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Can I Do it Natty or Do I Need Gear?

So I’m asking the obvious… I’ve been training for a few years and I’m struggling to put on quality size. I can get fat and bulk up no problem, I can get really strong too but the problem is this usually comes hand in hand with getting fat (for me anyway)… hence my problem. I eat clean food and a lot of it, enough to put on weight and get stronger, but anytime I cut off the fat I’m left with the same amount of muscle I started with. It’s starting to piss me off tbh. I guess the real question I’m asking… can I put on muscle without losing my abs if natty?? Thinking about my first cycle and wondering if this may be the answer…

Height: 5.5
Weight: 65kg
Age: 33

Bench: 100kg
Dead: 160kg
Squat: 150kg

So… you’re little. Not to be harsh… I’m a manlet too. But 143lbs even at 5’5" can’t be near your natural peak… at least I hope not. You should be able to get at least 20-30 more lbs on your frame natty without getting excessively fat. Do that… then reconsider cycling.


Have you thought about getting your testosterone levels checked? Maybe you’re low and you just need to get your levels up to get the muscle growing. How do you feel otherwise?

Check total T, free T, LH, SHBG, E2, if you’re feeling a bit run down I’d check thyroid also, at least TSH, free & total T4 & free & total T3.

I think I’d start there before jumping on a cycle. You’ll want that info anyways so you can see how you recover once your done. Others may have additional suggestions.

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Yea i got an underactive thyroid and take meds which they say is balancing my hormones but I’m not sure. Eating 3’000 to 4’000 calories a day just to sustain a frame my size can’t be normal surely… but doctors say it’s nothing to worry about

Thanks for the advice bro that’s exactly what I was thinking, but how can I be sure I’m gaining muscle whilst getting fat? coz when I strip off the fat I’m usually the same size… denser and more muscular looking, but the same fucking size (excuse the French). Small strength gains and muscular definition increase each and every time I “bulk”, but I’m not gaining in weight or size

Well on the bright side your lifts are decent overall and great for your size. I mean most 200lb men can’t lift near those numbers.

I would run labs to see where everything is it. If you have… post them. FT, TT, FSH, LH, E2, SHBG at a minimum to see where your male hormone are at. You can also add DHT and Prolactin if your budget allows. Sounds like you already get thyroid tested so what are those results?

If all of these are in line its got to be training and diet related or piss poor genetics.

There was a video where Stan Efferding was talking about instead of putting in T3 (for your thyroid issues), take in more sodium and iodine first.

I personally don’t think those numbers are really that impressive, not to be harsh. Most of my 148 teammates hit those, and def more on Squat and Deadlift.

I think instead of considering cycling, diet should be a higher priority

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I don’t think they are impressive either. But they are decent compared to your avg gym goer. I can over double those lifts at the same height minus the bench + 50% and I don’t train for power lifting. Even still… that’s not great at my weight. But if we are comparing to the average gym goer he’s doing pretty decent especially with the height.weight consideration. Just my opinion and I agree with yours as well.

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Yeah def for the average gym goer those are good.

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My diet is pretty decent tbh… I eat clean and about 6 to 8 times a day no shakes. If I feel like I haven’t hit a high enough calorie count then I throw sum shitty food in with it to make up the difference…

Question is can I add lean mass without getting fat… I can make my lifts go up pretty quick but I’m walking around fat and bloated. Not a good look at 5ft5

Thanks for the input still

Ok so yes… but slow. It sounds like you are yoyoing a bit. Working off limited info here. What I’ve learned is that I can blow up 20lbs in 3 months but its not good weight. Sound familiar? In order to gain quality weight you have to do it slowly. I would pop off this forum and head over to something more nutrition based but yes you can do it. Just don’t expect to be 'Ah’nold overnight.

A clean diet and occassional shitty foods might be the culprit

You can still eat big with calorie dense foods while being clean. Look up “monster mash” and recreate it to your tastes. I been watching lots of Stan Efferding stuff lately and loosely following it as I learn more. Red meat, whole eggs, white rice, bone broth, whole milk, butter, etc will get you on some next level shit IMO.

Get your hormones checked, but assuming all is healthy with your hormones, the next biggest question is your training… I have a super fast metabolism as well, I have to do things differently. I hit every muscle group 2-3 times a week. Lifted my heavy and doing 5 or less reps does not make me grow much at all, I just get stronger and stronger. I take longer rest periods between sets than most folks. I eat certain foods at certain times based on my workouts. I have to implement shakes.

How long do you typically “bulk” for before you cut?

You need to figure this out before you ever consider steroids. If you don’t, then once you come off, your body will drop back to where you started because you haven’t figured out what your body needs to build naturally.

I’m not sure if a LEAN (say 10-12%) 175 is feasible for 5’5 natty, or if it is it’d take a HELL of a long time to achieve.

Really? Am I strong then? (BP 1rm around 105-107.5KG, but can’t bench anymore), DL max around 180kg. I thought this was average/below average for gym-rats. Unfortunately I can’t DL either as I continually rip open my callous (ripped it again attempting a light rack pull of a mere 170kg (rack pulls are easier than Deadlifts, but at this point any remotely heavy weight is ripping the callouses right open again, causing immense pain during the lift and thus I can’t lift much)

I can relate, the only thing that’s particularly sparked growth is volume, volume… and more volume. Everyone is different however, strength oriented training allows me to maintain muscular mass, much bang for buck, a few exercises/wk and maintenance of muscle mass… but in the way of gaining mass in quick succession, not much for me there

I’ve been getting my arms to grow recently (they never grow) by hitting them 4x/wk

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Never said lean. Not even close. To clarify I meant average BF. 18-20%

I would say stronger than avg. I’ve been going to the gym 5 days a week since before you were born. Not hardcore gyms… avg joe gyms. I regularly see newbie adult men struggle with 135 on bench albeit I don’t consider bench a good measure of strength. For reference I squat 500, dead about the same and only bench 315. I consider myself strong but not in the realm of true power lifters or competitors.

Ps: not a poke at your age… just a point of reference

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If you want to cycle then do it.