T Nation

Muscle gain without any supplements


Out of curiosity have any of the people who are train consistently and are intermediate or advanced trainees put on an appreciable (10 to 15 lbs) of MUSCLE in a duration of 12 weeks WITHOUT using any of the following
- steriods
- products such as Mag 10
- creatine
- protein powder

If so, how? Please explain your diet, workout plans.

Thanks to all in advance who contribute.


10-15 pounds of muscle? I couldn't put that on in two years at my age without any of the products you mention and I doubt anyone can, especialy an advanced trainee.


Dudes in prison do it all the time with significantly lower quality and quantities of food than a regular joe has access to. Lean red meat, eggs, and cottage cheese would be my 3 main protein choices a long with chicken, tuna and other low fat dairy. Add in some flax or salmon oil and clean carbs and your off to the races. As for the training method, there are plenty of programs to choose from on this site.


Hmmmmm, could be done but would be extremely rare and would probably include quite a large fat increase as well.


Why no protein powder? I consider protein powders along with flax and fish oil to be food. It's part of my diet. Another question- why no supplements at all? What about post-workout shakes.


I can understand why you wouldnt want to use roids, androgens, or creatine. But why on gods green earth would you not want to use protein powder?
Poor college student excuses dont count. I am one, and I found the way to purchase my supps by cutting out two binge drinking nights a week.


You're really screwing yourself without the protein powder. Without pre and/or post workout protein + dextrose/maltodextrin shakes, your results are going to be severely diminished.


CGB: You doubt an advanced trainee can add 10-15 lbs without supplements?

I can. I followed GVT and John Berardi's diet recommendations, without any supplements with the exception of protein powder for post workout, and I gained 14 lbs. I've been training for 4 years.

10-15 lbs is ABSOLUTELY accomplishable in 12 weeks. I put on 14 lbs in 8 weeks. Considering your hormone profile is decent (meaning your testosterone levels are average), you get decent sleep, your diet is finely tweaked as per JB, you follow a mass gain routine balls to the walls, and your stress levels arent out of line...then, YES YOU CAN gain 10-15 lbs in that period of time VERY easily.

Now, if everytime you gain one lb you go reduce your calories because you're afraid to lose your abs, you're not gonna accomplish anything. If you smash your balls to the wall at the gym and eat right and enough calories to support new growth, you will grow.


By the way, protein powder is just another protein source like chicken, tuna, eggs... It has the advantage of being more quickly absorbed, ideally for post workout, BUT, you can still gain 10-15 lbs of mass without it provided you substitute it for an adequate source of protein. While more slowly absorbed, tuna, eggs, chicken will still provide the building blocks for new growth.

Remember, Protein supplements are just that - a supplement. You can eat a chicken breast, or have a protein shake. If you dont have a protein shake just have the damn chicken.


You could hang slabs of meat from your body, but aside from that, I don't think that gaining even half of that would be possible in that amount of time if you've been training for a considerable amount of time.


You don't need protein powder. It's just convenient. Putting on mass without it isn't a problem. Getting your calories low enough while getting enough protein while dieting without the use of protein powder is another story.


I could do it.


diesel, I said I couldn't. He asked for opinions. I'm sure happy for you, but I'm 31 years old and definitely don't have the capacity to do what I could have done when I was 20 or younger. Yes, I can dial things in and get good results, but 10-15 pounds of MUSCLE in 12 weeks? Are you telling me all that you put on was muscle? After 4 years of hard training and proper nutrition? Anyway, my abs have never been visible and I intend to keep it that way. I worry about what's on the bar and not anything else.


Over a pound of muscle (muscle, not mass - mass isn't a damn problem) a week would be pretty damn spectacular. Outside of the Weider Principles (especially the Intensity Principle), it cannot be done. Okay, the last sentence was a joke, for those who are horrible at English or have the regrettable problem of "not getting it" in general. But outside of steroids, it would be just about impossible for anyone of non-newbie status to do, without adding large (read: Roseanne Barr-size) amounts of fat.

You can, however, add size and strength without any of those things mentioned. They are not necessary. They help a lot of people, but they aren't the ticket.


Diesel, with only four years of training, you're still practically a newbie. Don't worry, I thought I was "advanced" at 4 years too. I wasn't.

The point is, if someone can naturally add that much muscle in that short of a time period then he probably isn't truly advanced. True muscular gains are hard to come by after 10 years of hard training without some sort of help. In that case, MAG-10 is a godsend.

And yes, solid food is always the best choice, but trying to put away 300 grams of protein a day without the powders is pretty tough if you have a busy life, family, work etc...


As has been said, just by eating plenty of food and training smart, it can be done.


My definition of Newbie involves a weightlifter with less than 2 years of experience.

I am an intermediate weightlifter.

After 2 years of weightlifting you dont seriously expect someone will add mass as easily as they did say....during the first 6 months of weightlifting.

Also, 31 yrs of age isnt that old. Sure, your hormone profile starts to decline , but your performance shouldnt be degraded that much.


Hey Diesel nice gains, I too have made similar gains on the same program (with protein powder+creatine though). Anyway how old were you when you made those gains? I'm still in my early 20's (23) and the men in my family don't generally fill out till about 25-27 so I feel that some of my gains were puberty related.


Just plain being a beginning lifter will get you that. First year I was introduced to iron I went from a size 14 at 160 pounds to a size 10 at 155 pounds...that's a lot of muscle. And I was eating bagels and fruit because I was still running hehe!!


To answer this it all depends on how you define intermediate or advanced lifter. Also some of the gain would likely be fat, cant see how you could gain that much muscle unless you were a newbie.

You could have someone who has been lifting for years yet never gaining due to a maintenance level diet. Or maybe someone who is a runner or some endurance athlete. Those sorts of people likely could gain that much weight if put on a correct diet and lifting plan for that purpose.

Compare that to someone who has been hitting the weights hard for years with the goal of gaining weight/strength. That sort would have a tough time to gain a lot, unless a vast change in knowledge happened or they were previously working under false beliefs.