T Nation

Help and Advice Needed

All fellow fitness enthusiasts,

This is my first post in the forum so apologies for a long one. However, I will try to detail what I can as I am desperately looking for some sound advice.

I am 31 years old and got into the fitness regime only last year. Yes, I have never been to a gym before May last year!! I weighed 81 kgs at 5’7" and was a chubby man. It took me till Nov last year to get down to 64.5 kgs and I feel/look a lot better. My lifting strength has definitely increased (albeit not massively) and I do see noticeable changes in my body. I am happy with my progression so far but want to take it to the next level. My goal is not to become a massive body builder but have a ripped lean body minus the anorexic look. Currently my workout routine looks like this.

  1. Sunday : Chest
  2. Monday : Legs
  3. Tuesday: Back
  4. Wednesday : Cardio (HIT)
  5. Thursday : Shoulders
  6. Friday : Arms (biceps; triceps)
  7. Saturday : Rest

I am hitting my abs (not extensively) during all my workouts by doing ab exercises during my resting time.

Nutrition log as follows:

  1. Breakfast : 2 scoops of ON 100% Gold Standard Whey + a bowl of porridge (water based) with honey + a bowl of fruit
  2. Lunch : A portion of chicken (No fried stuff) + green salad + a bowl of lentil dal
  3. Post Workout : 2 scoops of ON 100% Gold Standard Whey
  4. Dinner : A portion of chicken (No fried stuff) + green salad + a bowl of lentil dal/soup

I did attempt to measure my body fat % using calipers and it appears to be around the 13-14% mark. I cannot get it measured by a professional because of the location I am currently at.

Advice that I am looking for is on:

  1. How do I start putting on some bulk in the right areas? Change in protein powder? Eating more? Workout Intensity?
  2. I can feel my abs (minus the lower stomach) with my hands but they are not popping out. In addition to this, I am one of those unfortunate individuals who are genetically prone to storing fat on my lower belly. I have been doing ab exercises specifically targeting these areas. However, I am not seeing the gains I anticipated. I have read numerous forums and in some they mentioned that it might be loose skin rather than fat as I might have lost weight a bit too quickly and the body is still trying to catch up. Can that be the case?

Thanks for all your help.


Hey man. Looks like you’ve made some solid gains since starting. Every beginner has a load of questions they want to ask, but few are those with the stones to ask them. I commend you for that.

For the sake of both my time and yours, I’m going to focus on the two items about which you are specifically asking for feedback.

  1. Changing protein powders won’t do much. If you like what you’re using, keep using it. I’m not sure what you mean by “the right areas,” but I can tell you that eating heartier, though still healthy meals has helped me put on a good deal of muscle. Furthermore, where you see improvement is where you’re focusing. Also, progress takes time. Start up a training log and/or a journal, and since your goals are physique oriented take photos of yourself every month. The more information you have about what you’re doing, the more you’ll be able to understand the effects of your diet, training, overall lifestyle, etc.

  2. This is what we in the fitness industry call “the spot reduction myth.” Hammering your abs won’t hurt you, but that alone is not what makes them visible in the mirror. Rather, a constellation of factors contribute to attaining the coveted six pack abs. Diet, conditioning, the amount of sleep you get, and incredibly specific genetic factors will all play a role in your quest for a shredded midsection. Check out some the diet logs on this site, read the diet articles and keep at it. Success is in the hands of the consistent, persistent, and disciplined.

I hope this was helpful. I wish you the best and if you ever have questions about training protocol, shoot me a private message. I am not, however, well-versed in diet strategies. Keep crushing it!

The more meat you can stuff down your throat the better for gaining. I’m not sure what your policy is on red meat, but red meat is also good for gaining and a natural source of creatine.

You don’t list the exercises you are doing or set or rep schemes, but I’m a fan of basic, big, compound lifts, varying/cycling rep and set ranges between singles up to 8-10 reps. Think back squats, front squats, dead lifts, rack pulls, deficit deads, bench, barbell rows, overhead press, pullups, etc., and vary the volume and intensity.

Cliff notes: more meat, lift heavy with big compound movements, sleep, repeat.

Cheers for the replies guys!

On the exercises, I do mostly refer back to some of the routines from T-Nation experts. What’s different between routines here and tons of other sites is that stuff here is based on “science” and not merely what power-lifters have been doing for ages.

I guess it is more a matter of time and increasing my training intensity bit by bit.

A worrying factor for me is that for the past couple of weeks I have noted a dip of about 2 kgs in my weight. Now I know this can be a good weight to lose. However, as you might know, I don’t want that appearance of the super-skinny guy who looks like he has been starving for ages.

Posting an April pic for comparision