T Nation

Honest Opinions-Complete Beginner

Hello all,

I’m new to the site and I’ve found a ton of the articles that have really helped me out in the gym. I’m a big fan of Thib, and I’ve tried to read all of his articles. Ive been trying to follow the Pound o Week diet from Peter Loux and the Quality Mass Diet from Chris Shugart mixing them together and trying to find what’s best for my body type and my muscular development.

What I would ask of you is a little help and insight on my progression weight-wise because I’m always looking for third fourth and even fifth opinions on how I can become bigger and stronger in the gym.

First off a little background information-

I’m 5’6 155 lbs with a body fat percentage of around 10% or so. I’m a hard gainer, and have been my entire life. I started seriously weight training and dieting around a month and a half ago weighing close to 140 lbs. The weight I’ve put on is more than likely good muscle, even though I’m in a bulking diet. I assume this because I do an almost excessive amount of Cardio work because I play rugby, and that requires us to run all of the time.

Is this an acceptable mass gain for the time I’ve spent dieting and training or should I step it up some?

Before I started seriously training I was ingesting close to 1.6k calories a day and probably like 70g of protein and working out five days a week doing a modified HIT program my friend gave me. I couldn’t put on weight and it really frustrated me because I thought I was training incorrectly or not pushing myself hard enough in the gym. Thankfully I figured out that my problem was in my diet and not my training. I was probably over training even.

Since then I’ve been pushing myself to eat as much as possible, good food no excess sweets-alcohol-ect., and I would estimate my caloric intake is maybe 3k or 4k calories a day (I wish i had more precise numbers but I don’t). I’m trying to take in around 200g of protein a training day in the form of lean meat and chicken, and Whey Protein. I also supplement that intake with one scoop of Creatine prior to going to the gym. I take a multivitamin a day, B6, and a potassium pill (for running cramps with the sport).

Should I be doing anything different with my diet?

Roughly I’ve increased my repping weight on all my exercises,
Starting Bench-130x5 lbs
Now Bench-165x7

Goal Bench- 210

Starting Squat-120x5 lbs
Now Squat-175x8
Max Squat-225

Goal Squat- 275

Starting Deadlift-175 lbs
Now Deadlift-220
Max Deadlift- ~300

Goal Deadlift- ~375

These seem to be some of the better exercises to judge overall strength, excluding Power Cleans because I’m still learning the technique, so my questions are for my weight are these acceptable weights to be throwing around? and for around a month and a half are these decent weight increases?

I work out every muscle group in my body as well so other exercises i.e bicep curls are also progressing at along the same rate.

I appreciate all of the help dudes


You’re not a hard gainer, you need to eat more.

Post your detailed diet.

3000 - 4000 calories is a big gap. Im betting that your probably eating under 3000. Most people who don’t know, arent eating enough. Add in the extensive cardio from rugby, and you simply need more food.

Log your intake for 1- 2 months, you’ll see.

[quote]DOHCrazy wrote:
You’re not a hard gainer, you need to eat more.

Post your detailed diet.

3000 - 4000 calories is a big gap. Im betting that your probably eating under 3000. Most people who don’t know, arent eating enough. Add in the extensive cardio from rugby, and you simply need more food.

Log your intake for 1- 2 months, you’ll see.[/quote]

Agreed with this entirely! “I eat a ton”, “I eat a lot”, and “I eat about 3000 calories a day” all usually mean “I eat about 2200 calories in 2-3 meals and I don’t eat more because I’m full all the time”. That’s not a lot. That being said, you’re gaining weight, so it’s currently working for you.

Additionally, I can almost guarantee you’re not a hardgainer–you’re just doing excessive cardio that’s really slowing down the weight gain process. It is what it is, because you’re in a sport that I assume you love and which requires lots of running. So be it. We can work around that. You have to do what you love anyway.

10 lbs in 6 weeks is a decent weight gain for someone doing a lot of running. I would like to see more rapid weight gain in this “newbie gains” period of time, but I realize it’s not going to happen as fast with all the running.

#1 suggestion for your diet—Get a food log!!! This is essential on so many levels. You need to see EXACTLY how much food you’re eating to gain this 1.4 lbs a week. This is because when that stops working you NEED a starting point to tell you how many MORE calories you need to add to continue to gain muscle. If you don’t have a food log it’ll be hard to figure out how much more to eat.

Weights wise-- for a 150 lb dude they aren’t too bad, but they’re not great. They’re average for your weekend gym rat, which means for your purposes they suck. You’ll get stronger though, so just keep plugging away and make those goals happen.

15lbs in a month and a half is great, assuming you’re right and it’s mostly muscle. Guessing you are young, or those are some pretty sweet beginner gains.

Eating enough is key, make sure you eat a lot of protein on non-training days as well, since those are your recovery days where your muscles are repairing.

What position do you play?
I’d say you should set your squat goal higher, based on your DL.

Thanks for the advice guys, I’ll definitely start a food log and repost with a more detailed description of my diet.

I play the back line positions. Mostly I’ve been playing scrum half and fly half as of late

Yea Woo Rugby.
If you run even near the amount my team did you’ll have to eat tons of food to get bigger. I used to play wing, what position do you play?

Btw my avatar is right before I got my nose broken and had 12 stitches around my eye.

Probably this upcoming game they’re going to put me in as scrummy. I played a lot of wing last semester though but they move me around the back line all the time.

Yeah my backs captain runs us all of the time I have a few friends in the forwards who tell me that they actually stop their practice and watch us do our conditioning while saying “Damn. That looks absolutely terrible.”

Nice, good luck.

Just thinking of doing sprint ladders makes me wanna puke.