T Nation

Serious Question from a Serious Kid


So I've been working out for about 5 years now, and would consider myself very dedicated. I eat very healthily and have tried just about everything (thermogenics, massive amounts of cardio and lifting) and still have a significant amount of fat that I can see. I know that I have a good amount of muscle, as my strength continues to shoot up, but I need advice...

I have been doing the workout plan listed from '20 lbs of hollywood muscle' combined with sort of a 10x3 (as I am only concerned with physique really) and have noticed that everytime I lift, my strength goes up slightly every time. So my question is... I've been doing this for a while, and my weight appears very stagnant (I coupled this with a very low carb diet and went from about 206 to 198 ish). Am I doing something wrong? I am an endomorph body type but far from a slob... just some definite man-boobage and thickness all over. Strength has gone through the roof but I just want to know if there is anything else ya'll would recommend to me... Thanks for the advice


Could be a lot of things. You may be undereating and shooting your metabolism in the foot. Post detailed diet, training - and some pics would help us too.




My diet has been pretty solid if I do say so myself (mainly good proteins such as turkey ham, grilled chicken, skim milk on occasion, almonds, that kind of thing) I also eat vegetables frequently. I tried doing something of a low carb diet and that is what I initially saw results from (the drop from 206 to 198) and have been stuck in that zone, even after re-introducing carbs. My lifting has been good, I have been doing 10x3 for bench press about once a week coupled with the 20 lbs of hollywood muscle routine, and my strength is still shooting up and has yet to slow down.. I uploaded some pics too, and am not even concerned with strength gains honestly, but I figured that since my weight was staying the same, maybe the gains in strength would equal a change in body composition for the better... heres a pic and ill upload a side one as well


I think cardio is worth mentioning as well. I'm no fool and have been doing that as well (i initially did about an hour and a half in the morning on that atkins-like diet, but have since moved to running/sprinting). I just started doing the "sprinting towards single digit body fat" article's sprinting section, and am hoping for the best. since obviously the only thing I care about is physique, i am looking to do anything possible, as my body tends to not break down or give up regardless of what I throw at it. any advice you guys have would be GREATLY appreciated, as i havent given up yet.. just need some guidance


Oh ya, u asked for a detailed guide to how I would be eating, and this is a basic idea of how I eat every day (considering i work about 8 hours every day)... i drink coffee too if that is worth mentioning (no sugar or any mixers, just black)

morning: either a protein bar if im running late OR raisin bran w/ skim milk OR eggs (whole, about 4-5) w/ turkey bacon

sometimes i eat peanuts/almonds while at work but its difficult as i have no breaks

lunch- salad with a good a portion of meat (2 grilled chicken breasts and/or eggs)... every other day i will eat rice instead w/meat

i snack on almonds/peanuts alot too after work

dinner- usually whatever my mom cooks or just vegetables and lean meats

i drink alot of water too


Honestly you have very little muscle, and your diet is pretty poor. You could continue to try and cut, but you'd be better served adopting a more serious approach to your weight training and putting together an eating plan that will actually put some size on you.


Yeah. Stop drinking skim milk. Whole fat milk and red meat will do you good. Low fat does not help you lose fat. That's antiquated misinformation. Like SkyNett said, eat more and bulk. Your body fat is not even a concern right now. You need muscle first then you can worry about cutting and seeing it.

Edit: And for fuck's sake, stop eating turkey bacon. You can't even tell when it's cooked. It keeps the same color. Bleh.


Yea, word to what they said. What are your lifts at? "Strength keeps going up" doesn't provide much. What type of cardio? LSD(Long Slow Distance) will not help.

Honestly, take a step back and try the Starting Strength approach from Rip. Shit's the dank, and while it's built for bulking, if you threw on 5-20lbs of muscle you'd look a whole lot better.


I appreciate the feedback guys I just thought i was kind of strong for my age, but I guess not. I was doing 10x3 for flat bench and im up to doing 230 lbs 10 sets of 3 so i thought that was not bad strength wise. as for back squats I 20 rep 205 lbs. while i understand that compared to most people on this website im nothing special, but for being 196 pounds I honestly thought i should be done "bulking" or whatever and should start slimming down. guess i was wrong there haha

so i plan to continue cardio and incorporate more sprinting, but you guys all think that I would be better suited to bulking right now to make my physique look better? that is the impression i get here and i suppose that is what would be best


Not to be a dick, but from the pics you posted you don't look like you put up that weight. Maybe I'm not seeing em right or you're deceptive, but i just imagined different numbers. Maybe drop the sets on the bench and rep up a bit?turn the scheme around. I'm just gonna like shoot out assorted ideas

Shorter rest
Complexes? CT has a lot of them up, plans and all
For your diet do you keep a log? Try that out maybe you'll realize you're not eating as well as you'd think
Sprint more? I do a lot of hill work on leg days, find 100m hill and do 10x100m hill sprints, walking back down, 2x a week or after legs


I did the low-carb insanity for 2 years in order to lose 100 lbs of fat. I would estimate my daily net caloric intake (calories in - calories burned working out) was about 1,850-2,000. Usually I would eat about 2,500 and train to lose about 600 with weights and cardio. I went from about 275 lbs to 185 lbs (100 lbs of fat - 10 lbs of muscle gained = 90 pounds lost overall). I saw very little progress re: hypertrophy, gaining 10 lbs of muscle in 2 years is nothing to write home about.

If you want to get bigger, but with muscle instead of fat, (and I think that's what you're asking given that you refer to your body size), you will need to eat and train for hypertrophy. Strength gains can come with very little hypertrophy, believe it or not. I've seen guys who weigh 135 lbs and look skinny in a t-shirt come in and bench 200+ pounds in perfect form.

In my experience, low-carb diets work generally because they are low-calorie diets. It's easy to stay below 2,000 calories a day when all you eat is chicken, turkey and vegetables.

If you want to get huge, you need to eat huge and train huge. When I flipped my diet I gained 15 lbs of muscle in one year and all my 1-rep maxes went through the roof. I started training with much more emphasis on bigger weights (4-6 rep ranges), I went from 50/50 weights/cardio to 90/10 weights/cardio. Listen to this part: I also started eating 3,300 calories a day. It wasn't planned, but I got tired of waking up in the middle of the night with hunger pangs. I just kinda listened to my body. As soon as I did that, I started seeing tremendous gains in both strength and hypertrophy.

I wish I'd have known about T-Nation then, because trying to lift heavy while eating low calorie was an exercise in stupidity =). I guess I learned it the hard way (trial and error, trying to decode why I was getting hunger pangs at 3 AM). I guess we're all beginners in our own ways.

A food log is a good idea but a bit too much of a hassle. I just eat the same things pretty much day in day out, week day or week-end.

In order to up my calorie intake, I re-introduced whole eggs, red meat (I like horse, it's much leaner than beef and has 2x the iron per serving), fruits, starchy potatos, salad dressing, whole milk, and tons of healthy fat in the form of nuts, nut butter, olive oil, avocado. Believe it or not, I haven't even gained an inch on my waist (as a former fatso, I monitor it daily!), but I look much more muscular now.

The first 4 months I ate that, I think I put on about 5 lbs of muscle (i.e., half of what I put on in the preceding two years) and my lifts all exploded. My squat 1-rep-max doubled! Gains are slower now, but when I am trying to get bigger I usually eat 2,700-3,600 calories a day. Some guys at my gym are at 4,000+.

Here is an article I find useful:

If you want to get bigger, you will have to do it with the expectation of putting on some fat. This is because you will want to avoid a caloric deficit at all times. :slight_smile:


Do one program or another. Stop Frankensteining. Complexes where mentioned.

I would like to see a video of the full 10x3 at 230lbs.


I'm with JFG, I want to see this video. 30 total reps of 230 is quite a feat to me.
And complexes for days.


haha well thanks guys for the comments, but i assure you that is the weight i put up about a week ago. i have actually heard something along the lines of my "deceptive"-ness in terms of lifting (particularly bench) before. I like the idea of sprinting more, and will actually give that a shot. i did 100m for 4 sets with some warming up today.. ankle's a little sore. at my height of 5'9'' and weighing damn near 200 pounds, i am truly in shock of being told that i need to do something along the lines of bulking. but i will give that a shot as well as incorporating some more sprints, and will post pics as i make progress. woohoo on eating more


Aight, so I guess I'll be the first to tell this guy to get on a real program. "20lbs of hollywood muscle"? That wasn't even really a routine, was it? And you skipped over all the diet information in that discussion, as well.

Get on a real program. One that works ALL of your muscles, not just the hollywood ones.

Learn how to eat effectively. Nutrition is the key, and learning when to eat what and how much will speed up your progress tremendously.

The truth is, you're doing horrible for someone who's been training for five years. Fix it.


Thank you, i will definitely keep all of that in consideration.


Did you mention how many calories you are eating each day? I didn't see that anywhere here but maybe I missed it? Are you positive you are in an energy deficit?


I know that wasn't what you wanted to hear, but you needed to be told. If I could go back and give my 21-year-old self some ass-kicking I'd be a lot more harsh to myself than that.

I busted my ass for years, thinking I knew what I was doing but just had shitty genetics. In the past three years I've learned a hell of a lot and made a hell of a lot of progress (knocking on the door of 3-plate bench and 5-plate DL). The first step to that progress was throwing out everything I thought I knew about training and starting from square one.


You have no idea what his macro breakdown is. Therefore you have NO IDEA if replacing fat free milk with full fat milk is a good idea. NONE AT ALL. You are making a pure guess based on minimal info provided by the OP.

Also, what the hell is wrong with turkey bacon? If someone wants your opinion on something as insignificant as the color of a food, theyll ask Im sure.