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Building Muscle: The Dos and Don’ts for Maximizing Your Gains

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Are you tired of hitting the gym day after day without seeing any significant muscle gains? Building muscle can be challenging, but it can also be frustrating if you're not seeing results. One of the main reasons for this is that many people make common mistakes when trying to build muscle. In this guide, we'll share the top mistakes to avoid for optimal muscle-building results.

Mistake #1: Not Eating Enough

If you're trying to build muscle, you need to eat enough calories to support muscle growth. However, many people make the mistake of not eating enough or not eating the right types of foods. To build muscle, you need to consume more calories than you burn, and you need to consume enough protein to support muscle growth. Aim for a diet that's high in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.

Mistake #2: Not Lifting Heavy Enough

Another common mistake that people make when trying to build muscle is not lifting heavy enough. If you want to build muscle, you need to challenge your muscles with heavy weights. Aim for weights that are heavy enough to fatigue your muscles within 8-12 reps. If you're not lifting heavy enough, you're not going to see significant muscle gains.

Mistake #3: Overtraining

While lifting weights is essential for building muscle, overtraining can actually do more harm than good. When you overtrain, you don't give your muscles enough time to recover, which can lead to injuries and slow down muscle growth. Aim for 3-4 days of weight lifting per week, with at least one rest day in between workouts.

Mistake #4: Not Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is crucial for muscle growth, as it's during sleep that your muscles recover and repair. If you're not getting enough sleep, you're not giving your muscles enough time to recover, which can slow down muscle growth. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

Mistake #5: Not Consistently Tracking Progress

Finally, many people make the mistake of not consistently tracking their progress when trying to build muscle. If you're not tracking your progress, you won't know if you're making progress or if you need to make changes to your workout or diet. Keep a workout journal and track your weight, measurements, and strength gains to ensure that you're on the right track.


Building muscle takes time and effort, but it can be even more challenging if you're making common mistakes that are holding you back. By avoiding these mistakes and following a proper diet and exercise plan, you can see optimal muscle-building results. Remember to eat enough, lift heavy, avoid overtraining, get enough sleep, and track your progress consistently. With these tips, you'll be well on your way to building the muscular, toned body you've been striving for.

Caroline Buckee

Caroline Flannigan is an epidemiologist. She is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and is the Associate Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics.

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