T Nation

Putting on Muscle with Minimal Fat


Hey guys, i have read many articles on this but would like some input on my current situation.

I am using IF (have been for many weeks) and am at approx 12% body fat, 5"7 170lb, 18yo.

My eating schedule is like this (12pm lunch, 3:45 - 10g BCAA, 4pm - train, 5:30pm eat slowly while doing homework, till 8pm)
I eat -20/+20 (2000/3000) and train 3x a week with 5x5 strong lift.

I have been making slow progress on my lifts and my weight has remained pretty constant.

What would you recommend i alter so that i can put on more mass but still minimal fat? I am not into the bulk/cut protocol.


Eat more.

Look at your calories over a week period:

Maintenance = 7*2500 = 17500
Your intake = 3*3000 + 4*2000 = 17000

So over a weekly period you are eating under your maintenance intake. The recommendation for a lean bulk following the Leangains principles is -10/+20. Try that or bump up even further to 0/+20.

As a side note, how can you be making slow progress on Stronglifts as it is a linear progression, increasing weight each workout?


I remember when I first started reading these boards like two and a half years ago or so. The first "lesson" I learned on this site was in the nutrition forums. People would make posts saying "I want to gain muscle and lose fat," to which responders would say, "Which do you want to do?" In other words, you need to choose one.

I feel like now, the discussion is different. Instead of "choose one of those two," instead the new answer is whatever diet that a person thinks can achieve that. I'm not sure what about our knowledge of the human body changed in that two-year period.

OP: you're 18. Christ, if I could go back to 18, I would have spent the years just lifting heavy and eating as much as I could (instead, I spent it running marathon/half marathons.....blah). Don't overthink all this -10/+20 bullsh**. Just eat a lot and lift a lot and get enough sleep. Don't think of it as "bulking" so much as just growing, man. It's the one time in your lie that you're going to have the time and resources to do so.


I have stalled on lifts, bench 165x5, squat 245x5, Dumbell O-head press 55x5, row, 170x5, deadlift 285x5. I don't add 5 every workout because i end up just de-loading.

I will eat more, i wanted to keep the thread simple. Part of why i am not growing as much or consuming as much is because i have been dealing with some rough stomach issues for 1.5 years, docs want me on a feeding tube at the moment but i am consuming nearly all liquid nutrition, Whey, coconut, olive oil, nutritional yeast, pureed vegetables and meats. My hormones are shot, test is low, thyroid slightly slow. I continue to lift though.

I digress..I'll eat more, thanks.


get your actual lab results and create a thread in the "T Replacement" sub-forum


I did that originally, but I'm receiving a good amount of attention and help from 2 knowledgable MD's well versed in bio-identical hormone assistant and alternative medicine. Its all being taken care of, the root of my problems is something akin to gastroparesis and a non-sensical syndrome that involves a lot of stomach pain following food. I believe my questions are answered though, going to bump calories to -10/20 and maybe 0/20 if i don't put on fat and am stalling still.


what exactly do you mean by this?


-10% of maintenance on off days, +20% of maintenance on training days. This way i consume 18,0000 calories a week (500 more than maintenance) the 2nd option of 0/20 would come out to 19000 calories (1,500 more than maintenance). Should i even bother trying the 1st protocol or just jump to 0/20 split.

Alongside this i carb cycle, bump fat up on rest days and add carbs on training days. I consume the carbs only in post workout window.


Thats 500 more than maintence over the whole week. Conservatively you want to be at least 300 over every day. So you are falling well short. Unless you are recomping which you shouldnt be since you are young and have lots of growth potential. Use it. Go look at some of the members that werent stupid and trained and ate a ton in there late teens early 20s and see where they are.