Lifestyle

Break Through Your No-Gains Plateau With These Strategies

February 21st 2020

If you cannot gain muscle no matter what you do, this is definitely the article for you.

I am sorry though.

This will not be an article to sympathize with you.

Your feelings may get hurt.

Your ego may get bruised.

But if you are looking for solutions to turn your life around, continue on reading.

Otherwise, what I am going to reveal will have no use for you.

Can’t gain muscle no matter what 

Progress will happen if you are training, eating and resting correctly. Making sure you are going to the gym on a strict schedule, meeting your macronutrient requirement and getting plenty of shut-eye will evaporate any previous plateau.

You are not eating enough

If you saying you are eating enough, just stop lying.

I was with a pal during college that was trying to put on 10lbs of bodyweight.

And he said he was eating till he was full all the time.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

It did seem like a strange problem to have.

After all, I seem to eat when I am full all the time and I steadily gain weight if I strength train or do any type of resistance training.

When I was actually watching him eat, I knew he was exaggerating. 

He did not eat nearly as much as I did.

Plus, he would even eat small meals as well.

When I pointed this out, he would say that my body structure is a mesomorph and he was an ectomorph. 

I decided to take a short online quiz (a link to bodybuilding.com) to see if it was really the case.

It turns out I am a hybrid between a mesomorph and endomorph, more leaning to the endomorph.

While my body type may make it easier to get average results, it still takes a lot to develop strength and size.

The point of the story is to know your limitations but also create a plan instead of complaining.

If you think you are eating enough and you are not gaining muscle or weight, you are not eating enough.

Plain and simple.

So, for you, for the next 4 weeks, you need to be uncomfortable with your eating.

This means you will be expanding your stomach by eating more foods even when you are full.

It is just the nature of trying to change your physique when you are trying to gain weight.

You are not eating enough protein

This also means that you hit your macronutrient content as well.

Aiming for 1g of protein per bodyweight is a good rule of thumb.

You want to gain muscle, not fat.

And depending on your body type, this will induce your body to certain results that you may not want.

Supplements are not needed

Supplements are luxury items.

They help but it is much cheaper to eat whole foods.

But they are very convenient and can provide you quick calories if you are unprepared.

For the beginner, skip this unless you want to spend extra money. 

You are not consistent in the gym

This is probably the easiest part of gaining muscle.

You go to the gym on a strict schedule.

No ifs, ands or buts.

You commit to a program and you stick to it for at least one year.

Holidays, work events, parties, night outs, whatever the occasion.

You make sure the number one priority is to get your workout in.

Extreme?

You need to be if you want significant results.

Sure, you can gradually hit the gym but do not complain when your results just trickle in.

What strength training programs are good?

Here are a few I tried in the past and my reviews about them:

And recently, this is my current program

Here is a lesson by me as well, do not program hop.

Instead, try to understand strength training principles and systems so that you can eventually learn how to make your own program.

And when you do, follow the program exactly and do not change anything.

These programs are 3-4x a week but if that does not work for you, that is okay.

This is what I mean, if you could only go to the gym twice a week,

You can rotate your program to have 2 week cycles instead of one week.

So, for instance, your 4x a week program would be split into two weeks.

Your 3x a week program, on a 2 day schedule, will be split in 8-9 day cycles.

That or you read about any variations in the programs within the books.

They will all get your beastly results.

You are not willing to do what is boring

And really, these are the two secrets.

You may read in other articles about too much cardio, not sleeping enough, etc.

With sleep, you better try to get as much as you can.

Your muscles grow outside of the gym and not inside.

And as for the cardio, I know a friend who runs ultra-marathons and he is jacked. 

He eats a lot too.

He is about 5’5” and 150lbs.

He is jacked, in my opinion, for someone who runs ultra-marathons.

He is the first to tell you that it is one of the challenges of being an ultra-marathoner is to maintain and grow muscle.

He is doing a good job of it.

And he runs way more than what other people try to scare you away from.

You can do your cardio.

Just make sure that you are hitting the weights intensely and that whatever cardio you do is not taking away from you lifting heavy weights.

And you do it consistently, over and over again.

This will be boring, I am letting you know upfront.

Most days, it would be as exciting as your first day.

So, if you are willing to take that risk and you understand all the sacrifices you may need to make in the future as well, then this is something you should shoot for as well.

What would a sample schedule look like?

I will assume you are 5’10” 180lbs and you are looking to bulk up.

You would workout 3x a week, 60 minutes maximum each workout.

Within each workout, you will have a workout A and workout B and alternate them.

In workout A, you would do squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. 

Squats and bench presses are 3 sets of 5 reps.

Deadlifts are 1 set of 5 reps.

In workout B, you would do squats, overhead presses and barbell rows. 

All three exercises, you would do 3 sets of 5 reps.

 

In terms of cardio, it would be optimal. 

You could take a casual run 2x a week.

You could go swimming 5x a week.

You could go play ball with the boys 3x a week.

You could opt to do no cardio as well.

 

In terms of eating, there are plenty of ways to do it.

You can track your numbers and eat to a certain limit.

For example, you could eat up to 2500-2800 calories to hit your goal weight.

Or you could eat until you are full and overeat a bit.

As long as the weight is going up and you are not gaining too much fat, you are eating correctly to gain strength and size.

Conclusion

If you say you cannot gain muscle no matter what one more time, I’ll just shake my head in disapproval.

You can do it!

Seriously, you can.

I layed out the framework of exactly what to do in order to gain muscle and strength for the next year.

All you need to do is commit, do not skip any days and watch your progress slowly grow.

It can be a bit slow, depending on how aggressively you tackle this fitness goal.

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