Why Aren’t I Building Muscle?

It’s Q&A time again! I got the same question 3 times this week, so I think I should address it here since the answer was the same for each of the 3 people that wrote in and asked the question. The questions all went something like this: “I have been working out for X months. [...]

building-muscle.jpgIt’s Q&A time again! I got the same question 3 times this week, so I think I should address it here since the answer was the same for each of the 3 people that wrote in and asked the question. The questions all went something like this:

“I have been working out for X months. I have been training hard using X workout routine and taking X supplements . I am not getting any bigger!? I have put on [insert small weight here] pounds in [insert long time here]. I should be getting bigger but I’m not growing. Please help!”

So the simplified version of that is, why am I not building muscle?

After an email or 2 with each of the guys asking this question it quickly became clear why they were not growing. They were not eating enough calories. Simple as that. That’s the simple answer to that question almost every time it’s asked. New lifters focus on 2 things before their diet, training and supplements. This is the wrong way to go about it because diet is absolutely critical to muscle growth.

So the next question is, how do I know how many calories I need?

To work out how many calories you need you must first calculate your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. Your BMR is the number of calories you need to eat on a daily basis to maintain your current weight.

The easiest way to calculate your BMR is to use a BMR calculator. This calculator uses the Harris Benedict Formula (one of the most accurate methods) to calculate your daily calorie requirements.

Now, you want to build muscle and gain weight, so your calorie intake needs to be more than your expenditure. So take the figure the calculator gave you and add 500. This is how many calories you should be eating every day to build muscle.

Example:
- Your calculated BMR is 2,450 calories
- You require 2,950 calories for weight gain
- You require 1,950 calories for weight loss

Now you know how many calories you need, the next step is to split up your calories into meals and build your diet. Check out my how to create a bodybuilding diet post for details on how to do that.

With your diet sorted out you should be on the road to building muscle! Now get back in the gym!