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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavalier, Athlean-X.com. Today I’m dishing out the truth to the reasons
why you might not be building muscle. I think I’m more qualified here to speak about this
topic than anybody because I lived that. I lived those problems, I’ve had those same
struggles. I couldn’t build muscle. This was actually me. You guys have asked to see what
I looked like. This is me. I dug up some old footage the other day. I was looking through
some old home movies. That’s me, in high school. Painfully thin,
unable to put on muscle. Things have changed for me though, because I’ve learned from a
lot of my mistakes. I think if I can talk about some of those mistakes then you might
be able to avoid them, too. The very first thing that I learned quickly,
early on was that I was overtraining. Overtraining, I’ve talked about in many videos before. It’s
a very real thing and a very real thing that sets up a roadblock for many guys that consider
themselves to be hard gainers, or just unable to add muscle. You see, we always think that more is better.
We’ve been conditioned in this society to think that more is better. When it comes to
training, more is not better. More is not better. Only the right amount of the right
type of training is better. As soon as you start going down that path you become even
more likely to continue to go down that path because you try more and that doesn’t work. So what do you do? You do even more, and then
you do even more. Before you know it you’re doing 55 sets for chest alone and your chest
looks like shit. So you want to try to follow and find the fastest way for you to cut back
on what you’re doing. If you’re going to train – this is a very important point, this video
encapsulates what we’re all about here at Athlean-X. If you’re going to be a drug free, unassisted
lifter then you’d better find ways to enhance your recovery. Most of us are not able to.
Without the assistance of drugs, we’re unable to recover nearly fast enough to allow ourselves
to go back to that gym to do another 55 sets, and another 55 sets and we wind up hitting
a wall. It’s a very real wall. Don’t let anybody
tell you differently. There is a wall that you hit hormonally, neurologically. You can’t
train. You can’t even bring the effort that you need to produce the gains that you’re
trying to see. That leads me to my next point. Guess what most people do wrong when they’re
trying to build muscle? You may be shocked when is ay this; you’re
undertraining. How can you be undertraining and overtraining? Because undertraining is
when you show up at the gym thinking that just by walking into the gym and gracing everyone
with your presence, swiping your gym card, grabbing your protein shake and then heading
over the leg extension machine that you’re going to build muscle. If you head to a gym and your goal is to count
reps, count to 12 over and over and over again I could save you a trip. You could have stayed
home and counted with Sesame Street as opposed to going to the gym and wasting gas if that’s
all you’re going to do. The numbers that you’re doing in the gym, the reps that you’re counting
don’t mean shit. If you want to build muscle, the only thing that ever matters is the intensity
that you’re bringing to those numbers. If you’re at 12 and it seems like you’re trying
to lift a house on the 12th rep and you’ve got nobody around to help you, that’s a good
effort. If you’re at 12 and you’re doing this and you’re looking around and you’re putting
the weights down and waiting, you go back and can do it again and you’re looking forward
to the next set, you go down and you’re looking forward to the next set just because it’s
sooner for you to get out of the gym; you’re not training with nearly the intensity that
you need to make changes. So how do you manipulate the two? How do you
manage the two? It’s actually kind of easy. As I say all the time; you can either train
hard, or you can train long, but you can’t do both. If you’re at the gym doing 2 and
3 hour marathon workouts there’s only two things going on. You’re either assisted – using
steroids that you shouldn’t be – or your half-assing it. There’s only one or the other. You can’t do it any other way. If you bring
that high level of intensity to what you do, and that high level of focus to what you do
and you’re not spread so thin doing a whole bunch of everything, doing none of it really
well; you’ll find that you’ll get an extremely intense workout and an extremely effective
workout in about 45 minutes or so. Maybe an hour tops, and you’re out. You’re out. You’re able to recover and allow
your body the opportunity that it gets to recover to build and allow you to build back
and come back stronger. That’s how you want to manage those two extremes. Next up: people
tend to avoid the hard exercises. Again, I’m guilty of it. I avoided the hard ones. You
know the hard ones; we all know the hard ones. The ones where it’s like the impending doom
of the bar that creates a threat to you and your comfort level in the gym. Bench pressing. The treat that the bar could come down on
your chest. There’s a pending doom. You’re threatened by the security of exercise. Squats,
dead lifts; who wants to get down there and try to lift that. You know how hard it is
to lift the bar out of that position? That’s why it’s called a “dead lift”. No momentum.
You’ve got to get that bar off the ground. Those are the exercises that tend to deliver
the most bang for their buck though. If you want to build muscle, you’d better
build your foundation of strength and build it with those key foundational exercises with
those scary exercises, with those intimidating exercises. You don’t have to jump in and
do what everybody else is doing. Just because I see everybody else benching 300-400 pounds,
or squatting 400 pounds or whatever it might be, that doesn’t mean that I have to start
there. We all start somewhere. We all start at the bottom. No matter who you are, you start somewhere
and you build from there. That’s what makes us great as humans. We can develop ourselves
to become – the capacity is endless to what we can become. But it starts somewhere; usually
down toward the bottom. You build your foundation learning how to do those exercises properly
and then you add from there. You don’t shy away just because they seem hard and they
seem intimidating because they’re going to be intimidating, but they’re going to hold
the biggest benefits. Just by doing those exercises doesn’t mean
that you’re accomplishing everything that you need to accomplish. A big mistake is thinking
“Okay, I did the exercises. Now what?” Well, how’d you do them? What was the purpose? What
was the purpose of your training? If you’re trying to go for hypertrophy, maybe a power
clean is not the best way to go. Power clean is great if you’re trying to be explosive
and build top level explosive strength as an athlete, but it’s not a great hypertrophy
exercise. There’s no real eccentric portion of the lift.
Not a controlled eccentric targeting any one muscle group. Even though the eccentric is
there it’s a very quick eccentric. There’s other ways I could do that. I could do really
slow eccentric shoulder raises if I want to build my deltoids. Again, different purpose,
different time, different exercise, different application. People will take power lifts
and they’ll be doing them from high reps. Why? What’s the purpose of that? Don’t misapply the exercises that you’re using,
but don’t shy away from those that are the most intimidating or the most scary to you
because they often hold the key to your most growth. Nutritionally we all make mistakes.
I made plenty of mistakes. I was the biggest junk food eater. I’ve talked about that so
many times. The biggest junk food eater on the planet. No doubt, I know there’s no – I
own stock in Entenmann’s just because of how much I ate of their stuff every morning, and
afternoon, and when I got home from school. I wasn’t building muscle. I was that painfully skinny guy. How the hell
could that happen? Blessed with a fast metabolism? Maybe. But why couldn’t I build muscle? Because
even though I was over nourishing in terms of the amount of calories I was taking in
I was under nourishing my muscles. That’s all that matters. I was not providing the
nutrients that my muscles needed as a substrate for growth. You see, it’s a very important
difference. If you don’t provide yourself with the right type of calories, calories
alone will not help you to build muscle. Think about every skinny guy you know who
eats a ton of food and just can’t do anything. I can tell you, the fastest way to fix him.
The fastest way to fix him is to tell him to stop worrying about all the shit that he’s
eating and start focusing on eating the right stuff. If he starts to eat the right stuff
I bet you his muscle growth soars over the next year because for the first time in his
life he’s finally providing his muscles with the fuel it actually needs to grow. It’s like trying to grow a lawn with the worst
grade fertilizer and seed versus high grade fertilizer and seed. There’s a reason why
there’s a difference in price because one of them is – it’s the “shit in, shit out”
concept. One of them is not going to grow you a good lawn, the other one is. You could
put a whole ton of that crap seed down and it’s not going to do anything. You put the
right amount of the good stuff down and it will. On the flip side of the coin, when you do
clean up your diet one thing you’ll want to be aware of – and a big piece of advice
here – is make sure when you make your substitutions, think about what you took out and what you’re
putting back in. you’re taking out a lot of calorie dense, nutrient thin food. That’s
what you’re getting with Entenmann’s. Calorie dense, fat laden – you’re getting rid of
all those. By doing that you’re losing a lot of calories. What you might find is, when you replace it
with the more nutrient dense you’re going to have a lot fewer calories going back in.
the nutrient dense foods are, by nature a lot of times, much more lower in calories.
So you’ll find that you’ll struggle to put on size because you’re undereating. The first
think you’ll want to do is: don’t throw up your hands and say “Sorry. This way of eating
doesn’t work, Jeff. You told me and it didn’t work.” No. Now you want to start making sure that you’re
eating more at every single meal. Every opportunity that you can, you’re trying to drive more
of that nutrient dense food into your body so you can increase the calories to be able
to get to that level that your muscles need to be able to help you to grow. Get enough
protein, make sure you’re following a strategy to get you there. One of the strategies I use all the time is
supplementation because for me, the liquid intake of those extra calories, those extra
high quality calories, those extra proteins that I need; that makes it so much easier
for me to take it in and around my solid meals throughout the day, and number two: it allows
me to be very, very consistent. Consistency with nutrition is key. You can’t make a change
today, follow it for one day and think that you’re going to start building tons of muscle
just because you ate well one day. You’ve got to make sure that you apply yourself. This is a long term approach. You want to
start eating right, and eating right for a lifetime. You can do it if you identify foods
that you like and then have a strategy from being consistent with it. Supplementation
often comes in here in a very valuable way to allow you to get that stuff in without
really feeling like you’re eating so much throughout the day. So, tying a bow around
all this, this is what Athlean-X is all about. It’s what it’s all about. Let’s pursue the
best you that you can be, drug free. Let’s pursue what you do in the gym with a purpose. Don’t just show up. Don’t think you’re
making me happy because you walked through those gym doors. You make me happy when you
walk through those doors and you lay your ass on the line and you put everything you’ve
got into that workout and then you get out of there and allow your body to recover. Stop
having a fear of those hard exercises. Those hard exercises are the things that you fear
the most and the things that will change you the most. I’ve had that very same fear. Build up your ability to perform those exercises
safely. Don’t just go and jump in and do what everyone else is doing because they’re
lifting a lot of weight on those and you know you should be lifting a lot of weight on those.
You build your strength by starting at the bottom and you work your way up. I show you
how to do that in all of our programs. I show you how to jump in at any level that you’re
at right now and push yourself to that next level. Don’t misuse the exercises. Don’t do what everybody else is doing because
everybody is doing it. You do it because it makes sense for where you are in your program.
You do it because it makes sense for what you’re trying to do at that very moment in
your program. When it comes to nutrition don’t think that it’s unimportant. That “Oh, I’m
just a hard gainer. I won’t be able to put on muscle because I just have a fast metabolism.”
I’ve seen the hardest gainers put on muscle when they approached their nutrition right.
So stop focusing on just eating calories. Start focusing on getting the right kind of
calories. Get nutrient dense foods into your diet. Then from there, adjust if you have
to. Increase the amount that you’re eating at each and every opportunity. Add supplementation
if that allows you to be more consistent, but there’s a fact of the matter here, guys.
There’s no shortcut around this. It pisses me off when I hear about shortcuts. You guys
know that’s a soft spot for me. There’s no substitution for being serious about what
you do. Take your workouts and your nutrition seriously. I guarantee you’ll get serious results. If
you are looking for a way to get serious results, guys; I’m more than happy to deliver you the
workouts, nutrition plans, step by step everything you have to do. You’re just not going to get
it sugar coated from me. I’m going to tell you everything you’ve got to do and you’re
going to do it. I can’t come there and lift the weights for you. I sure as hell can’t
come there and eat the foods for you. You’ve got to do it the right way, you’ve got to
follow it with an intent to change your life because you will. Guess what? Things change in your entire life
when you get this thing right. You know how you feel if you feel like you can’t build
muscle. You feel like you’re skinnier than everybody else, you feel – I was there.
I know how it felt. I showed you the picture before. I wasn’t really comfortable there.
I was a little bit insecure. You know how much it changes your life to where I can get
on here and deliver messages like this to you and have the confidence to be able to
deliver messages to you and hopefully change everybody else’s life so they don’t have
to go through what I went through. If you’re ready to do that, guys, I’m more
than ready to take you by the hand and do that for you. Head to AthleanX.com right now
and come on board. Join team Athlean. If you found this video helpful, an eye opener, a
little bit of a kick in the ass; fine. Any of them will apply. Just let me know below
by giving me a comment and telling me what else you want to see; what other problems
I could help you to solve because I’m more than happy to do that, guys. This is why I
started this channel. That’s why I continue to do this channel each
and every week. All right, guys. I’ll be back here again very soon. See ya.

100 thoughts on “6 Muscle Gaining Mistakes (SLOW OR NO GROWTH!!)

  1. DUDE I WAS SO WORRIED ABOUT REPS….. NAHHHH TRY YOUR FUCKIN HARDEST AND DO WHAT YOU CAN. NUMBERS DONT MEAN SHIT BOYS

  2. Painfully thin不不不不不不不不不不不不不不, no joke died from that, he literally had some biceps that looked pretty good

  3. Great video Dude. I still at the stage where I am picking away at my diet and exercise plan so any help is appreciated.

  4. This is me in high school un Abel to put on muscle wtf thats literally my fuckin goal size for the end of the year

  5. Same here, was 165 soaking wet my senior year of high school. Took awhile to learn proper intensity and duration to build naturally. I've made it to a healthy 220lbs at 40 and still gaining. 45 minutes to an hour of high intensity followed by enough rest works for me. The old idea of doing 3 sets of X reps held me back a long time. I don't mind being the guy at the gym struggling with the light dumbbell because it means I got a good workout. No matter how heavy you can lift you aren't really done until you struggle with those little ten pounders.

  6. I had a major back surgery years ago for scoliosis and had metal rods put into my back. I am not wanting to do squats or deadlifts because my discs below my fusion are subject to a lot of pressure and dont want to really hurt myself. Any substitutions that you all can think of for someone in my position? Leg press and rowing is no problem for me, but I would like to make sure Im still training intense within my physical mean. Thanks friends

  7. Ive been training for 3 months. Mostly upper body with squats. I feel like my barbell curl hasnt increased in strength. I max at 35-40 pounds. Any tips from you guys on how to get stronger?

  8. Everytime its like im lifting the house on my last rep but im still looking foward to the next set I beat the hell out my muscle

  9. Can I do more than one "sets" of the same exercise a day? I do Ab Roller. I can do about 5 x 10 (5 groups, 10 per group). After that, I can't complete another group in 5 minutes. But if I did my training in the morning, I often feel like I can do it again in the evening, after dinner. I might not be able to do 5 groups, but I'm sure I can do more than 3 groups. Is this a sign that I didn't do enough in the morning? Or should I do it again in the evening?

  10. Great video Jeff a real eye opener and an inspiration to kerp going and do a video about bodyweight exersizes for glutes

  11. Good food doesn't only help with gains because your feeding your body the right nutrition in order to grow but it also improves how you preform which will add to your results. I always can tell what my clients having been eating throughout the day by how well they train.

  12. Jeff saysyou gotta eat right scroll down and see video recommendations of hodgetwins eating fast food不

  13. Wow. Awesome message. I have been following you for about 90 days now and I do a 6.5 minute ab workout every other day I've learned from your YouTube segments, but when I heard you talk about absolutely drug free with an emphasis on hating shortcuts? You've got me. I am 1,970 days clean off all substances, I quit smoking 18 months ago, I quit drinking pop and simple carbs recently. When I can afford your program I will be sure to purchase it.

  14. Jeff thank you for all your advice thanks to you I'm now doing my workout the correct way although I'm still in the gym for an hour and a half then another ten to twenty minutes of cardio but if it wasnt for your videos I would have torn my rotator cuff on the bench press a while ago

  15. Maybe I'm bad at math, to count up to six mistakes.. Overtrain, undertrain, exer-phobia, eating bad food (two for one: empty eating and under-nourishing). Is that only four?

  16. Im doing push/pull/legs, and training ofcourse 6 times a week. but my question is, is training 3 times in a row and then recovery day, better than 6 times in a row and then recovery day? because I feel like I am rdy to do 6 days in a row.

  17. Great content I have great results because of this channel, if anyone does hate this guy, its because they cant handle the truth

  18. who are u to tell anyone to not do something??? people can do what they want, some people don't want to be small like u…

  19. I was against steroid use but seeing that you can only get your size without them you just convinced me to use them thanks a lot

  20. It kills me when people with thick ass wrists who've never had a BMI below 20 talk about how skinny they used to be and how hard it was for them to gain weight

  21. Jeff, youre a fuckin stud! Thanks for sharing your wisdom my friend! Im currently working through your program online and it definitely kicks my ass, I push through though. Thank you for all the videos you create. Theyre amazing!

  22. That's because you are grown on Disney! He has dogs and a classic sidekick in a form of Jesse. You are conditioned to love this. Get over yourself and deliver some proper hate!

  23. How to strengthen the joins? For me the joints sometime start to hurt sooner, while muscles could take even more weight

  24. Over training oh I definitely know that word I remember when I did 200 or 300 pushups without trying to stop I had numb arms for about a week

  25. I once found a dead body on a benchpress. It was a tiny gym built into a barracks, that only a few people ever used. I know why he died. He went heavy, he was alone, and he had clips on the barbell. I never use clips on the barbell during bench now, but when I see my arms shaking even a tiny bit, I still panic and rack the weight.

  26. What about crossfitters that spend hours each day training intensively? Does theirs body eventually adapt to the work load and maintain and grow muscle?

  27. Hi jeff i m wondering about something , i m taking about 1h30min to do my full push/pull day(group of muscles tri,chest nd delts) taking about 40_90(max) seconds resting betwen sets i dunno m i over training or not !!!.plz i need a professional advice here Nd thnx

  28. Conventional medical wisdom rejects traditional core exercises following back surgery. And you made a video rejecting benefits of anterior chain planking. Might the Physical Therapist in you have any recommended core strengthening workouts for some of us who've undergone spinal fusion?

  29. I just have problems with the diet. How can I get better at that? I can try to eat healthy I just cant maintain the healthy eating for a month, 3 weeks max.

  30. Im going to martial art gym every other day. Recently I realized that I need more training so I decided to go to body building gym every other day to fill all of my weak with training.
    Is that looks like over training?

  31. so what about middle age….im 51….whats my chances of gaining muscle..??

    at my age its got to be harder than when i was in my 20s

  32. Here is a picture of me as a baby. Just a chubby 2 year old with no muscle mass. Now look what I've become only 45 years later.

  33. Man this is so true that's what I realized. Compound is best for me and under 1 hour gives me that perfect fit. Sunday did squats. It's Wednesday night and only now I feel that soreness has left. But that's cause I was trying to much weight with pretty good form.

  34. he's wrong about the fat though. because misconception in nutrition today. Fat is bad!! NOOOO its the sugar thats bad…Fat is good for you.

  35. This guy is incredible. His knowledge is huge and he shares it for free. But he definitely wasn't "painfully thin". He clearly had a good foundation from which to build from.

  36. "If you're looking forward to the next set…" True statement, if you're looking forward to that next set then you're absolutely not working hard enough. I love going to the gym but I really dread it too.

  37. Great weird tip to get into it more is watch bodybuilding YouTubers like Thor, larry or juji etc its gives me the motivation to either get to my workout or to scufff down that rest of food for bulking

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