10 reasons why you’re not growing (in the gym)

10 reasons why you’re not growing (in the gym)

by Pamela Ng 26 Feb 2020

Imagine you have been dutifully going to the gym for a long time, and yet, the muscles that you were aiming for still fail to grow. What’s wrong with the workouts? What’s wrong with you? It can be discouraging to see minimal results or none at all despite the huge effort that you have put in. If that’s the case, maybe it’s not how you’ve been working out. Maybe there are other reasons and factors for your lack of growth in the gym. Here are those 10 reasons that might explain why you’re not seeing the progress you desire:


1. Lack of sleep

Not having enough sleep can cause cortisol levels to rise, which can cause a number of problems that interfere with your growth. Some negative impacts of having chronically elevated cortisol include insulin resistance, carbohydrate cravings and having an increase of fat deposits on the face, neck and belly. Furthermore, not having enough sleep can reduce your focus, strength and endurance during training, thereby reducing its quality.


2. Insufficient protein

Consuming protein helps to supply the body with amino acids that aid in repairing muscle tissue. If the muscles do not have enough amino acids, they will not be able to recover and adapt properly. Remember to add extra protein to your meals if you’re training hard, and perhaps consider protein shakes for an extra boost.


3. Alcohol

Depending on the quantity and types, alcohol can be beneficial to our health. However, too much of it can have quite the opposite effect. As you drink, your body releases anti-oxidants to aid in the metabolism of the alcohol, diverting the resources (that is the anti-oxidants) that could otherwise be useful for muscle growth.


4. Too much cardio

Cardio exercises are a great tool for burning fat. However, overdoing it can cause the body to enter a catabolic state that reduces your muscles mass. And when there’s less muscle mass, you tend to shrink in ways that are undesirable.


5. Overtraining

Like everything good, too much can be counter-productive, and this goes for training as well. If you train too much, your body won’t have enough time to rest and it would not be in an optimal state for growth. Furthermore, overtraining can lead to injuries that can hinder your workout routine.


6. Too little carbs

Having too little carbohydrates can lower glycogen stores in your muscles. In turn, your muscles will not have enough energy to survive the training sessions that are meant to trigger growth. That being said, the quality of carbohydrates matter just as much as the quantity.


7. Too little water

The body is made up of 70% water. Being dehydrated will adversely affect digestion and the nutrients won’t be as efficiently absorbed to aid in physical recovery.


8. Too much focus on a single exercise

Focus is good, but too much focus on a single exercise or regimen can be akin to putting on blinders. In order to give yourself a full-body workout, you should switch things up so that your other muscles can work and grow too. Of course, sometimes an exercise that focuses on a single muscle group can be beneficial (especially when it comes to fixing weak links), but emphasising too much on that can lead to overuse injuries that can keep you away from your routine.


9. Stress

Having too much on your plate can drain your mentally and emotionally. When stress sets in, cortisol levels will increase. And like what was mentioned above, cortisol can create a craving for carbohydrates and this may induce you to overeat and ruin your diet.


10. Prizing certain body parts

Some people exercise in order to improve the aesthetics of a particular body part. It is not wrong to want to do that, but beware of the consequences. Overworking a single muscle can lead to injuries that is far too big a price to look great and wouldn’t do much to build your entire physique.


If one solution doesn’t work, repeating the same thing in the hopes of getting a different outcome won’t exactly yield better results. Instead, consider other factors that can prevent you from growing and tackle those underlying aspects. If you want to see the growth you crave, make some changes and see what it does for you!