Finally No Longer a Fatass. Time to Add Some Muscle Mass

Hey T Nation. I have been a long time lurker here and have finally decided to speak up. Here’s a little bit about me:

I’m 6’ 3", and 193 lbs at the time of taking these pics. I have been training pretty seriously since mid 2011, with the exception of June 2015 - August 2017 during which time I did no lifting at all, ate like absolute shit, and got really fat. I started getting serious again towards the very end of August last year and have managed to get the point shown in these pics.

For the last 3 months, I have been doing a very strict cut and have finally reached a point where I’m somewhat okay with my body fat percentage (although I’m still far from satisfied). So now it’s time to end the cut. Starting tomorrow, I’ll start transitioning into a lean bulk.

I started this cut with a daily calorie count of 2800, which I slowly lowered over time. At the end of the cut, my calories were down to 2000. The daily macro breakdown was around 235 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 30 grams of fat.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be adding 500 calories to my daily count (2500 total) which I’ll stick to for a week. Assuming the scale doesn’t blow up after the end of next week, I’ll then add another 500 calories to the daily total (3000). At that point, every 2 weeks i’ll check my weight and add another 100-200 calories if the scale isn’t moving. My goal with this approach is to minimize the fat gain as much as possible.

For training, I have been doing CT’s Best Damn Workout routine, with a few slight modifications of my own. Overall, it has been working very well, but I think it’s time for a change, as I’m starting to get a little bored with it. I’m not exatly sure what program I want to run next though. That’ll likely dpened on the responses I get here. My main goal though is to put on as much lean mass as I can, while minimizing the fat gain as much as possible. I’m not too concerned about strength/adding weight to the big 3 at the moment (although that would be nice). I’ll focus on that once I’ve put on a halway decent amount of muscle. Above all, I just REALLY don’t wanna get fat again. That was absolutely horrible.

So here are some pics of where I’m at. I’d really like to know what you guys think. Specifically, I’d like to know what you think are any of my glaring weaknesses. I realize that I’m pretty small and just need to add mass overall, but if there is anything that’s seriously lacking I’d like to know so that I can give it a little extra attention. I’m considering competing in physique or bodybuilding a year or two down the road once I’ve put on a somewhat respectable amount of muscle mass. I might also give powerlifting a try at some point after that.

Any comments and advice ya’ll have would be greatly appreciated.


Sounds like you have been working very hard!! Out of curiosity do you happen to have a before picture? You look good to me but I’ll leave it to the others for the hardcore critiquing.

good work sir. always nice to hear someone employing a smart diet plan and having success. Most people cut calories too low too soon.

Your arms look really small. might be because of your height, you’ve just got a lanky look overall. It’s hard for taller guys to make their arms look big, proportionally. So if anything, I’d focus on that.

I’m trying to decide if your hip/ torso structure is favorable for bodybuilding or not. You have much wider hips than your waist, more pronounced than what I’m used to seeing in males. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing, could make your v taper look pretty good once you add some more size. From your back poses, it really looks like your back needs work, but from your front lat spread, your back looks good. So I’m guessing that’s the illusion created by your hip structure.

Your chest obviously needs work.

One thing I do like is your delts. Proportionally to your arms, they look good. And I think great shoulders are so essentially to a good physique. SO that’s good.

Overall, as you suggested, you just need to put a lot more muscle on your frame and see where it takes you. It’s going to take time, don’t expect to step on stage, particularly a bodybuilding stage, in the next year. Unless you’re a freak at gaining muscle, that’s not going to be enough time for development. Maybe you could do a physique show in the next year or 2 though.


Thanks countrygirl! It certainly wasn’t easy. Unfortunately I don’t have any before pictures. The thought of taking any revealing pics back then was unthinkable to me, but now I’m kind of regretting it. But to give you some kind of idea, I was around 240 lbs at my heaviest (I’m 193 in these pics). And on top of that I easily had a good 10-15 lbs less muscle mass as well, possibly even more. So imagine me in these pics but add about 60-65 lbs of fat. It wasn’t pretty lol.

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Thank you for the in depth critique Flip! You’ve been one of my favorite posters to follow throughout the years. Your response means a lot.

Yeah, my long monkey arms are not doing me any favors here. Having a wingspan of nearly 6’ 7" definitely doesn’t help. My arms are actually just shy of 15", but they hardly look like it (not to say that’s “big” by any means). Gonna have to work real hard there.

I never realized how disproportionately wide my hips were, but now that you mention it, it’s incredibly obvious. I have a pair of fucking baby making hips. Wonderful. Any idea if there’s something I should do to address this?

And yes, my chest is rather pathetic. Part of the reason I stopped lifting for over 2 years was due to a pretty bad rotator cuff tear. Ever since I started lifting again, I haven’t been able to figure out how to do any horizontal or decline pressing without pain, so all of my pressing has been done around a 45 degree incline. That’s probably part of the reason for both my terrible chest, and my halfway decent delts. It’s been a little while since I’ve attempted any horizontal pressing so I may give it a try again, but the LAST thing I want is another rotator cuff tear.

Thanks again for the response. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Your welcome and that’s awesome progress! I completely understand about not taking before pictures. It’s hard to take them and then when you are successful like this you wish you had them. I’m excited for you and hope that you stick around on here and keep posting how your doing :slightly_smiling_face:

Yeah in good shape. For me hit arms and back hard

Something high volume like these pretty much impossible to get fat from(unless eat like a total jackass)…

-(fine to swap one day out for weakpoint/beach-pump work)

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Leg pics as the 1st pictures! Today is a good day. Good job OP, killing it in the ab department.

6’7 wingspan… awesome lol. Yea my arms are long for my height too, but nothing like that. I’m 5’11ish, and a 6’2 wingspan. And I think my 17" arms are a weak point. It’ll take a lot of dedication to get your arms up to par, but I’m sure you’re up for the task given the work you’ve already put in. You’ll have to start eating more, which I’m sure is kind of a mental difficulty for you given what your past is, but if you keep things moderate, I think you can do it successfully without getting fat again.

well like I said, it may not be bad from a bodybuilding perspective. If you can really add some size to your legs, and really size overall, I think this may be a benefit to you. Everything changes the more muscle you add. Things you thought were a problem often turn out not to be. I really can’t see any downside to having a small waist from a physique standpoint.

If you can’t press, then don’t press. Longevity is king in the lifting world. Can you do dips? A lot of people rely on those heavily when they can’t press a barbell. Incline pressing isn’t bad either, if you can incline press regularly, that should be sufficient, along with chest flyes, to develop the chest. Just figure out what exercises you can do pain-free, and hammer those. Machines are fine too. Whatever it takes. And fwiw, your chest isn’t pathetic, that’s a bit extreme. I actually like your structure there, good shape. Not everyone has that to work with.

Thank you! I will definitely keep posting. I’ll probably try and post new pics here every few weeks as I progress. I need ya’ll to keep me in check. Make sure I don’t start getting too fat

That’s an interesting program. Will definitely give it some thought

Thanks! Believe it or not, I actually do very little direct ab work. Just a few sets of lying leg raises at the end of my workouts a couple times a week. I think squatting and deadlifting is mostly responsible for my abs

Yeah eating more may be tough at first. Although in the 3 days since I starting upping my calories by 500-600, I’m already starting to have better workouts and just more energy in general. That’s definitely a good feeling.

Well that’s a little reassuring at least. I guess only time will tell. I’ll post some more pics as I get bigger, you’ll have to let me know if that’s still the case.

I’ve never really done dips much in the past, but I did give them a try today at the end of my workout. I’m a bit conflicted. My shoulders felt fine when I used a not so deep ROM. I didn’t feel it too much in the chest though. But when I went really deep, I got fantastic chest contractions. It did feel a bit uncomfortable for my shoulders though. It wasn’t painful, at least not nearly to the same degree as pressing, but it didn’t quite feel as good as I would have liked. I might just have to practice them.

How wide is your grip when doing dips? For me, a wider grip naturally limits the ROM to about 90*, maybe a little lower, and hits my chest a lot harder. If I use a narrow grip I can drop down pretty far, but it doesn’t feel great on the shoulders or elbows.

Thib has some good videos showing proper form for tri vs chest targeted dips. I personally love them all, can always add weight with a weight belt as you get stronger

How about isometric pushups for your chest? They’ve really helped me and I’ve got terrible shoulders. Try 5 sets where you are elevated on blocks (so your chest doesn’t touch the ground), lower yourself into the bottom of the pushup and hold/squeeze your chest. Activate all the fibers you can. Hold for 45-60 seconds. Rest for up to 90secs and repeat.

Hello again T Nation. Little update for anyone who is still following along.

It’s been one month now since I first started my bulk, and I think it has been going pretty well. This morning I weighed in at 196.6, so I’ve gained 3.6 pounds since I started. I know I’ve put on a little bit of fat in the process, but I think it’s been pretty minimal. I guess I’ll let you guys be the judge of that.

My daily caloric intake is now 3400 (up from 2000 at the start), which I had slowly increased by 100-200 every few days during the first two weeks, and then again every week after that. I will continue evaluating my weight and physique at the end of each week, and slowly continue increasing in this fashion if necessary. My daily macro split is now about 220p/500c/60f.

So I must say, I absolutely love this whole bulking thing. It’s SO nice not being hungry all the damn time. I have so much more energy every day, and my performance in the gym has been fantastic compared to what it was previously. My squat and deadlift have also gone WAAAY up, even though I’m primarily focusing on hypertrophy and not too concerned with strength gains at the moment. About 2 months ago, I remember struggling real hard to hit a 405 deadlift for a single with a belt. It was ugly and a serious grinder. But now yesterday, I hit 390 for 5 sets of 3 beltless and it was EASY. I’m seriously thinking of throwing some more strength training into the mix because of this.

So yeah, I’m pretty happy with the way things have been going. I seriously thought I would blow up like a balloon the moment I started increasing calories, but I don’t think that has been the case (you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong here). I’m definitely not quite as defined as I was at the start, but I’m not too disappointed with myself because of it. I can still see my abs and I don’t feel like shit all of the time, so I guess that’s a win in my book.

Here are some pics as of this morning. I don’t think I look much bigger than I was previously. But then again, one month isn’t much time to put on a significant amount of size. Any comments (no matter how harsh) from you guys would be greatly appreciated.

I’ll give an update and probably throw up some more pics another month from now. Hopefully I can look back 11 months from now and actually see some decent progress.


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If you could add a bit of size to your arms and some lines through your chest, you’d have a pretty good most muscular pose going on…

Can just about see the cobra appearing in your back as well.

Keep putting the work in. You should be in a good spot in 6 months time.