6 Reasons You’re NOT Building Muscle (FIXED!)

If you’re not building muscle and are getting frustrated with your lack of muscle gains, then this is a video you need to watch. I’m going to show you the 6 reasons why you can’t build muscle and some tried and true muscle building tips that will help you to change your body once and for all.

It starts and ends with effort. I’m not going to say workout intensity because depending on what you are training for this can have a very different meaning. Effort however comes down to how much exertion you are willing to put forth in order to get a desired result from your workouts. For the purposes of building muscle we are talking about the amount of muscle growth you see from your training.

And it’s here that a lot of muscle building mistakes are made.

The first is when gym goers hide behind the science. As an advocate of training science it pains me to say this but it is true. Many beginners or those looking to simply not train hard enough, will point to things like RPE as a reason for leaving reps in the tank and staying away from harder effort. They will say that the volume will make up for the lack of training intensity over the long haul. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Too often, RPE isn’t even applied correctly. The beginner who lacks a true understanding of what max exertion even feels like is likely to stop much shorter from failure than is necessary to even cause a stimulus for change to occur.

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Moving on, if you are wondering how to build muscle for skinny guys because you just can’t seem to add size to your frame then you have to be sure you’re not just training your favorite exercises. All too often, the guy who can’t build muscle simply repeats the exercises that he likes rather than the ones he should do. Favorite exercises are favorites because they feel comfortable and you enjoy them. Enjoyment really isn’t a prerequisite for training efficacy.

Thirdly, it is natural and necessary to feel nerves prior to executing at least some of the lifts in your workout sessions. For instance, if every time you step under a squat bar you feel no trepidation at all and totally confident that you’re going to make the rep you’re attempting, you are simply not training hard enough. Again, this isn’t applicable to particular phases in a strength program perhaps but it is a necessary requirement for those looking to make muscle gains and get bigger muscles.

Along with this anticipation of a demanding effort should come some ugly faces. Now I’m not talking at all about the normal face you walk around with, because I for sure have been cursed with a face that isn’t the prettiest to look at. But whatever you look like when not lifting, you should look a whole lot uglier when lifting. It is literally impossible to exert a high effort and look like you’re enjoying a walk in the park.

Finally when it comes to the effort needed to build muscle, especially when you are wondering how to build muscle fast, you need to assess how you feel when you leave the gym. Do you feel refreshed from your workout or accomplished. If you feel refreshed then you likely exercised and didn’t train. In order to make muscle gains you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You need to be willing to take from your body what it was unwilling to give you on that day.


Then and only then can you make your best gains and build muscle the fastest.

If you are looking for programs that will help you to build muscle fast and pack on mass in the next 90 days, be sure to check out all of them at athleanx.com via the link below and use the program selector tool to find the one that best matches your current goals.

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56 thoughts on “6 Reasons You’re NOT Building Muscle (FIXED!)

  1. ATHLEAN-X™ says:

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  2. Vitality - Fitness & Science says:

    I’m a Calisthenics trainer & so many ask me why they dont build muscle. They argue that they have the right diet, the right supplements and bla, and it is definitely important, but what is ALSO important is: to train HARD. They spend so much time preparing their damn shakes instead of simply workout out!
    Training hard and going to the limits is NECESSARY for muscle growth, thats what many tend to forget.

    • Walter White says:

      In the gym where I was going before lockdown, a lot of people brought 2kg of protien powder everyday with them. During workouts they would sip those protien shake after every set. At the end some of those would even make another bottle of protien shake.

    • JTrain says:

      You’re right, but being bigger for its own sake isn’t the healthiest goal. Athletes (like gymnasts, etc) need extra strength to perform in their respective sport. But my friends who are obsessed with “getting big” just to LOOK big, are wrecking their rotator cuffs and other joints, and taxing their organs (kidney, liver, etc) with way more food than the body needs. (And let’s not even talk about the steroid abuses, which are rampant.)

  3. Thierry Henry the legend says:

    when i train in the gym and i go balls out my head starts to vibrate. i didnt realize until i had some headphones on me and they started vibrate like crazy

    • Mark says:

      @Clyde Morallos except it’s still a bad catchphrase for that. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with things like deloading and maintenance phases, both of which are parts of a scientifically proven process that maximizes muscle gain and you are absolutely not going into the gym with the intent to go harder.

      Jeff himself has admitted he takes TRT so his testosterone is not where it should naturally be. What he maintains is naturally possible but is not practical for a normal person who is not artificially boosting their testosterone.

      You don’t have to mentally commit every day, 365 days a year. It’s normal from regular gym goers to professional athletes to take both physical and mental breaks.

      Success is in finding the right balance and training smart, not yelling catchphrases with no nuance like an ape.

    • PlAsKusJ3GaRn says:

      @David Anthony Berrueco You sure? Cause if you do deadlifts at 100 kg’s one week and 105 kg’s the next week you’ve trained harder than last time. So you can train harder than last time

    • David Anthony Berrueco says:

      @PlAsKusJ3GaRn that is shurely true, however there comes to a point where you struggle to add even 5kg to a big lift such as the squat or deadlift. Then you must train smarter, which doesn’t mean to slack, but do a lot of accessories and not take every set of the main lifts to failure if it will impact your recovery. Don’t get me wrong, I actually lovee going to failure, it is amazing to reach your limits and then some more, but knowing when to slow down is also important

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