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.
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.
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!
Articles in This Section (Ectomorph Bodybuilding):
- Ectomorph Bodybuilding: learn the science of the muscle growth formula for ectomorphs
- Body types: are you a true ectomorph? It is not so straightforward
- Mindsets: the mindset you need to succeed. Without this, forget about gaining any mass
- Principles & mechanisms of muscle building: if there’s only time for one article, read this
- How to be lean and ripped: you want to be attractively lean and ripped, not the skinny kind
- What is strength training: for beginners, I recommend strength training
- Muscle building FAQs: why can’t you gain weight? How to gain muscle fast? etc..
- Glossary of bodybuilding terms: do check this out if you are just starting out