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31yr old, 1 Year Lifting, Seeking Realistic Advice.

Hey everyone,

I couldn’t find similar posts (in terms of my age, body type, etc) on this forum, so I thought I would try posting and pick your brains a little.

I’m looking for brutally honest, real world advice on my progress as I’m becoming pretty frustrated. The guys at the gym are making fun of me (friendly fun) as (according to them) with the weights I’m lifting I should be seeing significant hypertrophy - I’m not.

I don’t know if it’s just my age, impatience, or I’m just a genetic freak. I’m hoping that someone on this board can help out!

I’m 31 and a newbie - been lifting for 1 year exactly - meaning: no training prior to that at all. I became very sick (stress) last year and decided to get off my ass and get healthy.

I’m 6ft, currently 187lb with “skinny bones” (7" wrists). When I started I was pretty weak: I had difficulty curling 25lb dumbbells, now I’m up to 45lb @ 3set/10rps.

I work out M/W/F, currently on Waterbury Strength/Muscle Mass plan, cardio on off days. I often strain my tendons/ligaments so I’m trying to lift what feels safe and currently squat 270lb, bench 175lb, leg press 450lb (all 7-10reps). Super healthy diet, lots of protein and all that jazz :slight_smile:

My frustration: minuscule muscle development (especially on my arms). I have 41" chest, 35" waist, 13" arms, 15" calves, 23.5" thighs, cold, unflexed. All of my body fat collects on my chest and belly (all 20% of it I guess) and it’s been difficult to get rid of it but I’ll get there.

I admit, I didn’t much work on my arms in the first 9months of training (no idea why, I should’ve asked my cheap trainer back then).

So my question: from your experience, what should my realistic goals be at my age and after only 1 year of training?

I know it takes time for muscle to grow, but since the guys at the gym tell I should be much “bigger” based on my workout routine, I can’t help but wonder. Then again, some of them are 7 years younger, others have been working out for several years.

Anyway, I’ll be very grateful for any constructive feedback, sorry for the long post. If you think I should just chillax and keep lifting, just say so :wink:

Peter

35 inch thighs? That’s not a typo? 7" wrists are skinny? Mine are 6.25".

Are you making strength increases in the gym?

Sorry, 23.5" thighs, I was looking at the tape upside down haha. Yes, I’m definitely seeing increases in strength. As for my wrists: I don’t know, I’m just comparing myself to other guys my age + the general consensus among my friends is that I’m “skinny” so I guess I just call myself that.

Can you post your diet and routine? It might help us figure out where you need to focus to improve.

My typical daily nutritional breakdown:

Total: 2252 calories

Fat: 45grams 19% total
Sat: 7grams 3% total
Poly: 15grams 6% total
Mono: 12grams 5% total

Carbs: 247grams 40% total

Fiber: 32grams

Protein: 217grams 41% total

Meals: healthy but laughable when it comes to muscle development probably.

  • Breakfast: granola cereal with fresh fruit, protein shake

  • 2 hours later: 2 whole wheat veggie sandwiches

  • Lunch: oven baked chicken breast with veggies

  • 2 hours later: 2 whole wheat veggie sandwiches

  • Dinner: oven baked chicken breast with potatoes or rice or pasta or bbq-ed pork or steak, all with large salad/veggies

  • protein shake 4 times a day.

I get about 1 hour of free time a day, so I don’t have time to prepare more substantial meals, but I’m open for suggestions.


Workout Routine.

Pretty much whole-body workout for the first 11 months on M/W/F with cardio on off days. Right now I’m following the Waterburry Method:

Day I

  • Squats 10x5
  • A1 Dips 4x10
  • A2 Bentover rows 4x8
  • B1 Skull Crushers 5x12
  • B2 Bicep curls 5x12
  • Crunches 1x30

Day II

  • Bench Press 10x3
  • A1 Romanian deadlift 4x6
  • A2 Military press 4x6
  • B1 Standing calf raise 4x10
  • B2 Upright rows 4x8
  • ext rotation 4x10

Day III

  • Chinups 5x10
  • A1 Incline bench press 4x6
  • A2 Back routine + hummer curls 4x6
  • B1 Seated calf raise 4x10
  • B2 Leg Press 4x10 + lounges w/90lb 4x5

Thanks guys!

Have you tried eating more? If you want to build muscle you have to give your body the fuel it needs to do that. If you are still trying to lose body fat then you won’t be seeing much in the way of big gains in muscle. Sounds like you are a lot stronger, so good job there.

My suggestion would be to take a break from low cal and start adding more calories.

You my friend are at the crossroads! You need to pick a path and follow it! You WILL NOT gain muscle on 2300 calories I PROMISE YOU THAT! However you CAN lose fat on 2300 calories if you up your protein as well as you fat intake and drop your carbs to under 75 grams a day! Its just a matter of What you want to do! You want to build muscle? Then up those calories but make sure there good wholesome food calories! Get theme to at LEAST 3000 and see if you gain any muscle…if not Up it to 3500!

See ^^^^^^ I explained that If he wants to gain muscle then eat more and if he wants to lose fat DONT drop calories but to cut carbs^^^^

beaul, Dave.F, thanks guys. I have a lot of stubborn fat in my mid-section that doesn’t want to go away, so that’s why I’ve been staying away from high-calorie and just maintaining my weight.

Dave.F, a meal plan would be wicked. Thanks!

Alright Bro Something like this

Meal1 - 3 whole eggs, 1 oz of low fat cheese, 2 fish oil caps

Meal2 - 1.5 chicken breast with a spinach salad (Extra Virgin olive Oil and Vinagar as your dressing)

Meal3 - 1 tin of salmon with fat free mayo, with 1 cup of coliflour, 2 fish oil caps

Meal 4 - Post workout 50 grams of whey protein isolates 30grams of dextrose or maltodextrine and 5 grams of glutamine (if you use creatine throw it in here!)

Meal 5 - 200 grams of Extra lean ground turkey fried up with pepers, onion and some musroom’s with some Tomato paste (No added sugar)

Meal 6 - 1 cup of cottage Cheese, I scoop whey isolate and 1 tbsp of Natural Peanut butter

Aproxomate Macro Breakdown
Calories - 2250ish
Protein - 230g
Carbs - 70g (28g fiber)
Fat - 80g (On non workout days it can be higher where you wont be having a Post workout shake)

Thats a rough outline! Hope that Helps!
Dave.

Wait a second. . . I’m pretty new and may be way off base, but I’ll try.

It sounds like you’ve got two goals - more muscle and less fat. Luckily for you, there are tons of stuff on this site about bulking while staying/getting lean, so you can actually accomplish both goals at once.

From what I read, there are really two schools of thought to bulking. One school says "eat all day long, don’t worry about calories because you need them to get bigger, and the bigger you eat, the bigger you’ll get (if you are lifting your ass off) and you can just lose the fat later. The other school says you should eat as much clean food as you possibly can while bulking. Its really hard. I’m trying to do it now. Getting enough clean calories is a challenge.

At any rate, I don’t think you’re eating enough. Conventional wisdom is 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per lb of body weight, which means you should be getting between 280 and 375 grams. You’re not quite there. Also, you probably need more calories if you are going to put ANY weight on. I’m about your size and I’m shooting for 4000 a day.

That’s about all I have to say. Oh, and “SQUATS AND MILK!!”

[quote]flightspeed wrote:
Wait a second. . . I’m pretty new and may be way off base, but I’ll try.

It sounds like you’ve got two goals - more muscle and less fat. Luckily for you, there are tons of stuff on this site about bulking while staying/getting lean, so you can actually accomplish both goals at once.

From what I read, there are really two schools of thought to bulking. One school says "eat all day long, don’t worry about calories because you need them to get bigger, and the bigger you eat, the bigger you’ll get (if you are lifting your ass off) and you can just lose the fat later. The other school says you should eat as much clean food as you possibly can while bulking. Its really hard. I’m trying to do it now. Getting enough clean calories is a challenge.

At any rate, I don’t think you’re eating enough. Conventional wisdom is 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per lb of body weight, which means you should be getting between 280 and 375 grams. You’re not quite there. Also, you probably need more calories if you are going to put ANY weight on. I’m about your size and I’m shooting for 4000 a day.

That’s about all I have to say. Oh, and “SQUATS AND MILK!!” [/quote]

I agree with some of that however the OP Hasn’t been gaining any muscle or loesing any fat with 1 year of training! Please explain to me how he will lose fat by uping his calories???

I explained to him that he is at a point where he SHOULD pick a goal (fat loss or muscle gain) and go with it trust me, He will acheive his goals faster If he picks one than if he tries to accomplish both! He will probly end up one year down the road a little stonger with visbly the same physique maby a little more muscle! He Needs to chose 1 or the other

I HATE the topic of Clean Bulks…ugh :frowning: I know im no the only one!

[quote]Boiler wrote:
beaul, Dave.F, thanks guys. I have a lot of stubborn fat in my mid-section that doesn’t want to go away, so that’s why I’ve been staying away from high-calorie and just maintaining my weight.

Dave.F, a meal plan would be wicked. Thanks!
[/quote]

Therein lies your problem. Eating @ maintenance will only sustain your current weight. 2300kCals seems low, so you should be shedding fat if you’re lifting/cardio like you claim. If dropping the fat is your goal, keep doing what you’re doing if you see a difference with the caliper/mirror.

If you are looking to gain size/strength to shut your workout partners up, you need to be eating much more. Of course I’m probably in the minority by saying that bulking should not be a license to over indulge.

calories > maintenance = weight gain
calories < maintenance = weight loss

So, what’s your goal(s)?

[quote]Dave.F wrote:
You my friend are at the crossroads! You need to pick a path and follow it! You WILL NOT gain muscle on 2300 calories I PROMISE YOU THAT! However you CAN lose fat on 2300 calories if you up your protein as well as you fat intake and drop your carbs to under 75 grams a day! Its just a matter of What you want to do! You want to build muscle? Then up those calories but make sure there good wholesome food calories! Get theme to at LEAST 3000 and see if you gain any muscle…if not Up it to 3500!

Thats what I explained to him! He wants to drop some fat so I suggest he not drop his calories any lower because they are alredy pretty low but to cut carbs down to 75 grams or less and maby introduce some cardio!

How low do you think his calories should be? The guy is 187lb’s you dont want him starving!

Guys, thanks for the discussion. I’ve concluded that seeing the 6pack on my body is a far away dream, it’s possible that I simply don’t have the genetic makeup for a six pack. Like I said before, 90% of my body fat collects in my chest/stomach area, my dad has stick arms as well.

So, size it is. Should I am for 3K intake for now and see how my body responds? Dave.F, I like your plan, I’m getting tired of my dry sandwiches.

My only concern relates to, again, where my body fat is stored. A long time ago I was over 220lb (baaaad diet). All of it was fat, but because it was all stored around my chest, everyone thought I was working out “'cause I looked huge!” Anyway, my arms were still sticks though.

If anyone has recommendations for a tested killer arm workout, I’ll appreciate it.

Ok I’l do a different diet then if you want to gain wheight! Yes we will start around 3000 cals and if your gaining great if you not then up it to 3500 but give it at least a week!
Use the diet I gave you above but add this to each meal I listed

Meal 1 - add 1/2 cup of oatmeal

Meal 2 - add 1 large sweet potato with salsa

Meal 3 - add 2 whole wheat wraps

Meall 4 - PWO Use 50 grams of whey isolate and 50 grams of dextrose or maltodextrine and 5 grams of glutamine, again if you use creatine throw it in the shake!

Meal 5 - add 1 cup of whole grain rice

Meal 6 - add 1 more tbsp of PB (you dont need carbs before bed!

That puts you up to 3050ish calories Hope that helps!

dave.

[quote] wrote:
[/quote]

If it’s a 6 pack you’re after, stay below maintenance and it will eventually show up. Farther/longer below maintenance, the quicker it will happen. I am 40 with HORRIBLE (read: quasi extreme endo, almost obsessive about what I eat) genetics, and ripped 40 pounds off in about 7 months after spending 2 years bulking up to 215+. The psychological component of the diet is the hard part… the actual work I was already doing. I thought the six pack would never come, but it did.

If you’re looking into getting more size/strength onto your arms/elsewhere, you need to think about forgetting the six pack and eating more. At your training age you need to be focusing on heavier core lifts, and compound that with some arm isolations.

If you are stuck somewhere in between (bulking or cutting) mentally, and it sounds like you are, you need to be more realistic about YOUr (and I mean you, not your workout partners) goals. Eating at maintenance will gain you little, if anything, if significantly improving size and strength is what you’re after.

^good post^

[quote]Dave.F wrote:

I agree with some of that however the OP Hasn’t been gaining any muscle or loesing any fat with 1 year of training! Please explain to me how he will lose fat by uping his calories???

I explained to him that he is at a point where he SHOULD pick a goal (fat loss or muscle gain) and go with it trust me, He will acheive his goals faster If he picks one than if he tries to accomplish both! He will probly end up one year down the road a little stonger with visbly the same physique maby a little more muscle! He Needs to chose 1 or the other

I HATE the topic of Clean Bulks…ugh :frowning: I know im no the only one!
[/quote]

Dave, I do agree with what you said. In most cases, one goal is the way to go. There was an article on it at the beginning of the year that said you should decide to 1) get big, 2) get strong, of 3) get cut, but that it was very hard to do all three at the same time.

However, from my understanding the theory on getting big and lean is pretty simple. . . you lose more fat later on by upping calories and gaining mass now. He needs the cals to gain the mass - everyone knows that.

Once he has the mass, he can cut cals, change his routine a bit (ie maybe more reps/sets), and burn way more calories, thereby slimming himself down to a greater degree than ever.

Its counterintuitive, I know. You’re trying to get the fat off. Eating more leads to more fat. However, the cut comes later on, after you’ve packed on an extra 15 lbs of fat burning rip.

That’s just my understanding, and I do agree that in most cases, one goal is the way to go. But I believe he can walk a tightrope here and get bigger while staying as lean or slimming up a bit if he has a really well thought out diet plan.

OP, don’t ever say you are genetically unable to reach a goal. Read this:

And this:

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2131288

If it is a six-pack you really want, you CAN get it. There’s no question. There are articles on here about doing THAT VERY THING. If I had a few more mins, I would search and grab it for you.

There are articles on here for every person and every goal. Find them, read them, then ask questions. If you’ve read the articles, thought about them, and come with legitimate questions, the people on this site will help you immensely.

Good luck. . .

FS.

Agreed Good post that might be the way to go! I see what you mean he might not get ripped in 3 monthe but 6-8 month down the road that new muscle will burn up that fat. (Provided he keeps his diet TIGHT!

This was a great discussion, thanks to all for your input, I honestly appreciate it.

Flightspeed and Dave, don’t argue with each other or I’ll kick your asses when I get bigger :wink: Kidding aside, I’ll increase my caloric intake and watch my results in the weeks to come - Dave, thanks for your meal plan.

Flightspeed, thanks for the links, and I’m with you on the issue of genetics. I see now how I was focused on two diverging goals, which is probably why I am where I am today after 1 year of busting my ass. Ah well, live and learn, eh?

Thanks again guys,
P.