T Nation

Male, 16, 5'10


#1

For a guy my age, I'm not in extremely skinny and not in good shape at all:
- I have almost no stamina
- my shoulders and hips are extremely narrow
- my legs and arms are virtually toothpicks

Up until now I though that simply eating more would help me improve my situation, but as I've seen in the past 4 years, that's not gonna work. At this point, I'm willing to do anything to improve my body and bulk up. Although I know almost nothing on how to do that.
How should I begin? **Please don't say generic stuff like "eat more calories and lift hard," because that doesn't answer the question at all. I've seen and heard those things a million times, but it doesn't tell me how to begin


#2

I love when someone starts a thread “help me, but don’t tell me X” when X is the most likely answer.

If you don’t want to hear “eat more calories and lift hard” then how about this.

  1. Pick a beginner’s lifting program: Starting Strength, StrongLifts, Madcow, or Greyskull LP. Read up on each of these but don’t overthink it. PICK ONE and just do it EXACTLY AS WRITTEN for at least three months. Then, and only then, consider adjustments based on perceived strengths and weaknesses. No questions about whether I should switch X for Y or add Z because…blah, blah. Just pick one and do it. You can change it…in three months. Not before.

  2. Since you don’t want to hear “eat more calories” - how about this: eat as much meat, vegetables, fruit, and clean carbs as you can. Gaining mass and strength requires calories and nutrition.

  • eat at least three full meals a day. No bullshit that you can’t get up early enough to eat breakfast. If that’s an issue, buy some whole milk and drink it on the way to school, or something.

  • make sure at least one of those meals includes a big hunk of animal flesh. Don’t worry about “lean meats” - eat the skin, etc. Preferably all three meals, but AT LEAST your dinner.

  • eat a calorie dense snack EVERY DAY. Maybe a PB and J sandwich before working out, and another before bed. No, that doesn’t count as a meal replacement. No “I had my sandwich so I’m skipping lunch” or something. Huh-uh.

If you push back against these things, you don’t really want this that much, or you want it but are unwilling to take the steps required. We see this every day in these forums. No skin off our backs, just yours. If you plan on replying with “I tried eating breakfast for a few weeks but it was too hard to get up early” - just go away. No one can help you then


#3

^This

you’ve heard the phrase “eat more” because it’s been proven over and over again. Hard gainers have to eat a lot more than your average dude trying to bulk up. Thats just the way it is. I’ve seen guys drink a gallon of milk a day on top of there food intake. You may think you eat a lot, but you’d be surprised how much you can stuff down in your gullet and how much you really need to.

How bout telling us a detailed description of your current diet.


#4

I went from 105lbs at your age to 190lbs over a couple of years. It is very simple. The question is whether you can put in the effort.

You begin by stuffing your face everyday with solid food. Gradually double your servings on your normal meals. Add in shakes with protein powder, milk, oats and peanut butter. You will feel like shit. You will dread your next meal. Everytime you burp, you will taste the fucking oats and pb. That’s the trade off to get what you want. If you can’t bring yourself to do that every single day, don’t whine about not being able to gain weight because you didn’t want it bad enough.


#5

All the above posters are spot on, As much as you might not like it, being too small is only solved by eating more calories.

Let’s start with some basics:

What exactly did you eat yesterday?
Do you have any medical conditions that you are aware of?


#6

To go a little more specific on the nutritional angle, this article should give you a pretty good idea of what specifically you should be eating

Still one of my favorite articles on this site.


#7

AG, jumping into my brain and stealing my thoughts. Very good info there.

[quote]dbtbza6 wrote:

  • my shoulders and hips are extremely narrow
  • my legs and arms are virtually toothpicks[/quote]
    It looks like your thread title was cut off, but your profile says you’re 105 pounds. That’s incredibly skinny, borderline anorexic, for a kid your age and height. So it’s no surprise at that your shoulders are narrow and your limbs are thin. How tall were you when you were 12 and what did you weigh then? (It doesn’t actually matter a bunch, because your next steps will be the same regardless. Just curious and looking for a little perspective.)

First of all, yes, it does work. It absolutely works in every case. It’s a basic math formula. X calories = Y bodyweight gains; If no bodyweight gains, then X+500; Continue/repeat. You just need to be consistent. 7 days a week for months and months in a row.

I know you said you’ve been at it for 4 years, but either you have a serious, serious health issue (like a tapeworm or wild thyroid issue) or you’ve been spinning your wheels on a bad plan. I’m betting it’s the second.

The bottom line, end-all, be-all is that you need to hit the total calories that your body needs. That might be 3,500 calories or it might be 6,000. It depends on the person and a few variables. But you need to go through the trial and error to figure out what your body needs and then eat that much every single day to see progress.

That’s great to hear. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next 120 days, without skipping a single meal. Make sure each meal has a good protein, carb, and fat source (from the lists here: https://www.T-Nation.com/training/teaching-a-kid-to-lift ). If you’re hungry between meals or later at night, then definitely eat something, but never be “too full” for your actual meal.

Lift weights 4 days a week for the next 120 days, without skipping a single workout (start with the bodyweight workout in the above article). When you train, drink a shake that has protein and carbs (and at least 300 total calories) during your workout.

You forgot to say “tried”.

And like Dagill said, what, exactly, did you eat yesterday?


#8

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:
I love when someone starts a thread “help me, but don’t tell me X” when X is the most likely answer.

If you don’t want to hear “eat more calories and lift hard” then how about this.

  1. Pick a beginner’s lifting program: Starting Strength, StrongLifts, Madcow, or Greyskull LP. Read up on each of these but don’t overthink it. PICK ONE and just do it EXACTLY AS WRITTEN for at least three months. Then, and only then, consider adjustments based on perceived strengths and weaknesses. No questions about whether I should switch X for Y or add Z because…blah, blah. Just pick one and do it. You can change it…in three months. Not before.

  2. Since you don’t want to hear “eat more calories” - how about this: eat as much meat, vegetables, fruit, and clean carbs as you can. Gaining mass and strength requires calories and nutrition.

  • eat at least three full meals a day. No bullshit that you can’t get up early enough to eat breakfast. If that’s an issue, buy some whole milk and drink it on the way to school, or something.

  • make sure at least one of those meals includes a big hunk of animal flesh. Don’t worry about “lean meats” - eat the skin, etc. Preferably all three meals, but AT LEAST your dinner.

  • eat a calorie dense snack EVERY DAY. Maybe a PB and J sandwich before working out, and another before bed. No, that doesn’t count as a meal replacement. No “I had my sandwich so I’m skipping lunch” or something. Huh-uh.

If you push back against these things, you don’t really want this that much, or you want it but are unwilling to take the steps required. We see this every day in these forums. No skin off our backs, just yours. If you plan on replying with “I tried eating breakfast for a few weeks but it was too hard to get up early” - just go away. No one can help you then [/quote]

Nothing else more to say.


#9

One, two more things to say. Haha.

Switching from 2-3 whey shakes/day to 2-3 mass gainer shakes/day helped me a out a lot. Obviously this was in addition to three squares.

Also try chugging a 6-12 raw eggs (preferably pasture-raised) EVERY night immediately before bed. Along with the nutritional boost you get a Rockyesuqe mental boost.


#10

[quote]TX iron wrote:
Also try chugging a 6-12 raw eggs (preferably pasture-raised) EVERY night immediately before bed. Along with the nutritional boost you get a Rockyesuqe mental boost.[/quote]

This is what I was getting at with the “big snack” idea. If chugging raw eggs grosses OP out, he can eat a PB and J, every single night, before going to bed. Generous with the PB, too, as big of a glop as you can fit between the slices of bread. Or if you like, eat a whole damn jar of peanut butter every night. I don’t care. The point is, do everything you normally do in a day - eat breakfast, eat lunch, go to the gym, eat dinner - and then make sure you get an extra 1000-plus calories before going to bed. Don’t skimp on the meals because the snack is coming, either. Eat three full meals and the huge before-bed snack.

If you do that, and lift as instructed with one of the aforementioned programs, and you’re still not gaining weight after three months…well, that just won’t happen. Either you’ll do it right and gain some quality weight, or you’ll do it wrong and blame someone/something else for it not working.


#11

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]TX iron wrote:
Also try chugging a 6-12 raw eggs (preferably pasture-raised) EVERY night immediately before bed. Along with the nutritional boost you get a Rockyesuqe mental boost.[/quote]

This is what I was getting at with the “big snack” idea. If chugging raw eggs grosses OP out, he can eat a PB and J, every single night, before going to bed. Generous with the PB, too, as big of a glop as you can fit between the slices of bread. Or if you like, eat a whole damn jar of peanut butter every night. I don’t care. The point is, do everything you normally do in a day - eat breakfast, eat lunch, go to the gym, eat dinner - and then make sure you get an extra 1000-plus calories before going to bed. Don’t skimp on the meals because the snack is coming, either. Eat three full meals and the huge before-bed snack.

If you do that, and lift as instructed with one of the aforementioned programs, and you’re still not gaining weight after three months…well, that just won’t happen. Either you’ll do it right and gain some quality weight, or you’ll do it wrong and blame someone/something else for it not working.[/quote]

Agree 100%

I’ve got some pretty skinny friends (not a huge guy myself) who can’t gain yet have “huge appetites”. Then I see them eat nothing all day save a breakfast taco until they cram in a big burrito in the afternoon, thinking that that’ll be sufficient. Sorry compadres.


#12

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]TX iron wrote:
Also try chugging a 6-12 raw eggs (preferably pasture-raised) EVERY night immediately before bed. Along with the nutritional boost you get a Rockyesuqe mental boost.[/quote]

This is what I was getting at with the “big snack” idea. If chugging raw eggs grosses OP out, he can eat a PB and J, every single night, before going to bed. Generous with the PB, too, as big of a glop as you can fit between the slices of bread. Or if you like, eat a whole damn jar of peanut butter every night. I don’t care. The point is, do everything you normally do in a day - eat breakfast, eat lunch, go to the gym, eat dinner - and then make sure you get an extra 1000-plus calories before going to bed. Don’t skimp on the meals because the snack is coming, either. Eat three full meals and the huge before-bed snack.

If you do that, and lift as instructed with one of the aforementioned programs, and you’re still not gaining weight after three months…well, that just won’t happen. Either you’ll do it right and gain some quality weight, or you’ll do it wrong and blame someone/something else for it not working.[/quote]

I have heard your body has a hard time processing raw egg whites. But runny yolks are the shit. 6 to 12 eggs sunny-side up on a stack of pancakes is a fantastic way to go.


#13

[quote]dbtbza6 wrote:
I’ve seen and heard those things a million times, but it doesn’t tell me how to begin[/quote]

What does this even mean?? You got lots of GREAT all-encompassing advice in here from dudes who know their shit…I’m going to go the more literal route with this.

(1) acquire a barbell and some weights or find a place you can make time to go to three times a week and train.

(2) Look up any 5x5 or 3x5 well-known and used strength program and decide on a routine. Pick your days.

(3) Go to wherever that barbell is.

(4) start lifting it and follow the god damn routine

(5) IMPORTANT: don’t quit.

There you go. That is how you begin.


#14

Dude if I had your problem I would eat a 2 pounds of Beef a day, 12 eggs a day, and a half gallon of my favorite ice cream daily. Guess what bet wouldn’t be a problem after that.

12 Eggs with Cheese- 88g Pro, 10g Carbs, 54g fat
2 pounds of 85/15 Beef- 200g Pro, 0 carbs, 80g of fat after cooking and draining
1 half gallon of Cookie Dough Ice Cream- 25g of pro, 300 carbs, 100g of fat.

Total 313 pro, 310g carb, 234g fat, total 4600 not counting the other stuff I would be eating with those things like tortillas and cheese I would be eating the beef and stuff with.

Obviously I am not advising this but, if you can gain fat you can muscle and eating like the above you will gain something.


#15

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

This is what I was getting at with the “big snack” idea. If chugging raw eggs grosses OP out, he can eat a PB and J, every single night, before going to bed. Generous with the PB, too, as big of a glop as you can fit between the slices of bread. Or if you like, eat a whole damn jar of peanut butter every night. I don’t care. The point is, do everything you normally do in a day - eat breakfast, eat lunch, go to the gym, eat dinner - and then make sure you get an extra 1000-plus calories before going to bed. Don’t skimp on the meals because the snack is coming, either. Eat three full meals and the huge before-bed snack.
[/quote]

When I first started getting un-skinny at 20 years old I’d just eat as much peanut butter as I could stomach every night before bed.

OP – great advice in this thread. Follow it if you want to change.

EDIT: TX Iron I love your avatar.