Gains Slow Down...When?

I have a serious question about this. I’m about 5’9" 180 lbs and probably 11-12% bf at most. I’ve been at this 180 lbs for almost 4-5 months now, with no decrease or increase in weight, regardless of eating big and lifting heavy.

For a while I went straight up in weight gain, from 145ish to 180 in like 6 months. Ever since it’s stalled out, AND i’ve noticed the more I eat, the more I poop.

So essentially it’s like i’m not keeping many calories since it’s just like a bad cycle of trying to get more calories but I just poop more, and if I eat less calories, I just poop less, but in the end it’s all the same.

I’ve attempted even some junky food in my diet, but that makes me just actually poop even more, and my metabolism seems to rev up off the hook after some cheat food.

It’s just getting kinda old, and I’m wondering if there actually does come a point for some people where the gains start really slowing down. Obviously I know i’m not doomed to 180 forever, and that it will slowly go up, but just curious if it does slow down a lot more.

Also, I’ve tried forcing myself to eat a lot more, and when I do, I get really short of breath, it’s hard for me to breathe even when sitting down, walking up stairs takes it out of me, and my whole body feels like crap.

Plus, I’ve tried more intake of milk, but then I just get so much phlem build up that I’m practically choking myself to death on the crap. Any help?

Now, I’m not an expert, but the calories are being extracted from the food regardless of whether more or less is coming out or not. It only makes sense that if you eat more, more should come out in the end. It sounds like you are pushing some extremes here, for instance I eat alot, but if I were to eat so much that I couldn’t breathe, I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to maintain 12% BF.

There is definitely such a thing where gains are minimal, and you have “reached your genetic limit”. Can you still improve naturally, most certainly. And even when your quads have reached the pinnacle of their potential size, you can still squat for strength?

As TC states in his Soy Awards article today, that you are equivalent to a Poodle in a Dog-Show if you just train for looks, “all conformity, no function”.

If you think you’ve got more left in you genetically, which you probably do, incorporate these “Plateau Busters”. If you have reached your hypertrophy limits, it’s time to think about maintenence, function, strength, or steroids. It’s hard to say not knowing your age, or your training age, but it’s safe to say at 180 you still have a ways you can go.
Good luck!

I’m pretty sure I haven’t hit my genetic potential as my arms are only like 13.3 relaxed cold at their sides and barely 15 flexed after a workout. It’s just weird since I’ve only been working out for 1 year and about 4 months, but even so my gains have not really come that much at all for a good while.

For example last November 2006 I was doing ABBH1 with like 180-185 I believe on the 10x3,4,5 bench press supersetted with bent over rows. Well, after almost a year now of eating 3,300-5,000 calories a day, sleeping well, minimal stress, very quality supplementation, I’m doing the same program again almost struggling with 190.

It really pisses me off, as anyone else with the nutrition and such that I’ve done would be doing like 225. Plus my front squat is still around 155-160 on the 5x10 f. squat, hanging pike, and standing calf raise day, when it was like exactly the same last year. Go figure, but it should be higher.

progress from may 2006-sept 2007. not much if you ask me for all i’ve done.

[quote]WildShoe wrote:
It sounds like you are pushing some extremes here, for instance I eat alot, but if I were to eat so much that I couldn’t breathe, I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to maintain 12% BF.


If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be going down in weight. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again.

typical food meals:

4-5 slices whole grain toast
3-5 slices turkey bacon
5 whole eggs cooked in olive oil
1 banana
1 cup reduced fat milk or yogurt
1 multi/1 resveratrol/1-2 Spike

1 hour later- 30 min. before workout
1/2-1 cup oats
1 cup milk
1 scoop whey

during workout
25g bcaa’s

pwo shake
30g whey
40g malto
20g dextrose
5g creatine mono
5g bcaa’s
5g glutamine

1 hour after training
6-8 oz grilled chicken
5-6 servings oats (3 cups)
1 apple or banana
1 cup reduced fat milk

2 hours later
1 can tuna
3-4 slices whole grain bread
1 apple or banana

2-3 hours later
6-8 oz grilled chicken
lots of brocolli or spinach
1-2 cups reduced fat milk
1-2 servings almonds
1-2 servings fish oil

2-3 hours later
5-6 oz grilled chicken
2-3 servings black/kidney beans
1-2 servings fish oil
1-2 servings olive oil

before bed time, 2-3 hours later
2-3 servings lowfat cottage cheese
1-2 servings fish oil
1-2 servings natural pb or almonds
a bit of olive oil

If that isn’t enough food, well then there’s no hope, and anymore is flat out ridiculous. My life isn’t supposed to be consumed only by eating, which it takes up the majority of my day.

Maybe the problem lies in how often you lift.
I was on a 5 day split, and having trouble to gain weight. I reduced the lifting days to only four and am gaining, despite eating 600 kcals less than when i was on the 5 day split.

Maybe its time to switch gears in training.

that is a good amount of food, and it looks like you got that DOWN P.A.T. as for your training program all i have to say:

barbell curls

your weight should increase and you should get thicker it’s not like magical this is science dawg. if you eat what you are eating your body should respond by adapting whether in strength or size.

And judging by your pictures, you should have done more back and traps work in that year. Your arms are much more massive in comparison to your weak frame before.

I would suggest eating things alittle more dense, steaks, more milk if you can’t pack on mass with a diet of milk, steak, brown rice, deadlifts, bench press and chin ups, it’s time to seek a personal trainer, because you are likely butchering the exercises or not using correct tempo or control.

ABBH1 is one day on/one day off/on/off/on/off, etc.

So far I’ve been doing something like

monday- upper
tuesday- hiit for just 15-20 min.
wednesday- lower
thursday- slow jog for 20 min.
friday- upper
saturday- off
sunday- lower

I just recently started adding the cardio, which don’t even start to say it’s what’s holding me back, because 1 it’s hardly anything, 2 i like my heart, and 3 my gains seemed to stall long before I added it in.

well my maxes are around…

440 for 1 deadlift
245-250 for 1 bench press
275-280 for 1 full squat
95-100 lbs hanging for 1 chinup rep
105-110 lbs hanging for 1 dip rep

I really don’t see how that quantifies as having a weak back or w/e, but I guess it does. Plus, my chest is around 43 inches from back to front, whereas my arms are only about 13.3 relaxed. I don’t really feel that is my arms overpowering since when they are relaxed at my sides they appear much smaller than my mid frame.

sorry i should have mentioned in my last post that i stick to deadlifts, squats, bench, pullups, dips, lunges as my main lifts, with anything else just being add ons after, but never too much added on. Come on, you guys should know ABBH1, it’s a very well thought out program focusing on those exact lifts with adequate rest time between lifting days.

You are eating like that, using those exercises and see no strength gains or size? I would submit yourself to the Physique thing they are doing on this site, and challenge one of them to put some mass on you, because you truly are the epitome of the ectomorph!

[quote]WildShoe wrote:
You are eating like that, using those exercises and see no strength gains or size? I would submit yourself to the Physique thing they are doing on this site, and challenge one of them to put some mass on you, because you truly are the epitome of the ectomorph![/quote]

I’m really not JUST trying to agree with you just because I wana make the excuse of an ectomorphy, but I honestly think it’s true. This is why…

From 8th grade to freshman year of college, I was a distance runner. I’d run 80-120 miles a week, was 5’9" and 130-135 lbs. I was trying anything to lose MORE weight, to get down to about 120-125. I hardly ate any protein, mostly carbs, and would literally do anything to lose weight.

It wasn’t until like 2 years ago when I realized what was going on, and sure I put the weight on fast, but it’s been pathetic since. My friends say my body is probably hating me for putting all this weight on it all of a sudden, and therefore is trying to keep me smaller which is what it’s used to.

It kind of makes sense since all my life i’ve pretty much TRIED to attain a catabolic state, and succeeded, and now it’s just having a hard time adjusting. All I can say is, is i’ve been working my butt off, and properly, and the gains have been pretty minimal.

Here are the programs I’ve done so far.

*4 weeks of menshealth HGM phase 1
*16 weeks of CT’s HSS-100 w/ 1 wk. off after 8 weeks
*1 week off
*8 weeks Waterbury’s ABBH1
*1 week off
*4 weeks Berardi’s greatest program ever
*16 weeks of CT’s HSS-100 w/ 1 wk. off after 8 weeks
*1 week off
*NROL hypertrophy 1, 4 weeks
*NROL strength 1, 4 weeks
*1 week off
*2 weeks of Poliquin’s Super accumulation program

  • 1 week off
    *Currently on Waterbury’s abbh1 again, where I’m seeing basically the same results as last time I used it, only 5-10 lbs heavier on the bench.

Go figure, my eating has been steadily the same throughout all those, along with supplementation and sleep, so I don’t know why I haven’t gained anything.

you dont stick to one program long enough, just the basics with progressive poundages for week after week should be working. Which program worked best for you? Only looks like you followed 2 for any length.

Your strength seems pretty good though - big deadlift.

Although it’s hard to believe you’re putting all that food away and not getting heavier - it is possible you’re not digesting it all. You could even check in with a doc and share those details if youre worried. Your metabolism sounds amazing.

However i do notice your diet seems low in fat. You need some saturated fats to get your hormone system near optimal and though you get through lots of food it may not have the caloric density it could.

I think your body says a silent thank you when you eat meaty junk food! Assuming youre in good health dont be afraid of eating some more eggs, whole milk and so on and dont worry if you do gain a little fat with it.

Increase you strength on all your lifts by 10-20%.

[quote]wsk wrote:
Increase you strength on all your lifts by 10-20%.[/quote]

oh ok

Sorry if that came across how you took it. I was being serious - spend the next year or two really attack your lifts, focusing on what Thib calls the lower range of functional hypertrophy. The extra load will force your body to adapt. Your squat is below 300lb, so I don’t think you’ll be even close to your genetic potential yet.

As Brooks Kubik says in Dinosaur Training, almost any normal male uninhibited by injury/illness can build up to a 300lb bench, 400lb squat and 500lb deadlift. The strength gains will produce size gains. Hope that’s more helpful.

Have you been using the same exercises the whole time (I mean exact same)? You may have maxed out on your lifts (at least temporarily). Try switching to different variations of the basic lifts. For instance for bench; try DB instead of BB, incline instead of flat, change your grip width, etc…

Where did you start with those lifts when you first began lifting? Have you gained a significant amount of strength?

Keep in mind that while the “core” lifts are essential, you can’t just keep building strength in any one lift indefinitely (otherwise you’d see people benching train cars and deadlifting houses). You’re going to hit plateaus, and when you do simply switch up to a different variation of the lift and go to work getting stronger on that lift.

Later you can always come back to the previous lifts and you should be able (in time) to surpass your previous/current maxes.

Hope this helps.

Good training,


[quote]wsk wrote:
I was being serious - spend the next year or two really attack your lifts[/quote]

As opposed to my current caressing the barbell and singing it lullabies so at to not go too hard?