If you’re working out and eating right but not seeing the results on the scale or in how your clothes it, but often there are a few simple mistakes you may be making that are thwarting your efforts. Here’s how to avoid mistakes that are derailing your ability to lose fat and gain muscle.
You’re Not Eating Enough Protein
When you’re trying to gain muscle and lose fat, you need to eat significantly more protein than the typical RDA. While the RDA is about 60 grams of protein per day for women, you will want to eat 1 gram to 1.4 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass when trying to alter your body composition. So, if you weigh 140 pounds and you are 30% body fat, that means you have 88 pounds of lean tissue and would eat 88-123 grams of protein per day. The best protein distribution pattern is about 30 grams at breakfast, lunch and dinner and, if needed, before bedtime.
You Skimp on Shut-eye
Recovery happens when you’re sleeping so when you’re trying to gain muscle, you need to get enough sleep. What’s more, lack of sleep leads to an increase in cravings and appetite. By getting at least 7 or more hours of shut-eye per night, you can help control hunger and help your muscles recover better.
You Focus Too Much on Cardio
While you may want to go for a run or bike ride to burn off calories, traditional aerobic exercise won’t help you gain muscle, and it may actually hurt your efforts by having your body burn amino acids for fuel. Instead, make lifting heavy weights your priority and cardio is your accessory. You’ll want to do high-intensity interval training to get your cardio.
You Lift Light Weights
While you may feel a great burn from doing lots of reps with light weights, it won’t do much to alter your body composition. To build strength and size, you need to lift heavy and hard. You want to do sets of up to 8 reps to failure to see real gains in muscle mass. Workouts like CrossFit are excellent for building strength too.