5 Reasons You Will Fail To Build Muscle (And How To Fix Them)

5 Reasons You Will Fail To Build Muscle (And How To Fix Them)

What’s going on guys? Sean Nalewanyj, SeanNal.com, RealScienceAthletics.com. And in this video today, I’m going to be going
over five key reasons why you will fail to reach your muscle building goals and what
to do about them in order to maximize your chances for long-term success. Before we get started, if you’re new to the
channel and you find this information helpful, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button
below to keep yourself up-to-date on future videos and also make sure to follow me over
on Instagram as well. When I’m not on YouTube that’s where you’ll
find me. I post every single day there with a variety
of different fitness tips, workout clips, meals, and other updates. So don’t miss out on that either. It’s @Sean_Nalewanyj. So, five reasons why you will fail to build
muscle. These definitely aren’t the only five reasons,
but these are some really important fundamental ones that you need to be aware of. So, reason number one is that you don’t have
a consistent preset training plan in place. So instead, you’re doing what a huge percentage
of people in the gym do, which is just kind of winging it from week to week. Maybe you have sort of a general template
that you’re following in terms of, you know, which muscles to hit on which days, but every
time you go in you’re doing something a little different. You’re varying up your exercises, you’re using
different volume and rep ranges, different little training techniques that you throw
in depending on how you feel that day, like supersets or dropsets or things like that. Or the other possibility is that you do have
a preset plan laid out, but you never end up sticking to any one plan for any consistent
period of time. So you start off with one program, then you
scroll through some new information online about some other training technique or other
training system you think you should be using instead, and you’re just constantly program
hopping from one plan to another. The big problem with that approach though
is that when you’re training variables are constantly being switched around, it becomes
way more difficult to properly track progressive overload. And progressive overload is the underlying
basis for the entire muscle building process. In other words, you need to focus on making
small, gradual improvements in your training performance from week to week and month to
month, and if you’re always changing around your training variables, then it becomes really
difficult to properly track your strength progress because you never have anything consistent
and concrete to measure it against. And then on top of that, it also reduces the
effectiveness of your actual workouts because you never end up getting really skilled at
any particular exercise since you’re always bouncing around from lift to lift. So what you need to do starting as soon as
possible, is fully commit to one preset training program with the same exercises, in the same
order, on the same days. Practice getting really good at those specific
lifts in terms of form and technique and mind muscle connection, and then put all of your
focus and energy on maximizing your strength gains on that specific set of movements for
a consistent cycle of training. Yes, you can still get some results by just
sort of winging it in the gym as long as you’re training hard and you’re making general strength
progress over time, but it won’t compare to the type of gains you’ll make when you truly
commit to one program and start tracking your strength progress on paper and aiming for
constant improvement. Okay. The second reason why you’ll fail at building
muscle is quite simply because you just aren’t training hard enough. I know it sounds like really simple advice,
but if I just stop and take a look around any typical gym in the middle of my workout,
it’s obvious that a very high percentage of people just aren’t getting this right. They just aren’t pushing themselves hard enough
on each set period. Or they do push themselves hard, but only
on the easier isolation stuff and not on the more challenging compound movements. So having a solid, well-structured routine
in place is the first step here, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which exercises
you’re doing, how great your form is, how many sets you perform, your rep ranges. If you’re just straight up not training hard
enough in the gym, then none of those factors are going to make any difference at all to
your bottom line results. At the end of the day, muscle growth is an
adaptive response to stress. Okay? It happens as a result of you doing something
that challenges your body’s existing strength capacity. So, if you aren’t performing your sets close
enough to the point of muscular failure, then your body won’t have any real incentive to
put on new muscle mass. So many people just go into the gym and follow
some typical run-of-the-mill bodybuilding style routine where they perform their set
and just crank out a bunch of reps until it starts to burn and they feel a pump, but they
don’t really pay attention to where they are in relation to true muscular failure during
the set. So if you really want to put on some significant
muscle size, you need to buckle down, you need to focus, and you need to start taking
each individual set seriously. And for the bulk of your sets, I’d recommend
going about one to two reps short of muscular failure, and I’d say three reps as a minimum. So for example, if pushing with a hundred
percent of your available strength meant that you could perform, say, eight reps with a
given weight, so that eight the rep would be an all-out grinder where the bar was just
barely moving along, but you were still able to complete the rep. In that case, you’d want to stop on about
the sixth or seventh rep and the fifth rep as a minimum. That level of intensity is high enough to
trigger a significant muscle building response, but it’s also low enough that you’ll still
be able to perform enough total volume to optimize your gains, but without over-training
or getting injured. So, switching over to nutrition now, the third
reason why you’ll fail to build muscle is that you’re just not consuming enough total
calories. Now, yes, as long as you’re getting in enough
protein for the day, so around 0.8 grams per pound of body weight, then you can still gain
muscle while in a calorie deficit or at maintenance, if you’re a beginning lifter or if you’re
overweight. It is possible for your body to break down
its existing fat stores and then use the calories from the fat tissue to fuel the muscle building
process. And if you’re starting out with a decent amount
of excess fat on your body, so you’re somewhere around the high teens body fat-wise or higher,
then you will want to start your program off in a calorie deficit to drop that fat first
before you commit to a focus bulk. And you probably can gain some muscle during
that phase as long as you’re doing things properly. However, as a longer term muscle building
strategy, in order to really build significant size and take yourself right up close to your
genetic potential, you’re not going to be able to do that in a deficit or at maintenance
and you are going to need a calorie surplus in place. Just because you can build muscle without
a surplus doesn’t mean you can build muscle optimally without a surplus. And if you’re just not eating enough period,
you’re not going to be providing your body with the raw materials that it needs to really
pack on that maximum size that you’re after. Now, at the same time, it’s also important
that you don’t take this too far because on the opposite end of the spectrum are the people
who do eat in a surplus, but they go excessively overboard on total calories. And when you go too high on calories, all
you end up doing is putting on a bunch of excess fat since there’s a limit on how many
calories your body can use for building actually muscle over any given day. So, the key here is to consume just enough
calories each day to optimize lean muscle gain, but nothing more. And that way the maximum percentage of your
food intake will be used for building muscle and the minimum amount will end up as stored
body fat. And for most people who are in the beginner
to intermediate stages of training, which is probably most of you watching this, the
ideal calorie sweet spot that you’re going to want to aim for is about 200-300 calories
above your maintenance level per day. Okay. The fourth reason why you’ll fail to build
muscle going more toward the mindset side of things is that you’re relying on motivation
as a way to get yourself into the gym and to stay consistent with your nutrition. When it all comes down to it, if your actions
are always being dictated by your feelings so you feel good, therefore you take action. Or you feel bad, therefore you don’t, you’re
probably not going to succeed in the long run at any decent size goal that you’ve set
for yourself. Your emotional state is always going to be
fluctuating because of an endless number of different possible factors, and you can’t
be in a position where you’re always relying on positive emotion to carry you along. That’s basically a guaranteed losing strategy. Our bodies naturally want to take the path
of least resistance, so you have to train yourself to recognize this and to be able
to take the right action regardless of how you feel at any given moment. Yes, sometimes it is appropriate to listen
to your body and to take a rest if you truly need it for the sake of the bigger picture. But most of the time, if you’re honest with
yourself, I think you’ll know when that’s truly justified versus when you’re just being
flat out lazy. So, make a set plan, work on building up the
proper daily habits to make that plan feel as automatic as possible and then just go
ahead and execute on it regardless of whether you feel like it or not. And over time as you gain more experience,
training and nutrition will just become an ingrained thing that you won’t have to think
too much about. It almost becomes kind of like brushing your
teeth. It’s just another thing that you do as part
of your normal routine. But you do have to put in the initial grind
and really harness your self-discipline in the beginning stages in order to get to that
point. And finally, the fifth reason why you’ll fail
to build muscle is that you’re just expecting too much too soon. So you’ve been going to the gym for a month
or two and then you’re looking in the mirror wondering why your chest is lagging or why
you’ve only put on a few pounds of body weight, or why you don’t have a six pack yet. Okay? The truth is that muscle growth is actually
not that slow of a process in the context of your life as a whole, but it also doesn’t
happen overnight either. For a beginner in the first year of training,
around two pounds per month is a realistic rate of weight gain, assuming you’re making
relatively lean gains. And then it should slow down by about half
for every year after that. So it’ll probably take you about one year
of consistent proper training and nutrition to achieve about 50% of your total genetic
muscle building potential, about 75% after two years and then about 85 to 90% after year
three. So, to really put on significant muscle, depending
on what your definition of significant is and how good your genetics are, you’re probably
looking at about a one to three year process to really make a serious transformation. So, if you’ve made a decision to fully commit
to your muscle building goals and you’re truly serious about it, then it’s really important
that you accept the time frames that are involved upfront before you get started. Otherwise, just like a lot of people out there
who are looking for a quick fix, you’ll probably just end up getting discouraged, fall off
track and quit after a few weeks or months. Whereas if you keep those realistic expectations
in mind, you’ll be far more likely to succeed in the long run. If you found the tips in this video helpful
and you want to learn exactly how to bring this all together in terms of a fully structured
step-by-step muscle building program to help you make gains as efficiently as possible,
then make sure to take my physique quiz over at Quiz.SeanNal.com because that’ll get you
started on the specific training and nutrition plan that you need based on your individual
goals, body type and experience level. You can click up at the top of the screen
for that or use the link in the description box below. When it comes to proper supplementation, you
can also visit RealScienceAthletics.com to check out my research backed. No BS supplements that I personally formulated
to help you maximize your results and fully streamline your program. Link for that is also in the description and
make sure to hit the like button. Leave a comment and subscribe down below if
you haven’t already in order to stay up-to-date on future videos. Thanks for watching guys and I’ll see you
in the next one.

92 Replies to “5 Reasons You Will Fail To Build Muscle (And How To Fix Them)”

  1. Thanks for watching and hope these 5 tips were helpful. What's the #1 thing you struggle with when it comes to your muscle building program? Comment below.

    Make sure to follow on IG as well for a variety of other daily tips, videos and updates: https://www.instagram.com/sean_nalewanyj

  2. I like to trim full body it’s given be great gains as opposed to splits but recently I want to workout more than 3 days a week so could I do full body 4 days a week something like Monday train Tuesday train Wednesday off Thursday train Friday off Saturday train and Sunday off??

  3. Nearly got knocked ut right at number 1. I keep intensity high but admit to changing things up a lot. But I'm satisfied with results so all is not lost. Besides I'm older than dirt so I'll indulge myself. I do pretty good on all the rest! It's kinda your fault. You keep showing us all these new ways to do stuff.

  4. This video is amazing. Tip #1 called me out.. I've been seeing results but not like I should. Thanks so much!!!

  5. Muscle Building Mistake #6: Not following bs-free Sean's advices and focusing on some marketing based scamers.

  6. another no bs vid,,nice one,,i just ordered one of your PUREFORM ,, i will give you my feedback on it as it is my first pre workout, even after 5 years lifting…i cant wait,,peace

  7. I rarely vary my exercises unless I have good reason to, such as:
    1. Other people are using the machines or racks that I want to use and I don't want to wait, so I go to an alternative. (e.g. I do lunges if I can't do squats right away)
    2. I have reason to believe I can replace a not-so-good exercise with a better one (e.g. I used to do front barbell raises, which primarily works the anterior delt. I've replaced that with dumbbell upright rows which target the lateral head more)

  8. Can I lower my body fat whilst gaining muscle at the same time? I have a nasty belly gut but don’t want to lose muscle. I weigh 155 pounds.

  9. How does this guy only have 168k subs? Honestly pretty much the best overall strength training fitness content out there


  11. Im jealous of limb dominant people. As a torso dominant lofter, i dont even have to try to build chest, but arms wont catch up

  12. whats up Sean, been using your pwo and vitamins. So far so good but I do 2 scoops of the pwo because my tolerance is kinda high lol…

  13. So Saun what do we do after three years when we hit our full growth end how do we keep trying for only 1 percent gains per year forever after especially when were still training in our 50 s,,heck think of it we would all be doing 1000 pounds on every body part lift to progressive over load for 20 years or more and that ain't happening and were not going to be doing 1000 reps eather so what would be the simple answer for this

  14. #6- You Fail to understand that over time you are going to have to introduce steroids in order to keep progressing

  15. Ok so I actually used the Macro calculator you have on your page. And I gave me something like

    carbs 458g
    Protein 143g
    Fat 89g
    But my bodyfat is around 25% should I change something up.

  16. Another great video Sean. There have been many days I just relied on just discipline alone to train and now it is so rewarding to see the fruits of my labor. My present self thanks my past self for the perseverance.

  17. I disagree with reason #4

    “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” -Zig Ziglar

  18. Soo I’m in year 8-9 of lifting. Are you saying I basically can’t get bigger in any significant way now? My numbers are still gradually increasing. Referencing the three year, 90% genetic potential point 9:15

  19. What you said about calorie deficit and gaining weight and muscle if you get your protein goals and you’re overweight is exactly what I have always said. You aren’t really at a calorie deficit Call if you have excess store calories all over your body that you were using as energy. You are when it comes to intake of new energy but you have so much existing energy you should still be able to put on some muscle if you’re losing a lot of body fat was enough protein.

  20. If you are gaining muscle and putting on body fat you should be able to lower your calories a little bit if you have a consistent number you are always hitting to worry you’re still putting on muscle and at least less fat. Fat is just excess calories of the excess energy. Should be able to bowl without really getting fat and you definitely don’t need to gain a lot of fat. I hate when people say world strongest man those people have such an on believable amount of muscle strength sometimes fats necessary

  21. As I watch this video, I see 7 thumbs down. Are you kidding me? Is it because: 1) You're an angry asshole? 2) You're a libtard and facts elude you? 3) Sean didn't answer one of your comments and you got butt hurt? 4) You train at Planet Fitness?

  22. Yeah. Except I don't even get to these reasons. My number one is "you have bad form and injure yourself" because that is my number one issue for 20+ years now. I'd say I can't consistently go 6 weeks before I get injured somehow lifting.

  23. Sean all of the above you mentioned is probably correct for most of the people who goes to the gym year after year & see no progress, not being consistent, training hard enough & eat three times the calories they burn. I have friends who workout when they feel like it, does random exercises & forgot when they did a set of that exercise the last time, felt an exercises is a bit difficult & avoid it all together & eats too much thinking the half ass workout they did that food will make them get huge….

  24. Hi Sean, always appreciate all your videos. About reason #4, thats my current problem, specially on nutrition. Some weeks ago started cooking myself but food got so boring I lost focus and now I just try to get macros. Doesn't feel good 🙁 how do you guys organize cooking and foods?

  25. Good video. I see what you are saying about following a program, it makes sense, but I'm always excited to try a new thing, or put a new spin on things.

  26. so the j in your name is silent?
    is it considered mixing up if i accidentally miscount a rep and just do one more just in case

  27. I hate personal trainers that don’t know wtf they’re talking about or look like they need a trainer themselves

    Not relevant to this video but god damn is my new gym so ass lol

  28. These tips are just aimed at bodybuilders. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just a heads up.

  29. Another excellent video Sean… More people need to see you! I would say that your content is on par with both Jeff Nippard and Jeremy Ethier so your current subscription count no way reflects the quality of your content… If anything there could be an argument that Jeremy is becoming a bit repetitive and stagnant recently so you potentially offer a better content… Maybe you need to do a few food challenges to get noticed first… Or perhaps " I watched nothing but Vince from V Shred for 24 hours and this is what happened " !!

  30. This is an amazing video, thank you so much for sharing. I have a fitness channel too, and I am learning so much from you bro, stay hard.

  31. Sean I love this take on building muscle. Really unique way to approach the topic. You definitely got all the major ones. I love that you called out the realistic timeframe expectations. This is so true. After two years of consistent training with tracking progress, macros, and having specific goals I have made significant progress but I still feel I have a lot more to gain. I never would have imagined that at the outset. Love it keep it up!

  32. I would add one more from my own experience! It's a minor one but still important. Along the lines of eat enough calories, focus on your goal and stick to your plan when you are building muscle. Don't let the fear of some fat gain in the process prohibit you from eating enough. That's where I have struggled. After my cut, I lost almost 15 pounds over 13 weeks or so. It was long and hard…I transitioned well for about 3 weeks back to maintenance but then went on vacation and gained about 3 or 4 pounds back. I started to want to diet again cause I felt all my progress was gone. I have stuck with a conservative bulk though because that was my next goal and I have seen more results than I would have if I diverted my goal after gaining some weight back.

  33. Brother love ypur videos!!! I just eanna ask a question..what do you think of traing to failure for isolation exercises..i mean how to use them and when to use them..should you train to failure during cutting???

  34. Sean, I've not watched ur vid but just wanted to ask if u do coaching? Drop me ur email plz

    Found ur advice useful over the years.

  35. I know you get paid for fitness advice but I'm hoping for a freebie. Im following a upper lower split every other day working out the volume is relatively low only 4 to six sets per body part.My question is if I do deadlifts on a legday will it hurt my recovery on my upper body days?

  36. Question! I guess I'm an intermediate level training wise. Just finished my first year of lifting and I've seen some gains, I just feel like there are some things I can do better and I'm still learning my body. I'm wanting to put on more muscle but I'm worried about my midsection and love handles. How much cardio should I be doing if any to keep that down without burning my muscle gains while still bulking? By the I'm 13% body fat, 5'10, 173 lbs, and I'm 24! Very helpful video btw!

  37. I do not care to track what I am doing I like doing sets of 10 and increase weight until I fail to get the 10 and than I go to the next machine but now I am set for another change to mainly do chest exercise less over all body workout my arms and legs are all muscle and skin no fat at all

  38. Let me try to guess before he starts.. 1. not enough volume 2. Not enough calories and/or protein 3. Not enough sleep 4. Slow/No progression 5. Too low weight/not train to failure.

  39. I've seen lots of newbies hit the gym hard and regularly (including me when I was in my 20s), and none of them gained 36 pounds of muscle in two years, per the claim made by Mistake #4. Most folks don't have a clue how much lean mass they have, and if they do it's a total guess. They might gain 30 pounds of fat and 6 pounds of muscle, but definitely not all muscle. Most people are not consistent enough, don't work out hard enough, and eat like shit constantly with no calorie tracking (some under eating, but most overeating), so the goals become impossible. Based on my own experience and what I've seen at the gym over a few decades, few people make any progress that's visible, and the ones that do, seem to hit their genetic potential in no more than 2 or 3 years.

  40. so if i workout 4 times a week, 2 lower body, 2 upper body, should I do the exact same exercises for my lower body days and the same exercises for my upper body days?

  41. Idk why but intentionally stopping 2 reps short of failure I just can’t work with. I can’t tell if overload is just increase in RPE or actual strength increase. I like going to 10 RPE makes me feel more motivated I can do more reps

  42. The number one reason people can't build muscle is because they're more concerned about moving the weight the barbell; dumbbell: machines or cables… example a barbell curl or a cable curl becomes a deadlift curl… every exercise becomes a lumbar exercise!

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