T Nation

First Year Progress. Any Good? Advice.


#1

Hi. Just after some comments and advice on my progress. I am getting stronger but my weight has stalled these last 3 months and I took a photo to compare to last year and I hardly noticed any difference.

26yr male
174cm
73kg (started 65kg)

I have been going to the gym for a year now. My goal is to gain weight, strength and get more muscle definition. I started going 3 days a week doing chest/triceps, back/biceps, legs/shoulders. I did that for about 1 month before I learnt I needed more frequency. So I started CT Best Damn Workout. I did that for a couple of months but going to the gym 6 days a week and getting up at 5am was taking too much of a toll. I have to go to the gym in the morning because it is just too busy in the evening plus I’m a builder and after work I found I didn’t have as much energy as in the morning. So I tried 5 days a week but that still was too much. I now go 4 days a week doing upper/lower. Monday-Upper, Wednesday-Lower, Friday-Upper, Sunday-Lower

I use to keep track of my calories but I found out that just eating as much as I can was the best. It took a while to see my weight start getting up. I really struggle to eat. I am never hungry and it takes my ages to finish my food. My diet:

Breakfast: 1cup of oats with 1/2c of milk and 1/2c of water, protein shake with water
Morning tea: Museli bar, piece of fruit, 110g of nuts (walnut, cashews), and some pumpkin seeds
Lunch: 185g tuna (or some of last nights dinner), 2 slices of bread, protein bar, museli bar, 2 pieces of fruit.
Dinner: 1 type of meat, type of carb (potatoes or rice), 1 other type of vegetable)
On training days I have a protein shake with milk before bed.

As for training progress. I didn’t test my 1 rep maxes when I first started but I stuggled to squat just the bar. I didn’t realise it weighed 20kg! Deadlift- was 50kg ( I think that was mainly a technique issue though). I couldn’t do any pull ups.

I can now squat 110kg for 2. Deadlift is 135kg. Pull ups is 14. I haven’t done barbell bench in a few months, I seem to like dumbbells better. I can post my routine if needed.

I’m concerned about my weight not going up. Should I be? Should I only be concerned if I start losing strength. I was really disappointed in the progress photo I took. Or is it still too early for me to worry?

Sorry if this was a long read.

Thanks.


#2

I’m not as experienced as some folks on here and I’m sure they will chime in with more advice but here is my experiences.

Make sure you have a solid program, if you don’t feel like it’s solid look around on here for some proven 4 day splits.

As with nutrition if you’re not gaining weight you’re eating at maintenance. I have the same problem of little appetite. One thing I found were that oats were too much for me. They would leave me full all day, not wanting to eat. I adopted the philosophy, easy in and easy out. I want my food to be easy to eat and for my body to process quickly enough that I can eat again 3 hours or so later. One way I’ve found to add calories is from fat. I use coconut oil or Olive oil and there are plenty of calories added through those and they’re easy for my body to process.

To summarize:

Make sure your program is solid.
Make sure to consume enough calories if you want to grow. Either add carbs or fats to help out. I prefer fats bc they’re easier for me to eat.

Hope that helps a little and as I said, I’m sure others will chime in that are way more experienced than I am. That’s just my experiences so far.


#3

whats your typical daily caloric intake total ?


#4

2900-3100 calories


#5

if strength is going up steadily then broadly speaking keep doing what you’re doing. Once or even twice a week try Defrancos hour of power…


#6

Didn’t you say your weight went up 8 kg? That’s a substantial percentage weight gain. And you got MUCH stronger in the process. It’s really not bad at all for a first year in my opinion.

So that being said, it can be difficult to keep making improvements. Strength increases for a beginner like you are really the best indicator of progress. I would say that’s a good way to measure progress for at least the first 3-5 years of lifting. Progress will slow, but that’s ok. The key will be to keep working hard in the gym, and also progressively increasing calories. When you find that your bodyweight stops increasing, you simply need to eat more. It’s tough, trust me I know. I went from 125 lbs when I started my journey to over 200 lbs. My lifts were about what yours were when I began. It takes time. But keep working hard! You’re definitely on the right path, the articles on here are golden. Sounds like you’re making the most out of what you’ve read so far.


#7

Thanks for the advice guys.

I’ll keep monitoring my lifts and make sure I’m still progressing and I’ll try and eat more. I tend to not eat as much in the weekend as during the week so I’ll sort that out. Nuts seem to be easy eat plus they are pretty dense so I might increase them by about 20-30g a day.