It's time to go back to the drawing board if you've been putting in work at the gym but still aren't getting the booty results you're after. Bret Contreras (aka the Glute Guy), PhD, CSCS, has some advice on why you may not be seeing any results in your lower body, specifically your butt.
In an Instagram post, he shared eight reasons you're struggling to build muscle in your lower body. His points are valid and can be applied to any muscle group, not just your butt. If you're feeling stuck in the muscle-building department, continue reading.
- You aren't putting in enough effort: According to Bret, people train hard and are able to raise their heart rate and induce a sweat, but they don't train hard when it comes to progression. "To build muscle, you have to place increasing amounts of tension on the muscles over time. This requires you to gain strength," he said.
- Your form isn't correct: By now you should know that form is the key to preventing injury and making sure that the right muscles are being activated. "Proper mechanics set the foundation for progressive overload. A PR (personal record) is only a PR when the same form and range of motion is utilized."
- You aren't getting enough protein: Protein is one of three macronutrients (the other two are fats and carbohydrates). It is the building block of muscle and helps to build and repair tissue. If you aren't very active, the FDA recommends consuming a minimum of 50 grams of protein a day. If your goal is to build muscle, the American College of Sports Medicine advises eating between 0.5 and 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. According to Bret, in order to see those gains, "You want to consume around one gram of protein per one pound of lean body mass per day."
- You aren't eating enough: It's important to adjust our caloric intake and provide our body with the adequate amount of energy when we exercise. According to Bret, you don't need to drastically increase your caloric intake; you just need enough energy to train properly. Here's how to calculate how many calories you need in a day.
- You aren't sleeping enough: A lack of sleep can make you feel less focussed, negatively impact your mood, and prevent your muscles from repairing.
- You're stressed: Long-term stress is dangerous and can increase your adrenaline and cortisol levels (the stress hormones). An increase in stress hormone levels can affect your immune system, blood pressure, and mood.
- You're working out too much: If you're doing multiple workouts in a day and week without rest, you may want to reconsider. "Many of you will never see ideal results because you're exercising too much," Bret said. If your goal is to build muscle, he suggests making strength training your primary focus and adding in additional exercise every once in a while.
- You aren't doing the right exercises: Bret's solution is simple: "Do your hip thrusts and a few other glute exercises you love."
We know that this is a lot of information, but you don't have to apply all of Bret's recommendations at once. Start with things you can easily fix, like how much you're eating in a day and adjusting your workout schedule. Take note of what changes, if any, are taking place, and then continue adjusting if necessary.
As a reminder, consult a physician and/or a trainer before making any drastic changes to your nutrition and workout routine.