Even after months or years of training, you look at the mirror and still don’t see any noticeable changes in your physique, which makes you utterly frustrated. You have invested so much of your time, energy and given incredible effort and feel it’s all been in vain. We can help you identify some of the reasons why you’re not making any progress and steer you on the right path. Here are 5 reasons why you still don’t look like you lift:
1. Bad nutrition habits
Proper diet is key when it comes to building quality muscle mass and reducing body fat levels. There’s no way you could eat junk food all the time and expect to make progress. That’s what the majority of people are doing. You should strive to eat as much healthy food as possible and the gains will eventually come. Generally speaking, training can’t reverse the effects of bad nutrition habits, regardless of what other people think. It can help somewhat but not nearly enough.
2. Thinking you can look like a steroid user
Without even being aware of it, steroid users’ images have become the goal to strive for physique-wise, for the general population. You can see them everywhere, on supplements, online fitness sites, magazines… Imagery similar to this also serves as a “motivation” for lifters who don’t know that these people are using performance-enhancing drugs. People tend to buy supplements that have fancy names and then take them hoping in vain that they’ll look just like the guy on the cover. That will never happen. We’re sorry to break it to you in such a way, but your natural genetic potential for carrying muscle mass is much lower than you think.
3. Expecting that the basic compound lifts can do miracles
Lots of people expect that the deadlift or the squat have some magical properties that will help them turn into hulks overnight. When you think about it, there’s nothing inherently magical in them, they are an exercise like any other. The big compound exercises are extremely useful and very powerful when used consistently, but even they don’t have the power to turn you into a physique like in the magazines when you train drug-free.
4. Training without a plan or reason
The sole purpose of training is to put the body under enough stress so that it will respond by adapting to the stress via muscle growth and increase in strength. It’s a much better strategy to focus on doing a few things right instead of many things wrong. You should focus on doing a small number of lifts which will give you the best bang for your buck and do them regularly. Setting specific quantifiable goals like 30 consecutive push-ups or pull-ups or pulling 2.5 times your bodyweight on the deadlift, helps tremendously.
5. Not focusing enough on achieving leanness
If you strive to look like you lift and want to do it without using steroids, you must always pay attention to your body fat levels and try to stay as lean as possible. Having excess body fat may make you look bigger when wearing clothes, but you’ll immediately look quite average when you take them off. There are many examples of people who are on steroids, yet their physiques aren’t considered aesthetic since they have too much body fat. Being lean helps you get that shredded look and will make you look more aesthetic. And the way you do it is by ridding yourself of the extra fat.
If you’re a natural lifter, you’ll definitely find it hard to satisfy your own and other people’s expectations of having a good-looking body. And you can’t blame yourself or other people for that either. We’ve been brainwashed by media and supplements companies that we will turn into a bodybuilder within weeks of entering the gym. It’s simply not going to happen. Considering all of this, you can still achieve an aesthetic physique as a natural lifter, provided you follow a well-designed training program and keep your body fat levels in check.