Balance The Muscle Bulk

For the majority of gym goers, winter is the primary time to focus on muscle gain. If you are planning on implementing a muscle gain routine, it is important to know how to avoid common pitfalls so that you achieve evident and well-balanced increases in muscle mass.

Pitfall 1: Lack of nutrition

Initially, it can be difficult to eat a sufficient amount in order to gain muscle. A lack in appetite can be a problem for those starting out a muscle gain regimen. You may be able to force feed yourself calories for a limited time but it is unlikely to be for long enough in order to see the results you are seeking. There is also the problem of something called non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which is an increase in metabolic rate causing you to burn off more calories.

Without providing the building blocks for new tissue, it is likely that all your hard work in the gym will fall flat and leave you frustrated with your rate of muscle gain. You need to be consuming sufficient protein (of course) but don’t neglect the other nutrients in a bid to eat more protein. The best way to overcome these issues is to eat a relatively ordinary, balanced diet with larger portions and supplement the protein.

There are many cost effective and tasty protein supplements available on the market now, making it much easier and more enjoyable to use supplements to support your progression.

Pitfall 2: Bad technique

When beginning a gym routine to promote muscle growth, it is often the case that your stronger side (usually the hand you write with) tends to do more of the work. This can lead to disproportionate development. Disproportionate muscle growth, or having muscles on one side of the body grow more than on the other, is a normal problem but it is easily avoidable.

The first thing to do is check your form. We all see those people in the weight room, lifting weights which are clearly too heavy for them with appalling form. Don’t be one of these people! Ensure that your targeted muscles are the ones doing the work. If you try using a bar and notice that you are pushing one side faster or higher than the other, try using dumbbells so you can ensure that each side of your body is receiving an equal workout.

If a stronger or more developed side is already aesthetically obvious, adapt your routine to concentrate on activating the muscles of the weaker side. Take the time to build the strength on both sides. Avoid favouring your better side purely because you can lift more and it makes you look good in the gym.

Pitfall 3: Following the trend/ Overtraining

‘Monkeys are made for swinging in trees; a disproportionate amount of their muscle mass is in their arms’ – Knut Nielson (1984).

Upon hearing the phrase ‘gym monkey’, most people picture a disproportionate gym goer with massive arms. Many of these people focus too heavily on their upper body, neglecting their lower body in a bid to become as big as possible up top. What many forget is that while our monkey friends major limbs are his arms, a humans major limbs are his legs.

Do not fall into the trap of focusing too much on your upper body. While it is great to have a massive upper body and it is your aim to gain muscle, it should not be your aim to promote posture and joint problems because your body is abnormally proportioned.

A moderate number of sets, perhaps 4-8 per bodypart is generally about the right amount. Research suggests that 40-60 contractions per bodypart per workout appear to give the optimal response. 4 sets of 10 would be a good starting point on this scale. A typical workout might last 60-90 minutes depending on how you prefer to split things up (McDonald L, 2005).


McDonald L, The Protein Book, A Complete Guide For The Athlete And Coach, 2005.

About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.


  • August 6, 2014 לגלוש ברחבי האינטרנט באתר זה

    Keep this going please, great job!

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