T Nation

Not Making Gains

Im 144Ibs, 5"9, and 15 years old. i sfartee my bulk about 4 weeks ago and I feel like im not gaining muscle, just fat. I have football workouts in the morning which are pretty intense. My body fat is around 16-17%. I eat 3000cals a day. I will post update pics once I get home for you guys to tell me if I am gaining at a steady rate.

You’re VERY underweight, particularly if you’re carrying that much bodyfat. How in the world are you playing football at that size?

Anyway, if you can answer the following questions, we can help, but we DEFINITELY need more info than this. What do your numbers in the gym look like, and how much have they improved since 4 weeks ago? How much protein and carbs are you getting per day? 3000 calories should be PLENTY of calories to grow at your size. I’m 60 lbs heavier, I’m also a competitive athlete, and that’s about how much I eat.

The only way you’re really going to be able to tell if you’re gaining fat or muscle right now will be your numbers in the gym, so I suggest keeping a log of your gym performance. sets, reps, maxes, etc. It’s possible that your programming sucks, so please detail what you’re doing in the gym so we can help you with that.


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My numbers I feel are decent. My bench is 160, Squat was 200 before I pulled my hamstring, OHP 95, deadlift 195

The only thing you need to do is train intelligently and consistently for the next 5-8 years while you transition from being a boy to a man.


Four weeks isn’t long… Keep lifting. Increase the weight slowly and you will have to be getting stronger.

You are very young and your testosterone levels are still building in your body. You have several years until peak. If you keep lifting weights and eating right in a few years you will be studly.

Also 3000 calories may not be enough to gain if you have football workouts going. Those are brutal by themselves.

@ryanmorgan- It really depends on how methodical you want to be as to some of your options. 3000 calories is a good bit, but if your workouts are demanding and you’re active on top of that with a high basal metabolic rate, it may not be enough. If you want to get really methodical, you can track macros. The old rule of thumb is 1 g/day of protein per pound body weight. Make up the rest with fats and carbs at set ratios. You need to look at at least 6-8 week blocks. If what you’re doing isn’t working, change the ratio. So you need 150g of protein minimum (in round numbers). That’s 600 calories. If your target is 3k, you’ve got 2400 calories to make up between fats and carbs. Try different ratios, but don’t cut out either.

You can use my fitness tracker app to keep track (sucks for workout tracking, but pretty solid on nutrition). Track your body comp as well. Don’t use one of the electric testers. If you don’t have someone to run calipers on you, measure neck, waist, upper arm, forearm, hips, thigh, and calf. Weigh everyday at the same time and measure at least once a month.

As far as your workouts, that’s going to be driven a lot by your coach. If your coach isn’t prescribing a weight program, there’s several on here worth checking out. You’re still on the front end of peak test production. Keep a log of your workouts and be meticulous. You may find that you respond best to a particular rep range. Watch a lot of videos and read a lot on technique. Your performance and gains are driven by 4 big things: programming, nutrition, form/technique, and intensity. Learn how to optimize each.

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I do count macros fats:80g Carbs:380 Protein:180

and should i carry on bulking with my phyisque?

Are you getting stronger? Are you lifting more weight?

I guess, my coach has charts for everyone with a weight set to follow so I just follow it. Should I maybe add 2.5 to every exercise every week?

I don’t want to mess with the coaches program, so hopefully he has increase built in. And if you are lifting more that means you are stronger, which means you are building muscle. If you think you are getting too fat you can maybe dial back your fats and carbs just a bit for a few weeks and see what happens.

Do you have access to the gym all summer?

Yes, I have football conditioning 4 times a week though

Get 6-8 weeks of measurements before you mess with your nutrition unless your pants start fitting tight in the waist or something like that. In the meantime, work on form/technique and make sure you bring maximum intensity to your workouts. If a weight is light, hit the rep for speed. Make sure every rep is executed exactly the same.

Happy training.

I just dont want to hit 20% bodyfat

One more thing: I’m convinced clean bulking is like a narwhal. A few people claim to have seen it and there are pictures to back it up, but most of us will never actually see it. There’s no magic combination that someone can tell you. It takes years of experimentation to figure out optimal training and nutrition for you. If you’re bulking, you’re more than likely going to put on at least some fat. This is compounded by our ever changing bodies and dynamic nature of life. What seems to happen with a lot of people is that they reach a good enough state of gaining. They manage to bulk without gaining too much fat and then cut. You can always get a little better if you’re willing to experiment and risk it.

Hopefully you’re just starting out on a lifelong journey in training. Keep notes and you’ll continually have data points to looks back on.

Bro,do you mind posting some videos of your lifts?The fact that you pulled a hamstring at that level of strength and age makes me think your form sucks.And I mean S U C K S

I pulled my hamstring catching a clean

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I do count macros fats:80g Carbs:380 Protein:180

I’m much larger than you but I think it’s simply your age and hormone levels. Stay the course. Here’s my path:

Sophomore year–185 at the start
Junior year–204 at the end
Senior year–222 at the start.

What happened? I busted my ass between junior and senior year and I think I finally broke through the puberty barrier and had a ton of testosterone present. My growth between junior and senior year was very slow til about August and then I just packed on the weight. I don’t know what happened. I actually got up to 236 by the start of basketball. All I know is that I kept working and stayed the course. Glad I did.

So should I cut down or continue my bulk??