I Lift Heavy But Can't Grow?

This is a very, very common question I get from my clients and friends alike – I lift heavy but just don’t grow.

Before I get into specifics, I would just like to point out the muscle building formula again:

 

 

From my experience, the most common reason why most ectomorphs don’t grow is because of reason #2 – they just don’t eat enough.

I shall be going through each section individually so you can see where you are lacking in.

Note: I will break down proper nutrition into eating enough and eating right.

 

1. Training Right

Is your workout short and intense? Are you doing compound exercises? Are you lifting heavier or lifting a higher volume for every subsequent workout?

Are you mixing it up every now and then? Such as your exercises, sets, tempo, rep speed?

There are a lot of factors involved, and I would like to point you to the principles of muscle building so you can have a more indepth look at each principle.

Either way, understand and incorporate these principles. Why? Because they are your basics, and working out without the right foundations will only set up you up for failure.

If you have hit a plateau, check out how to break out of a weight training plateau and utilise some advanced techniques.

 

2. Eating Enough

 

 

Your training counts for nothing if you aren’t eating enough! One of the main problems of not eating enough is that many ectomorphs do not know how much is enough, and can’t be bothered to count their calories.

I was once like that, but it’s actually alright if you don’t count since it’s such a pain.

However, you should at the very least adjust your diet accordingly. If you aren’t making any gains, eat more. If you are gaining fats faster than muscles, eat less.

If you want a tangible figure, then do check out how to count your daily calorie needs.

The rule of thumb is to eat 6 meals a day, and gradually eat more as you gain more muscles (muscle mass increases your metabolism rate). Check out the ectomorph diet guidelines.

 

 

3. Eating Right

 

 

Not all calories are born equal, and we certainly do not want to bulk up on empty calories or crap food like chips.

Avoid these unhealthy foods if you want to gain weight and consume these foods if you want to gain weight.

 

 

4. Resting Enough

 

 

Contrary to what many ectomorphs believe, resting enough is actually a very important concept. And it’s a very underrated concept.

Yes, we all know rest is good, and we have to rest more. But what is rest and how much is necessary?

The first rule is to sleep at least 7.5 hours daily. This differs for everyone though, depending on your sleep cycle. Try to wake up once your REM sleep/stage 4 cycle ends. You have to test this for yourself.

For me, I feel refreshed waking up at the 6, 7.5 or 9 hour mark. Anything off and I will feel sluggish.

The next rule, is knowing when you have overtrained – have you hit a weight training plateau? Taking a whole week off (deload week) after 8 weeks of training is a must, but not many people do that.

 

 

However, you must learn to tell if your body is burned out or it is just stuck at a weight training plateau so you can take the necessary actions. Don’t assume just because you are stuck with a plateau that means you are burned out.

Finally, rest doesn’t just refer to sleep. It also means controlling the stress and pressures you face in your daily life, and allowing your body and mind to recuperate both physically and mentally.

If you are constantly worried, agitated or feeling out of sorts, your body will react similarly.

Stress hormones (catabolic in nature) are released, meaning they destroy muscle cells and store fats, and your body will be undergoing a lot of other processes which I won’t have the space here to explain.

You can check out 7 other essential but underrated principles which you may have neglected, but the thing is this:

Doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity.

If you are stuck, stop and think, alternatively, you could post a comment here asking for help or contact me and I’ll try my best t help!

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. i believe i follow the guidelines and regulation for skinny guy quite rite. but so far i only gain weight on my stomach. what happen?

    Reply
    • Hi along, without more details, I can’t help you.. Hazarding a guess, maybe you have been eating the wrong stuff? e.g. fast food? Eating too much? Eating at the wrong times? and not doing enough cardio?

      Reply
      •  thanks for your response. i can say 90% of my diet is clean and i’m eating just above my calories threshold. can u give an example of eating at the wrong times? and one more thing i wanna mention i take weight gainer always with whole milk.. is it bad?

        Reply
        • There is a science to eating at the right times. For instance, calorie/carb cycling, such as eating more carbs after your workouts and/or on workout days. There are also glycemic index and insulin index of food to take note of. I can’t explain everything here, so if you would like to learn more, you could join my inner circle where I share more advanced tips.

          I would say the reason that you are gaining weight on your stomach is because of the weight gainer. I do not recommend commercial weight gainers because it packs too MANY calories all at one go. This causes your body to release even more insulin which will store the carbs as fats. With the presence of insulin, fat loss cannot occur as well. What happens is that you get more fat cells while not being able to burn away the current ones.

          Reply

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