T Nation

Getting Bigger without Gaining Weight


Hey everyone. I'm new here, and would really appreciate some help.

I'm fairly muscular, but have a good deal of fat, especially on my chest and abdomen. I've really never done squats (bad knee excuses of course), deadlifts, or cleans. I'm changing all that. My goal is to get bigger, without gaining any weight, because I'm already 250. That means of course losing fat while building muscle. So in my case, how would you suggest I do that?

Age: 27
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 250lbs
Years Lifting: 10
Arms: 18"
Waist (pants): 38
Everything else: ?
Bench: 300lbs
Squat: 200lbs?
Deadlift: 200lbs?
Bodyweight full hang pullups: 2?
Bodyweight chest dips: 15
Seated Military Press: 205lbs

So as you can tell from my stats, they are way skewed. I've obviously wasted a lot of time in the gym. I'm JUST NOW grasping the concept of weight lifting. I've just started a routine that looks like this:

Monday - Rack Pulls/Deadlifts, Barbell Rows, Pullups
Tuesday - Off/Cardio
Wednesday - Squats, Calf Raises
Thursday - Off/Cardio
Friday - Hang Clean and Press, Bench Press, Dips

From the research I've done, I 've come to the conclusion that compound exercises are probably the way to go for me. The fact that, like so many people, most of my years were spent doing bench press, curls, and occasionaly throwing in some rows or lat pulldowns. Never payed attention to legs, and just minimal back work.

My body never grew like I wanted it to. I always took my protein shakes and creatine, but I'm just kinda mushy now. I know, I know. I wish someone would have corrected me a long time ago.

So how does my routine look? And how (if possible), can I get bigger without gaining any more weight.

Thanks so much.


Newbies can sometimes lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, but the majority of people need to focus on one or the other to make any real progress. Bulking involves gaining significant muscle at the expense of a little fat, and cutting will melt the fat, but you aren't likely to build much muscle during the process.


If you focus on losing fat AND trying to build strength/muscle, your progress will end up at a barely noticable pace, in essence, you are just wasting your time.

That might be why you haven't built a decent physique after 10 years of training?

If you are at quite a high fat level, it would probably be best to correct that first. (Cardio 3-4x a week at least, don't skip it.)


You can spend most of the training year eating enough to gain, if being careful that the fat gain is reasonably slow, with only a smaller fraction of it spent losing fat, with resulting fat loss over time.

For example if you hold your fat gain in intended-muscle-gaining weeks down to just 2 or 3 lb of fat per month -- or say a half inch on the waist -- whereas when you cut, you do it seriously and drop 2 or 3 lb of fat per week, then only 1 out of every 5 weeks is lost to muscle gaining purposes.

On the other hand, if you pig out in intended-muscle-gaining weeks and put on 2 lb of fat per week, whereas your cutting is not so serious and drops only 1 lb per week, you're going to be spending most of the training year cutting and this will not be so efficient.


You've been lifting for 10 years and you are NOW just grasping the concept of lifting?
Instead of looking to your routine to decrease your bf % you need to go to your diet, and from the sounds of it, I bet it sucks. What do you eat on a daily basis? Do you do cardio?



Yeah I know, man. Lots of wasted time.

I guess I should have specified. I'm not extremely concerned about getting "cut". I would just like to have a bigger, more muscular build. A tight core/stomach, but I'm not worried about "abs". I just want huge arms, back, shoulders, legs, etc., and if I have a little fat thats ok.

I eat pretty decent. Eggs, toast, oatmeal for breakfast. (little less on non training days)
Quizno's or Subway for lunch. Or chili from Wendy's.
Steak/chicken/fish for dinner, with a pasta and a vegetable. Maybe some bread.
I eat my 2-3 protein shakes a day in between meals. Couple pieces of fruit.

I eat Papa John's about once a week. And have some cookies or somtething now and then.

I haven't done much cardio, but I plan on it with this routine, twice a week.

I'm not a hardcore bodybuilder. I have a family, and I just really don't want that lifestyle I guess. Hopefully what I want is still somewhat tangible though.

I was hoping focusing on the compound exercises would boost my testosterone, and just make me overall strong and big. Because I really haven't paid any attention to some very important lifts over the years. So it's gotta change me, you'd think.


In reply to Bill:

I plan on doing my routine, three hard and heavy weeks, than a light, easy week. Then repeat. What if I just ramped up the cardio on my "light" week? Would that kind of be what you had in mind?



you might want to consider working out more often... perhaps 4 times a week. sometimes the added frequency can result in bigger gains. also, compound exercises are nice, but you need to add some direct arm and shoulder work as well. try and focus on getting STRONGER on those exercises.

your bench press is already solid but i have a feeling you could squat ALOT more than 200 for reps. keep the reps low and the weight high and you will grow. you are already a pretty big guy and i have a feeling a lot of it is fat. you should be eating and taking protein but also do some cardio drills. also, fast food is never healthy.

problem is dude, you aren't naturally skinny, so you are in a bit of a connundrum as far as the calorie thing is concerned. if you do not want to be a bodybuilder, and you don't want to be fat, why don't you just focus on losing weight and forget about building muscle?


Well, it's a good thing you logged into a BODYBUILDING FORUM.

Come the fuck on. Either expect to work hard at this which includes "THAT LIFESTYLE" or give up. I am truly tired of people wanting premium results for absolutely nothing.

Then again, I thought that is what the V-diet forum was for.


If you don't put forth the effort to see yourself progress then don't waste your time.
Do some searches on fat loss, theres even a good article that was posted JUST TODAY on the main page about eating, check that out. Some of John Berardi's stuff is good too.

If this isn't something you can give 100% to, then you might want to take up cycling or jogging.


Notice I said, I'm not a hardcore "BODYBUILDER". From what I understand, that is big muscles, very little fat, crazy disciplined lifestyle.

There's other types of weight lifters, right? I'm leaning more towards the powerlifter program. I kinda want to look like a NFL d-lineman or something. Now obviously not exactly like one. But I've got the frame for something close. I want to be big and strong, and I don't care if I've got a bit of a belly.

Is there no spot for that kind of regimine here?

Sorry for wasting your time Professor.


I really doubt -- not particularly because of your posts indicating not being exceedingly intensely into lifting, but rather because it's true of most -- that you don't need to back off and have a light, easy week after each three weeks of harder work.

Yes, a powerlifter training basically as hard as he can with very serious weights can do well with this principle.

It is not appropriate for most in the gym, as they are not working so hard that their bodies NEED the easy week after just three weeks of their regular work.

What I was referring to had much more to do with diet than training manipulation.


And Professor...

"Absolutely nothing?"

Sorry dude, I'm obviously not as dedicated/roided up as you. But I'm dedicated. I've been working out for 10 years, and just about never missed a workout or a protein shake.

Just because my enthusiasum has been a little misplaced, it doesn't mean I've given "absolutely nothing."


Sorry (well, as a figure of speech: not really) -- your last post has me saying "Goodbye."




Yes...because those powerlifters don't live a strict lifestyle at all comparable to bodybuilding. Those d-linemen are pretty laid back as well.

What the hell are you talking about?


I thought you might say that. Like I said I'm not expecting to have the exact level of results a powerlifter or d-lineman would have. That is obvious.

All I'm trying to say is that's the body type look I'd like to RESEMBLE.

Nevermind. Sorry everyone.

Apparently I'm wasting your time and mine.


Dude, what are you WTFing about? You know damn well that anyone who actually makes progress is "roided up". Why do I have to keep telling you this??!!

And to the OP - you get out what you put in - simple as that. Half assed efforts will produce half-assed results.

If you want to do better than that, you know what you need to do to achieve what you want. Stop fucking around and get serious, or don't - it's entirely up to you.


...and looking like that is going to take some hard work and going to the gym more often than a couple of times a week.

YOU WORK OUT THREE DAYS A WEEK yet seem to think you will drastically change your appearance this way? If this hasn't worked out in the last 10 years that you claim to have been lifting without fail, why the hell do you think it will start working now?

You are simply one of those guys who thinks they will make amazing progress by doing the exact same shit they have been. This IS a lifestyle if you plan to make significant progress. That means either accept that or quit wasting your and our time.

D-lineman only train 3 days a week? Really?

You will find few people who look impressive who are in the gym less than 4 days a week unless they are just maintaining what they have already built.