the impact of lifting on fast twitch muscle fibers. Those are separate, and before you engage in any of them or plyometrics, make sure to discuss it with your PT. People go to the gym for a number of reasons, but no one goes to get hurt.

9. Light Lifting

While it may seem like lifting a small amount of weight more times is equal to heavy amounts for a few reps, it’s not. If you are lifting weight that you can do 20 or 30 reps on, you’re not gaining any ground with muscle growth. You need weight that you can only lift ten or fewer times.

The heavier the weight, the more stress you will put the muscle under. This in turn helps to increase the amount of testosterone and growth hormones released into the bloodstream. It also forces the muscle to grow larger in order to deal with the heavier weights.

This is why it is important to have a max day every week or two. This allows you to see what your gains have been, and how much you can lift. Knowing what your maximum allows you to tailor the rest of your lifting for optimal growth and success.

10. Lack of Flexibility

When you work out it is important to stretch the muscles both before and after. Consider stretching before working out a way of lowering the risk of injury. After lifting, stretching is even more important, because it helps stimulate blood flow and can help increase the size of your muscles.

It isn’t for looks, keeping mobility up during weight training is essential to a full and healthy life. Stretching after heavy lifting also helps rehabilitate the muscles so that you can begin training again sooner. The connective tissues in your limbs, like tendons and ligaments, also benefit from stretching.

Be careful not to overstretch, you don’t want your muscles growing dependent on stretching to be effective. Do just enough that you are warmed up and the blood is flowing.

11. Going Alone

Going to the gym alone isn’t always a choice, but it is important that you have friends. When you’re lifting heavy weights you need someone to spot you for safety’s sake. If you don’t have any friends who are into lifting, you can rely on the people in the gym and your PT to help you out.

Having a friend go with you makes regular attendance much easier. You can both work out together so that you don’t feel alone or isolated in the gym. This, along with mutual support and encouragement, is why so many people lift in teams or with groups of others who are all on the same page.

If you do find yourself alone, make sure you still get in a workout but avoid lifting anything heavy or challenging. This way you can still work the muscles out but do it without any danger of getting caught underneath the weight.

12. Skipping Leg Day

It may seem like skipping leg day is a good thing, why get the muscles in your legs bigger? The reality is, these muscle groups are large and whatever impacts them, will change your body. The amount of testosterone that your body makes during leg day is amazing.

It’s not only the legs, but any large muscle groups like the quads, or back muscles have the same effect. If you work out only your arms and chest, you aren’t going to see gains that often. Some Olympic lifters have amazing physiques but never do any training with single joint workouts.

The reason they get away with this is because of the amount of work they put into their legs. They don’t have to work a lot of their upper muscles in order to add muscle mass.

Common Muscle Building Mistakes

If you can avoid making these common muscle building mistakes, you are going to be a step up on your journey. Gaining muscle mass and becoming larger isn’t something that happens overnight. It is hard work, but if you do it right the rewards can be out of this world.

If you want to work out your entire body, gain muscle and increase your fitness, we’re here for you. Visit us and let’s get started getting you the body of your dreams.