5 muscle-building mistakes to avoid!

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Muskulöser Mann trainiert Push Ups ©milos-kreckovic

Regular exercise and a diet adapted to your goals are not always enough to gain muscle. Our tips will help you to avoid simple muscle-building mistakes and develop strength in a sustainable and efficient way. That way you won’t simply reach your goals — you’ll exceed them!

Mistake #1: You’re doing too much cardio.

Strength and endurance training aren’t necessarily incompatible, but you can’t build muscle with cardio alone! Although fat is burned during cardio, it doesn’t develop your muscles. So, if your main goal is muscle growth, your first priority should be to put your attention on strength training.

Focus on strength training

To start gaining muscle mass, begin by focusing on lifting weights. Incorporating two to three sessions of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) a week will help you burn fat more efficiently which will better define your muscles as a result. Make a workout plan for yourself that contains a balance of workouts that will efficiently strengthen your muscles. Not only will this help you set a clear objective, but also ensure that you’re well organized throughout the process. 

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Mistake #2: You aren’t getting back to basics often enough.

There are three basic exercises you should do regularly to build up strength: the deadlift, the bench press, and the squat. These exercises are perfect for working out both individual muscles and entire muscle groups.

For example, when you do a squat, you’re obviously working out your thighs, but you’re also strengthening your glutes and back muscles at the same time. Basic workouts can help you train large areas regularly so you’ll see faster progress. 

Use a strength-training program to train your muscles

Having a workout plan is the most streamlined way to keep track of your workouts and record your progress. In general, it’s recommended to do the three basic exercises three to four times a week in order to develop strength efficiently.

A white man in workout clothes rests on a highway siderail with a mountain in the background and the setting sun over his right shoulder.

Mistake #3: Your breaks are too short. 

Working out too hard is just as counterproductive as not working out enough. The truth is, you won’t develop new muscles if you go to the gym every day, because you won’t be giving your body enough time to recover.

Give your muscles time to regenerate!

Intense workouts put a lot of stress on your body. The reason that you’re sore after exercising is because there are tiny tears in your muscles that need to heal before they can regrow. That’s why it’s so important to give your body a recovery period. Muscle regeneration and development mainly takes place during sleep, which is why it’s also important to ensure you’re getting at least 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye a night. 

Days without workouts are just as important as the ones with, because they allow the body to recover and the muscles to regenerate. That way, when you get going with your workout after a day off, you are well rested and therefore at the top of your physical abilities.

Mistake #4: Alcohol.

If your goal is to gain strength, drinking alcohol is not a great idea. Alcohol dehydrates the body, dilates the blood vessels, and in general creates stress, all of which can prevent your body from properly recovering.

Stay focused on your goal

When you feel yourself slipping up, focus on your goals and remember what you’ve already achieved. Keeping the endpoint in mind will help you say no when you need to. 

Mistake #5: You’re not eating enough protein.

Because muscle cells are mainly made up of protein, it’s essential to eat enough of it if you want to gain strength. Make sure that you’re getting the protein need to ensure that your body has the energy it needs to reach your goals.

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Use a nutrition plan for strength training

A healthy diet and plenty of exercise is the key to successful strength development. Getting enough macronutrients, which are also known as macros and include carbohydrates, protein, and fat, is essential. Our strength-oriented meal plan will help you prepare healthy meals that are designed for building muscle efficiently and sustainably. If you’d like to find out more, or calculate your macronutrient needs, click here. 

Protein isn’t the only important nutrient, though. Eating enough complex carbohydrates and healthy fats will also keep you both energized and satisfied. 

Pre and post-workout meals.

It’s extremely important to consume both carbs and protein before and after a workout. 

A good example of a typical pre-workout meal is something like chicken with rice for dinner or oatmeal with milk and a dash of protein powder for breakfast. For post-workout meals, try scrambled eggs with fresh vegetables or fish with potatoes.

A photo of a berry smoothie bowl. Too little protein intake is one of 5 top muscle-building mistakes, and our smoothie bowl can help you get more protein.

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Avoiding the 5 most common muscle-building mistakes: Our conclusion

  • Keep the focus on strength training — not cardio.
  • Create a workout program that includes the 3 basic exercises.
  • Make sure you have a healthy and balanced diet so you’ll feel good and develop your strength.
  • Take enough time to rest and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
  • Opt for an evening protein shake instead of a cocktail or a glass of wine.

Sources for this article

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