T Nation

Beginner's Help

I’ve been making very little progress for the last couple of months, and this is both frustrating and confusing. I’ve been expecting the beginner’s gains to fly on, but my gains have been anything but that. In the last two months, I’ve added about 6 pounds to my bench, 5 pounds to my military press, 10 pounds to my deadlift, and 20 pounds to my squat(and that’s only arguably because I wasn’t lifting all out initially and my CNs has adjusted a little bit), yet I’ve gained about 10 pounds, I feel more full, and I’ve put on a noticable amount of fat around my midsection. I’ve always been a scrawny white guy, but now I’m afraid I’m starting to become a scrawny white guy with a gut. My ribs are even still visible, but my stomach just sort of sags out now. I don’t know how this could even be happening, since although I’m eating a lot more than I used to, I’m certainly not eating a ‘huge’ amount of food. I track my calories on fitday almost religiously, and I average just over 2400 calories a day (about 2600~2700 on workout days, and 2200~2400 on off days).I’m in college, so my nutrition isn’t as great as I’d like it to be, but I do the best I can. I haven’t even been near the all-you-can-eat desert bar or the soft serve ice cream, and I eat as clean as I can.
Any help would be greatly, greatly appreciated. I really don’t understand what I’m doing wrong here.

First, my personal stats.

Meal #1
2 cups cooked oats([basically 1 cup cooked, but they’re served cooked in the dining hall])
8 hardoibled egg whites
430 cals 53g c/40g p/ 5g f

Meal #2
(Varies depending on what they’re serving) ~400~550 cals 40~50g c/~40g p/ 5-15g f

Meal #3 - PWO (only taken on workout days)
2 cups skim milk
1 banana
1.5 scoops whey
440 cals 54g c/ 51g p/ 3g f

Meal #4
(on workout days)
1 cup (uncooked) oats
1 can tuna
450 cals 54g c/43g p/6g f
(on off days)
1 medium apple
2 whole wheat crackers
1 can tuna
321 cals 41g c/37g p/ 6g f

Meal #5
(Varies depending on what they’re serving. I try to limit my carb intake from this meal onward because I don’t think I may have poor insulin sensitivity)
~400-500 cals 5~15g c/ 45-65g p/15-20g f

Meal #6
1 cup cottage cheese
2 tbsp peanut butter
410 cals 12g c/ 34g p/26g f

TOTALS(average per day):
2400 cals 191g c/ 255g p/ 72g f

My routine:
(sets x reps)
Tuesday: Flat bench 4 x 4-8
Incline Bench 4 x 4-8
Dips 4 x 6-8
Military Press 3 x 4-8

Thursday: Deadlift 3 x 8-10
Bent Over Rows 4 x 6-8
Pull-up 4 x 4-6
Chin-up 3 x 6-8
BB Curl 3 x 6-8

Sunday Squat 3 x 8-10
Leg Press 3 x 8-10

If you’ve made it this very, thank you very much for your patience. My goal is to build muscle and not become a fat ass in the process. Something isn’t working with what I’m doing, because my waist is growing, I’m gaining weight, but I’m not really lifting any heavier. Like I said, I’m a beginner, and I’m certainly still ‘light’ even though I’ve noticed some fat gain, but I thought beginners were supposed to experience very rapid growth initially? Am i overlooking something obvious, or do I just have really awful genetics? I’ve read dozens of articles on nutrition and training, but I finally decided it would be best to get some personalized assistance.
I’m all ears for any suggestions or pointers.

Read your post, the entire thing, lol.

Ok my first impression is this.

  1. your not eating enough


  1. My feeling is your not intense enough in the gym. Otherwise you would not be gaining that much fat at 6’1" 157lbs with less than 3000 kcal a day.

Where did you get this program? It looks like is is lacking.

It also sounds like your main goals are to put on muscle correct?

I suggest that you take a look at the following training program.

The Mutation Series I

The Mutation Series II

The Mutation Series III

The Mutation Series III Continued

As for nutrition I recommend reading the following and all the articles link within the article:

Massive Eating Reloaded, Part I

Massive Eating Reloaded, Part II

Thank you for the quick reply.

  1. That is what my intuition would tell me based on everything I’ve read about building muscle, but as I mentioned earlier, mt stomach seems to argue.
    Could it be that I’m just bloated/full constantly, giving the illusion of fat? My stomach is certainly smaller in the morning, but I still feel full from my last meal of the previous night, but I find room for breakfast anyway.

2)You probably have a very good point here. I’ve been looking for a training partner to help spot me in the gym so I can bust out a few more reps without worrying about getting crushed by the bar if I hit failure. I might try switching to dumbells for a few weeks to avoid this.

Also, thanks for the articles. I’m going to go through them all thoroughly, might re-post if something puzzling comes up.

If you feel full all the time, spread the meals out, you should eat every 2 hrs, your body will adjust. Good luck

  1. Your program’s fine, that’s not the problem. Make sure you are adding weight and maintaining volume each session. If you hit the wall, back off for a week or two and then start progressing again. At your level, it will happen…you can gain this way for awhile.

  2. You are not eating enough, but you already know this. Frontload your calories. You need to eat A LOT more for breakfast, and A LOT more in the 2 hours after you lift.

Calories should be over 3000/day. You can stave off excessive fat gain by frontloading your cals, avoiding too much CHO at night, and if necessary, adding a small amount of low intensity cardio (but this is probably not necessary). But eat.

Yes, I am trying to spread my meals around a little more.

1)Good points

2)If I’m undereating that drastically, how have I gained 10 pounds in 2 months(~1 pound a week)?

[quote]hobscrk777 wrote:

2)If I’m undereating that drastically, how have I gained 10 pounds in 2 months(~1 pound a week)?[/quote]

That brings us right back to your intensity and program design. Your gaining fat and very little in terms of muscle mass or strength because your intesitiy and volume are low.

If your main goal is muscle hypertrophy I suggest you read the Mutation Articles I listed for you.