Ever feel like you may not be gaining muscle as fast or as much as you would like to, despite going to the gym and being consistent with your workouts? In this video, I’m going to show you 5 red flags that can help you determine that this may be the case before it’s too hard to do something about it. Each of these early warning signs will serve to get you to take notice and quickly change up your training so that you can start making nothing but gains.
We all know that gaining muscle is something that will take us an extended period of time, especially once we are past the newbie gains stage of our training. That said, when it seems like an eternity without seeing any appreciable progress it can become pretty frustrating and sometimes even to the point where we want to give up.
That would be a mistake.
You can do something to get back on the right track and to seeing muscle building goals being reached very quickly.
RED FLAG #1: YOU’RE NOT GETTING A PUMP
The first red flag to be on the lookout for is the lack of a pump from your workouts. Once believed to be only a side effect to please your ego, the pump is now recognized as something much more important. Through intracellular tension stress on the muscle cell, the pump is capable of driving a stimulus for muscle growth that was once overlooked. Beyond this, the lack of one can be a hint that you may be too one dimensional in your training focus. Time to switch it up or at least, mix it up.
RED FLAG #2: NO MIND-MUSCLE CONNECTION
Second, you need to get sore in your training. Well, not that kind of soreness. What I mean is that when you attempt to contract a given muscle as hard as possible you should be able to feel a discomfort within the muscle belly indicative of a strong mind muscle connection. If you are not, then even your bigger compound lifts are struggling since they represent the sum effort of all the individual muscles to the task at hand.
RED FLAG #3: HYDRATION
Third, you can learn a lot from the color of your urine. If you are peeing too yellow then you are likely not taking in enough water and are in some state of dehydration. This is a major problem. Just as it is impossible to grow a flower without water, growing a muscle in a dehydrated environment is not a good idea. Beyond the clarity however is the frequency. At a minimum, you need to be going to the bathroom at least 10 or 12 times a day. If you are going less than this then you need to up your water intake as soon as possible if you want to see muscle growth and gains.
RED FLAG #4: RECOVERY
The fourth red flag has to do with your recovery from your training. If you are not recovering between workouts then you are likely not having an anabolic effect from the next workout you are about to do. That is a problem. You can stave this off and foretell when this is about to become especially problematic by taking out the old school bathroom scale and squeezing it with two hands as I show you. Take the reading and look for a ten percent drop-off from morning to morning. This would indicate that the central nervous system is not as recovered as it should be, which is often the first to fatigue before the muscles stop responding.
RED FLAG #5: DROP IN PERFORMANCE
Finally, take a note of your performance in your workouts from set to set. If you are seeing more than a 10-15% drop-off in the amount of weight you can handle from one set to the next (especially early on in your workout) or a greater than 30% drop in the number of reps that you can perform when resting 90 seconds between sets, then you are likely not recovered and will start to see muscle gains come to a halt. Increase the amount of time you rest between sets to see if that corrects the issue. If it does not, take a hard look at your training and be willing to make changes to get yourself back on track.
So to recap for those that prefer lists:
1. Lack of Pump
2. Lack of Contraction Soreness
3. Not Peeing Clear at Least 10 Times a Day
4. Grip Strength decreasing – CNS burnout
5. Intraset Recovery – 10-15% Drop Off in Strength Between Sets
If you are looking for a training program that will help you to get nothing but gains, without overtraining, be sure to head to athleanx.com at the link below and get the program that matches your exact goals. Start training like an athlete and see how much faster you can see uninterrupted muscle gains within even the first few weeks of workouts.
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Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.