T Nation

Please Help with My Bulking

hi guys would really appreciate your expert advice …

ok heres a little about my background . . . used to be in good shape until i was bullied at work and got anorexia nervosa which led to me going down to 5.5stone and loosing all muscle that i had for example i lost 10inches on my quads! … after some hard work eating i managed to get my weight up enough to start training and i am now 132lbs but i have hit a few problems …

  1. my bench press is getting weaker and weaker
  2. my weight is going up and down all over the place
  3. im finding it hard to find the best macro ratio for gaining mass

here is my diet what do you reckon on it …

breakfast - 100g oats, 300ml whole milk, 15g flaxseed, 25g whey

after workout - cnp pro mass

lunch - either 150g chicken 400g potato 100ml wholemilk and 45g half fat cheese or 100g wholewheat pasta 100g sweetcorn, tuna and 45g half fat cheese

snack - 1 x serving of whey

dinner - either - beef strips with noodles and sweetcorn and soy sauce or steak, 400g potato and 45g cheese

snack - home made protein bar (320cal, 50gp 25gc 3.5gf)

before bed - same as last snack ( home made protein bar )

works out to about 3500 calories, 70g fat 315g p and 315g c

what do you reckon??

my training is where im slipping i think as i do a body part a day starting off with compound exercises and then finishing off with some isolation exercises usually 5sets of 10 reps

thanks for reading and please feel free to give advice

“my weight is going up and down all over the place”…

The diet above how many days per week are you sticking to it?

I am not going to comment on your diet other than to say it doesn’t look like you eat enough fat and way too much carbohydrate.

As far as feeling weaker that is normal especially if you are always doing the exact same lifts day in and out.

You probably need to change it up and/or work on assistance lifts.

It could be as simple as substituting a barbell with dumbbells. Really, it’s hard to know without a more detailed picture of your training regimen.

Strength is an ephemeral quality. One day it’s there the next isn’t and then the next day you come back even stronger (or weaker) than you were before. What gives?!

[quote]creasey21 wrote:
used to be in good shape until i was bullied at work[/quote]
What exactly did “in good shape” mean?

Five months ago, you were 125 pounds.


That’s a serious issue. Either you still have lingering effects of the anorexia, you’re undereating (think you’re eating more than you really are), you’re inconsistent with your calories (eating big for one or two days in a row, then not enough other days), or some combination of those.

Your’e not eating enough to support gains and your program, from the sound of it, needs improvement.

Inconsistent with calories and/or undereating.

Gaining only seven pounds in five and a half months is an issue of total calories, not macros. Look at the big picture, not the small details.

It’s better than what you said it was five months ago, but that’s like saying the Hindenburg was a safer vessel than the Titanic because there were more survivors. Bottom-line is that if the scale isn’t moving, the diet needs to be fixed.

I don’t want to see a template or a general idea. What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

It’s one of the places you’re slipping. Stop what you’re doing. Do this instead:


Stick to this straight-forward, basic 4-day a week plan until you weigh-in 150 pounds or more for 10 days in row, or you bench, squat, and deadlift 185 or more. Whichever comes first.

thanks for the replies guys! firstly want to say that im 100% committed to getting a good physique and i dont want you to think that your advice will go wasted as it wont!

i used to be in good shape i.e. i was about 6% bf and could bench 1.5 times my body weight…

my diet is pretty much the same so eg yesterday i had …

breakfast - 100g oats, 300ml whole milk, 15g flax and 25g whey

after workout - cnp pro mass

lunch - 400g potato, 175g chicken and 45g half fat cheese

snack - 2x whey and 30g oats

dinner - 175g beef strips, 1 pack of ubon noodles, 100g sweetcorn and some soy sauce

snack - home made protein bar

before bed - home made protein bar

that equated to just short of 3500cals at 70g fat, 315g carbs and 315g protein …

however it has been brought to my attention by some people i talk to that im relying too much on protein and i should reduce it and up my carbs and fat to compensate so this is what i have come up with …

breakfast - 4eggs, 3bacon, 30g half fat cheese and a wholemeal bagel

after workout - cnp pro mass

lunch - 100g oats, 300ml whole milk, 15g flax and 25g whey

snack - 1x whey

dinner - spag bowl - 250g lean steak mince, 100g wholemeal pasta, 45g half fat cheese and bolognese sauce

snack - home made protein bar

before bed - 70g shredded wheat bitesize, 200ml whole milk …

this equates to 3500cals 100g fat 341g carbs 281g protein

how does that sound? is that better?

with my training i think i am over training as i spend 1.5hours in gym 7 days a week and doing a body part a day so i should cut this down to 5 days a week maximum with 2 days just pure rest or the link posted above the pull push days?

thanks guys!

[quote]creasey21 wrote:
how does that sound? is that better?[/quote]
Your eating will be “better” when you end up gaining a few pounds per week, every week. Until that starts coming in, it’s a work in progress.

It’s not overtraining, but it’s inappropriate for your current situation.

The program I posted is a solid template and will be plenty for you for now. Do a 12-16 total sets of “whatever” on the free day (direct arm work, some more legs or some more back or some more chest, etc.). You’d have to try hard to screw it up. Training hard four days a week will definitely be enough to see good results… as long as you eat enough.

Thanks for the reply back :slight_smile: yeah I think I will move on to the routine that you linked me too as that seems much better than what I do atm … So with that new diet I posted do you think that is any good like the foods I’m eating on it and the macro breakdown as that comes to 3500cal which will see me put on a pound a week

[quote]creasey21 wrote:
So with that new diet I posted do you think that is any good like the foods I’m eating on it and the macro breakdown as that comes to 3500cal which will see me put on a pound a week[/quote]
At your height and weight, you have the potential to put on more than one pounds a week. In your thread a few months ago, I linked to the article: “Forced Anabolism: How to Overeat”. Re-read that one, especially the part about “eating on” 10 pounds.

But in general, yeah, I agree that upping the fat and slightly lowering the protein is the right move. You don’t need to be eating over 2.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Some pro bodybuilders don’t eat that much.

Yeah them articles are a good read makes me think I was being too rigid with my food intake and I need to relax and I can eat more… I have been taking testosterone tablets and over past 5 days I have put on 3lbs but I don’t think that can be accurate can it? Seems like it more water retention and body getting used to the extra calories maybe?

You might want to try creatine to support weight/ strength gains, but try more fish and seafood, and a lot of beef. Make sure to work every muscle group on seperate days, and make sure the supplements you use are the right amount of dosage. Body fat % should go down and muscle mass should go up.

[quote]creasey21 wrote:
I have been taking testosterone tablets[/quote]
At 21 years old, Test booster supplements probably won’t do a whole heck of a lot. Your money would be better spent on food and a good workout shake.

Ha, I’d take weight gain where you can find it. :wink: But yeah, I’d be pretty surprised if it’s solid weight gain since, unless I’m mistaken, I don’t think your calories have increased all that much in the last week.

thanks for the replies yeah i been working on my meal plan and added a lot more like steak and that, i not a big fan on fish but i think i may have to have some as the moegas would benefit me greatly…

yeah that makes sense chris and i suppose now that im eating a lot more good fats that will do wonders for my testosterone anyways like … yeah thats what i was thinking there no way it could have been solid weight gain as i would have had to have had 3500cal over my daily allowance each day lol

today was the first morning of my new breakfast …

4eggs, 30g half fat cheese, 4 rashers of turkey bacon and a wholemeal bagel what you guys reckon on that?

got to say i felt like it gave me more energy and allowed me to lift more but this may just be a placebo affect?

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
At your height and weight, you have the potential to put on more than one pounds a week. In your thread a few months ago, I linked to the article: “Forced Anabolism: How to Overeat”. Re-read that one, especially the part about “eating on” 10 pounds.[/quote]

How long would you say that’s possible [to put on more than one pound a week]?

I know at 5’11, I went from 135 to 155 pretty quickly; definitely under 20 weeks.

[quote]creasey21 wrote:
today was the first morning of my new breakfast …

4eggs, 30g half fat cheese, 4 rashers of turkey bacon and a wholemeal bagel what you guys reckon on that?

got to say i felt like it gave me more energy and allowed me to lift more but this may just be a placebo affect? [/quote]

I would agree with that. A fairly high-fat diet seems to give me a lot of good energy – energy that’s not necessarily obvious (like you get with sugar), but that’s keeps going when you need to dig in deep (like a workout).

Personally, I would have skipped the bagel. But that’s me, and I don’t like carbs for breakfast. If I were going to do carbs, it would probably be whole wheat toast with a fair amount of butter. BUT, that’s personal preference, and not a very educated one.

yeah it really did seem to make my lifts stronger and felt much better in myself, yeah i had some bagels around the house so thought i would use them up :slight_smile: lol

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
At your height and weight, you have the potential to put on more than one pounds a week. In your thread a few months ago, I linked to the article: “Forced Anabolism: How to Overeat”. Re-read that one, especially the part about “eating on” 10 pounds.[/quote]
How long would you say that’s possible [to put on more than one pound a week]?

I know at 5’11, I went from 135 to 155 pretty quickly; definitely under 20 weeks.[/quote]
I think I used this analogy with you once, might’ve been with someone else along the way, but it’s kinda like a reverse Biggest Loser situation. On that show, you might see people dropping 20 pounds in a single week at the start. They can “afford” to lose that much because they’re extremely overweight and the regular rules of weight loss don’t apply.

Along the same lines, someone who’s significantly underweight can, will, and should gain more than the textbook-standard one to two pounds per week because the body is on the far end of the bell curve and is primed to soak up nutrients and immediately apply them to growth, especially when combined with consistent weight training.

As far as “how long” that more-than-normal gaining can continue, depends on a few factors (general metabolism, training, height/weight/bodyfat, etc.) but pretty much once someone’s gone from very, very underweight to just underweight/skinny, I wouldn’t expect the same rate of progress. But it’s not something predictable like, ‘as soon as a 5’10" guy weighs 165 his gains will slow down.’

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
At your height and weight, you have the potential to put on more than one pounds a week. In your thread a few months ago, I linked to the article: “Forced Anabolism: How to Overeat”. Re-read that one, especially the part about “eating on” 10 pounds.[/quote]
How long would you say that’s possible [to put on more than one pound a week]?

I know at 5’11, I went from 135 to 155 pretty quickly; definitely under 20 weeks.[/quote]
I think I used this analogy with you once, might’ve been with someone else along the way, but it’s kinda like a reverse Biggest Loser situation. On that show, you might see people dropping 20 pounds in a single week at the start. They can “afford” to lose that much because they’re extremely overweight and the regular rules of weight loss don’t apply.

Along the same lines, someone who’s significantly underweight can, will, and should gain more than the textbook-standard one to two pounds per week because the body is on the far end of the bell curve and is primed to soak up nutrients and immediately apply them to growth, especially when combined with consistent weight training.

As far as “how long” that more-than-normal gaining can continue, depends on a few factors (general metabolism, training, height/weight/bodyfat, etc.) but pretty much once someone’s gone from very, very underweight to just underweight/skinny, I wouldn’t expect the same rate of progress. But it’s not something predictable like, ‘as soon as a 5’10" guy weighs 165 his gains will slow down.’[/quote]

Yes, you used that analogy with me. And had you not, I wouldn’t have tried adding weight quite as aggressively. It worked quite well.

I don’t think I really care so much how long that kind of gain is sustainable. Rather, what signs should I look for that say I should back off a bit? (especially considering that “I can’t see my abs” isn’t a very good indicator)

I’m nowhere near needing to back off a bit right now, but I probably will be in the next couple months. It seems like it’d be better to know now than to get the “oh, um, you probably shouldn’t have gained so much weight”, after the fact.

Just thought I would give you guys an update …

Last monday I was 133.8lbs and… Today I’m 136.2lbs so think it safe to say I’m going in the right direction now

[quote]LoRez wrote:
I don’t think I really care so much how long that kind of gain is sustainable. Rather, what signs should I look for that say I should back off a bit? (especially considering that “I can’t see my abs” isn’t a very good indicator)

I’m nowhere near needing to back off a bit right now, but I probably will be in the next couple months. It seems like it’d be better to know now than to get the “oh, um, you probably shouldn’t have gained so much weight”, after the fact.[/quote]
Glad to hear it’s been working, man. Keep up the good work. As far as when to start backing off a bit, it changes person to person based on their builds, the actual results they’re seeing, their goals, and just what they’re comfortable with.

A general rule of thumb is to just make sure that your strength on the majority of lifts is increasing just as consistently as your bodyweight each week. That’s a pretty good indicator that you’re building muscle as you go. One of my “favorite” bad news warning sign threads is the story of Artem.

This kid was here around the forum a few years ago and, to sum it up, he gained about 100 pounds of bodyweight in one year but at the end of it, he still couldn’t squat his bodyweight. Didn’t get anywhere near the strength gains that would’ve justified that level of bulk. He was told along the way to cool off, but he pounded straight through. Ended up losing 50 pounds in about 3 months, and after everything, he looked pretty much the same as Day One.

So, yeah, as long as your strength is increasing (especially in the “bodybuilding” moderate rep range, but heavier lifts too), you’re probably in a good place.