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In Really Bad Condition, What Should I Do?

I cannot do a recomp anymore because I have been training for a year and I look horrible and just feel horrible too. I am 17 years old and I am 6’0" and weigh a little ,154lbs. Completely on an empty stomach I weigh around 152-153 lbs. Unfortunately, I am at a high body fat, 24%ish. Waist is 33".


I am in an absolutely disastrous condition right now. Should I just go ahead and bulk up until 180lbs and do some 3-4 week minicuts in between? Please give me some advice.

Using Calculator I got that if I want to get to 15% body fat I would have to weigh only 129lbs, which is anorexic at my height and somehow, I am already underweight.

I really need help, what can I do?

Dude you’re 17… You’re not even done growing yet. Where did you get the idea to bulk up sparsed with “mini cuts?” It sounds to me like you’ve got some body image issues … You look like an average 17-year old to me. You need to forget everything you think you know about fitness and start from scratch. Learn about proper nutrition and start a strength program and you will see results I PROMISE.


I think you need to chill out a little; to say you are in “disastrous” condition is an overstatement. Mark Rippetoe has some good e-books for beginners you can download into a Kindle. I also really like Mark Lauren’s ideas about body weight exercises; he has a website you can go to.

To reiterate what everyone above me said, brother you need to take a deep breath and relax a little. You’re 17, you’re not that fat by any means, as stated above, you look like every other kid who has just started lifting.

Meat, Veggies, Rice are now the main things you eat, in generous helpings, 5 times a day. And pick a solid starter work out and stick too it. You’ll be fine man, enjoy the ride!

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Thanks to both of you. I cannot do any body weight exercises besides pushups.

I am currently doing a PPL 2x/week, with compound focus on strength and isolations on hypertrophy. I have gotten my bent over BB row to 135lbs 3x5 but bench is still at 100lbs 3x5.

I’ve tried full body (been experimenting this whole half year) and didn’t gain on it despite eating enough. PPL has still treated me decently and I have been making steady progress on it.

For TDEE I used the McArdle and got that my TDEE is 2350kcal/day based on PPL 5 days a week (PPLRPPR) I have been eating 2650 on rest days and 2800 on workout days (from exercise) and its been going good I’d say. On full body even eating 3000 I couldnt gain.

If you weren’t gaining you weren’t eating enough. Results are a much better barometer than a formula from the internet. Whichever program you pick, stick to it for a long time. Changes don’t happen overnight.

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If you can’t do any bodyweight exercises, you would probably get a lot out of adding some bodyweight exercises to your routine.

Step ups
Pull ups
Fat Man Chins
Pushups with your feet up
Ab Fallouts
Hanging Leg Raises

Anything where you develop full body tightness, and learn to brace, and push or pull your body thru space.

Just try to be better next month then you are this month. Do that every month and you’ll amaze yourself.

You have decades of strength and conditioning in front of you. Build habits. Better habits lead to better numbers.

Also what does your diet and nutrition look like? Could you give a more detailed plan? As max13 said, i would bet the house you’re not eating close to enough.


QUESTION: It’s not possible that I have Low Test right? I have an extremely high sex drive (trust me on this one…) and grow facial hair in a week or 2 weeks. I am not sure if my testicles are averaged sized or below though.

Ok, I’ll break it down. I am literally tracking everything from MFP, I don’t even eat things that dont have a nutritional label anymore.

I am doing the PPLRPPR workout pattern so I put that as my activity level.
TDEE: So I went to TDEE Calculator and this calculator has the bf% option too so this was good. I got that my TDEE is 2350kcal/day (Katch-McArdle). So the ideal surplus is 300kcal so 2650 kcal/day. Then I would assume I burn around 100-150kcal during the workout (Coolcidada’s PPL). So that makes my total 2750kcal-2800 kcal.

What I eat: I’m tracking everything so I am eating mainly brown rice, sauces, vegetables (fried/boiled), some pancakes some times, cereals, peanut butter + bread, nuts (roasted cashews, almonds…) . Mostly very clean, not a lot of high GI.

Answer: Dude your 17, the chance of you having low test are extremely slim.

Ok so step one you have your maintenance calories in check it seems, but you didn’t mention macros or meat in anyway. Do you not eat meat or fish?

Sorry, dammit. Yes I do. I eat 150-200g raw chicken breast/day. I cook it of course, but I count the calories as if it was raw. So if I am going to cook and eat 200g chicken breast I input it as 200g chicken breast. I also drink 2 whey protein shakes, once in the morning and once post workout.

I am hitting protein perfectly, even going a bit over the required 1g/lb intake.

Also, I’m turning 18 soon (2 months left). I need to capitalize on my Test levels while I have them. The problem is I don’t want to gain a lot of fat. If you saw my photos, I already have a ton of substanceous fat, and I have diabetes in my genes -_- . F***

again, I feel the need to drive this home: REEELLLLAAAXXX

You’re talking about diabetes caused by fat gain and you’re an extremely average looking 17 year old dude. There is nothing wrong with being that, but its what you are.

Do you work outs, eat your meals 5 times a day, and just let nature take its course. You’re not going to have a six pack right away, and you might put on a little fat, but don’t worry about it because you’ll also put on a shit ton of muscle. Just get big and strong, and then figure out the direction in say a year. You don’t need a plan right now. If you feel fat or out of shape start going for a jog or something. But you shouldn’t even think of that for 8 months. It seems you have a good plan, just stay consistent and you’ll be fine kid.

Speaking of workouts, what is yours looking like?

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Thank you sir! I really needed someone to tell me that. I am currently doing a modified version of coolcidada’s PPL. I’ll put the exact routine here:

Push (Chest/Triceps/Shoulders):

Flat Barbell Bench Press: 3x5
Seated (or Standing) Barbell Shoulder/Overhead Press: 3x5
Dumbell chest press: 3x10-12
Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise: 3x10-12
Rope Pushdowns (circuit machine): 3x10-12
Overhead Dumbbell Extension or similar triceps exercise: 3x10-12

Pull (Back/Biceps):

Barbell Rows: 3x5
Lat Pulldowns (circuit machine): 3x8-10
Underhand pull downs: 2x8-12
Seated Rows: 3x8-10
Face-pulls: 3x-10-12
Assisted chinups: 3x-10-12
Seated Incline hammer curls: 3x10-12
Shrugs(circuit machine or dumbbells): 3x10-12

Legs (Quad/Ham/Calves):

Barbell Squats: 4x5-6
Leg Press: 3x8-10
Leg Extensions (circuit machine): 3x10-12
Hamstring Curls (circuit machine): 3x10-12
Standing Calf Raises (circuit machine): 5x10-12

Thats my routine I run it like PPLRPPR, (legs 2x/week seems too much for me for now).

Question: Is the volume too little or too much?

Lifts: (They really really suck) bench press 3x5: 100lbs, BB Row 3x5: 124lbs, Squat 4x5: 135lbs, OHP 3x5 50lbs, DB Chest pressx8: 40lbs.

I’m pushing myself to increase the strength on bench and once I can hit 140-145lbs for 4-5 reps I’m going to change to 135lbs x 8.

Honestly that plan looks very solid. Just stick with it. Take a picture of yourself today, and DO NOT step on a scale or take a picture for 8 weeks. After doing all that for 8 weeks, take your picture and compare the two. I think the change will impress you. Just to do that every 8 weeks for almost a year and youll be able to see the progress.

“Long is the road and hard is way” man, just keep at it youll be fine.

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Thanks a lot bro, for all your help and all your motivation, I’m going to keep at it. I’m surely going to post a transformation on T-Nation someday. Thanks again, I really appreciate all of this!

This sounds neat and I get what you’re saying, but tons of great food don’t have nutrition labels, like fruit, vegetables, and most homemade meals.

You’re really not. 150-200g (raw) chicken plus 2 whey shakes isn’t even 100g protein per day unless you’re using like 3-4 scoops per shake. You should be eating some animal-based protein (meat or eggs or dairy) in every meal. A lack of protein absolutely explains why you haven’t been building muscle this whole time.

Forget about the low Test. It’s very unlikely you’re having an issue with that. Forget about “mini-cuts” during a bulk, they’re a waste of time and energy. Focus on lifting exactly like you’re doing, fix your nutrition to actually get enough protein every day, and increase calories to make your bodyweight go up each week. You can scale back on carbs slightly on your rest day and one of the Push days to get a handle on fat gain, and/or add 15 minutes of easy-ish cardio right after lifting 3-4 days a week.

You’re at an age where most guys can make giant progress. Hitting the gym 6 days a week, resting when you’re not lifting, and eating well every day will get you where you want to be. Stop overfocusing on charts and calculations. Make any adjustments based on what you’re actually seeing on the scale and in the gym.

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Thanks a lot. All this time I had been fed information saying only go 3 times a week, some even said 2 times a week and it just wasn’t working. This PPL 2x/week is actually more energizing and I’ve broken the bench press plateau already. I get protein from other sources too. Here is a snap of what I ate today (it was push day) I haven’t completely eaten and I am aiming for 2800 kcal for today.

I’m getting some good protein from nuts and even rice due to the high amount of brown rice I am eating.

Protein from non-animal sources is much, much lower quality. The body can’t turn that protein into muscle as easily as it can from better sources. It’s best not to even “count” protein from grains or nuts when calculating daily protein intake.

Looking at that day’s diet, you’re not eating like someone who wants to build muscle. “Breakfast” is a banana and peanut butter? “Lunch” is rice and nuts? C’mon man those are snacks, at best, not meals. Can you have eggs? I’d shoot for a dozen eggs every day, or as close to it as you can get.

Hi, sorry, I should have explained this – I just log it wherever. For breakfast today I actually had 2 pieces of bread with peanut butter and 1 banana and a scoop of whey protein. For lunch I had the brown rice and some schzwan vegetables (cottage cheese, capsicum, onion, mushrooms, sauce…) and for a 5PM meal I again had rice, schzwan vegetables and chicken. Then for a evening snack/meal I had 2 pieces of bread and peanut butter again and some banana chips and a lot of nuts.

Eggs are really really low quality where I live; I’d rather not eat them than get sick. It seems I was under the misconception of protein is protein.

What should I be eating? I should be having 5 meals a day right? So every 2-3 hours a meal with 550 kcal? Rice/chicken/vegetables/nuts?