T Nation

Gains Slowed, Time to Up Calories?


#1

Hey all,

So a little background info. Im 17 years old just about to turn 18. Im 6.2 160 pounds and around 9-11 percent body fat at the moment. My goals are to just gain muscle and strength, have no time line just want to continually gain strength and see gains.

I started training a little over two months ago for the first time in my life. I weighed a pathetic 139 pounds (not that im big or even close to big at all at my current state).

I have a super fast metabolism, and Ive been eating clean for the most part, but have getting a good 4500-5000 calories in a day, i feel like i could do more though, im hungry an hour or so after every meal.

Umm my training consists of a five day split just for the fact that i didn't know to much when i started and I kinda just stuck with it. Ive been seeing decent gains, my squat was 90 pounds when i started its 185 for reps now. My dead lift was 110 and is up to 275 for reps, and my bench (weakest lift) was around 60-70 when i started hahaha, and is up to around 150 for reps.

My question is, I have a really hard time gaining weight, i was gaining weight fast in the beging, and it has slowed down drastically. i can still see my abs, do you think it would be wise to up my cal intake more, or is that just over kill. Also should i switch the five day split to a push pull split or a 3 day split, or just leave it alone?

Any help would be really appreciated...thanks alot


#2

Well if your weight gain has stalled, and you can still see your abs, then it's time to up calories. But then again if your strength keeps going up, maybe just hold steady and ride it out, and save the calories for when you plateau. 18 is a damn fine age to start working out, well done good sir.


#3

Thanks, yeah im loving it so far, such a nice healthy outlet, and loving having something to work for with so many different aspects. I think i caught the bug. Thanks for the help, i think ill do what you said about riding it out, being that its only like 2 or 2 and a half months in. but how about the workout? any ideas


#4

Good progress thus far. Keep up the good work.
You'll need to provide more details about your workout. Exercise selection, sets, and reps.


#5

thanks actrain appreciate it.

Workout looks some what like this

Monday-chest
Incline DB- 2 warm up sets, then 4 working sets working up to max(8-10reps)
Decline DB- 2 warm up sets, then 3 working sets working up to max(8-10)
Flat bench press- over 4 sets work up to max, then last set go to failure(8-10)
Flat or incline flys- 5 sets (i go pretty light on them and just focus on the squeeze)(10-12)
finish with wide grip push ups, or elevated push ups to hit upper more

Tuesday- biceps/triceps
Barbell curls- 2 warm up sets then 3 working sets never go to max just focus on the neg(8-10)
Preacher curls- 4 sets heavy(6-8)
Skullchrusher- 2 warm ups then 3 working sets up to max(8-10)
Tricep pulldowns- do a drop set for this, i feel like i get more out of it(8-15)

Wednesday-legs
Squats- 2 warm ups, then 4 sets working up to max (8-12)
Front squats- same as above
Barbell lunges- 3 sets moderately heavy, but go more for a stretch (10-12)
Leg extensions- dropset
Leg curls- 4 sets i go up weight but never to max(10-12)

Thursday- shoulders
Clean and press- 2 warm ups, then 4 sets working up to max(6-8)
Seated DB press- 5 sets working up to max (8-10)
Standing BB press- 5 sets working up to max(8-10)
Front raises- 4 sets light focus on hold at top and neg (10-12)
*If im still feeling good ill add in some Arnold presses

Friday- back
Deadlifts- 2 warm ups, then 4 working sets, last two are with max (8-10...then for max usually 6)
Mid grip BB rows- 4 sets up to max (8-10)
Wide grip pull downs- 3 sets (8-10)
T-bar rows- 3 sets up to max (6-8)
Seated rows- 3 sets up to max (8-10)
finish with pull ups- 3 sets until failure or until my lats are burning

This is all just mismatched stuff ive put together reading forums and such....i feel like it was good in the beginning. But now ill lift as heavy as i can and i still seem fresh the next day, i cant seem to exhaust the muscles like i could even two weeks ago. But maybe that's whats supposed to happen, im not sure....big thanks in advance


#6

ohh i do some calve work on the leg day, and i hit abs twice a week


#7

oh and i do heavy shrugs on shoulder days


#8

Thats alot of volume dude. Are you progressing in strength on all those movements? :slight_smile:


#9

i was, but not to much anymore. im thinking about switching to a push pull split. I really didnt know to much when i started still dont. What do you think would be the best?


#10

Personally I would tell you to hop on board with a strength-oriented program like 5/3/1 or SS, something along those lines. You need to be a lot stronger. You'll still be gaining size as long as you're eating for it but it looks like you need a bigger strength base.


#11

Edited cuz i completely misread this post hahah sorry bout that. OP pick a program, stick with it for a while, make sure your weight/strength is progressing and eat of course


#12

Alright thanks a lot guys


#13

I don't see anything glaringly wrong with that routine... if you actually gained 21 lbs of mostly muscle in 2 months I wouldn't change much of anything. You've been doing well so I don't know why you would need to jump ship and totally change your program - just make tweaks when you have a reason to do so. You could try increasing frequency with a smaller split or less off days, it seems like a logical choice if you are saying that you don't get sore much, no need to rest for a week then. (assuming your effort is actually max!)

It would also be helpful to quantify "not much anymore." Without knowing numbers it's impossible to say if your strength progress is good/normal or not...


#14

Thanks thogue

yeah i will make that more clear...

Within the first month i went from 139 to 147, and lost some fat i had around the lower adominals

the next month i went from 147 to 155

And when i weighed in last week i was 160 and this morning i was 163. with no signs of a fat gain, like im sure their has been, but no noticeable gains in body fat.

As for lifting to my max and full potential...if i have a spotter i lift as heavy as i can, and even without i still do i just lower reps a little bit.

i never seem super sore. My diet is pretty spot on though so that might be helping me and im getting a good 10+ hours of rest a night with a shake in the middle of the night just because i wake up starving.

As for upping my lifts...the only two lifts that seem to be increasing are squats and deadlifts...my deadlift seems to go up almost ten pounds a week and my squat five. But my bench and other lifts have been the same since the initial increase in the first month and a half.


#15

uhh. what he said.

if you want strength then why are you doing a bodybuilding split? if you want strength lift for strength. pretty simple.


#16

Definitely not too much volume, your split looks good.


#17

Basic principles for the "hardgainer" type (hardgainer = thin build, has difficulty adding size):

Lift heavy (this is true for all types, but especially true for the skinny ones who're so easily distracted). Good "fool proof" rep range = 6-12 reps. Higher for thighs.

Keep routine basic - Mostly compound movements (except arms/delts).

Do exercises a little more frequently like every 5 days (push/pull/legs or upper/lower splits are good for this).

Have more off days for better recovery/strength (good training often = 3-5 days/week BUT depends on you). You have to prioritise growth, which means stimulate and get out of there.

Keep weekly workout volume low (typically, 6-10 working sets/bodypart/week is about average for those who struggle with weight gain). A working set = the set to failure or near.

^ Once those principles are adhered to (and you always aim for that extra rep or 5lbs), you will likely find gaining weight relatively easy. You may see results again, like more weight gain, even before diet is sorted properly (i.e. because you do just enough to grow, but not too much so that you don't recover and get stronger). When/if weight gains stop, add more calorie dense foods (e.g. high fat protein foods) to the diet. Aim for around 1lbs/week gain in bodyweight on average.

When fat levels on your body get to the point where you're uncomfortable in the future (don't expect gains to be 100% muscle), simply trim it off via diet and cardio.


#18

Just my 2 cents looking over your workout, too many exercises, too much volume

Mon- get rid of flyes -worthless exercise.. pick 1 chest movement & use either barbell or DB & either incline/ flat/ or decline and work THAT one exercise for 10-14 sets working up to triples for last 4 sets-Do not go to failure! change exercise each week .Look at Westside exercises for chest floor presses board press etc.

Finish with weighted BAR dips not bench) 6 x 3-5 reps

Tues- Sure.. get workout over quick..

Wed- pick 1 MAJOR leg exercise squats, front squats, zerchers, box squats 10-12 sets 6-8 reps -forget about leg extensions -change exercise each week
I would do glute ham raises instead of leg curls 5 x 8

Th-Get rid of front raises- (bench and other pressing takes care of front deltoid no need to do this). Pick either Db or BB press 5 sets 4-5 reps- no need to dupicate movement. Add 2 sets to your clean & press & drop reps to 3-4

F -Deadlifts 6 x 3, Pullups (weighted if possible) 8 x 5-8 shrugs 5x5 barbell

get in & out of workout, your metabolism burns calories
its not about exhausting the muscle if your trying to get strong. YOU need a challenging load, but not one that will make you miss. I would look at defranco's westside for skinny bastards routine as another option. Less volume /high intensity (loads) is better for guys with fast metabolism for strength.


#19

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_interviews/roundtable_the_cure_for_skinny


#20

How much weight did you gain in 2 months?