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5 BIGGEST Reasons You’re Not Gaining Muscle


skinny guy who can't build muscle with big arms drawn on chalk board

You’re here because you want to build muscle, and let me guess—you feel like you’re working out all the time, spending hours at the gym, and no matter how hard you try, you just CAN’T seem to build muscle.

You follow all the (seemingly) right fitness advice. You go to the gym 4-5 days a week. You even dialed in your diet and are trying to eat all the right foods… and yet, even so, you just CAN’T seem to gain any muscle mass.

Well, believe me, I’ve been there. After years of being a hardgainer, and wasting countless hours on the wrong diets, workout routines, and supplements, I’ve finally “cracked the code” so to speak—and today, I’m going to teach you how to do the same, as well.

In this article, I’m going to teach you exactly how you can build muscle fast, and more importantly, the biggest mistakes you’re probably making right now that make it impossible for you to gain muscle.

Why You Should Listen to Me

Before I explain why you’re not gaining any muscle, I want to first explain why you should even bother listening to me in the first place. After all, there’s a million fitness influencers online with their own opinions, right?

Well, in my experience, if you want to gain more muscle, you should probably listen to people who have done it themselves. Why would you listen to some scrawny editor with zero real-life experience in the gym?

You wouldn’t, and you shouldn’t—BUT, you probably should listen to someone with six pack abs, who is actually jacked, right? Like me in those pictures up there. This is what you can attain, if you’re willing to put in the work, and willing to learn about fitness.

My workout program Body of an Alpha has helped hundreds of guys’ transform their physiques, and my blog has hundreds of free articles—so be sure to check those out if you’re seriously committed to building muscle.

Other than that, now that I’ve shown you I actually walk the walk (not just talk the talk), let’s get into the biggest reasons you’re not gaining muscle.

Why You’re Not Gaining Muscle

You want to pack on pounds of lean muscle mass, and you feel like you’re doing everything possible. For whatever reason though, you just CAN’T seem to gain any weight. Why is this? Well, there could be a lot of different reasons.

It could be your genetics. It could be your caloric intake. It could be your workout routine. It could be a million different things, under a million different circumstances. Usually however, if you’re struggling to gain muscle, it’s probably just because you need to make a few small tweaks.

Here’s the 5 Biggest Reasons You Probably Can’t Build Muscle:

  1. You’re Not Eating Right
  2. You’re Not Training Right
  3. You’re Not Consistent Enough
  4. You’re Not Recovering Properly
  5. You Fall For Fitness Myths & Fads

Building muscle is a science, and once you begin to understand this, you can gain more and more muscle, faster and faster. It’s all about education, and if you have work ethic PLUS a willingness to learn, you’ll go very far.

1. You’re Not Eating Right

The BIGGEST reason that most people struggle to put on muscle, is because they’re not EATING right. Seriously—I remember eating 1,500 calories per day in high school and wondering why I couldn’t bulk up.

If you want to get big, you need to eat a lot of calories… and it’s probably going to be a hell of a lot more food than you thought was appropriate. There’s been times where I ate 7 full meals per day to bulk up for photoshoots. That’s the level of food that I’m talking about here.

How to Discover Your Ideal Muscle Building Diet:

  1. Calculate Your Caloric Intake This is the first and most important step in muscle growth. If you don’t know how much you should be eating to gain muscle, it’s impossible to make any sort of meaningful progress. Head over to this site and punch in your information. It will give you an accurate amount of calories that you should be aiming to consume each day. From here on out, ALWAYS aim to consume this amount of calories.
  2. Download A Calorie Counting App – I use MyNetDiary, but you can find any number of them on the App Store. From here on out, record every single thing that you eat. I don’t care what it is—if it has calories, record it. This will ensure you have an accurate record of how much you’re eating.
  3. Calculate Your Ideal Protein Intake – Despite many of these calorie counting apps being accurate, they’re usually terrible with macronutrient goals. If you don’t consume enough protein, you won’t gain muscle, so here’s what you need to do. To calculate your ideal protein intake, figure out what your ideal lean bodyweight is in pounds, and then multiply that by 1.0 to get your ideal protein intake. So, for example, if you want to weigh 180lbs lean (with abs), you should aim to consume 180+ grams of protein per day.

These three points are the most important rules when it comes to gaining muscle. There’s an old saying that says muscles are built in the kitchen, not in the gym—and while it’s true that you need a good workout routine to build muscle, without the right diet, you’ll be working out for nothing.

2. You’re Not Training Right

The second biggest reason you’re probably not gaining muscle, is you’re not training the right way—either you aren’t training with INTENSITY, or your workout routine isn’t good to begin with. Let me explain.

Different workout routines are geared towards different goals. Some are better for building strength, others are good for building endurance, and some are geared towards building muscle mass. Ideally, you want to choose the latter.

If you’re struggling to build muscle, I recommend a routine that combines strength training with hypertrophy training, like the Body of an Alpha routine. By combining both types of training, you can get both bigger and stronger, AND you can do it faster than if you just focused on one type of training alone.

Now, once you’ve chosen your workout routine, you need to realize something else—and this is extremely important. No workout routine will work, if you aren’t willing to put in the work. Let me say that one more time.


If you aren’t training with intensity, and out of breath or sweating during parts of your workout, you probably aren’t training hard enough. Don’t believe me? Go look at how the giant, jacked dudes in the gym train every day.

They’re sweating. They’re out of breathe. They’re laser-focused on their workout. Watch how they train, and then compare that to how the scrawny guys train. Most of them barely put in any work, and have zero focus.

If you’re struggling to build muscle, up the intensity. Building muscle is hard—it’s not supposed to be easy. The more work and effort you put into your workout, the more muscle growth you’ll get in return. So go all out. Don’t hold anything back.

3. You’re Not Consistent Enough

I have a funny story to tell you, actually. The other day I got an email from someone who was pissed off at me, who said that he wanted a refund, because he didn’t notice results after 2 weeks of training.

Two. Weeks. Of. Training. Two fucking weeks of training.

That’s how patient he was.

So, listen close and listen good, my friend. If you’re so much of a little crybaby, whiny bitch, that you can’t even COMMIT yourself to something for more than two fucking weeks, then what the FUCK do you EVER expect to accomplish in your pathetic excuse of a god damn fucking LIFE?

Excuse my French here, but NOTHING in life worth having is going to come fast. Do you know how long it took me to get SERIOUSLY jacked? It took YEARS OF HARD WORK AND TRAINING! That shit did NOT happen overnight!

Of course, I use certain cutting-edge fitness supplements like SARMs to enhance my progress and performance in the gym, but do you think I just took them and expected to be jacked in two weeks? Of course not!

Anyone with half a brain knows that anything in life that’s worth having is going to take time and consistency. It took years of discipline and focus for me to get to the point that I’m at now in my life… but it was worth it.

If You’re Struggling to Build Muscle, Ask Yourself These Questions:

  1. Do you approach the gym with FOCUS and DISCIPLINE? Or do you slack off and half ass your training?
  2. Do you ALWAYS hit a workout? Or do you skip workouts, because you don’t “feel” like going to the gym?
  3. Are you WILLING to put in the work? Or do you want another “easy excuse” to give up?

Seriously ask yourself these questions. Understand that lifting weights isn’t for everyone. In fact, most people are losers with zero discipline, who will probably give up after a couple weeks in the gym… but do you know what? You’re not like that, and I want better for you.

Just the fact that you’re reading this article means you want more. So take it. Go out there and take it… because it’s yours for the fucking taking if you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears to get it.

4. You’re Not Recovering Properly

One of the most important parts of building muscle is to recover properly. In fact, I’d say that this is one of the most overlooked fundamentals of fitness. Why? Because it’s boring. It’s not sexy or marketable to anyone.

…but it’s equally as important as every other point on this list. If you aren’t recovering properly after your grueling workouts, you aren’t going to gain muscle as fast as you possibly can. You must recover, period.

Here Are The Fundamentals of Recovery for Muscle Growth:

  1. Sleep – This is the most important part of recovery. Studies have shown that men who deprive themselves of sleep have far lower testosterone levels [R], so if you’re skipping out on sleep, you’re screwing up big time. I always try to get 9 hours of sleep each night, and while I’m not perfect, I’d say that 6 days out of the week I always get my 9 hours.
  2. Stretching – This is another overlooked aspect of recovery, and quite frankly, it’s something I ignored for many years until I had a minor injury deadlifting 4 plates. Stretching is something you may be able to ignore at first, but once you start hitting big numbers, you’re going to have to focus on. Personally, I aim to stretch for at least 3-4 minutes each morning and each night, to help with flexibility, blood flow, and overall muscle recovery.
  3. Off Days – As important as it is to go hard in the gym, it’s equally as important to take recovery days. You can’t just hit the gym every single day and expect to make serious gains—and even if you can do this, you’ll actually get better results if you take time off. Personally, I aim to take 2 days off per week from the gym.

While I know that recovery isn’t sexy or marketable, it’s still extremely important for you to understand. Without enough sleep, and without enough off days, you’ll be building muscle 50% as effectively as you could be.

5. You Fall For Fitness Myths & Fads

Unfortunately, the fitness industry is loaded with myths, fads, and lies these days… and the supplement industry is perhaps the biggest propagator of these things. Why is this? It’s actually quite simple, really.

Most people are lazy, so if you can tell them they’ll get shredded by just taking a pill each day, of course most people are going to buy it. Most people don’t want to put in the WORK, so they’d rather just buy a pill instead.

Now, don’t get me wrong—some supplements are worth having, and can definitely increase your muscle gaining progress in the gym. I already have a list of the fundamental supplements I take every single day.

That being said, though, don’t think for a second that they should replace a good diet or workout routine. Far too many people think they can “out-supplement” a garbage diet, or that they can undo years of laziness and obesity by just taking a damn fat-cutting pill. They can’t.

Here Are The Biggest Muscle Gaining Myths in the Fitness Industry:

  1. Super Foods – Yes, while it’s true that some foods are healthier than others, most of the stuff you hear about “super foods” is just marketing nonsense. Think about it. Why is it that there’s always some new “super food” every year, on Dr. Oz or some other stupid, fake reality TV show? It’s because marketers will do anything for a quick buck, and the masses are so stupid they’ll fall for it time and time again. From acai berries to kale shakes to goji berries and everything else in between, most of these “super foods” are no healthier than “regular” foods like blueberries or spinach.
  2. Supplements – As I’ve said before, I’m a huge fan of using supplements. I probably spend $500 per month on supplements. That being said, I DO NOT try to “out-supplement” a bad diet or poor lifestyle. I still hit the gym 5 days a week. I still eat a good diet and hit my calories. I still recover enough. Don’t be one of those people who thinks he can take 5 scoops of whey protein per day, and that somehow this is as good as eating actual foods like steak, chicken, or salmon. Always remember that healthy, real bodybuilding foods like these should make up the majority of your diet.
  3. Your Genetics – Probably the biggest excuse that people use, and one of the biggest myths in the fitness industry these days, is that your genetics are holding you back. I remember seeing some reality TV show clip on Twitter, where a woman who was morbidly obese, I’m talking 700 pounds, said that it was because of her “genetics.” Are you fucking JOKING me? Oh, yeah, of course. It’s not because she’s shoveling hotdogs covered in mayonnaise down her disgusting throat, it’s because of her poor old genetics! Give me a break. I have the worst muscle building genetics on planet earth (I have always been scrawny), but through sheer will and discipline, I’ve transformed my body into that of a Greek God… and you can do this, too, if you’re willing to put in the work.

There’s so many fad diets and myths in the fitness industry that it’s hard to keep track of them, but always remember that the majority of your focus should be on the fundamentals of fitness (which I cover in-depth in Body of an Alpha).

Things like eating enough calories, training hard, and getting enough sleep will never be sexy and marketable to people, but they’re the real, fundamental things that will lead to consistent muscle gains each and every year.

Parting Advice

Now you know the truth, my friend. You have everything you need to start building more muscle today. In one year, you could have six pack abs, walking around on the beach, with every woman there staring at you.

…or, you could walk away right now, forget all about this article, and stay scrawny and out of shape for the rest of your life. The choice is really yours, my friend—and I genuinely hope that you decide to get jacked as hell.

If you do decide that you want to build muscle, and do it in the fastest, most efficient way possible, I would really urge you to take a look at my Body of an Alpha program. I designed it specifically for guys like you, who are struggling to build muscle—because that was literally exactly where I was many years ago.

Here’s what you’ll get, when you invest in Body of an Alpha today:

  • Full Workout Routine – You’ll get a full workout routine, so you always know exactly what to do each day. No more having to question what exercises you should do, how many reps, how many sets, etc. It’s all laid out for you, and all YOU need to do is just follow it to a T.
  • Full Dieting Matrix – You’ll get a full A-Z understanding of dieting, from the basics like macronutrient intake, to the more complicated things like carb-cycling for extra fast muscle gain, and more. No fads, no BS, just pure, science-based dieting, that’s been proven to build muscle, time and time again.
  • Three Free Bonuses – You’ll also get three free bonuses when you buy Body of an Alpha today. The first will explain exactly which supplements to take, so you don’t waste money on the stuff that doesn’t work. The second free bonus explains exactly how to do all the exercises with proper form, so you get the most muscle growth out of each workout section. The third free bonus explains how to get a huge “pump” which makes your muscles look bigger within just 15 minutes (you can do this from home, before school, or whenever).

Also—if you want a free guide on the “legal steroids” I used to gain muscle as a scrawny guy, just click here and I’ll send it right to your inbox. I’d act soon, though, because the FDA is actually currently trying to make them illegal, because they’re just too damn effective at helping hard-gainers build muscle.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the article. I’m always open to answer DM’s on Instagram, or emails—and if you leave a comment down below, I’ll do my best to respond, as well.

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1 year ago

Say Bubba I’m 42 yes old and I’m catching my second wind and ready to transform my body,I am dedicated to my work out and my diet is on the up side but I’m still not putting on the pounds,will this sarms really work,thank you from texas,,cameron

2 years ago

Great article, as usual Jon. Keep ‘me coming.
I remember way back to the days when I was a hard gainer. Then age hit and now it’s a lot harder to lose unwanted fat weight. I’m cut for the most part on my whole body with the exception of stubborn midsection and side (love handle) areas.
If you can, could you do a similar write-up, but this time instead of the focus on why we’re not gaining muscle to instead why we’re not losing fat? As always, regards and thanks, mate.

2 years ago

Hey Jon I been an active reader of your blog for over a year now and I’m very glad to see you posting new articles! Anyway I was considering of doing the steak and eggs diet, but would I be able to include other foods such as fruits and vegetables in that diet? Or is it just strictly steak and eggs? Thanks in advance!


What's Up, I'm Jon Anthony

Women. Fitness. Money. I’ll help you achieve it.

After dropping out of college to pursue my dreams, I started this blog as a way to help other men do the same.

What started off as a fun hobby, grew into a full-scale 6-figure business that’s changing the lives of men worldwide.


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