Imagine a scenario!

You have made some impressive muscle gains by working hard in the gym, taking your vitamins, and drinking your protein shakes. Your old clothes can’t keep up with your muscle growth anymore. You feel on top of the world and get all the attention you ever wanted.

If the above scenario is true for you, then we’re extremely happy for you, but there are a few common mistakes that many bodybuilders make and send their precious muscle gains to go down the drain.

We’ve written this post to highlight 6 things you never knew are going to burn your hard-earned muscles. So stay away from these mistakes to avoid your worst nightmare from becoming a reality.

1- Too Much Cardio – Especially on an Empty Stomach

Cardio is good for your heart and overall health and we’re by no means suggesting that you should not do any cardio at all in the bulking phase. In fact, some recent studies have shown that shorter sessions of high-intensity cardio (HIIT) promote testosterone production in the body which in turn makes you gain more muscle mass.

However, engaging in long sessions of cardio right after you wake up or in a fasted state is not the best thing to do when your goal is to gain more muscle mass. Your body is in a catabolic (muscle break down) state after a long night’s sleep and doing cardio right after you wake up increases the chances of your muscles being used as fuel for the body if you’re already quite lean.

Fasted cardio is more dangerous for your muscles if your body fat percentage is in single digits as you already have very less fat to use as energy and your body has no other choice but to use your hard earned muscles as fuel.

Solution: Do your cardio after you have had at least one meal so that your body has enough calories in the system to be used as fuel for exercise. Moreover, focus on short bursts of high intensity cardio rather than long and grueling sessions during your bulking phase.

2- Not Getting Enough Rest

Sleep is when the magic happens!

Your muscles recover and grow when your are sleeping. Our body releases potent growth hormones during sleep which play a vital role in muscle growth. Lack of sleep or improper sleep creates hormonal imbalance in your body which in turn hampers the muscle building process.

Moreover, not getting adequate sleep increases stress which is a major killer of muscle gains. Studies have shown that chronic stress increases the production of cortisol in the body which makes your body use muscles are source of energy.

Solution: Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night preferably uninterrupted and in a comfortable environment. Try to also get a power nap of about 30 minutes during the day to super charge your body before your workouts.

3- Spending Too Much Time in The Gym

It is sad to see that over training is not just a rookie mistake. Even some of the experienced campaigners are guilty of spending more than necessary time in the gym. Doing too many sets or exercises in a workout or training a specific body part too many times in a week can lead to muscle loss and even injuries.

Your muscles need time to recover and grow after grueling workouts. Not giving your muscles enough time to recover makes you feel fatigued all the time which in turn makes you lose motivation to workout as well.

Solution: Don’t train any body part more than once a week with high intensity and heavy weights. However, your abs and calves are exception to this rule and you can afford to train them twice or even thrice a week, but not more than that.

4- Booze

Too much drinking over time, decreases testosterone production and increases estrogen production in men. This hormonal state is not at all ideal for muscle gains. Studies have also shown that extreme alcoholism can even cause muscle atrophy (drastic muscle loss).

Too much alcohol consumption is mostly accompanied by sleepless nights and bad hangovers. This increases cortisol production in the body and thus you are in danger of losing your precious muscle mass.

Solution: Eliminate alcohol consumption from your life and avoid social gathering and situations that encourage you to drink. There is a reason why majority of elite athletes and bodybuilders don’t drink or smoke, which brings us to the next forbidden fruit:

5- Smoking

Our muscles require oxygen along with nutrients to grow. Smoking decreases the supply of oxygen to the muscles which directly impacts muscle growth. Too much smoking also causes your heart to beat faster which affects your stamina. Lesser stamina means lower workout intensity which in turn means lesser muscle growth stimulation.

Studies have also shown that smoking reduces testosterone production and by now, we have all established the fact that lower production of this hormone means lesser muscles gains.

Solution: Avoid smoking as much as you can if your goal is to get a Herculian physique. Go for nicotine gums or patches to satisfy your craving and save yourself for this silent killer.

6- Flax Seeds

Flax seeds and especially the oil has gained a lot of popularity these days because of its high Omega-3 content. There is no doubt about the fact that these seeds have many health benefits such as healthier heart and stronger immune system.

However, flax seeds contain lingans which are one of the richest sources of estrogen. You want to stay away from such foods as more estrogen in male’s body means less testosterone ratio in your system.

Solution: Keep your flax seeds intake to minimum since you can get all the health benefits associated with them from other food sources such as fish and walnuts.

Final Words

It takes a lot of hard work and persistence to make your muscles grow and it is important to ensure that all that hard work does not go to waste. Therefore, avoid making any of the mistakes mentioned for better muscle gains.

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