T Nation

Diet for Beginner to Build Muscle?

I would like to build up some muscle but I´m not sure at all what kind of diet I should follow.

PLEASE: I need the exact food and quantities (in grams better).

My stats are:

weight 62 Kg (136 pounds)
height: 166 cm (5¨4)
age: 58

Swimming 3 times a week for an hour, 1500 meters (never swimmed before!)
Bodybuilding I can´t really do (unfortunatelly) because I have “Osteoarthritis” but I´m trying to find a way through (quite difficult). Today I was able to do some very light biceps and back. Say 1/2 hour in a Gym weekly, as I progress most likely more.

My bodyfat according my doctor´s scales is 16 %, but according this other calculator is 13% http://es.calcuworld.com/calculadora-nutricional/calculadora-de-porcentaje-de-grasa-corporal/

I don¨t look too bad for my age (I think), only have skinny legs due problems with lower back (my greateast problem) I could´n t do any kind of exercise for the last 16 years, just started swimming 10 months ago, but I´m stuck, not only not making any MUSCLE progress but eating up muscle as my swimming is getting more vigorous but my eating the same (I think is the problem is there), I¨m not following any diet, I just eat pretty much like I want (but healthy overall) but too little most likely.(never drinked or smoked too).

PLEASE: I need the exact food and quantities (in grams better).

Thank you!

You sound desperate.
Sixteen years you’ve neglected your body, and now your body is returning the favor with accumulating pain.
Guessing you’re taking harmful medication for that righ?
And so you are demanding a perfect diet from strangers, who know zilch about your nutritional history and physical prowess, that will somehow rectify all of your ailments, strip away fat and pack on muscle onto your body…
Your condition is all the more reason to pick up the iron. If you think simply doing a couple laps in the pool is gonna help you sustain or create muscle, you are highly mistaken.
Get a trainer. See a specialist about your shitty weak back. Sit down and read a book on nutrition.


x2 your tone for asking for help is wrong. Just read any 5 tnation articles on diet and you’ll find your own answers.

If really want an “exact” custom plan best find a reputable coach and put some money down


You have a medical condition,a bad back, swim for several hours and you really don’t follow a diet or routine and you wonder WHY you’re not building muscle? Honestly it’s going to be damn near impossible to gain any mass at your age and condition. In order to get bigger and stronger you need to lift heavy but it seems that won’t happen. Honestly man I’d say flow 5x5 with the lightest weights possible and farm


Thanks for all the answers! Jarvan, you understood it wrong, I actually HAD to neglet doing excersice for 16 years because of my back problem (my back problem was before, not a consecuence of my inactivity), before that I used to lift for 20 years “recreational” (this means, completly drug free or even suplementation of any kind, and not following any diet but INTENSE training). It came to a point that I couldn´t lift at all ANYTHING because of my back condition (I was 43 back then) so I stop and the pain stop. I never got fat or really too out of shape, just like an average guy in these years.

I actually love bodybuilding and find swimming really boring (but has been very helpful), the story is the following, I met a girl (highly trained in different sports, BB, swimming, running, etc,) and she suggested me to start swimming (I haven´t done any swimming since probably 48 years and was only recreational, kids stuff). Thing is it worked out and have some benefits on me. I wanted to go beyond and try out the weights again, I did some atempts (during these 10 months) but completly unsuccesful, all kinds of back pains with really small weights, until 3 weeks ago that I was able to “open a little door” and train a bit…

Because of my past envolvement (20 years doing weights at main gyms in different countries) I know very well how to train, what was difficult was/is to find the exact excersise that would not agraviate my back and the load to use…

OH, by the way, I don¨t take any medication for pain, because I HAVE NO PAIN. Again, I stop Bodybuilding in 2002 because I had pain from lifting the weights. After that I have just events only.

Oh by the way, I found swimming excellent for the back, because the “events” I had are a thing of the past. It was only when I got “brave” and tried out BB that they return (just for two days) as a sign of warning, again, I didn´t take any medication they just “fade” in 1-2 days. But now the good news is that I “opened a little door” and can train again (but not with heavy weights, and some body parts not even with baby weights) but anyway…I know is probably and ODD case, I was pretty much thinking what member scrubsman was saying · …it’s going to be damn near impossible to gain any mass at your age and condition" but may be I was too pesimistic…

Actually, since I¨m “coming back” I´d been reading a lot about diets and as you know there are a lot of contradictions. I did some calculations (not sure if they are OK), and I found a counter that sais that I have to eat about 2600 calories per day to gain weight. Does this looks correct to you?

Again my stats are:

weight 62 Kg (136 pounds)
height: 166 cm (5¨4)
age: 58

A counter I found says I expend 600 calories in my actual swimming session (I do 3 per week). I¨m not sure the percentage of protein, carbs, fat. Do seem that at least I should have at least 120 grams of protein per day.

Other than that the only phisical activites I do are walking (sometimes crazy distances, since I don´t have a car and what I have is plenty of time), and now these little sessions of Bodybuilding, so far I been succesful in traing back (upper) and biceps… I started there because my biceps are some of my weakest ¨though before they were one of my strong parts (lost 8 cm since my training days), but since the swimming style does not attack this muscle they are tinny, otherwise my triceps are OK…

Thank you all, specially for your patience, advice and for reading this!

So you allowed your back problem to perpetuate for almost twenty years?

No drugs? No supplements? Same here, but I’d say those are personal preferences, not a medal of honor.

You don’t know how to lift, buddy. If lifting caused your back issues for as long as you’ve had it, it’s because you don’t know how to lift. Period.
Impossible to put on muscle at your age? Utter hogwash.

You need to find yourself a legit trainer.


No, lifting didn¨t produced the problem, that kind of illness, “Osteoarthritis"(http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/what-is-osteoarthritis.php) is a degenrative process that happens to some individuals and not to others, my mother also used to have it and never lift…

I had the problem at year 20 of my lifting, not before. Lifting didn´t hurt at all before.

So since the bones start being more breakable the weight of the lifting agravates the problem, because of several reasons.

Also, I was just describing the type of training I had those 20 years, wasn´t “competing for a medal of honor” (like you wrote), I´m not agains AT ALL about taking steroids, suplements, or anything else. I was just explaining what kind of training I had so I could tell my story in a DETAILED way, JUST THAT.

Guy, this applies to virtually everyone.

And it usually happens to sedentary individuals with stress and bad nutrition. It’s on the rise and closely tied in with the SAD and more entertaining TV.

Anyways, gonna bow out. Good luck.


So I’m just taking you do understand that osteoarthritis is a non curable disease

And you seem to know that if weakens bones, thus any surrounding ligaments joints etc etc.

Unfortunately you aren’t ever going to gain copious amounts of muscle again. Which sucks, but getting your diet in order was a good start. But I strongly 3rd that your demand for a perfectly written meal plan did come across as quite rude.
You might have some more luck in the supplement and diet section of these forums but a tip of advice, ask politely.
And another word of advice, next time in your introduction, mention you’re on TRT.
I know your bio name is a dead give away but in the slim chance someone was going to give you a perfectly written meal plan to gain muscle (:point_up_2::tipping_hand_man:t2:),
It’s always handy to be honest.
Good luck!


Dear Bigjez,

Thank you for your detailed answer, yes I do know is, SOFAR, an incurable desease.

It didn´t occur to me the question was unpolite, or that I DEMANDED an answer, English is not my languaje, I speak 5 languajes (Spanish, German, English, Portugues, Italian) it seems I´m not too good, at any of them, sorry.

How about some answers I received, do you think any was unpolite or rude? I would really like to know your oppinion, I didn´t get angry or anything…

I´m on “sort” of TRT, at least according some of your forum members, ´though probably most are going to tell you I´m a dissaster, that I´m not into TRT or anything other than madness, hahaha (if you don´t believe me you should read the answers I get most times…).

Anyway I just wanted to state that eating wise I have no idea of what most things mean, by no chance I wanted to be unpolite, actually I¨m famous for the opposite…in person…

If you can at least direct me to a link inside of the site where is a detailed diet I would be inmensely thankful, even if it´s not for my weight/age I will probably be able to deduct it for me. But so far I see a lot of contradiction… on all I read…

Once again thank you for your answer, and sorry if this sound unpolite too, THE TRANSLATION in my languaje is very polite, what else I can do…?

Best regards!

P.S.: I did try in the “Diet Section” of the forum before here, but nobody answered me…after some days I reposted here and I had the answers you read.

From the outside perspective looking in, personally I can see a whole bunch of 60 to 70% effort being put into a lot of things in your life which is probably going to be the eventual downfall, so I’ll try to be as simple and direct with my answers so you comprehend it (btw your English is fine, but a lot of “please” and “thank you” go a long way)

Generally unless you have some sort medical condition which prevents you from eating certain foods, your best bet is going to be eating a diet of whole foods. Whole foods are basically as natural and raw items as you can get. Any fruit, vegetables, standard meats like chicken, steak, fish etc, rice.
Cut out highly dense sugary items like soft drinks, chocolate, lollies, certain breads etc and you’ll see a huge difference in your body composition.
Your best bet is to contact someone who ca give you a detailed meal plan which is tailored to your specific needs and is also made to suit your medical history.

I’m not going to elaborate further on your TRT

What I will say is that if you need TRT and you’re not fully committed, and are going against the advice of your doctor who has diagnosed you with that condition, then I strongly urge you to re-consider because I can 100% guarantee that you’ll see better results AND feel better, the human anatomy is designed to have certain chemicals and if your body isn’t producing them, then if you’re supplementing them with the replacements, you’re never going to operate at the maximum your body is designed too.


Dear Bigjjez,

First of all thank you for your answer, so it´s clear for you I said “thank you”, what you will see too, if you carefully read the other mesages of mine, which I don´t mind if you don´t, but just for the record (SECOND RECORD, because is in the mesage) the first one comes with a “please” and “thank you”, the others too.

Anyway we don´t need to get into this (“thank you”, “please”, etc) any longer, it´s OK.

I know those types of food one is supposed to eat, I was eating them before I started training, TRT, etc. I just wanted a diet that states percentages of Fat, Carboh., Protein …and a sample, at least of one, for example: Jimmy has 6 meals, in the first one 200g oatmeal with…50g of…

What I didn´t understand is what you wrote about MY TRT. I¨m following everything the doctor is telling me (endocrinologist, also endocrinolist of BB for over 30 years), the members of the forum are the ones that called him names and stuff, not me. I fully respect him, in fact, everything he gave me worked without any sideefect AT ALL.

Once again a big THANKS!

P.S.: Today I was watching a guy, kind of a fitness competitor (nice body, not big of course, but really well built), not sure about his stats, he looks in his early 30¨s or maybe late 20´s. Weights 85 KG, and SAIS that for volume his macros are:

3200 Cal, 200g Protein, 380g Carbs, 100g Fat.

I fugure out if I do the same activity he does (I´m sure I don´t) would put me in (I´m 62 kg):

2334 Cal, 145g Protein, 277 Carbs. 72g Fat…

How does it look?