8 Surprising Things That Can Affect Your Gains

Posted December 7, 2020 by in Health + Fitness

Building muscle can benefit you in various ways. For one thing, it can help control your weight. Not only that, but it can also increase your bone density.

Given that, there’s really no reason not to incorporate resistance or strength training into your workout routine. If anything, it’s the best way to gain muscle.

Keep in mind, however, that certain things can affect your gains. For example, there’s a link between sleep and muscle growth.

What’s the relationship? What else can affect your muscle growth? Find out by reading the rest of the post!

Muscle Mass: What Is It?

Muscle mass is the amount of muscle in your body; this includes smooth muscle, skeletal muscle, and cardiac muscle.

With that said, the term often refers to skeletal muscle as it’s the only type that we can voluntarily control. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to move.

The Link Between Sleep And Muscle Growth 

Sleep is important for several reasons. Not only does it give our body time to heal, but it also allows our muscles to grow. 

That’s why you want to get at least seven hours of shut-eye each night.

What happens if you’re sleep deprived? Your body will release a stress hormone called cortisol, which will wreak havoc on other hormones. Over time, this can have a negative impact on muscle growth.

Improving Your Sleep 

There are a few things that you can do to improve your sleep. For starters, it helps to shut off all electronics at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

That way, you won’t be exposing yourself to blue light, which can have an impact on your circadian rhythm.

If necessary, you can also try using sleep vitamins. Take melatonin, for example, it can help you fall asleep more quickly. Not only that, but it can improve the quality of your sleep.

8 Other Things That Can Affect Your Muscle Growth 

As it turns out, sleep isn’t the only thing that can affect your gains. Here are a few other things that can have an impact when you’re trying to build muscle.

1. Lack of Protein 

Muscles are made out of protein. Given that, it only makes sense that a lack of protein can affect your muscle growth.

How much should you eat? Aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.

For example, you can incorporate beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, or fish into your diet. Dairy products such as milk and yogurt are also high in protein. Protein powders are an option as well.

2. Too Much Alcohol 

There’s nothing wrong with a drink here and there, but too much can affect your muscles. More specifically, it can inhibit their ability to recover.

Ultimately, this has to do with the fact that alcohol is metabolized by the same substances that are usually used for muscle growth.

That doesn’t mean that you have to avoid drinking altogether, though. If anything, just try to limit yourself to one indulgence per week.

3. Too Much Cardio

Believe it or not but you can actually do too much cardio. That can put your body into a muscle-burning state, which is the opposite of what you want.

So don’t overload your workout with cardio exercises. Try to limit it to 60 to 70 minutes per day—anything more can end up being counterproductive.

4. Too Much Training

Your body needs time to rebuild itself—only then is it able to become stronger. And that’s exactly why you don’t want to overtrain.

Not only will that hinder your progress, but it can also increase your risk of injury.

Consider taking a break once or twice every week if you have to.

5. Not Enough Carbs 

Don’t cut the carbs; they play an important role in muscle gain. If anything, they should be one of the first nutrients that you should focus on.

After all, your body needs them for energy. Some good sources include whole-grain bread, rice, cereal, pasta, quinoa, and sweet potato.

Try to limit refined carbs such as pizza, soda, and candy.

6. Lack of Water 

It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re working out, otherwise, you can become dehydrated. If that happens, it’ll be more difficult for you to go all out at the gym.

As you can imagine, that can impact your results. So make sure to bring your water bottle with you when you’re working out.

7. Stress 

Stress can increase your cortisol levels and this, in return, can inhibit the use of glucose by your body’s cells, which can cause your muscles to break down.

The good news is that there are several methods you can use to reduce stress. For example, you can listen to music, perform deep breathing exercises, or meditate.

Certain supplements such as lemon balm can also promote stress reduction.

8. Improper Technique

Proper technique is a must if you’re trying to build muscle; there’s no room for error.

Unsure about your form? You can always ask a professional for help. For example, you can work with a personal trainer at the gym.

By using the right technique, you’ll be able to get bigger gains down the road.

Gaining Muscle the Right Way

As you can see, theres a clear relationship between sleep and muscle growth. Not just that, but there are several other things that you want to consider as well such as your diet!

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