8. You don’t mix things up
“Your muscles need to be worked at different angles, volumes, and intensities to remain challenged. Working the same muscles, in the same way, can limit your gains,” White says.
The fix: Weather you’re an intermediate lifter or more advanced, you’ll likely need to change up your program every six to eight weeks, says White. “If you notice that your strength or physical results are starting to plateau, it’s a good time to weave in some new exercises and mix up your rep and weight selections. To challenge yourself further, make sure to include exercises that focus on your areas of weakness, whether that be quad strength or flexibility.”
9. You’re stressed out 24/7
“Stress increases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that increases appetite and fat storage. It also inhibits the use of glucose by the body’s cells,” explains Cardiello. This can cause muscle proteins to break down, inhibiting muscle growth, according to a study in Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise.
The fix: Pinpoint the stressor in your life and squish it like a bug. “That might mean ditching a high drama girlfriend, asking your boss to decrease your workload, or enrolling in a yoga class,” suggests Cardiello. “Sipping rooibos tea can also help. It contains a flavonoid called Aspalathin, which has been shown to reduce stress hormones.”
10. You only train trophy muscles
If you only train what you can flaunt at the beach (i.e. biceps and abs) it won’t help you increase overall mass, warns White. “The legs and back are two of your biggest muscles. If you don’t train them, you’re not tapping into your full muscle growth potential. Plus, only training your trophy muscles can create injury-causing imbalances that could keep you out of the gym long term.”
The fix: Work all areas of your physique in equal amounts—and don’t forget to incorporate forward, backward, and lateral movements, and things like mobility training, says White.