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Help! I'm Stuck on a Strict Diet


im 138 and 5'8. being around 3-4%BF im as puny as it sounds. ive got relatively decent muscle tone and i love training as hard as possible. i do between 1 and 3 sessions of cardio a week varying in duration but usually around 30-40 minutes each.

my diet is, by others standards, strcit. im vegetarian, eat very little fat and mostly low gylcemic carbs, execpt directly following a lifting session.

im currently losing muscle and enegery. now i have been vegetarina for a long time so the lack of meat isnt doing it. but i need to eat to gain here and it is much harder than staying clean. i never cheat.

the problem is, i love being cut up, the attention and validity i get in the gym is awesome. so the idea of giving up some decent looking striations intentionally is a hard pill to swallow.
give me advice, please!


Well it depends on what you're trying to do.
(it sounds like you're burning the candle at both ends...but anyway..)
Are you trying to pack on MORE muscle size, or just maintain what you have?
What is your goal?

It's been my experience that "vegetarian" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

What are your primary protein sources?

Based on what you've said, you are on the fast track to overtraining, feeling awful and losing a lot of muscle.

You need to eat more. Plain and simple.
Check out John Berardi's Massive Eating plan.


more fat.

oh yes.


Damn it.

Those are not admiring looks skeletor, nobody checks out your ass, you have none.


YOU are composed of 138 lbs. of:
- protein
- fat
- minerals/vitamins
- water

If YOU want to be 150 lbs. of that stuff, you simply have to put more of that stuff into your mouth. This isn't fucking rocket science.

Back off on the cardio. Substitute 3 CrossFit workouts per week.



Beautiful post

Also, "cut up at 138" ain't all it's cracked up to be.


I'm sure he's more like 6-8%. No one naturally has the genetics to stay at that low of body fat. Very few people know how to balance the resistance training, diet, and energy systems work to actually achieve that low of BF %.


Not really sure what advice you're looking for. I think you know what to do, but are unwilling to sacrifice your extremely ripped look. Unless you can get over that, all the advice in the world ain't gonna help.


I'm sure that it isn't as important as the fact that he is 138lbs at 5 foot 8.

Dude, if you want to grow, you are going to have to eat a shitload more food, including protein. PM ProteinPowda and Senseless (two veges on the board) about how they get their requirements in.

Any validity you feel at being 138lbs and ripped is missed placed. You are skinny. You don't have the muscle mass to be ripped.


You can still eat clean, and at the same time take in more calories.

Keep gradually increasing your calories while getting enough protein, fats and carbs.

You have a lot of room to grow, and I'm willing to bet more people will take notice of your new found muscle gains, even though you might not see a couple striations.

Don't look in the mirror for a couple weeks, take measurments and when you do finaly look in the mirror don't flip out because you won't be as cut, and keep increasing your calories as you gain mass.

Make size goals and stick to them. You won't get fat, and with your newly found muscle mass, it will be that much easier to lose any fat you may have gained while bulking.

You will feel better and look better.


ok i understand that i am not a big guy, nor do i aspire to be. i want to gain some size mainly to see a sign of progression. getting cut up wasnt that hard due to my metabolism, but i am a classic hard gainer...
explain how i am not allowed to be cut up since i am only 138?
and respect isnt in direct proportion to size, discipline and knowledge are all that is really important...


i do supplement with omega 3's, CLA and i take in moderate dairy fat.
any suggestions as to where i can go from here?
desired weight is around 155-160


You look great (right now) but you need to decide what you want to do.

If you have a high metabolism and cut up very easily, then you are in a great position.

Take 3 months and concentrate on eating a lot more and putting on some mass. Cut the cardio by half, lift heavier and increase your good carbs, protein and good fats.

You will get smoother, yes, but you know you can slice up easily.

After the 3 months are up, go back to your usual cardio and cut back on the calories.

If you like how you look now, imagine what you'll look like shredded but at 150.

Also, maintaining such low bodyfat for a long period of time, you WILL eventually start overtraining, losing size and possibly open yourself up to injuries.

If you are losing strength and energy as you stated, this process has already begun.


OK, a seeming newbie asks a serious question and he gets flamed by some of you. And from some of his earlier posts, he looks OK to me.

To answer your question, it seems as if you first need to ask yourself why. In effect, why have you (all of a sudden, it seems) started losing muscle mass? Is it, as other posts have asserted, burning the candle at both ends? It sounds as if you think it is being stuck on a strict diet. OK, but why? Is it because you have conflicting goals? It is tough, if not impossible, to add mass without giving up (for a short time, at least) that dry, ripped look you have.

My suggestion would be to change one thing (and only one thing) for two weeks while monitoring your progress. If, for example, you think it is your diet, add Surge or perhaps a serving of Grow! with your post-workout meal. If it is too much cardio, cut back to once a week or so. If there is positive change after two weeks, keep it up; if the change is negative stop.


Also, if you continue on the path you're on you WILL start losing weight, if you can imagine that.

Look at pro bodybuilders. They get in that condition for ONE day, their show. And they are miserable in the process.

If any of them tried to maintain that condition year round, (or even for a month) they would end up in the hospital or suicidal.

What you want to strive for is a healthy balance.


couldn't agree more...

if you want to weigh more...eat more calories than you burn off...it's that simple...


you are a classic case of manorexia...

your proportions are identical to me the summer I turned 14...I was 5'8" and weighed 135 lbs...I had very low bodyfat from playing year round sports and not eating much...

the difference between you and I is that I was embarrased at how unbelievably skinny I was...where as you are proud of it.

unless you want to spend the rest of your life looking like a skinny 14 year old freshman in highschool I suggest you start chowing down.

as a poster above said: IT AIN'T FUCKING ROCKET SCIENCE!


Oh, that was helpful!
For the record, manorexia would be if he were despondent about his body size/shape, binging and/or purging, as well as chronically abusing (not using) supplements ? especially the illegal kind.
Wanting to make progress, stuck in a rut, trying to decide on his priorities do not qualify as diagnostic indicators.


Sounds like you don't want to go through the bulk/cut cycles, which is fine...that's a personal preference. Probably not the most popular approach by the standards of this community, but there's nothing wrong with it.

I'd recommend boosting calories by 250-500/day...mostly with good FATS since you say you eat very little fat. Add those fats either to lower carb meals or to evening low-carb shakes. See how things look after two weeks and then adjust from there. The next step might be to add even more fats, or add some more simple carbs (post-workout and then again an hour or two after that.)

Read some of the Berardi articles on how to gradually boost calories to rev up metabolism.
Whatever you do, don't just sit around reading a thousand different posts and articles and changing your mind everyday. Pick an approach, stick with it, see if it works. There is no way you'll be able to know what's best just by reading about it...too many different opinions out there.


Maybe, maybe not.

How do you know when you are eating super strict and doing lots of cardio? You have basically been through all this before on another thread of yours. Although you got some flaming there also, you also got some good advice. You cannot know you're a hard gainer until you have really tried doing the things necessary to put on size.

Again, I am not sure what advice you are actually looking for. How to gain 10-15lbs while eating strict and doing cardio so you can stay in low single digit BF%? I can honestly say I do not know how you would accomplish those goals under those conditions.


thanks for this post.
i was wondering why there seemed to be a bit of hostility as a respond to my post...


phew, your picture does look decent...

If you ever had seen someone in real life (not on a BB stage) with 3-4% per cent bodyfat and proud of it...

Not good...

You need omega 3?s to balance the huge amount of omega 6 you take in as a vegetarian.

I don?t know how many g of saturated fats you take in right now but something around 30g would probably be good. Try that and take ZMA and see what happens after 4 weeks. Could be that your testosterone is too low because your body has nothing to build it with.

You never cheat? That is probably a bad thing. If you are the " all-or -nothing " type, learn to relax. If 10% are cheat meals it won?t make a lick of difference, but it will help you to stick to your diet in the long run and the long run is all that counts.

I also don?t get what is your problem with bulking a little. It seems like your problem is gaining weight, losing it should be easy for you.