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You’re putting in the work–but you’re not putting the muscle on. You’ve stopped growing, and your motivation to keep showing up to the gym is shot.
Hitting the gym on the regular isn’t the only thing you need to do to make gains. That’s because muscle gain, or hypertrophy, is actually pretty complicated. And there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation for how much you can expect to gain, either.
Muscle growth depends on a lot of things, says fitness expert Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D, head of the Human Performance Laboratory at Lehman College in the Bronx. Things like genetics, type of training, years of training, and how you respond to training all contribute to the amount of muscle you can expect to gain.
But here’s a benchmark: An average guy who’s just started lifting has the potential to put on two to three pounds muscle per month. But someone who’s been lifting for 20 years may only be able to put on two pounds of muscle a year, he says. As for the average guy in the middle of the range? He can maybe put on a pound or two of muscle a month.
So it’s possible the amount of muscle you want to gain isn’t really realistic. But if your goal falls into the possible amount? Then you might want to look at how you’re training if your muscle gains keep coming up short.
Here, five workout mistakes that are holding you back from serious muscle growth–and some simple ways to get right back on track (It’s not just about what you’re doing at the gym, either–these other mistakes could be holding back muscle growth, too).