T Nation

Natty Advice to Add Size?


#1

Goal is to get some more size and work on appearance of muscularity as a natty.

I am torn of what to do. I want to look muscular but not be as soft as I am. Wondering if I should lean out a bit for 8-10 weeks with lowering carbs to 50% , go more aggressive with Get Shredded Diet for 10 weeks then resume with a more moderate version of what I am eating now.

I am not sure if I even need as much food as I am eating to make the gains that are possible without gear.

Back and traps lagging - have cervical issues that are making upper body work difficult, especially pulls.

Thinking I need to be leaner and specialize on parts to gain size as opposed to bringing everything up. Trying to gain quality muscle and not be a slob.

Weight: 180 lbs

Average Approx Intake: 3000 kcal Training Days - 265 protein / 330 carb / 70 fat
2700 kcal Off Days - 240 protein / 230 carb / 90 fat

Food choices are clean - no junk.

Peri-workout protocol
Pre: I don’t go to gym on empty stomach,
Intra; Creatine, BCAAS, 25 grams of carb
Post: Meal or Shake of varying size

Workouts: I run the below schedule in a 2 on 1 off fashion.

Day 1 Pulling
Day 2 Pushing Chest
Day 3 Legs Hamstring Focus
Day 4 Pulling
Day 5 Pushing Shoulder
Day 6 Legs Quad Focus

Conditioning 3-5 minutes, maybe 10 of moderate to high intensity stuff to not be total slob.


#2

Damn that’s a lot of food, brother! Maybe you work construction or landscaping or something similar and you need that much food; maybe you’re a student or have a desk job and you need to lower the calorie intake.

For reference, I’m currently 180 lbs at around 9 or 10% bodyfat with a desk job where I sit on my ass for the majority of my day and I eat, roughly,:
200-220g protein
180-300g carbs (carb cycling for me…so average that to 250g)
50-100g fat (flucuations opposite carbs…so average that to 75g)
Average of 2500 calories a day

I believe that you (you specifically) can get leaner, like you want, while still remaining in a calorie surplus by simply backing off the food intake a bit. I’m not a coach so I’m not going to get more specific in the advice area; I’ll just leave this by saying that you look like you have a good frame and good potential, but 3,000 calories a day is not necessary for you and is probably the reason you’re carrying a bit of extra, unwanted weight.

At the end of the day, building muscle is a mathematical situation. Your body will only use as many calories as it needs and it’ll store the other calories that it doesn’t need. You are not a tiny, skinny, “hardgainer” newb that needs to force-feed himself, so don’t.

I hope others will chime in with advice that might be more specific advice. But you can take my decade of experience for what its worth.


#3

How long have you been eating 3000 calories? I myself maintain a weight of 179 to 180 on around 3000 calories. The way you split focus on leg days I would also do with push and pull. Focus on vertical pulling on one day and horizontal the other. On push start with shoulders one day chest the other.


#4

How long have you been consistently working out and eating this way?
How active are you throughout the day (non exercise physical activity)?

This will have a big impact on what recommendations you receive.


You have definitely built a solid base, but I agree that you could probably start with reducing your calories slightly (depending on answers to the above questions). I’m sitting at 210lbs (no clue what BF%, but under 15% if I were to venture a guess) and I’m in the 2500cal maintenance range similarly to @IronAndMetal. I too sit on my ass for 8+ hours per day and am in the gym for less than an hour, so keep that in mind with regards to calorie consumption.

Nothing glaringly wrong with your training split or macro breakdown though and you’ve definitely surpassed the “do you even lift” physique, so good on ya.


#5

Shit, I work a labor job and only eat 2500-3000 a day at 200-210. Still feel like it’s too much some days. You’re just going to have to try and mess with variables man. Maybe cut carbs low and do high fats with a carb load every few days, or drop protein for more fats and less carb, etc. tons of variables man. Also, you saying you “eat clean” doesn’t really matter imo in terms of leaning out, getting big, etc. You may eat “cleaner” foods, but your sugars or sodium intake might be through the roof. Again, many variables.

You look fairly bloated in the front pose pic, but don’t seem to have much fat storage in places, so it looks like it sits evenly all over. How long have you been lifting, and what are your maxes in your main lifts? Also, you said you do 3-5 minutes of conditioning, so I would just drop down to 3-4 days a week of training and 2-3 conditioning days. See if pushing conditioning changes your body at all or anything.


#6

Real talk, you guys get by at 180/200 weight with 3k calories a day?

I’m 150 and I need to push roughly 4k calories a day to make noticeable gains in the weight department.


#7

I maintain 200lbs on 4k. I sit at a desk most of the day. This is individual and largely dependant on one’s metabolism.


#8

Yep, over 200lbs here and I’ve put my maintenance intake around the 2500cal mark. 3000cals and I’m gaining, 2000 cals and I’m losing. It’s been this way for a few years with no noticeable change to my BMR.

How old are you and how active are you throughout the day? How tall are you? 150lbs is pretty small, unless you’re short and shredded like Robstein.

EDIT:

That’s pretty insane. 4k is a significant amount of eating for maintenance @ 200lbs. Are you fairly high carb in your 4k cals?


#9

Yup. Big Macs and all. If I eat normally, I would weigh 135lbs.


#10

I’m 6’1", so tall and shredded like…idk Final Fantasy or some shit. Most people think I weigh 180ish in person. Don’t ask me.

Lately, not too active. I think my biggest issue is I have a fast metabolism, and when I lift weights it goes faster, and then the biggest issue being able to afford that much food, which is to be solved soon!


#11

The blender should become your best friend.


#12

It used to be. I have a touchy stomach, went to the ER for it a few years back so that’s another fun obstacle to maneuver.

As if figuring out the ideal P/F/C for your individual body wasn’t enough.

Sorry for the derail. Just shit…I wish I could maintain on that low of calories.


#13

This should be a secondary thought if you can’t get enough total calories.


#14

Not being weird, but can you post a picture? I find it VERY hard to believe that you’re 150 @ 6’1" and people think you’re in the 180s. Also, some people just have a terrible time putting on weight and vise versa. I can look at food and gain weight. When I was younger I was fat same situation, high school I fucked up my metabolism by going anorexic and couldn’t put on any weight, and now I gain on a heavy caloric diet and fee sluggish eating ~4k a day. It’s all about what works for you.

I do find, however, most people eat wayyy too much protein for themselves. I eat 120-150 a day at 200-210. Never had a problem gaining strength on that.


#15

Thank you for the response bro.

What you are saying is what my hunch was telling me. The decade of experience is worth a lot.


#16

I have been eating 3000 kcal for about 2 years now.

Yea that is a good idea bro with the push and pull. I used to something very similar to that. These days I have been doing a bit of both on the vertical and horizontal on both back days with slight adjustments on grips, angles, etc. I don’t push much volume on chest.


#17

6’1, 150? shit. that’s so small. You can’t possibly look like you lift. And I’m also having a hard time believe 4k calories, although I do know it’s possible.

I can’t say that I actually know how many calories I consume per day to maintain, 195ish (what I’m at right now), but I will say that how much I need to eat to maintain, or gain, at different sizes I’ve been has varied over the years. Like, it feels like my diet right now is essentially the same as what I needed to maintain 180 a few years ago. In fact, I would venture that the way I eat to maintain 195ish now is about what how I ate to grow at 150. I might have even eaten more back then. It’s hard for me to eat enough to grow substantially, but if I can push my weight up and hold the high calories/bodyweight for 6 months or more, I can generally start to back off the calories and still maintain the new weight. Obviously my body composition has changed over the years too, and that affects things. I’m ridiculously lean at 195, and I wasn’t at, say, 150.

To the OP: you’re kind of lean already, to be honest. I don’t think you’re carrying that much fat. I can see your abs, you don’t really have love handles. Chest looks lean. If it were me, I probably wouldn’t really be trying to cut at all, just slowly keep adding muscle. I think your shape kind of makes you think maybe you’re fatter than you are.


#18

#19

We’ve straight hijacked this poor dude’s thread. I’ll put it in another thread in a bit after I’m done running errands.


#20

Maybe near the end of the year.