T Nation

Help with Muscle Gains


Hi all,

I wasn't sure whether to post this under nutrition or body building since my question sort of encompasses all aspects of physical training. I am currently in the middle east and for the past 2 months I have been attempting to add some muscle to my frame. The reason I am writing here today is because my progress hasn't been proceeding as desired. I dont have unrealistic expectations regarding the amount of muscle that I can build but I was hoping to add around 4-5 pounds of muscle mass within the last 2 months. On the contrary however, my weight has not changed and instead I feel and look a bit fatter. Prior to the bulk I was probably hovering around 9% and now I look to be about 11% body fat). Additionally, I havent really experienced any notable gains in my lifting numbers.

With respect to my nutrition, adequate nutritional information is hard to come by here so alot of estimation is necessitated. I usually try to consume as much protein as possible in the form of eggs, peanut butter, plenty of milk and whatever meat is available. I really cant give a detailed diet log but I assume I am hovering over 3000 calories per day and getting sufficient protein (My last weight in today put me at 73.5 kg or about 162 lbs and this where I have been hovering at for past 2 months). I really wish my diet could be more regimented and when I get back to the states it will be, but for now I must make do with what I have.

In terms of my training, while I am attempting to bulk I also have to keep my run times and push up/pull up numbers up to snuff (nevertheless the push up/pull up numbers have been falling). Generally I train 3 days on and one day off unless I'm unable to train that day. It breaks down as follows:

Monday: Chest/Tricep/Core, followed by Run
Tuesday: Pull Ups/Shoulders
Wednesday: Legs followed by Run
Thursday: Off Day
Friday: Back/Bicep, followed by Run
Saturday:Push Ups/Core
Sunday: Legs followed by Run

I understand that the running may be sapping my gains but they are a necessary part of my fitness standards and I am doing my best to make up for them calorically. Any advice that keeps in mind my need to keep both my running and push up/pull up numbers as high as they can be would be greatly appreciated. Basically what I would like is some advice and helpful critiques. Is there a particular program I could be doing whilst hanging on to the aforementioned priorities that might serve me well. I've done some research prior and have adjusted my diet and workouts according but still to no avail. Sorry for the long post but I knew info on my diet and training would be demanded anyway. Thanks for any help. If you require any further details I will do my best to provide them and apologizes if this was posted to the wrong section of the forum.


lets see, why are you going to the gym to do pushups and core (crunches?) and then another day doing some pullups and shoulders. if you want to add muscle train like a bodybuilder. you are also training too much. less is more and 6 times a week is overkill. move over shoulders to chest day. hit it hard when its already fried. train your back one time a week like you mean it, heavy deadlifts pullups and heavy rows. train legs once a week hard..you wont be able to train them again same week trust me.

this looks like a program taken from some crossfit shit book. you dont need to be in the gym more than 5 times a week 45 mins a pop.

and start eating to grow,forget your abs and skinny jeans at the door or you are just wasting your time.


OP, considering your goals are to gain only a few pounds the reasonable thing to do would be to add more calories. Add 500 calories every week until you hit your goal. One quick way to do this is to add a few table spoons of olive oil to your shakes. You won't notice the extra calories, but your muscles will.

Remember you cannot gain weight if you do not eat. Eating is primarily responsible for weight gain.

Running is not "sapping" your gains. I would recommend 5/3/1. It is a great program that will greatly increase your strength if followed correctly. You can do push-ups after you run if you want.

Bottom line: use 5/3/1 and eat more :slightly_smiling:


Where in the Middle east are you? Im in Jordan right now, let me know if u there so we can meet up


I agree with training like a bodybuilder but, 6 times a week is not overkill. When i can i train 6 days a week at over an hour a session (sometimes 2).

The more days the better and if your serious about this your food intake should make sure you are recovering.


chill out dude you don't even know what exercises he's doing per bodypart, or reps or sets...


How has your diet changed from before being in the middle east to now? Have all your numbers gone down? What else has changed?


My diet has changed primarily in two ways. The first is mostly my own doing in that in choosing to bulk ( the last time I bulked was maybe 6-8 months ago) I obviously am now eating far more food then I had previously ( in addition to performing far less cardio). Secondly, finding adequate sources of protein is often difficult for me. I drink a lot of milk because its readily available and frequent a lot of shwarma shops in order to make up for it. Ideally I would be buying meats and eggs and cooking them but I really don't have access to a kitchen to use. In the states whey protein is readily available and (if looking in the right places) relatively inexpensive. I've purchased some weight gainer which Ill take down at night if I feel I haven't consumed enough calories for the day but it cost me a pretty penny. Generally I feel that though I've had to replace certain food sources with others (I usually supplement my diet with whey protein in the states) I feel that I am consuming the correct amount of macronutrients that a bulking phase requires (I could however be wrong about this).

My numbers for my lifts (not push ups/pull ups) have not gone down but they haven't really gone up either. Aside from that, the only other possible variable that has changed and would be relevant is my sleep. I am trying to get in 8 hours a night but its not always possible and am i fully aware that this is problematic. I don't want to raise false alarms however, for the most part I do get sufficient sleep...Hope this helps.


i've been having the same problem. how often do you weigh yourself. im going to start weighing myself less often so im not worrying about gaining weight "gradually" because it can fluctuate depending salt and water intake. for me i feel like when i weigh myself every morning i was worried if the number jumped too much than i had wanted and because of this i think ive only gained two pounds in 3+ months. Ill be interested to see what others have to say about this.


If it isn't working change it up.


without knowing everything about your training and diet its hard to help you out

maybe you arn't eating as much as you think, you should keep a log for a week and really see how much macros you are consuming.

maybe it is your training, like i said without knowing sets and reps, weight etc. its hard to say

whatever you are doing two months isn't a long time and sometimes you won't notice a change for a while, but a lot of small gains lead to big ones in the long term.
with that said something i like to do is just adding 2.5lbs to each side or less each week or whenever i move up in weight, but anyways this adds up to only 5lbs, but after an entire month if you kept steady progress this equals about a 20lb increase in your lifts which is pretty good progress.

some basic guide lines for sets and reps is to keep your weekly volume for each body part around 12-20 sets, i would start at the low end and increase volume as you progress as a weight lifter. For reps about 8-12 or you can try something like 5x5 whatever you prefer ive gotten gains at all kinds of set and rep schemes.