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.
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So, five reasons why you will fail to build
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
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
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
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.
It happens as a result of you doing something
that challenges your body’s existing strength
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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Thanks for watching guys and I’ll see you
in the next one.