T Nation

Beginner with Questions

Hi all , guess I should introduce myself - so here are some stats : 27 years old ( male ) , 5.10feet height and 158pounds weight ( not sure about body fat - but my guess is 15-20% ), goal to gain muscle. I’m one of the skinny fat guys and finally decided to change it - just started full body workout - three times per week ( first week ) and have one ( well at least its one of the many ) question . Will I burn some of the fat while bulking ( clean bulk ) ? Is it healthy ( realistic )try to gain - 2 pounds per week ? Thanks .

Some questions for self reflection:

It seems that you have a long journey, to what weight you want to get?
Don’t expect to gain 2 pounds every week, or best told, don’t expect an arbitrary weight number to come in linear fashion. Your goal should be long term, you want to gain about 50 pounds, and that ain’t coming in 6 months.

If you have only decided, not even gotten started on changing your skinny fat condition, why judging you in a way that you limit yourself before even giving it a try?
You can’t tell you have skinny fat genetics until you give it a serious try for around 1 year. The only thing you can tell now is that your nutritional and non-weight training habits have turned your body that way.

Realistic goals can come with data. If you gain 5 solid pounds in 2 months, it would be unwise to double the efforts and gain more than 30 pounds the next 6 months. Also remember that growth comes in spurts, so patience is important here. If you can’t stand that you gained 3 pounds in 2 months so that you could’ve gained 5 the next month, this is not for you.

Good luck with your journey, for you’ll need lots of consistent effort.

Agree with what MEYMZ said. And to answer your other question, everyone is different obviously but it should be possible as a beginner to lose some fat while gaining muscle. Either way, you’re going to look better with more muscle on you.

[quote]Gmoore17 wrote:
…you’re going to look better with more muscle on you.[/quote]

don’t get on the scale. go by looks since you may be transforming and the way you look in the mirror is more important than the scale

you diet will be very important. research :smiley:

[quote]MEYMZ wrote:
Some questions for self reflection:

It seems that you have a long journey, to what weight you want to get?
Don’t expect to gain 2 pounds every week, or best told, don’t expect an arbitrary weight number to come in linear fashion. Your goal should be long term, you want to gain about 50 pounds, and that ain’t coming in 6 months.

If you have only decided, not even gotten started on changing your skinny fat condition, why judging you in a way that you limit yourself before even giving it a try?
You can’t tell you have skinny fat genetics until you give it a serious try for around 1 year. The only thing you can tell now is that your nutritional and non-weight training habits have turned your body that way.

Realistic goals can come with data. If you gain 5 solid pounds in 2 months, it would be unwise to double the efforts and gain more than 30 pounds the next 6 months. Also remember that growth comes in spurts, so patience is important here. If you can’t stand that you gained 3 pounds in 2 months so that you could’ve gained 5 the next month, this is not for you.

Good luck with your journey, for you’ll need lots of consistent effort.

[/quote]

Don’t have any strict time limits - would like to get in some shape before the mid of September ( holidays ). Just trying to find out what’s an average gain per week/month ( not sure should I upload the pics. ).

There is no average, man. Everyone is different and quite often you might find that you were gaining weight steadily and then nothing for a week to two weeks and then suddenly in one week you gain five pounds. Gains come in bursts.

Your best bet is to read the articles on this website and set yourself up with a sound nutritional plan and good hypertrophy workout routine. Take pictures and then every two weeks take pictures and reevaluate. If you’re consistently not gaining, add more cals. If you’re gaining…good.

If you look at your pics and you’re gainin but it seems as if you are getting fatter instead of more muscular, lower calories. It’s all about finding the sweet spot. Good luck.

[quote]play4fun1 wrote:

Don’t have any strict time limits - would like to get in some shape before the mid of September ( holidays ). Just trying to find out what’s an average gain per week/month ( not sure should I upload the pics. ).[/quote]

Well the ‘average’ lean muscle gain is 1 to 2 pounds per month. So striving for 15 pounds of lbm a year would be ok for an intermediate to advanced trainee. Some DC guys have gained up to about 50 pounds in a year. You said September, and with newb status (can gain more or take advantage of newbie gains) I would strive for 20-25 pounds up to that time, it’s 5 months. I think it’s better to set higher goals and fail at them that setting little, or mediocre goals and succeed at them because the guy was afraid to fail at a higher goal and to achieve the shorter one helped him/her on his/her self esteem issues. That’s a serios deal of bodyweight gain, so I would suggest to eat plenty but wisely, at last you’re focusing on bringing up mostly muscle tissue, not bodyweight, bodyweight is the secondary effect of muscle mass increase, the correlational consequence, not the goal.

Edit (again): having a better look at your post, I saw the word ‘shape’ which triggered an answer. Don’t worry about your abs, it’ll just slow and fuck up your newbie gains, which can be taken advantage of. Eat a surplus, enough to cause a substantial gain in muscle with some fat gain, but not a weight gain in which people will be calling you fattie after those 5 months. I have to clarify that if you really wanna accelerate things up, some fat gain would be inevitable.

Thanks for all replays - just one more thing ( at least for now ) - what about strength ? What should be the progress in weight lifting (5-8%) per week/month ?

^ In regards to that question, as fast as you can. There is no set progression %. There will be times when you gain strength fast and other times where you will stall for a while. It happens, just keep working, eating and sleeping.

As to the guy who said you won’t gain 50 lbs in 6 months, I actually believe it is possible, but most likely it will not happen. I do not believe it is possible to gain 50 lbs of pretty much all muscle, but in 5 months now I have gained 40 lbs. Granted, I won’t hit 50 lbs and all the weight I gained wasn’t muscle, but I think a lot of it was. With a great diet (meaning EAT) and training plan, im sure someone could outgain me. My gains (strength wise and weight wise) are really slowing down now, but I think thats just because im getting out of the newbie stage.

Heres to me hoping Starting Strength can keep getting me gains until June…

[quote]fisch wrote:

As to the guy who said you won’t gain 50 lbs in 6 months, I actually believe it is possible, but most likely it will not happen.[/quote] It is very unlikely; you have to be genetically superior, along with making unmatchable effort in the gym and the kitchen, or to be an advanced trainee who came off an injury and intends to pack lost muscle. I said that not because it can’t be done, but because on that situation it is more likely you’ll get excessive fat. Focusing on bringing up muscle tissue is the primary goal, not bringing up bodyweight at the faster pace possible.

[quote] I do not believe it is possible to gain 50 lbs of pretty much all muscle, but in 5 months now I have gained 40 lbs. Granted, I won’t hit 50 lbs and all the weight I gained wasn’t muscle, but I think a lot of it was. With a great diet (meaning EAT) and training plan, im sure someone could outgain me. My gains (strength wise and weight wise) are really slowing down now, but I think thats just because im getting out of the newbie stage.

Heres to me hoping Starting Strength can keep getting me gains until June…[/quote] you’ll know your real gains once you cut and try to get to single digit bodyfat.

As for the strength gaining, I’d follow this advice.

Well , I’m back as expected with more questions. Is pre workout meal important or can I skip it ( don’t have time ) and when should I get post workout meal ( need about 45min to get back home from the gym ).

i’m the type who thinks that ALL meals are important.

especially around a workout.

sometimes shit happens and you can’t get one down but do your best to try. don’t look here for people to aide your laziness. (especially when you can’t get home for 45min PWO)

just pack more food for the day. it’s easy.

If you’re 15-20% BF, you shouldnt be starting lifting and bulking.

You’re may get more muscular by sept, but you’re still gunna be fat, and you won’t be happy with it, trust me.

Think of it like this. Would you rather be lean and building muscle slowly for most of the year and only have to diet down a couple months(while looking good for most of the time)? Or looking fat most of the year?

I’ve bulked while fat and I look back at pictures…it eventually just turns into one of those perpetual bulks where you just end up looking fat for years on end.

Bulking is not for beginners, IMHO. Some people may disagree with me. I’ve seen way too many people just get insanely fat cuz they weren’t really experienced enough to know how to put on lean mass. But I think you need to get training under your belt and a good diet.

Those are my .02.

To start, get a good program, figure out your compound lifts, and get a framework of a diet down that you can stick to regardless of cutting/bulking phase - the whole eat your veggies, 1gm protein/bw daily, no sugar, etc.

If you lift and stick to the basic principles of dieting then you WILL make progress as a beginner as long as you’re eating enough so you’re body doesn’t go into starvation mode.

As far as what progress to expect…all anyone can say is that it will vary. It’s a learning experience - don’t give up if you don’t see the results you want. Eventually you’ll be able to listen to your body and know how it feels to be making good progress and you’ll be able to modify things to suit yourself.

But to start, just stick to what works for almost everyone, because that’s what will give you the best chance of succeeding.

I always eat a snack (usually a sandwich) pre-workout and I find I don’t do as well without it. I’d advise eating something in the period 3 hours before your workout to your workout.

[quote]tw0scoops2 wrote:
If you’re 15-20% BF, you shouldnt be starting lifting and bulking.

You’re may get more muscular by sept, but you’re still gunna be fat, and you won’t be happy with it, trust me.

Think of it like this. Would you rather be lean and building muscle slowly for most of the year and only have to diet down a couple months(while looking good for most of the time)? Or looking fat most of the year?

I’ve bulked while fat and I look back at pictures…it eventually just turns into one of those perpetual bulks where you just end up looking fat for years on end.

Bulking is not for beginners, IMHO. Some people may disagree with me. I’ve seen way too many people just get insanely fat cuz they weren’t really experienced enough to know how to put on lean mass. But I think you need to get training under your belt and a good diet.

Those are my .02.[/quote]

Thanks for the advice - but I’m trying to do “clean” bulk ( ain’t gonna go crazy on food - eating about 2300-2600kcal per day at this point )

Well I might just be the larges rooky ( laziest ) - but here’s another question . What’s best warm up ( currently I’m cycling for 10-15min ) , should I try HIT or is it better to do on other day’s from main training . Thanks.

[quote]play4fun1 wrote:
Well I might just be the larges rooky ( laziest ) - but here’s another question . What’s best warm up ( currently I’m cycling for 10-15min ) , should I try HIT or is it better to do on other day’s from main training . Thanks.[/quote]

I don’t think cycling will warm you up for lifting. Just do the exercise that you have planned but with less weight. I assume you meant HIIT and I would definitely not recommend that before training. Afterwards maybe, but preferably on another day- both for recovery purposes and focus- also try to make sure you keep HIIT away from your leg days.

[quote]play4fun1 wrote:
Well I might just be the larges rooky ( laziest ) - but here’s another question . What’s best warm up ( currently I’m cycling for 10-15min ) , should I try HIT or is it better to do on other day’s from main training . Thanks.[/quote]

I would suggest doing two things for a warm up: look into some mobility stretching (see stuff by Eric Cressey on this site) which will help with the big lifts (especially deadlifts and squats). And learn to jump rope (if you do not know how currently). 2-3 minutes of rope work after stretching should have you ready to go. I finish my work outs with another 5-10 minutes of rope work as well, but I am trying to keep my bf around 8%.

Do what I’m doing.

Lift your ass off 4x per week, do your cardio and stuff your face with healthy food. Not gaining? Eat more. Not progressing, eat more.

It’s weird, but it didn’t click for me until it was nailed in my head that I won’t become a fatass if I’m training hard enough.

So far, I’m up about 8 lbs. in a month, all lifts went up, and waist is still the same. This is from abour 45-1 hour of lifting followed by about an hour of Jiu-Jitsu.