All beginners need to do to see gains in size and strength is show up at the gym consistently and train hard. But the more you train, the more complicated things get. Doing the same workout routine for an extended period of time will eventually lead you into a wall where muscle growth stops and frustration begins. This is colloquially known as hitting a plateau.

“Plateaus are caused when the body has developed enough musculature to no longer be challenged by the load (resistance) being moved, or when the intensity of cardiovascular work being done is no longer challenging,” says Robert Linkul MS CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D, a career development instructor for the National Institute of Personal Training (NIPT) and the National Strength & Conditioning Associations 2012 Personal Trainer of the Year. In many cases, failure to get bigger occurs for the following seven reasons: