A few months ago, my triceps starting showing. I've been regularly going to gym and my diet consist of protein, carbs and veggies (broccoli) and follow "Rule of third" 1/3 of protein, 1/3 of carbs and 1/3 of veggies.

The problem is that I don't see any changes in triceps and biceps change. Even my chest lines come and goes, so does my obliques lines (side lines).

The tummy is also being stubborn. I don't put on a lot of weight when doing dumbbells as I don't find any helper and it could fall on me.

So what am I doing wrong? Why isn't my size changing, why triceps and bicep size not changing? Chest line come and go? How do I change my routine, making things change and see the result after weeks?

I do 40 minutes cardio everyday.


3 Answers 3


Not gaining muscle size/definition can be a result of a great many factors, including:

  1. Bad routine / form. If you are doing bad exercises, or doing exercises badly, then your progress will suffer as a result. Most popular recommendation for this is a beginner barbell routine with progressive overloading, such as Starting Strength or Stronglifts.
  2. Not lifting enough. If you are not lifting heavy enough to stress your muscles, then there will be no adaptation or muscle growth. Use progressive overloading technique to safely increase the weight you lift each workout so you are properly stressing the muscles.
  3. Poor diet. While your diet has lots of protein (and that's a good start), you also need to be eating over your caloric maintenance level so your body has plenty of calories to use towards building muscle. Since you are doing cardio, it's possible that you are simply starving your muscles of the calories they need to grow.
  4. Poor recovery. Your muscles require proper recovery in order to grow. If you aren't getting enough sleep at night (try for 8 hours), or if you workout your muscles every day and never get them a rest day, then you will be blocking your muscle growth.
  5. No patience. Change takes time. Bodybuilders are not born in a day. Results may be slow to come, but over time if you are patient and follow the advice here you will succeed.

In other words: eat a lot, follow a good routine where you lift heavy weights with good form, take rest days, get good sleep, and keep at it.

  • As an afterthought, I would add in rep-range (though this somewhat falls under #1/#2). If you are lifting a light weight for a ton of reps (20+), then you are training for endurance, not muscle size or strength. Lower the reps and increase the intensity so you are in the 5-12 rep range.
    – Moses
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 19:18
  • As i mentioned, i am eating 4-6 meals a day (one chicken breast in even meal, one piece of finger fish in odd meal along with other protions as mentioned.) and morning breakfast with 12 egg whites.Should i increase? How much in grams of protein in each meal? As for lifting heavy, i am afraid of dropping the weight on me (Like i did once), spotter aren't easy to get by. I have Bodyspace.Few days back i left out protein powder to cut my protein intake (thought it might be coz of too much protein)
    – localhost
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 19:58
  • @nofel as I mentioned, it is about eating over your caloric maintenance level. Use an online calculator to estimate that figure based off of your activity level, age, etc., then add 150-300 calories to that and you have your target for how many calories to consume per day. As for lifting heavy you only increase your weight by small fractions each time, so you know you can safely handle the new weight. If it is too heavy, then there are safe ways to "fail" a rep without hurting yourself
    – Moses
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 20:28
  • I forget to mention, my tummy. The fat won't go. Like I said the lines e.g chest lines come and go. Currently I am 35 waist and for last 4-5 months it has been same. I would like to increase weight but like shoulder side raises. I cannot lift 14 kg in each hand as it seem heavy. Or in dumbbell press, i cannot push the weight while pushing, and negative impact becomes too heavy and I hurt my shoulder once.
    – localhost
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 20:28
  • 1
    @Nofel if you have a gym, go and use barbells. Dumbbells are a lot harder to progressively load than barbells. As for the stomach, that will be the last place you lose your fat from. And since your goal is building muscle that means you are likely going to gain some more fat in the process (it's called bulking for a reason).
    – Moses
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 20:32

I would cut the cardio and do more heavy compound movements and body weight exercises, ie squats, deadlifts, bent-over barbell rows, standing barbell shoulder press, bench press, dips, pull-ups etc as in you'll be doing cardio (VO2 work) anyways while performing these exercises.

You are only doing these exercises correctly if you are pretty much out of breath after a set, make sure the weight is heavy enough.

Also, forget isolation exercises or machines, focus on barbells or dumbells. For example for biceps do something like the following that targets the back:

bent-over barbell rows



neutral grip pull-ups

The beauty of compound movements is that more than one muscle is trained, for example I have visible abs from not doing a single ab exercise...squats, heavy standing shoulder press and a couple of others hit the abs hard. Most back work (like above) will work your biceps so you get to save time too.

I can provide my 3-day training split if you like, let me know!


I think the main problem is your cardio. Because your calorie intake is moderate, if you do cardio, then you are losing more calories and thus your size isn't changing. The best way to build muscle size is to forget about your abs (for beginners). Follow a high carb and high protein diet (high calories), do much less cardio when you want to gain your size. When you get your perfect size then change your diet to get abs. The most important thing is to increase the strength of your forearm and wrist. The stronger your forearm, the more weight you will lift.

  • 1
    Please avoid using text speak when answering.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 16:30

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