T Nation

Need Some Serious Guidance



I am a 24 year old lifter. I started training at 18 with little to no knowledge of training. I eventually learned the basics and added 40 pounds of quality weight. Now sitting at 180 roughly for the past 2 years, and slowly gaining a gut, and seemingly losing muscle as well. Ill be 100% honest about my lifestyle and diet. My training is in check.

My day starts at 6:30. I have a cup of coffee and head to work. I have my first meal at 9:30, which is usually 4-5 hard boiled eggs, and usually oatmeal measured by eye. Second meal is at noon and usually chicken breast and rice or leftovers. At 2, I have some yogurt. I train around 5. I try to take in protein soon after whether it be a shake or peanut butter sandwich with milk. I usually end up eating dinner around 7 or 8 and is usually a protein with a carb or veggie. At my girlfriends mercy on that one.

I can't gain weight, I'm not much stronger (but as strong) as 2 years ago. My progress slowed when I got an apartment with my girlfriend which put a damper on my wallet. So lately I have only supplemented with a cheap multi, creatine, and glutamine.

What I'm asking is for you guys to basically tear me apart. Tell me that what I'm doing is bullshit and what you guys do to make it easy and efficient to prep meals, portion it out correctly rather than eyeballing portions, and how to time it. Maybe someone could suggest a sample meal plan. Also, how can I eat quality foods on a budget? I have a tough time spending 50-100 dollars for any of the Biotest supps or anyother fad supplement that only last a month. I need some help here guys I'm spinning my wheels.


Sounds like you are not eating enough-but it's hard to tell without food amounts. I would suggest buying a cheap digital scale and then setting up a diet with something like 3000 cals spread over 6 meals or so. Shoot for around 275g pro, 325g carb 70g fat. Something like: Breakfast - 1 cup oatmeal, 1.5 cups egg whites, 1/2 cup berries or fruit.

Then have three meals spread throughout the day of 5 oz. lean protein 1 cup brown rice/6 oz sweet potato and 2 cups veggies. Before bed 1.5 scoops Biotest Metabolic Drive plus a couple tbsp peanut butter. Then add in a post workout shake like Surge on the days you lift right after you work out (or do the cheap version - chocolate milk)

Do that for two weeks and reassess. If you are getting stronger and fatter, shave some carbs (as in maybe 50 or 100 calls). If stronger and leaner or just stronger but no fatter, great keep going. If neither stronger nor fatter (or even losing weight) add 100 calls of carbs and reassess after two more weeks. Bottom line is that you have to know what you're taking in and see what results before you can make the right adjustments.

As far as food prep, I have a rice cooker and make a week's worth of brown and wild rice on Sunday, also grill a bunch of chicken, lean beef patties and turkey breast patties and bake some sweet potatoes. If you are really pressed for time you can even portion it out then and stick it in the fridge.

Buy cheap store brand egg whites for your breakfast - you can even cook it the night before and microwave it if pressed for time. You don't always need to be as picky as I'm suggesting, but it is a good idea if you want to assess a plateau and have some sense of what works for you and what doesn't.

. . . and make one of those three meals 1 hr before you train, and another one 1 hr after your PWO shake. You need to take advantage of the periworkout time period...


How much, if at all, do you drink on the weekends? How much do you deviate from this eating style on the weekend, or on a given day? Describe your training for the past 6 months.


Are you counting your calorie intake?


I see what you mean. I need to keep better track of what Im taking in. Very helpful, thanks for your reply


I drink on occasion. When I do, it is on the weekends and I try to stick to clear alcohol or a couple beers. Not a heavy drinker though. If anything, I smoke weed more than I drink, which is usually every day. My training for the past 6 months has been modeled after the conjugate method. I train 4 days a week, 2 upper body days, 2 lower. Each is either heavy or light. I train my compound lifts this way. My accessory work I tend to incorporate more volume for hypertophy


I have attempted to over the past several years but nutrition, for some reason, is the biggest struggle for me. Perhaps the lack of a scale is whats screwing me


I guess, what's troubling me, is it sounds like you are not particularly gaining or losing weight, but your body composition is deteriorating even though you are training hard. To me that's a hormonal issue that should be investigated by a doctor.

If you are just getting fatter, you need to start tracking your calories/protein, man. Not much too it other than that.


Grab myfitnesspal and try counting calories, even if it's just for a few days, so that you can get a sense for how much you are actually eating. If you're not gaining weight, add about 500 to that and go from there.


1- what you're doing is bullshit
2-buy a food scale
3-measure calories ....gaining weight is inevitable with a surplus of calories
4- train with weights, get way stronger and do a lot of volume

The training routine and style doesn't matter so much , just keep things simple and measurable, stay consistent and make sure no one in the gym trains harder than you.


What is your training like? All this talk about gaining weight, but are you giving your body the proper stimulus to actually grow?


Take what you eat now add 2 eggs to breakfast. Another 1/2 breast to lunch and add another 1/2 portion of pro and carb to dinner. This isn't your life it's a hobby. If weighing and tracking is hard and detracts don't do it. If you want more weight take what you eat now and add some 1/2 portions of pro and carb to a meal or two. Reevaluate in 2 weeks. Have gone up. No. Add more. If yes. Hold at that until you stop then add some more. No need to get super specific about adding 22.6g of cab and 15.8 g of pro each week


I agree. Keep it simple it's a marathon.


Drinking as you described isn't a big deal imo, but weed everyday? You may need to choose what's more important to you.


I'm assuming you're not doing a retarded program and actually giving it your all during your training sessions. In my limited experience, as long as I train properly, my nutrition "doesn't really matter that much". By that I mean if I'm in a calorie deficit I will be losing fat while at least maintaining muscle and strength, and if I'm on calorie surplus I will be gaining strength and weight (lean mass + fat). In your case, you said you don't gain any body weight or strength in the past 2 years and possibly gained fat as well. Either you're not training hard enough on a decent program or you need to get a doctor to check your hormone/blood profile.


I would say smoking weed everyday is where all of your money is going. You need to decide whats more important, and set goals accordingly and go from there IMO. Sounds like you know what you need to do, you just need some encouragement.


X2 on this ^^^^^^^

In your orginial post you stated " basically tear me apart"

Ok, Unless I am wrong, weed is illegal in Connecticut, so what are you paying for an ounce on the street? 85 to 125? And you are moaning about having no money to buy supplements or quality food? You are willing to support your local drug dealer, but, not yourself? Advise in the respectful way: Grow the fuck up.


To gain muscle

  • Progress your lifting weight
  • calories surplus
  • long rest

Keep routine simple and short.

Use starting strength routine. If you want to gain muscle, change 3x5 to 3x10.


My training has been nothing less than sporadic the last couple months. 3-4 days per week is what Ive been doing for a couple months. This is due to my job, and also the fact that its summer and I like to get out and do some mountain biking when it's nice. But I consistently bench squat and deadlift. I typically use the conjugate method for compound movements and incorporate volume into my accessory work


I understand your take on this, but you don't know what I spend my money on nor where I get my weed from. I buy quality food. My meat comes from a legit butcher and not the super market. I dont eat alot of junk. And my reason for not buying supplements is A) I dont know the long term effects on my body from certain supps, B) Supplements are extremely expensive (more expensive than weed). My view was not from a financial standpoint but rather hormonal. I hear lots of conflicting info about weed lowering testosterone. In fact everything I read about bodybuilding is conflicting which is what leaves me so confused.