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Scrawny to Brawny (My Goal, Not the Book)


It's about time I did this

I've posted a few times on the forum, and have thoroughly been slapped for not eating enough, so I wanted to start up a log to show training and daily intake, so hopefully I can keep myself honest and find out where my weak points are. I'm tired of being the 166 lb 6'0 scrawny guy. To top it off, I don't even have the skinny "ABZ", so I'm not even getting those benefits either!

These are my previous two "questions" in the beginner forum:



From a 3 point caliper test, I'm at 7-8% BF.

In my opinion, my biggest problem is the food. I grew up in a family that has had little restraint from eating whatever they want, so I have a few members of my family that are very much overweight. Diabetes is also showing up. Therefore I am extremely caution about pounding burgers and milkshakes on a daily basis.

I've bounced around from program to program, thinking I wasn't giving my muscles the type of workout they need. Again, I now realize that's really not the problem. I've switched back to the basic Stronglifts 5x5 program to try and ramp up the weight and put some friggin muscle on this scrawny frame o'mine.

I will be posting daily (assuming internet access is available) to keep myself in line with my goals, and would appreciate any advice that is thrown my way.

My current bodyweight goals:
Bulk up to ~230lbs
Attempt to maintain <15% BF
After reaching weight goal, cut BF to 7-8%

I realize that I will never look like several of the lifters that are featured on the website. I do not want to resort to using any type of supp beyond protein and perhaps creatine. I am also aware that looking at my family, genetics are against me for my goals.

I would like to reach these goals by the time I am 30 years old. I am currently 26, and have been lifting on and off for several years, but never seriously. I found this website about a year ago, and attempt to soak up as much information as possible. I know a lot of you started in late teens, but unfortunately for me I didn't even really care about seriously working out until recently.

I will warn any readers that I will probably use profanity when describing my workouts, as when I cannot add weight to the bar, or when I am not able to lift as much as I did in a previous workout, I get extremely pissed at myself.

Again, I know these logs are for me, but I would appreciate some input a long the way.

The biggest changes I have made to my diet in the past few weeks in attempt to add more calories are:
1) Adding gatorade to each of my workout shakes to promote insulin spike. Before I used protein only. Also adding a shake during my workout. These changes have increased the calories from my shakes from 440 to 895 (+455)
2) Reading Chris T's "Clean bulk" article, I have added about 3-4 shots of olive oil per day in my diet. (+ ~950 calories)

I work out in the morning before work from 5:00-6:10am. I will keep track of my food intake throughout the day, and post my results at night. I've attempted to use fitday, but the problem is that we cook so much exact calories are rarely known.

Anyway, enough talking from me. I will be posting workout results from D1 of Stronglifts tomorrow night.


Looking forward to reading your log and seeing some progress. Judging by your linked posts you've had a hard time getting even basic beginner gains mass- and strength-wise. It's been said before, but if you bust ass in the gym and get the calories in, as a beginner the gains will come. If you're looking for a simple way to up the calories: I've had a good experience with working up to 1 gallon of whole milk a day, then tapering that down (1/2 gal a day or so), so that you get used to wanting a lot of food all the time, but aren't getting all your cals from milk in the long run. About your workouts, have you thought about the effect of the time you work out at on your intensity? I know I couldn't consistently put good effort in at 5 AM at this point. Maybe if you worked out later in the day you could have more energy, or be less groggy.

Now is the time to start working hard and figuring out what's holding you back.


If you are 166# now, you may want to set a more realistic and timely goal than 230#.

Hitting goals is great for your confidence, proves things are working and keeps you going. Setting a goal that you probably won't hit for years (if ever) is not a good way to start. I'm less of a hardgainer than you it sounds like but I am one...and I'm a solid 190# now, I can't imagine I'd ever be 230# without being a serious fat ass (or unnatural help).

Aim to be a solid 180# with the same BF% that you have now. If you get that it will be a substantial change both in strength and appearance. Getting to 180# with the same LBM will be tough enough.

Do lots of compound movements where you are making regular progressive gains, eat lots, sleep lots. Period.

And don't overtrain.


Day 1, in the books. Wanted to start at less than my max on the weights since this program encourages putting plates on every workout. Also, I'm a "formaholic". Always trying to self-critique my form, so less weight lets me gain confidence in that area as well.

Squat - 145lbs 5/5/5/5/5 Easy. Will add 5lbs to each side for Wednesday
Bench - 135 lbs 5/5/5/5/5 Will add 2.5lbs to each side on Wednesday
T-bar Row - 145lbs 15/14/12 For some reason I feel it screaming in my back with the T-bar...not so much with a normal barbell row. Form I guess.
Pushups - 20/13/12 Have to use dumbbells for a straight grip, I tore something in my wrist several years ago and haven't felt the need/wanted to spend the money to get it fixed.
Reverse crunch - 12/10/10 Man I've been neglecting my core for a while. These SUCK.

Pretty sure I did NOT hit my calorie goal however.

4:45am preworkout shake
5-6am workout shake
6:30am post workout shake

Each of these shakes consists of 2 scoops of protein (44g protein total) and 1 scoop gatorade (68g sugar)

2 eggs, 1/2 cup egg whites
2 pieces of bacon
1 blueberry muffin
2 cups of milk

pure protein bar
shot of olive oil

handful almonds

chicken breast
2 large handfuls of almonds
(About 90% of the time I am going out to lunch with the boss. I always have a small backup meal in case we do not go out, but the veggies I had brought to eat with this apparently have been sitting in the fridge for a while...were not good to eat)

protein shake (costco brand)
2 shots olive oil

Mixture of bratwurst, red peppers, and onions
large salad w/ olives, blue cheese crumbles, tomatoes, cucumbers, oil and vinegar dressing
2 slices whole wheat bread

Writing it all down and comparing it to some of the diets I've seen on here, that doesn't look like much food at all. I was pretty full most of the day however, so I guess I need to train my body to deal with more food.

I'll be doing the cardio workout that was posted about a week ago with carrying weights. Don't think I'll have a set structure going in, I'll just be picking up weight and carrying it for 100 steps.

If the shakes + olive oil doesn't move the weight in 2-3 weeks i'll thinking about adding some milk into the diet daily. I don't want to completely jerk the steering wheel across the road, so i'm taking these changes slowly. I'd love to work out later in the day, but with my schedule it's just not realistic. I work basically a 7:45-5:30 job, come home absolutely beat, eat dinner with the wife, do some chores around the house and need to be getting in the bed around 9 (yep, 20 minutes ago) to get enough sleep to do it all again tomorrow. I have gotten to the point that if I can push through the wall and get out of the bed, I wake up within about 10 minutes or so and feel like I'm good to go. I guess my body has adapted to needing energy in the morning instead of at night.

That's a really good point. I'll adjust my goal to 180 with a low BF%. That should be obtainable within 3 years I would hope.

I always enjoy the large compound movements over the isolation exercises. I know if I were to ever become some huge bodybuilder, then isolation exercises can help in a weak area, but at this point I'd rather bust out squats and deadlifts than bulgarian split squats.

Thanks for the feedback guys.


On another note, I do not want to be tempted by http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/i_bodybuilder_radical_strategy_for_radical_hypertrophy#playVid . Everytime they come out with some flashy new program, I always think it's the fix for me. Of course I want to look like Chris T. Doubt I ever could come close unless I had the knowledge level at my fingertips that he has.


Knew I stayed up too late last night. Missed my morning "conditioning" workout, but will definitely make it on Thursday. Perhaps I should feel bad about it, but as long as I'm hitting my 3 weight lifting days and at least 1 cardio day, I don't see the harm. Not like I'm trying to cut right now.

Diet for today:

3 eggs
2 pieces of bacon

pure protein bar
shot of olive oil

Grilled Chicken and onions
Green beans
3-4 glasses of unsweet tea + sweet&low

1.5 cup cottage cheese
2 shots olive oil
premier nutrition protein shake

Probably about 3-4 cups of cooked shrimp
1 cup of grapes
2 cups zucchini

I don't think it's helping much just to post the diet, I just can't seem to find the time to accurately calculate my calories in fitday. I'll try and take some time tomorrow to do so. If I remember correctly I needed 3600 calories to maintain, and about 4200 to "grow". I may be trying to use the olive oil too much as a crutch to hit those numbers. Even adding in the extra 1,000 that it provides, I don't think I'm hitting my number. After plugging them in, if I am falling short I may try the milk suggestion.

Deadlift coming tomorrow, probably will start on the light side to give myself time to grow into the exercise and make sure my form is correct. I should be able to go up in weight quickly with it.


I agree, you are DEFINITELY not eating enough. Look around on here at typical diets.

You are eating about half of that.


No kidding: if I hadn't read the first post, I would have thought from this diet that you're trying to lose weight.

Some easy substitutions based on this day:

  • More eggs at breakfast
  • Fattier protein sources for dinner, within reason. Like steak instead of shrimp.
  • Carbs! You already know not to "bulk" by hitting the Dunkin Donuts, but right now you're not getting any carbs except from fruit, veggies, and the one protein bar. Try a piece of toast for breakfast, a little pasta with that chicken, and beans with your dinner.

And if you're going to try the milk thing, drinking just one cup after every meal gets you to almost 1/3 of a gallon. From there on out, it's easy to crank up the volume.


Great info. Like always, i'll probably stick to this diet for another week, and if the weight isn't moving I'll throw some more eggs and milk in to the diet. In regards to dinner, I really just eat whatever the wifey is cooking, but I could request a second helping of the meat to be cooked.

Workout for the day:

Squat - 155lbs 5/5/5/5/5 I love doing squats. I'll probably hate them when I get to pushing the weight I want to push
Overhead Press - 65lbs 5/5/5/5/5 Felt light. Will up the weight next time.
Deadlift - 205lbs 5 Always freak out about form here. Felt pretty good, just need to mentally push the floor away with my heels. I'm very conscious about bracing the abs and keeping a straight back.
Pull ups - no added weight 9/6/5
Prone Bridge - normal 30/30/30 Will need to change angles to increase difficulty.

Going to be an early night tonight, so I will get in my conditioning workout tomorrow morning.


Still around, just haven't had time to type the workout into the old computer.

I dropped the shots of olive oil from the diet because I just couldn't stomach the taste anymore. Pretty much was causing me to gag at the thought of taking another shot of that mess. Have doubled my eggs and added a few cups of milk after ever meal however, so we'll give that about 2 weeks and see if I see any movement on the scale.

Thursday ended up playing a pickup game of bball at the gym for a while instead of the conditioning workout I was going to do...I'm fine with that at this point.

Friday had to go in to work early, so did my "A" workout on Saturday instead.

Squat - 165lbs 5/5/5/5/5
Bench - 140lbs 5/5/5/5/5 Have just recently starting using a wider grip, and I feel that it's hitting the chest more. We'll see.
T-bar Rows - 105lbs 17/12/10
Push-Ups - no added 20/15/7 May try to switch to exploding push-ups so my reps are so high in the beginning
Reverse Crunch - 12/10/8 Man my core is weak right now. Good thing I'm finally doing some type of work other than bracing while squatting/deadlifting

To anyone that has done this workout before...did you feel the need to add in direct arm work? I know that every other "B" workout you've got Chin-ups, but I feel like you're hitting 5/6 of "The Big Six", so why not have some type of curl in there?


Power was out at the gym this morning, so "B" workout is moving to tomorrow morning.

Thinking of incorporating http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/how_to_build_a_muscular_midsection on my Tuesday/Thursday to give me core some additional work


Squat - 170lbs 5/5/5/5/5
Overhead Press - 70lbs 5/5/5/5/5
Deadlift - 215lbs 5
Chin ups - 10/5/4

Yuck, not happy about the Chin-up numbers. Hopefully I was having a bad day.

Going to be doing part of ^ tomorrow, probably the cardio ab circuit.


Pretty happy with today's workout

Squat - 175lbs 5/5/5/5/5
Bench - 145lbs 5/5/5/5/5 I know this is a warm up for 90% of the guys on here, but this is the most I've ever been able to bench. On WSFSB3, when doing the max sets of 3-5 reps my max on bench was 145 at about 3-4 reps. To pound out 25 made me feel pretty good. I wasn't struggling nearly as hard at my 5th set as I thought I would, which makes me excited about the next time.
T-bar row - 110lbs 16/11/12
Pushups - 20/12/16


It's been three weeks, what's going on? Let's see some more progress.


I was out of town on business for 3 weeks (Florida for 1.5 weeks, Vernon, BC Canada for 1.5 weeks), and finally got back in today.

I'm sure I've slipped a bit since I haven't had access to a gym (all business trips living out of hotels with the treadmill only gyms), but I'm ready to hit it hard on Monday morning.

Thanks for checking in.


Drink a protein shake with a shot of olive oil at every meal. That is a much better option than milk (especially with a good protein that has BCAA's in it!), but it is more expensive.


I knew this would happen. I did slip a little, but not as much as I thought.

Squat - 185lbs 5/5/5/5/5
Bench - 150lbs 5/5/5/3/2 Going to need to use this weight again on Friday to hit all 25 reps
T-bar Row - 115lbs 16/11/10
Push-ups - 20/10/5

I was toasted at the end with those pushups...I haven't been that fatigued in a while. I'm going to need another workout or two to get back in the swing of things


Going from no early morning nutrition to ~2700 calories has made me a bit nauseous the past few days, but I know I will get back into it.

Squat - 190 lbs 5/5/5/5/5 Starting to feel it on these. Hoping I'm not going to need to deload soon, I'm hoping I can just keep pushing it
Overhead Press - 80lbs 5/5/5/5/5 This should continue to go up, not that difficult at this stage
Deadlift - 225lbs 5 Felt pretty good, I will obviously hit 1.5x BW in this lift before anything else
Chin ups - 10/5/5 Not happy about that. I should have been able to pump out more.

So, I'm fighting the urge that I seem to get so often of switching, but when is the best time to switch to a 4 day split? I'm thinking once I can push out 1.5x BW in squats and dl...I don't know if I'll ever hit that in bench.

I really want to hit my muscles as hard as I can, and feel like I've used up any "newbie gains" I would have seen by now.


Got a few days to make up for:

Friday 8/28:

Squat - 195lbs 5/5/5/5/5
Bench - 150lbs 5/5/5/5/5p Had a slight pause for the very last rep...sat the bar down for about 6-7 seconds then hit the last rep
T-bar Row - 60lbs 16/11/11
Push-ups - 15/9/6 I feel like no matter how strong in the chest I get, as long as I bust my ass on Bench I shouldn't be doing a ton of these at the end of the workout

Monday 8/31:

Squat - 200lbs 5/5/5/5/5 Wow, didn't even realize this was 200 lbs until just now. I always write down the weight I put on one side of the bar (to keep track), so I had 77.5 written down. Woohoo.
Overhead Press - 95lbs 5/5/4/4/4 Of course...my shoulders are so weak...2 more tries to get this weight before I'm forced to do my first deload of the program
Deadlift - 230lbs 5 Still not really that difficult...Seeing the double plates on each side psyches me out until I do the first lift and realize it's not that heavy
Pull-ups: 10/6/5 Not happy this isn't going up faster...don't feel like I'm doing anything that should be torching my back during these workouts

I suppose as long as I'm still adding weight I should be happy. I'm not a very patient type, and I'm quite worried I'm going to look the same after another year that I did in my first two pictures on the thread. My weight is only up to about 171...But I feel if I am diligent about eating my 3 workout shakes every morning I shouldn't need to add a ton more throughout the day.


Ok, now I'm pissed off

I added some exercises from the ballistic article that was written about a week ago. I used the bodybuilding approach by alternating exercise with ballistic exercise

Wednesday 9/2

Squat / Jump Squats (body weight)- 205 lbs 5/5/5/5/5
Bench / Plyo push up - 155 lbs 2/4/3/3/1 WTF??? Last bench I get all 25 reps of 150 lbs, and this week I barely get 13 reps? I'm going to try this weight two more times, but I'm hoping it was a bad workout. I see no reason I should drop off that much from 5 lbs. Maybe the pushups wore me out? I really don't think so though...my usual spotter wasn't available that day, so perhaps I was mentally blocked...I don't know
T-bar Row - 62.5 lbs 16/11/11

I'm having trouble staying consistent, which I really need to work on. When I go to the gym several days in a row, I get enough calories (thanks to the shakes) and feel pretty good, but on days I skip, i'm losing about 2000 calories without drinking my protein shakes. I try and get myself to go every day, but after a long day at work, having to do some things around the house, and getting to bed around 10:30 or so...I just don't want to wake up at 4:30 the next day to go work out...I am working on it though.

By the 1 year mark of this blog, I want to average 5 days a week at the gym, and a form of exercise on the weekends (perhaps tennis w/ the wife, or bball with the guys)