T Nation

My Friend Won't Grow

Hey guys,

Need advise. I have been helping a friend for about 2 years now trying to get the fucker to grow. But to no avail. He just keeps getting stronger!

Just to give you an idea these are some of the lifts he can do:-

Flat BB Bench Press - 4sets/5reps - 125Kg
Bentover BB Row - " " - 100Kg
Military Press - " " - 65Kg
Deadlift - 1RM - 195Kg
Pullddowns - 4sets/5reps - 115Kg
Leg Press - 3sets/10reps- 200Kg

I know that he’s not the strongest in the grand scale of things but his aim is HYPERTROPHY. his form is good too. (Re: the leg press’: he can’t squat for shit. I wouldn’t want to be near him when he does try!)

Here are some measurements:-

Height - 6’3"
Weight - 215lbs
Body Fat - At a Guess 12-15%
Neck - 16"
Chest (relaxed) - 43 1/2"
(expanded)- 46"
Waist - 41"
Arms (right) - 15 1/2"
(Left) - 16 1/2"
Shoulders - 22" across
Quads - 25"

So not really big. (I’m bigger and I haven’t trained for a year!!!)

Will try and get a photo to attach but he is really funny about having photo’s taken. It was hard enough to get him to agree to have his measurements taken!

He eats about 3000 calories taking in 225g of protein a day. carbs come in the form of wholemeal pasta and rice and fats through olive oil. It’s all pretty damn clean!

According to him he is a Former Fat Boy and been training from about 17 so approx 7-8 years. he was doing mostly strength training when we meet so I changed that and so far we have tried everything:

Bodypart split
fullbody training
3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
3x5
5x5
push/pull split

He seems to adapt to the training stimulus VERY quickly and says he “feels fat” if he slows down on the training front.
Nothing is working and he has followed all of the advise I have given him from these hallowed pages!

I can’t get him to grow. What the hell does he do next?

AS is out so don’t even suggest it!

Please help before one of us commits harri karri!

Dave

At 3000 calories per day, it isn’t a surprise that he isn’t growing. Short answer: eat more and up the calories if he wants to grow.

[quote]LevelHeaded wrote:
At 3000 calories per day, it isn’t a surprise that he isn’t growing. Short answer: eat more and up the calories if he wants to grow.[/quote]

Read this several more times, and then if he still hasn’t grown over the next few months, read it again.

Size = calories

6’3" and 215 is not small by any means, but his lifts aren’t huge for a man of that size either. On 25 reps per bodypart and 3000 calories he will continue to get slowly stronger, but not much else.

IMHO he needs to

  1. Eat more, slowly increasing calories to 5-6000.
  2. Train more. Increase the volume methodically until he is doubling his curent volume.
  3. Check rest and other recovery inhibitors and make sure they are not stopping him.
  4. Drink a lot of water.
  5. Do this for a few years.

Good luck
jack

Eat alot of eggs (yes with yolk) and almonds.

[quote]jackreape wrote:
6’3" and 215 is not small by any means, but his lifts aren’t huge for a man of that size either. On 25 reps per bodypart and 3000 calories he will continue to get slowly stronger, but not much else.

IMHO he needs to

  1. Eat more, slowly increasing calories to 5-6000.
  2. Train more. Increase the volume methodically until he is doubling his curent volume.
  3. Check rest and other recovery inhibitors and make sure they are not stopping him.
  4. Drink a lot of water.
  5. Do this for a few years.

Good luck
jack[/quote]

Pretty much comprehensive coverage there. Jack is a full service insurance provider. :wink:

Key word is SLOWLY increase calories and volume. I’d say start with 3500 for a couple weeks, then up it to 4000/day. Stay there for a while til growth slows, then up it some more. If you’re gaining over 1.5 lb a week, then cut 200-300 calories/day out. I say this because he’s an FFB, and as such gaining fat is probably going to freak him out, even though it’s a requirement to grow.

Make sure he gets all his meals in. Also, up the volume. One way to do this is to pyramid up in weight, then after hitting a target weight for set reps, drop down and do a couple high rep sets. Just work on getting volume to the muscles. Switch up to 8-10 reps for a while, then go back to heavier weights. Try adding a set of each exercise each week for 4 weeks, then dropping the volume for a week and starting the pyramid over.

Chances are it’s your diet though.

[quote]jackreape wrote:
6’3" and 215 is not small by any means, but his lifts aren’t huge for a man of that size either.[/quote]

Actually, 215lbs at 6’3" wouold be like someone of average height (around 6ft tall) weighing under 180lbs. That is why his lifts aren’t that big. I agree with everything else you wrote though.

Did nobody notice the 41 inch waist? Seems a little big for 215.

uh… 41inch waist?! I read this post thinking he was at his muscular limit and needed more food to add mass… now I’m confused.

[quote]luceb wrote:
Did nobody notice the 41 inch waist? Seems a little big for 215.[/quote]

That would depend on HOW IT WAS TAKEN. Considering how much our waists get measured in the military, I am convinced most people have no clue how to take a measurement. I have seen some here write measurements taken while their stomachs are protruded as far as possible under no voluntary control even though the person doesn’t walk around like that all day.

[quote]kinein wrote:
uh… 41inch waist?! I read this post thinking he was at his muscular limit and needed more food to add mass… now I’m confused. [/quote]

You thought someone with a 43" chest was at their muscular limit?

???

Here’s my advice:

  • Add in BCAAs (enough of them too!) - especially during training - but first thing in the morning and at night too
  • Try something like TRIBEX to increase T
  • Give CW’s bodybuilding revolution workout plan a try - where you go through phases to train 8x per week (doing it myself now)

I’m not huge (yet), but am making good progress.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
luceb wrote:
Did nobody notice the 41 inch waist? Seems a little big for 215.

That would depend on HOW IT WAS TAKEN. Considering how much our waists get measured in the military, I am convinced most people have no clue how to take a measurement. I have seen some here write measurements taken while their stomachs are protruded as far as possible under no voluntary control even though the person doesn’t walk around like that all day. [/quote]

At the navel w/ a natural standing posture. Not sucking in, not pushing out. I thought this was standard procedure for a waist measurement. Am I mistaken?

[quote]luceb wrote:
Professor X wrote:
luceb wrote:
Did nobody notice the 41 inch waist? Seems a little big for 215.

That would depend on HOW IT WAS TAKEN. Considering how much our waists get measured in the military, I am convinced most people have no clue how to take a measurement. I have seen some here write measurements taken while their stomachs are protruded as far as possible under no voluntary control even though the person doesn’t walk around like that all day.

At the navel w/ a natural standing posture. Not sucking in, not pushing out. I thought this was standard procedure for a waist measurement. Am I mistaken?

[/quote]

No, YOU aren’t mistaken, but that doesn’t mean the OP isn’t.

So basically he needs to up the calories gradually. what’s the max calories he should go up too? 5000?

And the exercises with weights lifted wasn’t a program it was just to show his relative strength.

suplimentation should be BCAA’s. what about creatine? or will that cause water retention equaling him freaking about “getting fat”??

More protein as well I gather!

oh yeah and I did the waist mesurment correctly!

full bodyworkouts 4-6 sets 8-12 pyramiding up the weigth then a drop set or too at the end?

That abut cover it?

Dave

215 at 6’3" is borderline skinny, unless he is very lean, which you say he is not. I am 6’4", I’ve been lifting for about 2 years, and I was about 220 when I started, but probably a little fatter than your friend. Comparable LBM, in other words.

Based on my (limited) experience, I would guess that 3000 is pretty close to maintenance kcals for your friend, maybe even sub-maintenance, if he’s working hard in the gym.

He should be eating at least 3500, IMO, and would probably not gain too much fat at 4000. I would be cautious going too much over 4000, at least at first. In my experience, I have put on more fat that I liked when I’ve gone over 4000.

But I’m almost 34, and I usually lift only 3 days a week. If your friend is younger, and works out more, he probably can handle more calories.

This may not be of much help to you, but my good friend sounds familiar to yours and this is what has assisted him in growing for the first time in many years. He was once heavier and softer though extremely strong.

He used to compete in bench competitions in the 220’s. He can go out and run 7 miles daily and still carry extra bodyfat, and if he lifts he does grow (full body or general splits). It’s some weird, aweful genes when it comes to bodybuilding; however I would not want to fight him. He is much more powerful and can outwork ya.

So…he must watch what he eats as to add fairly clean. Yes, the calories must get up there on his heavy days (and he exceeds 3000 easy on them) but he does calorie rotate with low days to maintain he doesn’t get out of fat control.

In terms of lifting, he found that his slow twitch fibers need to get overtrained briefly to stimulate growth. He then backs off for the growth or compensation, then overtrains again. He might, for example, go through legs three days in a row or 3 out of 5 days, then back off for 3-5 days resting his legs for growth. This is what has gotten his body to add muscle.

I am usure of the exact rotation he does, but you learn what works for your body.

First, it looks like a strength gaining routine he’s on, what with the five rep per set thing.

Try upping the reps to 10 - 15 per set for three weeks. Oh, and doing 3 to 5 sets per exercise. And doing a total of 12 to 20 sets per muscle group.

The calorie advice is spot on. Make sure most of the carbs are first thing in the morning and right after the workout. If he’s wanting to add lots of mass, eat carbs all day, up to 400 grams.

After three weeks, go back to a strength week of five reps per set. But go back to the high reps soon.

Everyone wants to be big and strong. To maximize your effort, they can’t be done concurrently. One at a time.

NO squats and deadslifts and he should be eating huge meals as often as he can