Where’s the Muscle?

When I first started getting into fitness, it was mostly all running or cardio on the elliptical machine. I’d feel wonderful after my workouts, but, other than being able to run longer, I didn’t see much change in my body.

It wasn’t until I started weight training that I really fell in love with all aspects of fitness. Muscles I never saw before started showing up. I felt strong, lean and confident. It’s a good feeling.

Meghan Ritchie Builds Muscle with Detroit Mommies


If you just started or have been strength training for a while, but aren’t seeing results that you hoped for, here are a couple areas to consider changing up.

5 reasons you might not be building muscle

Too much cardio

I am a fan of cardio, so I’m not here to tell you it’s bad. It’s good and part of a complete workout plan! But… too much cardio can work against your muscle building.

Running long distances, for example, require fuel. After a while if you aren’t properly fueled, or not fueling during the run, your body will tap into energy stores in your body –> your muscles. Instead of building those muscles, it breaks then down to give you the energy you need to carry through the long distance.

Lifting too light

I used to be afraid to lift heavy weights. I thought I’d get bulky or man-ish, but boy was I wrong! Just lifting light weight for tons and tons of repetitions isn’t going to definite and shape you the way lifting heavy weights done. Muscle grow by being pushed and broken down. When you lift weights tiny little tears show up in the muscles. It’s during the recovery of those tears when you see growth, change and an increase in strength.

Ladies don’t have as much testosterone in their bodies as men do naturally. Testosterone is the muscle builder, so we actually have to work harder to gain muscle than most men. See, there’s no reason to be scared to lift more than 5lb!

Skipping needed food

Muscles need food to grow. If you deprive your body of food muscle can’t grow. The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns at rest! It’s as easy as that, never skip a meal.

Meghan Ritchie Protein Lunch


Missing out on protein

Along with not skipping a meal, don’t skimp on the protein, especially after strength training. Your muscles need a combo of protein and carbs to help with repair and rebuilding (when they grow and get stronger!) Eating within 1 hour of exercise is best.

Some of my favorite post workout meals/snacks:

  • Egg whites and nut butter
  • Hummus and pita 
  • Greek yogurt and fresh berries
  • Turkey and cheese with apple slices
  • Peanut butter and banana on rice cakes
  • Tuna with pickle relish and a large salad
  • Of course, smoothies are a quick and easy post-workout snack too.

Meghan Ritchie Protein Snack

Keeping it the same

Variety is key here. If we want to see change, we have to give our body change. If you’ve been following the same routine for a while now, switch it up. Try to change it up at least every month.

Ways to switch it up include:

Different exercises
Change the # of reps you do
Change the # of sets you do
Take a whole new class or workout with someone new and follow their strength training routine for a day.


Meghan Ritchie Working Out

What are some of your favorite tips for getting those muscles?






*Disclosure – This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking and shopping, you help support Detroit Mommies and allow us to keep reporting on all things Mommies love.

Detroit Mommies Expert Contributor
Meghan is a busy mom of two children, Holden 6 and Nora 4. She is the Program Coordinator, a Personal Trainer and Conditioning Coach at Starting Line Health and Fitness. Health and fitness has always been a very important part of her life, and, in the past, to a fault. After struggling with her own health and fitness goals she learned quickly that life is all about balance. Nothing more drove that point home more than her children. She soon learned that it was possible to take care of her growing family and herself. When she took care of herself, she found herself taking better care of her family. She wants to share her success of raising a family and staying in great shape with those around her. She strives to show families how important it is for parents to be interested in their own wellness. Because through their interest in health and fitness their children can see first hand the importance of fueling and using their bodies in the right way! Meghan wishes to teach, help and coach people to achieve their fitness goals and improve their lifestyle by finding balance.