Why You Have A Hard Time Building Muscle and Getting Lean

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It’s not because you’re not doing anything right. You might be doing EVERYTHING imaginable to get results but you still aren’t satisfied with the end goal. It’s not because you AREN’T doing certain exercises or because you are following a certain set and rep scheme. It has very little to do with what your eating, if you’re taking in enough calories or if you’re stuffing yourself silly.

It has EVERYTHING to do with the style of how you’re doing things.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game

You really can eat or train however the hell you want, provided that YOU, and only you, know why your doing things that particular way.

Anyone who tells you that there’s a right or wrong way to eat or train is an idiot who more than likely has stopped learning and evolving with the times.

Sure, there are BETTER ways to do things.

There’s style of training and methods of eating that are more effective than others but you more than likely will NEVER reach that stage of your training career at your current rate.

Why? You’re not building as much muscle as you want or getting as lean as you want or becoming as sexy as me (that last part is half truth half joke) because you’re more than likely trying to fit SOMEONE else’s mold of ideal.

Allow me to explain…..

If you want to be big and lean,what do teenage to mid 30 year old guys do? They read bodybuilding magazine.

What does a woman in her mid 20’s to late 30’s do if she wants to be tight and lean? She reads Oxygen magazine

How about a guy or chick who likes to run? They read Runner’s World

Oh and here’s my favorite one…

What about someone who plays a sport? They train like an athlete, that’s the best way to train because athletes are muscular and lean….

One of the dumber online debates in fitness (believe me, there are numerous) is over the concept of body part split training.

Let me summarizes it before I go crazy

The “I know better than you” fitness trainers: Train like an athlete with full body or upper lower splits, body part training doesn’t work….blah blah blah


The “meathead bodybuilders” or the guy with a fitness magazine PhD: Upper/lower or full body training will never work to get jacked.

Those are the two general group theories.

They both suck…

It’s still the same time, everyone is attempting to fit into a tiny box with their training and nutrition INSTEAD of doing what feels right.

And I’m willing to bet that maybe you’re training like a bodybuilder to get big or you want to look like a fitness model.

You’re eating every few hours, even when you’re not hungry and your training 4-5 days per week for an hour to an hour and a half with various angles on each body part, even when it’s not enjoyable.

Maybe you want to be a lean, tight cover model. So you’re only eating carbohydrates with fiber like rice and oatmeal even though it tastes terrible when you do it EVERY day. You hate cardio but you’re slaving away on the treadmill for an hour a day.

The point is not to tell you that you can get more by doing less, no that’s not it. Developing a lean, healthy body takes consistent effort.

My point is, you really can train however you want and eat whatever you want as long as you know WHY you’re doing it!

Take a recent example from myself.

I’ve been playing more pick up basketball and volleyball because it’s summer time, I enjoy competition and running up and down the court is a lot more enjoyable then being on the treadmill next to a stinky dude on his cell phone.

As a result, I’ve decided that I really want to start dunking again. I haven’t played in years and I’ve gained a lot of muscle in that time.

So I started adding Olympic lifts like cleans and high pulls into my training again.

I started mixing up my training, one workout looks like this

Front squat to push press: 4 sets of 4 reps

Barbell still leg deadlifts: 4 sets of 5 reps

Dips: 3 sets of 15 reps

Zottman curls: 3 sets of 8 reps

Single leg hamstring curls: 3 sets of 8 reps

That’s not not a bodybuilding split per say and it’s certainly has more isolation than any strength coach would like to see.

The point is, I’m having fun and I’m getting more muscular and leaner as the same time.

I have another workout during the week where I just flat out do glycogen burning rounds. I pull for sets of 20 on sumo deadlifts. Every power lifter worth their salt would scream at me for that.

I’m doing it while only eating 2-3 meals per day

And you know what?

I’m getting results. My bodyweight is leaner than it has ever been (with the exception of a photoshoot a year ago) yet I’m not counting my carbs at all.

So know what you’re doing then do it well.

Leave a comment below and let me know how you’re escaping the traditional training and diet box in favor of more productive workouts that produce a better YOU….

Here’s some good video content for you too

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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. Rick
    6 years ago

    Jimmy, now I’m confused. Let me know where to go or what to get from you that will give me the details of the ‘eat 2 – 3 meals and don’t look at carbs’ routine. I’m kind of a detail nut, but if I don’t need to count or keep up with carbs etc.. I’d like a little more guidance on how to do it.

  2. JimmySmith
    6 years ago

    Just make smarter food choices. Focus on high quality foods and keeping your carbs during the post workout period.

  3. Tracy Napier
    6 years ago

    I love this article! I hired a coach for all of six weeks before realizing that she was a cookie cutter coach that fed every client the same diet plan and workout routine. I only called upon her to have someone to ask “Why” to and be able to get a solid answer. Let’s just say, I learned NOTHING from her. My goal is currently to gain muscle, while maintaining my current body fat pretty closely until my next figure comp. So, she was insistant that I eat complex carbs throughout the day, although they made me tired, sluggish, and caused extreme bloating and discomfort. I did this for months, even after firing her, then just said, “piss on it” I am eating to what makes my body and mind feel good. So, I went to eating only veggies, lean meats, nuts, oils, and minimal fruits. I cut out grains and most starchy veggies. I have never felt better, am never hungry, feel energized after eating, and have put on over three pounds of muscle in the past few months, while maintaining BF% Oh…and I have increased weight and sets with almost all of my lifts. I know my body better than any trainer does. 🙂 Great advice, great article!

  4. JimmySmith
    6 years ago

    Yeah Tracy, it’s sad that there are some “gurus” out there who just screw people over.

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