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6 Reasons You Can’t Build Muscle

Author: Rudy Mawer Contributing Author

Ever since stepping into the gym, the goal of building muscle has been in the forefront of your mind. The continued battle with the iron can seem never ending - you work out every day, eat well, optimize sleep, but still struggle to see noticeable results.

You aren’t alone in this problem and KAGED MUSCLE is here to help. Here are six reasons you can’t build muscle and how to fix them.

1. You Aren’t Optimizing Your Calories

While it’s easy for people to think their diet is on point because they eat chicken and rice every day, the truth is that an optimal muscle-building plan goes far beyond those basics.

First, and most importantly, you must accurately calculate your daily caloric need for weight maintenance, and then create a calorie surplus to facilitate muscle building. The hard part is calculating this accurately, as most people assume the magic number of 2500 calories will be sufficient for their goal.

To get an accurate estimate, this article can help guide you: Learn How to Count Your Calories Accurately. Once you’ve established your daily maintenance intake, set your calories 500 higher to optimize muscle gain. From here, it’s important to monitor your progress every two weeks; if you aren’t seeing your weight gradually increase on the scale, bump your calories up by 250 per day.

2. You Aren’t Pinpointing Your Macros

After basic calories, the other three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats) become extremely important. Most KAGED MUSCLE readers will be familiar with the importance and benefits of protein, so be sure you are consuming around 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds you would consume a minimum of 150 grams of protein. This should be made up from high quality sources such as meats, fish, eggs, dairy, Re-Kaged, and Kasein protein.

Next up is carbs, which play a key role in muscle growth and performance. Working from your daily caloric intake, make 30-50% of your calories from carbohydrates. This will be around 250 to 500 grams per day depending on your size, calorie needs, and activity levels. Again, these should be based on whole foods, such as oats, whole grains, rice, fruit, vegetables, and potatoes.

Finally, the remaining calories will be made up of healthy fats. These should equal a minimum of 50 to 100 grams per day. These fat sources should include foods such as fatty fish like salmon, nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butters, olive oil, and whole eggs.

As you can see, this approach is much more detailed, giving you your exact macro needs. When you eat meals without this level of guidance, it often results in undereating the amount of calories needed to build muscle. By staying consistent and tracking your intake, you can ensure you’re on track and are able to make educated changes to your macros as required.

3. Your Training Isn’t Structured

Much like your diet, you must walk into the gym every day with a game plan that reflects your goals. When programming a training plan, here are a few variables to consider:

  • Training frequency - how many times you train each muscle per week
  • Training intensity - what rep ranges and intensity you use
  • Rest periods - do you use 30, 60, 90 seconds, or a combination of different rest periods
  • Exercise selection - compound, isolation, joint angles, and muscle length must all be considered
  • Training volume - how many sets and different exercises you will perform per session
  • Overload - what form of progression will you use to break through plateau

As you can see from these examples, training plans need to go beyond simply hitting the gym four times a week. Advanced programming is what separates average results from rapid growth or transformations.

Lucky for you, the KAGED MUSCLE member, you can sign up for Kris Gethin’s 8 Week Hardcore Trainer to have all this done for you. This program contains advanced workouts to turbo charge your muscle growth.

4. You Aren’t Being Consistent

Ultimately, consistency is the most important factor in physique transformation or muscle growth.

You could be on the world’s most advanced regime, with the perfect meal and training plans. But, if you were inconsistent with sessions or only did it for a few weeks and then quit, you won’t see progress. For this reason, you must make a true lifestyle change and form healthy, muscle-building habits.

Once you’ve mastered the basics and formed these habits, you will find it much easier to make long-lasting progress in the gym and with your physique.

5. You Don’t Optimize Sleep or Recovery

Another common issue is overlooking the importance of sleep and recovery, which ultimately limits your ability to grow and train harder.

As you may know, you don’t grow in the gym. Training is when you break down the muscle fibers, allowing your body to rebuild the damaged tissue to improve and adapt to the stress of training. This growth is maximized in the 24-48 hours following the workout with proper rest and nutrition.

The problem for most is that they slave away in the gym, breaking down their body but then fail to allow it the chance to rebuild. Basically, this halts any progress and leaves them stuck at a plateau.

By focusing on that post-workout window, fueling your body with the proper quantity and type of nutrients, and allowing it to recover, you can maximize your workout and put those reps to good use. Along with taking in a good post-workout shake such as Re-Kaged, focus on some high calorie, nutrient dense meals in the hours following the gym.

Additionally, make sure you’re getting as much sleep as possible, which is around eight hours for most people. This uninterrupted time of rest provides your body the best opportunity to reset hormone levels, grow new tissue, and replenish its energy stores for tomorrow’s training session.

6. Your Supplement Regime is Sub-Par

Now that we’ve covered the basics such as training, diet, and recovery, it’s time to take your results a step further with some scientifically proven supplements.

Based on hundreds of research studies, there are some clear winners when it comes to optimizing performance, recovery, and muscle growth. Here are five key supplements you should include to maximize your training sessions and results:

  • Whey Protein
  • Creatine
  • BCAA
  • Beta Alanine
  • Casein

When you have all the other pieces of the puzzle in place, these supplements can help boost your results to the next level. They have been found to improve recovery after your workout, allowing you to push the intensity and training volume a step further.

For direct muscle growth, supplements such as whey protein and creatine have been shown to double muscle growth when combined with training, compared to training alone.

Finally, anti-catabolic agents such as BCAAs and casein can keep your muscles fueled around the clock. This will help you with recovery, reducing muscle protein breakdown and, of course, helping to add new muscle tissue – your main goal.


In your quest to reach your goal of building muscle, there are a few key factors that will elevate your results. Remember, consistency needs to be your best friend – without it, your physique won’t show the hard work you’ve been putting in.

 


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