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New and Apprehensive...

Hey guys,

I was referred to this site by a friend of mine. I’ve been scrawny since about age 13 and no matter what I eat I just can’t seem to pick up weight as my metabolism seems to high.

I’m roughly about 186cm (6ft 1in -soz we work in metric where I come from) and weigh about 60kg (128 pounds) and I’m 20 years old. I’m so tired of being scrawny and really need some advice to help me out. I’ve bought a protein shake supplement as well as muscle growth supplements so I’m going to start on that this week. I am als definitely considering a good gym program but my problem is I feel so damn embarrassed when I walk into the gym and people see me battling with light weights and stuff while they are pressing 10 times the amount I can. ]

Is it possible to gain muscle and a good physique by only swimming or do I need to combine it with other exercises? If so, which exercises would you recommend to combine swimming with? (I tried a search of the site but my browser is a tad messed up so I couldn’t really access the database). I’m also anaemic and have low blood pressure so I can’t really push myself to extremes or else I’d pass out.

I’d appreciate any expertise you folks have to offer and also how to overcome the embarrassement when walking into a gym.

Many thanks!

How much are you really eating? What did you eat yesterday, for example? It’s probably not much compared to the average person here.

Most lifters will look down on scrawny guys who are arrogant or are trying to “get ripped abs”. But most respect anyone (scrawny or fat, guy or girl, young or old) who has a good goal, is working hard towards that goal, and is making progress and not excuses.

[quote]DSmolken wrote:
How much are you really eating? What did you eat yesterday, for example? It’s probably not much compared to the average person here.

Most lifters will look down on scrawny guys who are arrogant or are trying to “get ripped abs”. But most respect anyone (scrawny or fat, guy or girl, young or old) who has a good goal, is working hard towards that goal, and is making progress and not excuses.[/quote]

Hey there,

Thank you for your reply. Here is an example of what I eat (I’ve been making an effort to eat more but my roommate and myself eat exactly the same yet he is picking up weight :frowning: ).

Diet:

Breakfast:

1 cup oats
Low fat milk
1 slice of brown bread with butter and honey (sometimes a slice of cheese)
1 apple or pear
Protein shake combined with yoghurt

Lunch:

200g salmon
1 Tablespoon of cottage cheese
10 Salt crackers or 2 slices of wholewheat bread

or

Spud with cheese, tomato and ham with a side salad

Supper:

350g steak
1/2 cup rice
Vegetables

I also have snacks during the day consisting of either carrots, fruit or sandwiches. I know I should be eating more but it’s hard trying to stuff all this stuff down and I really am making an effort to change. I’m doing this to change myself and not to impress others. I’m tired of the excuses and that is why I am taking this head on.

Thanks!

At the risk of this turning into a trollathon: Lift heavy (for you) and eat loads. You need to eat way more than that to gain weight. Cardio if anything will potentially make you even smaller than you are now. Just eat and lift

You are not eating enough calories or protein.

Add an MRP first thing in the AM, pre-workout, and before bed. This should add 1000 cals in liquids.

Eat like you normally do, then see what happens in 2-3 months.

That’s barely any food. Triple that would be nice to see.

Don’t eat “low-fat” anything.

Swallow your pride and lift the weights you need to lift. Don’t compare the weights your lift to what others lift.

Get on a good weightlifting/powerlifting program. (many are on this site)

Read this thread and do what the poster did: http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1027723

What you eat in a day, I generally consume before noon. Like everyone else said, you need more calories and more protein. On a minor note, why are you drinking low fat milk? If you change only one thing right away, drink whole milk.

Something very simple you can do: eat six-seven times a day. Eat every two-three hours even if you think you’re not hungry yet. Plan in advance so this doesn’t take up all your time - cook things which can last for a few meals, stock up on canned fish and other things which can be eaten quickly etc.

With time you can gradually increase the size of your meals and change the foods as needed. The more muscle you gain the more you’ll have to eat to keep gaining. Your body will get used to eating more.

Thank you guys for the great advice. I only recently started changing what I eat for lunch. I have also started to drink an additional 2 protein shakes a day (one midafternoon and another before bed) . I drink low fat milk because my family has a cholesterol problem and mine is a tad high as it is. I’m therefore trying to keep it under control.

I’ve read you need to eat 7-8 meals a day but the problem is I am at university most of the day and I need ideas for good, nutritious and portable meals. I’m also on a food budget so no indulgences can be allowed for now unfortunately :(. Thanks for all the great advice thus far!

You should definitely check out the book “Scrawny to Brawny” by Berardi and Mejia. Also some threads on it here on the site, and a website by that name.

When I started out I was 5’10, 145-150lbs.

Two years later I’m up to 180lbs.

Two things made all the difference:

  1. When I made the decision to bulk up and increase strength, I bought a gym membership and paid money for a trainer, because I didn’t know shit about lifting. Lucky for me, my trainer was a big fan of T-Nation, and I was already reading it, so he hooked me up with good solid programs.

  2. I learned to eat more, slowly… very slowly. Get over any fear you have of getting fat. Say good-bye to your abs for a few years. Eat. Slowly… eat more. Keep a food log.

The easiest calories I’ve found come from a bag of trail mix - mixed nuts and raisins. I get 200 calories from 1/4 cup. Not much to eat for a good caloric pay-off. The calories are high in fat (but good fats) and decent amount of protein. I’m guessing I eat about 500 extra calories every day from the trail mix. Add that on to my regular meals and milk, juice, apples, bananas, shakes, etc…

Add a spoon or two of olive oil to foods for a more easy calories.

Give the eating thing time to settle with your body too. Its hard at first, and you’ll find yourself taking a crap 4 times a day. Eventually, things smooth out and your body will begin to put on some muscle. This will not happen until you consistently take in a surplus of calories.

Lastly - check in with your doctor regularly to watch your cholesterol.

Try something:
Have you cholesterol taken and then pig out for two weeks on saturated fat (eggs, cheese, whole milk, steak etc) and only eat carbs from fruit or vegetables.

See what that does to your cholesterol level.

No matter what, two weeks won`t hurt you.

After having established that you probably not belong to the group where more nutritional cholesterol equals significantly more serum cholesterol invite fat back into your life.

[quote]Reytla wrote:
Thank you guys for the great advice. I only recently started changing what I eat for lunch. I have also started to drink an additional 2 protein shakes a day (one midafternoon and another before bed) . I drink low fat milk because my family has a cholesterol problem and mine is a tad high as it is. I’m therefore trying to keep it under control.

I’ve read you need to eat 7-8 meals a day but the problem is I am at university most of the day and I need ideas for good, nutritious and portable meals. I’m also on a food budget so no indulgences can be allowed for now unfortunately :(. Thanks for all the great advice thus far![/quote]

I’m in the same position. Chicken is cheap. Easy to cook in bulk, just throw it in a pot and boil or throw it in the oven. Don’t eat the skin.

Take fish oil - helps increase proportion of cholesterol and lowers triglyceride levels.

-Cloth

To answer one of your questions, you won’t get big by swimming alone. As the above posters have said, if you’re not gaining weight you need to eat more. Also, you just CAN’T let what others think of you in the gym, get to you. If that’s the case, you’ll never get anywhere…this applies to all other areas in life. Just do your thing and don’t worry what some other dude in the gym is going to think. We all started somewhere.

You just need to slowly increase your calories, as has been stated already your body will get used to eating more.

Definitely stick with the weights, just concentrate on what you’re doing and try to constantly improve. You’ll get stronger in time, just be patient.