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5 Early Signs You're Not Building Muscle

Building muscle is a goal for many fitness enthusiasts and athletes. However, despite consistent efforts, some individuals may find that they're not seeing the results they desire. Top bodybuilders from around the world have shared their insights on the early signs that indicate you're not building muscle and have provided remedies to address these issues.

1. Lack of Strength Progression

Sign: If you're consistently lifting the same weights without any increase in strength over time, it's a clear sign that your muscles aren't growing.

Advice from the Pros:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, "Progression is the key. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward."
  • Jay Cutler suggests, "Always aim to increase the weight or reps every session. Even a small progression is a step forward."


  • Implement a progressive overload in your training. This means gradually increasing the weight or resistance in your exercises to challenge your muscles.
  • Ensure you're following a structured training program that focuses on compound movements.

2. Constant Fatigue and Soreness

Sign: Feeling sore occasionally is normal, but if you're always fatigued and sore, it might mean you're overtraining.

Advice from the Pros:

  • Ronnie Coleman emphasises the importance of rest, stating, "Rest is where growth happens."
  • Dorian Yates believes in listening to one's body. "If you're constantly sore, it's your body's way of telling you to slow down."


  • Incorporate rest days into your routine.
  • Focus on recovery techniques such as stretching, foam rolling, and getting adequate sleep.

3. Plateau in Performance

Sign: Your performance, be it in reps, sets, or endurance, remains stagnant.

Advice from the Pros:

  • Phil Heath suggests, "Change is necessary. If you're not changing your routine, you're not challenging your muscles."
  • Lee Haney advises, "Every 6-8 weeks, switch things up."


  • Vary your workout routine every few weeks.
  • Incorporate different training methods like supersets, drop sets, or pyramid sets.

4. Lack of Muscle Definition

Sign: Despite working out, you don't see any muscle definition or changes in your physique.

Advice from the Pros:

  • Flex Wheeler points out, "Diet is 70% of the game. You can't out-train a bad diet."
  • Kai Greene believes, "Your body is a reflection of your lifestyle."


  • Focus on your nutrition. Ensure you're consuming enough protein and calories to support muscle growth.
  • Consider consulting with a nutritionist or personal trainer.

5. Decreased Motivation

Sign: You're not excited about your workouts, or you're skipping sessions.

Advice from the Pros:

  • Frank Zane says, "Motivation comes and goes, but discipline stays."
  • Lou Ferrigno believes in setting goals, "Having a clear vision of what you want is crucial."


  • Set short-term and long-term goals.
  • Find a workout partner or hire a personal trainer for accountability.

Building muscle is a journey that requires patience, consistency, and knowledge. By recognising these early signs and implementing the remedies suggested by top bodybuilders, you can ensure that you're on the right path to achieving your muscle-building goals.

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