T Nation

Am I In The Right Game?


Hello Fellas- I am new to the forum and would like to take a second to say What's up...

To the question at hand. I am also kinda new to the lifting world and wonder if I'm on the wrong planet. I have been seriously lifting for approximately 3 months. On and off for the past year with no true schedule.

Since then I have only gained 1/2 -3/4 of an inch in my arms and about 1-2 inches in my chest/back.

Curious if I am making any true gains or am I just spinning my wheels. Please advise if I sound like a hard gainer and if I need to step it up about 40-50 notches. Thanks in advance.

I know that yuo will ask about diet, so here it goes. I mostly have been following the ABS DIET for about two weeks with extra protien and some extra carbs. So let me have it.


You've only been dieting for 2 wks? You're on an 'abs' diet, which I assume is designed to get your abs showing and yet you want to gain muscle?

You don't have a workout plan and therefore I assume you don't have a workout log.

You're not in the wrong game. You're just not doing it right.

You need 1) a workout plan. You need to know what you're doing before you hit the gym. This site has thousands of programs. Pick one. Stick to it for 6-8weeks.
2) A workout log. If you're not recording your efforts in the gym, then you don't know what you're trying to beat next time you go. Record all your workouts
3) A diet plan. You can't gain weight without eating a lot of food. Eat a lot of food with no plan and you'll put on too much fat. Again, this site has heaps of diets to try.
4) A diet log. For obvious reasons.
5) A goal. Do you want to gain muscle or lose fat? It's possible to do both, but difficult. Better to pick one or the other.

TO conclude. Of course you're spinning your wheels. You're not attending to any of the basics. Get the above list in order and you'll make excellent progress. Miss any one of these and you'll struggle.


What were the gains in strength? Bench squat deadlift ? How tall are you, and whats your weight? You need more details or this thread is gone...


My reply to Kal is that I have read the Abs Diet book, and it looks like a 'reasonable' diet. ( I am NOT a nutritionist, and I don't even play one on TV ) That is to say that to lose fat without losing alot of muscle, it's probably not bad. I do think, however, that the quantities suggested in the Abs Diet are pretty small, and that in the long run, if you cut calories to that point, you're certain to lose weight. ( And weight loss is gonna be fat AND muscle if I'm not mistaken )

Now, to jack your thread a little bit. My question to Sxio or anyone else is this. If I got maybe 10 lbs of pure fat hanging off my gut that I want to lose, but don't want to give up any muscle to do it...... what if I do this? If I continue to balance my calories to support my current weight, that is, I don't gain or lose significantly... but I continue to add muscle. Then over time, does it not stand to reason, that I should be 'trading' fat for muscle? That is, my gut should be slowly shrinking, as I am building muscle?

\|/ 3Toes


'trading'--I won't get into a verbage issue here, but safe to say that as you add muscle your resting metabolism would increase. All things staying equal-ie.cals and weight-you would in fact lose the gut. But, beware that this is probably the last place it will come off and it will take time.
And, yes, I realize there exist many factors and this is a simplistic model, but it is reasonable.


About the diet, I said I have been following the "ABS DIET" for two weeks not just dieting for two weeks. Before I was limiting my carbs on non-workout days but sticking to high protein.

However, when I first started I used alot of protein powders to get most of my intake for the day and all that did was make me fat.

As for a workout plan, I follow a full body workout three days a week. Two days focused hard on legs and one day hard on arms.

I try to keep a mental log of the weight last used in a workout. I'll typically try to use the weight that I
last used the workout before as a warm up weight and go from there. Now when i say the last weight I used I mean for example: If I warm up a squat session with 150 lbs and end with 400 I will use about 250-325 to warm up with the next session. Do you see what I mean. And I have made some great gains in the doing so. I think I covered it all? Hey I do thank you guys alot for your replies..


I hope you made a mistake and meant one day of upper body not arms.

As far as mentally keeping track of your lifts, well some have that capacity, most don't.

As far as you lifting sequence, it makes no sense to me. How does starting with 150 one workout and 250-300 the next work for you. How does ending at 400 equal warming up with 325? But, whatever, you claim to be making strides.

As far as protein powders making you fat--I doubt it. While some of the pure whey shakes can have an insulin spike associated with them, that can be squelched with addition of olive oil or milk. Also accounting for those cals in your diet is paramount.


Thanks. I was being somewhat facetious when I used the term 'trading'. I do realize that you can't actually turn fat into muscle. I am trying to keep my calorie intake on the slightly negative side, to speed up the fat loss, but I seem to pretty much sit at the same weight. So, I figured if I am patient enough, and keep training, that I should be losing fat as I gain muscle.

I do think that there are 'set points' that your body sort of 'finds' or hits, that it wants to stick to. Previously, I have more severely restricted calories, and it hasn't resulted in much weight loss at all. It seems if I eat right, the total calories ( within reason ) isn't a huge factor in my weight.

Does this make any sense?

\|/ 3Toes


Your results are actually quite typical. It doesn't seem to make sense to eat more to lose weight, but it is atrue phenom.

Without know much about you, I would say to jack your protein and fats and,except for veggies, no carbs after3:00 or whenever your workout is.

This little tweak can soimetimes jumpstart someone who is 'stuck' when losing weight.

I just weighed in today at 283, so my first ever serious cutdown is starting TONIGHT. I'm not even waiting till tomorrow. My lifts ahve never been better, but I just have to lean out a little. I'm shooting for265 by Thanksgiving. PM me if you want to drop some together.


Yeah, I think that makes sense. It's not how I personally would approach it, I think you'd feel like you were making more progress if you picked one goal flat out and went for it, but I think that your idea should work pretty well. But there'll be a period of time where you'll feel like you're spinning your wheels physique wise. As long as you're getting stronger from week to week that's not a worry though.


Jeez.... you've only just started. You say you have made some gains. You're not going to turn into Arnold overnight. Get a sense of reality.


Here's the deal...

The gains you make in the first 6-8 weeks of a lifting program are really just neural adaptations. Essentially, your brain and spinal cord are becoming more proficient at recruiting muscle fibers in a fashion to which you're not accustomed. During this time, there isn't a ton of hypertrophy (size increase) taking place simply because you aren't efficient enough to recruit enough muscle fibers. Once you get this neural proficiency under your belt, though, your gains should really start skyrocketing. Month 3-12 is a big-time growth period.