What are the 12 mistakes stopping you from building muscle?

What are the main 12 Mistakes people make when trying to build Muscle?

Humans are naturally inclined to beauty. This aesthetic sense of humans has asserted itself equally in both science and arts. Even this sense has affected the man himself. While there were ways in ancient times-celebrating muscular development was one of the Greek ideals- for one to look pleasing and attractive to others but since the last decade of the nineteenth century, a sport known as bodybuilding, for making oneself attractive, emerged. Bodybuilding was a direct manifestation of the aesthetic sense of mankind.

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History of Bodybuilding

Bodybuilding in its popular form emerged in the 1890s with the arrival of Mr. Eugene Sandow, whom the Mr. Olympia statue is modeled on. In 1891, Eugene Sandow organized the first-ever show of bodybuilding- The Great Show. ‘The Great Show’ popularized bodybuilding to a great extent and since then bodybuilding is recognized as one of the mainstream sports.

The popularity of bodybuilding was on the constant rise since its inception and the decades of 1970 and 1980 are considered as ‘the golden age of bodybuilding’. In its golden age, bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger- the winner of Mr. Universe for five times and Mr. Olympia for seven times- and other great bodybuilders like Franco Columbo, Dave Draper, and Larry Scott emerged and people adored these bodybuilders as celebrities.
In recent times too, bodybuilding is very much live sport with many international and national contest staged every year throughout the globe.

Body Building has changed a lot in the past 5 decades!

Lets discuss the modern fitness industry

The 30 billion USD fitness industry of the US is growing at a rate of 3-4 percent annually. In the fast growth of the fitness industry of the US, high-value low price (HVLP) gyms are playing a critical role. Similar to the US fitness industry, the high value and low price gyms are propping up in almost every country of the world and the trend is only strengthening the bodybuilding spirit in masses.

According to the Statista.com website, as of 2019, there were approximately 201 thousand health and fitness clubs/gyms worldwide. The number of members of these clubs stood at 174 million-with 66.48 million members in Latin America and 59.98 million members in Europe. The membership of health and fitness clubs is on the rise.

What are the 12 Biggest Muscle Building Mistakes?

Though the popularity of bodybuilding is increasing in young masses of the world but many of the bodybuilders are not able to achieve their physique goals. The reasons for this failure are often the grave mistakes which many of the bodybuilders commit intentionally or unintentionally.

We will discuss here the seven biggest muscle building mistakes which newbies or even seasoned bodybuilders commit at some point in their career.

1. Dieting Mistakes:

After joining the gym and indulging oneself in strenuous physical activity, the importance of the diet can never be underestimated because it is only the right and nutritious diet which determines the success or otherwise.

The diet is the most critical element of muscle building. If one is taking adequate rest (at least 8 hours), undergoing the right exercises, and taking the right supplements but the diet is not proper then he or she will find it difficult to maintain the already built muscles- let alone getting new muscle fibers.

The following is a list of the most common dieting mistakes which are committed at least one time by almost every bodybuilder in their chase of gaining more muscle mass.

2. Ignoring Essential Nutrients:

Sometimes, most of the bodybuilders are misled by the muscle-building diets. As most of the experts recommend protein-rich diets so often this diet become the only priority.

But including only proteinous foods in the daily diet, other essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, dietary fibers, minerals, and vitamins are altogether ignored. By ignoring these vital nutrients, the body can’t function optimally so the desired result of a good muscle mass is not achieved.

Therefore taking vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats (like plant-based oils like coconut oil and olive oil) is as much important as taking high proteinous foods (like hemp seeds and chia seeds).

3. Ignoring Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are the primary source of bodily energy but due to obsession with proteins, these macronutrients are ignored. Carbohydrates are important as they provide ready energy for strenuous physical activities associated with muscle building exercises and weight-lifting programs.

Though every meal of a bodybuilder must be dominated by protein-rich foods it is also necessary to obtain a considerable amount of daily calories from carbohydrates.

Not all carbohydrates are created equal! But they are not your enemy when building muscle!

4. Ignoring Fats:

Just like carbohydrates, fats are also ignored in favor of proteins. Likewise carbohydrates, fats are also an important macronutrient. Fats are part of many of the important body structures.

Furthermore, fats are also a good source of bodily energy. In fact, fats yield two times energy per gram as compared to carbohydrates.

Therefore, taking fats in a moderate amount will keep the body charged 24/7, and even some fats will be stored as energy reserve which can help out through the physically demanding and advanced exercises. But one should take good fats. Fats like omega 3, omega 6, and plant oil like olive oil are considered as ‘good fats’.

5. Not Taking Enough Calories:

By signing up for a weight-lifting program, the calorie needs of the body are increased dramatically. Most of the bodybuilders started to follow the trainer’s recommended diet- mostly proteinous diet- strictly. By strictly following the recommended diet, most of the gym trainees missed on carbs, and therefore for satisfying the increased calorie needs of the body, proteins in the diet are utilized.

Therefore proteins in the diet are consumed for energy rather than adding new muscle fibers. So this diet mistake keeps the muscle growth restricted instead of fuelling it. By varying the diet and adding some extra carbs for the high-calorie demands is a better idea rather than restricting oneself to a strict diet plan.

6. Not Taking Enough Protein:

Though with muscle-building exercises, protein intake is mandatory and people do take extra proteins. But often the amount of protein intake is not enough for building new muscles. Therefore taking proteins in the right quantity is also critical. The minimum amount of daily protein intake is 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. But if this quantity is not yielding results then it is recommended to increase the quantity to 1.5 grams per pound a day.

Why not try out a Vegan Protein powder today?

(For more information on why you should make the switch from animal based protein powders, to plant based ones, check out our article on the subject, here.)

7. Not Taking Real Food:

As discussed earlier, proteins are important for muscle building as muscles are predominantly made up of proteins. Proteins are disintegrated into amino acids as soon as they enter our bodies. Amino acids are chemical compounds and are the building blocks of proteins. The amino acids from the dissolved diet proteins are then reassembled in different arrangements in the muscle tissue and hence more muscle mass is added. Keeping in view the critical role of proteins, almost every bodybuilder takes protein supplements. Taking protein supplements is a good idea but often the real food-the natural protein sources- are ignored. Therefore one must avoid the temptations of relying solely on supplements as supplements are additions to the diet rather than replacement of natural proteinous foods.

8. Inconsistency in diet:

Inconsistency only leads to failure and the same is true in case of diet. If one is eating up the required nutrients in the appropriate amount on one day and ignoring the same on the next day then he or she can never build muscles even if he or she works out religiously throughout the year. Coming up with the right diet plan and sticking to it throughout the training period will yield results rather than eating off and on.

9. Proper Rest:

Muscle building depends upon several variables but three of them that are right diet, adequate sleep, and an effective weight-lifting program, are the most important.

After discussing the diet mistakes in detail, we will now discuss the importance of good sleep in muscle building. When we sleep, our body recovers from the wear and tear of the day as much of the damaged cells and body tissues recover at night.

A 2011 study by Brazilian researchers observed that skipping out on sleep not only reduces the rate of protein formation in the body but also increases protein breakdown-which means that recovery from injury or from gym workouts would be slowed down.

Usually, 8-hour sleep is enough but less than 8 hours will not help as in a 2013 Gallup poll most of the average Americans (who were not working out) found sleep of 6.8 hours insufficient. Therefore make sure to have a sleep of at least 8 hours and it is recommended to sleep 9 hours if the workout schedule is tough.

An Effective Weight-lifting Program: An effective weight-lifting program is the third most important pre-requisite of muscle building. It is equally important to sign up for a health and fitness club because by only eating protein-rich food and sleeping for more than 7 hours; one will end up with more pounds of body fat rather than lean muscles. ‘

Take in as many calories as you are willing to burn’ is the best advice when one is considering to gain more muscle mass.

If you never rest, when can your body grow and repair itself?

10. Keep an Eye on Your Weight-lifting Program:

It is not enough to commit oneself to a proper and effective weight-lifting program. Rather it is equally important to do it right every time. Normally, four types of weight-lifting mistakes are the most common. The first one is ‘lifting insufficient weight’. If the workout is not challenging then one will not gain anything from it increasing weight continuously is highly recommended.

The second common mistake is ‘lifting too much weight’. By lifting heavy weights, there are chances of muscle damage and therefore lifting heavyweight is also not helpful. The third common mistake is ‘lifting weight at a faster pace’.

The pace of lifting weight also matters a lot. For achieving optimal muscle growth, the weight-lifting sets must last at least 30 to 45 seconds.

Finally, ‘lifting weight with poor form’ is the last common weight-lifting mistake. Our body adapts to exercises and therefore doing weight-lifting exercises with a good body form results in the right body posture.

Results take time! Patients is key with any change in lifestyle

11. Not Patient Enough:

Muscles building need time. Building muscles don’t take place overnight rather it requires months and even years of consistent hard work. If one is having fewer muscles and have recently joined the gym then the initial progress will be satisfactory. But after putting on some lean muscles, adding more muscles will require months of working out so have patience and faith in the hard work. Most of the people quit simply because they have little patience and it is one of the biggest muscle building mistakes.

12. Don’t Take Tracking Progress Seriously:

Muscle hypertrophy is a gradual process. Muscle hypertrophy is the process whereby the size of muscle cells increases. Usually, muscle hypertrophy occurs as a result of physical activities like physical exercise and weight-lifting. As the growth of muscles is a gradual process so tracking it becomes essential for bodybuilders.

Tracking the progress of each exercise not only predicts the effectiveness of that exercise but also it keeps one motivated for achieving the ultimate goal of gaining more muscle mass. But unfortunately, most of the gym trainees don’t track their progress and therefore they flunk in their gym goals.

BONUS: Inconsistency:

Inconsistency is the next biggest muscle building mistakes which most of the bodybuilders commit. Missing gym sessions altogether or skipping some of the exercises will always hinder muscle development. Killing inconsistency is a must if one wants to achieve a perfect physique. Remember that ‘consistency is the key to success’.

Not wanting to join a gym but still aching for the body of your dreams? Check out our post on working out without a gym membership, here!



How To Get Fit Without Going To The Gym?

Do you need a Gym Membership to build muscles?

Generally, building muscles and workouts are linked with gyms or health clubs but this idea is totally misleading that you can put on new muscle mass or can lose some pounds of body fat only with gym-membership. On the contrary, you can do pretty well at home with no or less equipment. If you are short on money or time or simply you don’t want to have a gym membership then you can build muscles, and even lose some pounds of body fats within the comfort of your home by doing the right exercises, eating the required diet, and taking proper rest.

Do you need to use free-weights to build muscles? Read on to learn more!

If you are experienced in weightlifting or in other advanced exercises then you can start with the following exercises right away.

But if you are a beginner then it is a better idea to start with some basic exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, squats, planks, and overhead press, etc. Keep doing all these basic exercises for two to three weeks. Aim for two sets of each exercise with 12-15 repetitions and do the all exercises properly. After mastering the basic exercises, you can then perform the following advanced exercises but before every workout, a warm-up session is critically important.

The First Most important step: Warm-Up

Before any workout, a warm-up session is of immense importance. A warm-up session consists of light exercises which usually precedes every strenuous physical activity. This is no different if you are trying to build muscle mass at home!

A proper warm-up session has several health benefits and it also increases your performance during the main exercises. First of all, during the warm-up temperature of the body and muscles rise up and this elevated temperature help muscles to contract and relax quickly. Also, the elasticity of muscles improves which enhances its speed and strength. Thus there are fewer chances of muscle injury and overstretching.

During warm-up, blood temperature also rises. The increased blood temperature weakens the bond between hemoglobin and oxygen and therefore oxygen is more readily available to your muscles. Also, blood vessels dilate due to which more blood is directed to muscles and there is less stress on the heart.

Muscles are a bit like spaghetti, if you don’t warm them up, they might snap!

Physical activity increases body temperature by burning more energy. During warm-up, more warm blood is supplied to the skin for dissipating this excessive body heat and thus you avoid overheating. This is the reason why you sweat in hot weather or during a workout.

Warm-up also increases the production of cortisol and epinephrine hormones. Both these hormones regulate energy production by making more carbohydrates and fats available for energy production. Finally, a warm-up session mentally prepares you for the workout by increasing your focus.

A good warm up doesn’t take too long, but can save you hours of problems later on!

So you will definitely want to not miss such an important session before a workout. Here are some tips regarding effective warm-up. First of all, a warm-up should be short and it should not exceed ten minutes. Usually five to ten minutes warm-up yield best results. Secondly, as workouts vary in intensity and exercises so you must tailor the warm-up session to your main workout exercises.

For example, if you are preparing for a brisk walk, then the warm-up could include slower-paced walking and for yoga, neck rolls and cat-cow would be enough. Finally, avoid static stretches-stretches in which you stay in one position. Static stretches can lead to muscle injury. Instead, try to do dynamic stretches-stretches involving continuous movement.
After the warm-up, now you are ready for the following exercises which you can do within your home.

FREE Full Body weight workouts you can do at home

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But to get your started, we’ve compiled a small list of home workouts you can try right now in the comfort of your own home!

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Plank is the best core exercise as it develops a stronger core and helps support the lower back.

A stronger core not only improves posture and reduces back pain but it also helps in all types of activities. Here are a few plank exercises which will help you in achieving a stronger core, without ever having to join the gym.

  • Forearm Plank: Sets: 2 Reps: 3
  • Straight-arm Plank: Set: 1 Rep: 4
  • Side Plank: Sets: 2 Reps: 3
  • Dolphin Plank: Sets: 2 Reps: 4
  • Caterpillar Plank: Set: 1 Rep: 5
  • One-legged Plank: Set: 1 Rep: 3
The plank, one of the greatest core workouts!


Squats work the major muscles in the lower body and help shape buttocks and thigh muscles. There are many variations of squats to build muscles at home and you can try the following squat variants at home without any equipment.

  • Goblet Squat: Sets: 2 Reps 10
  • Bulgarian Split Squat: Sets: 2 Reps: 6 (each leg)
  • Kang Squat: Sets: 2 Reps: 12-15
  • Squat to Overhead Press: Sets: 2 Reps: 10
  • Plie Squat: Sets: 2 Reps: 12
  • Squat and Lunge: Set: 1 Reps 15 on each side
  • Squat Pulse: Sets: 3 Reps: 15
  • Squat Jump: Sets: 3 Reps: 10

Directions: Do the following exercises in sequence and sets as mentioned with each exercise.

  1. Glute Bridge March: Sets: 2 Reps: 10 (each leg)
  2. Pushups: Sets: 2 Reps: As many as possible
  3. Bulgarian Split Squat (foot on a chair, box, or bench): Sets: 2 Reps: 12 (per leg)
  4. Donkey Kicks: Sets: 2 Reps: 12
  5. Plank to Pushup: Sets: 2 Reps: 12
  6. Straight Leg Sit-up: Sets: 2 Reps: 10
    Bodyweight Upper Body
    Directions: Repeat all the exercises for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Pushups: Reps: 10
  8. Straight-leg Sit-ups: Reps: 10
  9. Bodyweight Triceps Extensions: Reps: 10
  10. Plank: Duration: 30 seconds
    Bodyweight Lower Body/Abs
    Directions: Do all the exercises in sequence and sets mentioned with each exercise.
  11. Bulgarian Split Squat Jumps: Sets: 3 Reps: 6 (each leg)
  12. Bulgarian Split Squat Countdowns: Sets: 2 Reps: 21
  13. Straight-leg Sit-ups: Sets: 2 Reps: 15
  14. Glute Bridge V Walkouts: Sets: 2 Reps: 6
  15. Straight-leg Reverse Crunch: Sets: 2 Reps: 12

Progressive Pull-Ups, Push-Ups, and Lounges (PLP)

Pull ups can be hard at first, but lifting your body weight is a great upper body workout!

PLP is a progressive exercise which you can continue for two months. The idea is to get started with fewer repetitions and gradually increasing the number of pull-ups and push-ups with each passing day. A sample PLP program will be like.

Day 1:

  • Pull-ups: 5 reps
  • Push-ups: 5 reps
  • Lunges: 5 reps (each leg)

Day 2:

  • Pull-ups: 6 reps
  • Push-ups: 6 reps
  • Lunges: 6 reps (each leg)

Day 3:

  • Pull-ups: 7 reps
  • Push-ups: 7 reps
  • Lunges: 7 reps (each leg)

This PLP program can last for two months and you can start with any figure. For example, if you are comfortable with 3 pull-ups and push-ups, start with three, or if you can do 10 reps from day 1, then it is also ok.

Also, you can choose the number of sets for yourself but do every repetition in proper form and continue to add 1 rep with each passing day.

Upon completion of the program, you will be able to do more than 50 pull-ups.

You can have amazing results with a home workout!

Burpee Finisher

Directions: Do the following exercises in sequence and sets as mentioned with each exercise.

  • L-pull-ups: Sets: 3 Reps: 5 Rest: 60 seconds
  • Feet-elevated Pushups: Sets: 3 Reps: 10 Rest: 60 seconds
  • Skater Squat: Sets: 3 Reps: 10 reps Rest: 60 seconds
  • Single-Leg Box Squats: Sets: 4 Reps: 8 Rest: 60 seconds
  • Valslide Lateral Squat: Sets: 3 Reps: (10 each leg) Rest: 60 seconds
  • Burpees: Sets: 3 Reps: 10 Rest: 30 seconds

Dumbbell Workout

Directions: Do the following exercises in sequence and sets as mentioned with each exercise.

  • Bulgarian Split Squat: Sets: 2 Reps: 6 (each leg)
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Floor Press: Sets: 2 Reps: 8 (each arm)
  • Goblet Squat: Sets: 2 Reps: 15
  • Dumbbell Pushup: Sets: 2 Reps: AMRAP

After the workout, cooling down is as important as a warm-up session. Therefore doesn’t stop fast and rather takes an extra ten minutes for a proper cool-down session.

Investing in a set of dumbbells for home can save you a fortune in gym memberships!

Cool Down

Just like warming up, cooling down is equally important. After an intensive workout, your heart is still pounding at a higher rate, your body temperature is still high and your blood vessels are dilated. If you stop this fast then there are chances of sickness so a cool-down session is a must at the end of any workout.

Likewise warm-up, a cool-down session must last around five to ten minutes. At the end of workout gradually reduce the intensity and pace of your exercises and continue for five to ten minutes before quitting the workout. For example, if you are walking briskly then walk slowly at the end and after running; continue walking briskly for another five or ten minutes.

In addition to home workouts, taking protein-rich balanced diet aids in gaining new muscles.

Eating the right diet is essential to build muscle at home

The right diet is also important if you are working out whether at home or in the gym. During workouts, chances of muscle damage are higher than in normal activities. Though in normal routines, muscle fibers tear up but during workouts, the proportion of damage is higher. Also, during workouts, the process of muscle hypertrophy begins.

Muscle hypertrophy is the process of growth and an increase in the size of muscle cells. Most commonly muscle hypertrophy occurs as a result of physical exercise. So if you do physical exercises regularly then your muscle mass is bound to increase. So, in either case, you need more proteins because muscles are predominantly made up of proteins. Therefore if you are doing workouts regularly then you need more proteins.

You can include protein-rich foods like eggs, dairy, poultry, fish, seafood, nuts, legumes, and beans. In addition to protein-rich foods, you can also take protein supplements. A wide range of protein supplements is available in the market. But in opting protein-rich foods, you must be very careful because one tempts to include dairy and poultry-based protein foods very frequently in the daily diet. Though these foods are rich in protein they include saturated fats.

As the old saying goes, you can’t out run your fork!

Saturated fats are bad fats as they increase the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood. Too much blood cholesterol leads to heart diseases. So, on the one hand, you will be gaining muscles but on the other, you will be risking your heart’s health by frequently eating these animal-based protein foods. The same is the case with animal-based protein supplements.

Instead, try plant-based protein foods. Plant-based protein foods not only contain cleaner and superior proteins but also fats in these foods are healthy. Plant-based fats increase the level of good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood which in turn improves the heart’s health. Lentils, beans, green peas, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are some of the high protein vegan foods, but varying protein sources will always yield the best results. Preferring plant-based protein supplements over animal-based supplements is also recommended.

Plant based Proteins are superior for your body, and the environment

Taking a protein-rich diet is good but missing on other important nutrients like carbohydrates, healthy fats, dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals will lead to poor health-let alone building muscles. Therefore include healthy plant-based foods like leafy green vegetables and fruits in your daily diet.
After the diet, adequate sleep is also important as proper sleep also facilitates muscle growth.

A final word, Are you getting enough sleep?

Adequate sleep is as important as a protein-rich balanced diet for building muscles at home. Proper sleep helps us to recover from the wear and tear of the whole day as our body’s damaged tissues are repaired at night. A 2011 study by Brazilian researchers observed that skipping out on sleep not only reduces the rate of protein formation in the body but also increases protein breakdown-which means that recovery from injury or from gym workouts would be slowed down.

Usually, 8-hour sleep is enough but less than 8 hours will not help as in a 2013 Gallup poll most of the average Americans (who were not working out) found sleep of 6.8 hours insufficient.

We can’t stress this enough, getting enough sleep is vital for your health

In addition to hindering muscle growth, insufficient sleep also lowers performance so, on the next day, you will face difficulty in completing your workout session. Also, sleep facilitates brain health. Therefore taking proper sleep along with the right diet and workouts are keys to building muscles without a gym.

Are you getting all the results you desire from your home workout? If not you might be making some of these 12 most common muscle building mistakes!