T Nation

Anabolic Diet Bulking Failure


Hi guys!

Just here to winge and complain a bit:).

Ive been on this anabolic diet bulking for 6 weeks now, and it seems like i put fat only on, no miscle. All my caliper measurements have gone up drastically: for example quads from 14.5 to 20, triceps from 10 to 13mm.

Ive put 2 kg on or about 2 kg.

Is it possible that i just cant build muscle?


Its much more likely that you are eating too much food, and or not doing enough/any cardio.

On ANY diet plan, if you are getting fat... It means you are eating too much food. Do not ever forget this.

Gaining muscle is a brutally, painfully, disappointingly slow process, and you have just learned that lesson first hand. Scale back the calories a little bit, make sure you stop gaining fat, and then give it several MONTHS before you decide you can't gain muscle. Or years.


Nailed it.
How many calories per day are you eating?
What do your macros look like?
What do your food sources look like?
What does your training program look like?
What do you look like?


Some lifters must do cardio during surplus periods. What movements have you chosen as your primary lifts? Have you gotten stronger? Added reps? What type of planned progression are you using?


If you've only gained four pounds and your caliper measurements have gone up that much, something else is wrong. I'd expect to gain two or three pounds at the start of a bulk just from having extra food/carbs/water/etc in your body.

  • Maybe your caliper measuring is way off. Were you flexing before and not this time or something? Does the person measuring know what they're doing? Do you look noticeably different in the mirror/have you taken any measurements?

  • Are you actually lifting? You've gained four pounds in six weeks and say it's already clearly a failed bulk.


Low carb diets generally suck for gaining muscle.


Also, caliper readings are notoriously difficult to do accurately, especially by yourself. 3 readings back-to-back can yield wildly different numbers. For this reason I like to do a tape measure reading around the biggest part of your abdomen (include the love handles, belly button, gut... all the bad stuff.)


Note: the anabolic diet as well as carb back-loading are often interpreted as "stuff your face with wtv" during your carbohydrate window but you should tread lightly. If you choose to eat "junk" during these windows, make a conscious effort to eat less of it. It's true that your body is starved for glucose/glycogen but in a finite amount.


I'd also add some before and afters to counteract the whole test-re-test problem.


YES, all intermediate/novice lifters (especially unassisted) need to be reminded of this!

Also, I agree with stronghold that most people will be able to gain muscle better on a diet that doesn't eliminate any specific macronutrients for extended periods of time.