Weight training, whether as a bodybuilder or simply as an individual trying to get into better shape, is an incredibly complex process, full of ups and downs. If you’re seeing your physique improve on a weekly basis, as your muscles grow and your fat melts away, you’ll be sitting on top of the world. If, however, you’re busting your rear-end in the gym, watching what you eat, and not seeing any real progress at all, it’s easy to find yourself feeling demoralised. There’s nothing worse than giving something your all, and not seeing the results you should be seeing, especially when trying to build muscle and get in shape. If you’re not growing however, there must be a reason for this, or rather, several reasons. Here are 4 reasons why your muscles may not be growing.

You’re not consuming enough calories – If your goal is muscle GROWTH, then the simple fact is that you need to be taking in more calories than your body is able to burn off. Establishing a consistent caloric surplus is vital for anybody trying to build muscle, as without enough calories, it doesn’t matter how hard you train, your body will simply be unable to build the muscle you need. You can’t build a wall without building materials, and the same principle applies to your body and muscle. Your body needs calories in order to recover after a training session, and to build muscle as you rest, and if you’re not giving it these calories, you simply won’t grow. Aim for a surplus of around 300 – 400 calories above maintenance to begin with, as this will keep you in an anabolic state, while staying fairly lean.

Your intensity is lacking – To build muscle you really need to push yourself while training, which will mean stepping up the intensity. We’re not saying you should slam the weights down onto the ground after each set, screaming the gym down as you do so, but you will need some intensity to grow. Don’t choose weights that are far too light for you, and don’t perform 8 – 10 reps if you could have easily done double, as, in all honesty, you’re hardly going to benefit at all. Choose weights that test you, be sure to train to failure, and don’t sit around for several minutes between sets, leisurely chatting with your buddies. To grow you need to push your body beyond its comfort zone, so really focus on stepping up the intensity the next time you’re in the gym.

Your diet sucks – Experts say that muscle is built in the kitchen, due primarily to the fact that you can’t build muscle if you’re eating the wrong things, at the wrong frequencies, at the wrong time. To build muscle you need to be taking in around 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight, but along with protein you also need your micronutrients from your veggies and fruits, your carbohydrates, and your healthy fats. If you want to eat junk then that’s fine, just don’t complain when the only thing you’re gaining is body fat as opposed to muscle. To build muscle, not only do you need enough calories and protein, you also need a healthy balance of the right foods to initiate the growing process. If your muscles aren’t growing, one of the first things you will need to address is your diet.

You’re relying on supplements – Supplements are fantastic if used in conjunction with a smart training routine and a healthy diet, but they don’t work miracles. If given the choice between a fridge full of healthy groceries for the week, or a new tub of the latest whey protein, whole foods win, hands down, every single time. Supplements do work, but if you aren’t training right or eating right, again, you may as well save your money.