T Nation

Skinny Nerd Needs Serious Help to Grow


Ok, so I’m a hardgainer. Ectomorph, is that the word?

I’ve lifted on and off since my late teens (I’m now in my early 30s). I guess I never kept it consistent for more than a year or so at a time, falling back to maybe twice a week. But even when I kept going hard, I couldn’t gain any REAL muscle/weight. I looked “ok”, but not even close to even some of the smaller guys that train seriously.

I think my biggest problem is the nutrition. I really struggle with eating alot. I eat around 2000 kcal I guess, 2500-2700 maybe on a really good day. Most days 2000-2300 kcal though.

  1. Does anyone here have any experience with being a “hardeater”, and then starting to eat alot, going from skinny to having a good size of muscles/body weight? Does the body adapt to the increased food intake? I feel really full and bloated if I eat notably more calories in a day than I’m used to. Even get some stomach pains at times.

1.2) I am concerned perhaps my digestion/absorption is not ideal, but I don’t know. Can a high dose B12 supplement be beneficial in any case? I heard it can do wonder for absorption of nutrients, but have no experience with it.

1.3) What are some good ways of eating clean food and still reach a proper calorie intake? Any “tricks” here? Healthy, high calorie foods that are convenient?

Also, ever since I got older, I notice I don’t have the “juice” that I used to when I was in my early 20s/late teens. This is normal, I know. My T-levels are almost exactly on the half-way point between the low and high end of the normal range. Got morning wood pretty frequently and a more than decent libido. Yet I feel I should be feeling more “juiced up” than I do, since I’m only in my early 30s. I want to become more of a hunter again in my mindset, more determined etc. But I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t want to do the T thing.

  1. Any supplements or particular foods/eating habits I should adapt to maximize my natural testosterone levels? I currently take high quality fish oil and vitamin D3 (5000 iu)/day.

  2. Has anyone here gone from being a scrawny male to a stocky juicebag without using the roidz? I would love to hear your experiences.

My problem is, I love long cardio workouts, but I guess I really need to stop doing those if I want to grow. Currently 177 cm, 68 kg. (5’ 10", 150 lbs)



Two things.

First sentence has Chris C written all over it.

Two, this belongs in the beginner section.


I don’t know what you mean by that first thing.

Sure, just move it if it’s in the wrong section.


actually, the word is “under-eater”

then train seriously! You already know this though.

See? I knew you knew it already.

Ya, it sucks, but it has to be done. It’s kind of fashionable these days to say things like you don’t need to eat a lot of meals in a day and that calories don’t matter, but really, if you want to really push the envelope in terms of size or leanness then you need to work out how many calories you are eating, increase it to get into a surplus, and then adjust depending on how much/little weight you are gaining.

So actually take some time to work out exactly how many calories you’re eating, and adjust from there. Once you’ve been doing it for a while you’ll get good at ballparking it but initially at least you’ll want to measure things.

whole milk, nuts, nut butters, cheese, fatty cuts of meat

This is such an annoying trend these days is for guys to complain about their T levels when there’s no need to. Don’t give it another thought. If you don’t have some sort of dysfunction, your T levels are just fine. And really, your endocrine system is so unbelievably complex and T is just one part of it. So yeah, don’t worry about it.


I gained 50lbs naturally before I touched roidz, so I guess maybe I fit into this category. I ate more than I wanted to and it happened. I was also considerably skinnier than you when I started.

If you like them, keep doing them. Just make sure your calorie intake and recovery isn’t compromised.

  1. No. Although I have never been a binger or one to eat past fullness. I don’t know how some do this at buffets, and I have some friends who can chow down on 2,000 fattening calories in a sitting. I love food, but once I am satisfied at a meal, it’s over. However, I noticed during my permabulker-fat guy phase that the more I ate, the hungrier and more quickly I became hungry between meals. So yes, I think the body does adapt a bit to the gastric stretching and possible hormonal abuse of overeating. :slightly_smiling:

Most non-behemoth men with ordinary activity levels (say, six to eight hours a week of exercise activity total), need about 3500 cals to grow. This is a generalization and it’s really not that much food to get this. So I guess man up and eat what you must.

1.2) If you want good digestion, then eat plenty of veggies and eat tubers and rice for your starchy carbs and some fruits. If you consume adequate amounts of animal products, there is no need to supplement with B12. That supplement is for vegans. :slightly_smiling:

1.3) Please refer to some of the god-knows-how-many nutrition articles on this site, hundreds or thousands of them. You already know some high calorie foods: nuts, seeds, avocados, coconuts, sparing amounts of full fat dairy.

I am assuming your T levels are in the range of 500 to 700. If 500 or over with E2 of less than 50, you should feel alright. Besides, most docs would not give you T without being hypogonadal, say with a level of 400 something. My doc doesn’t like seeing anyone with less than 400 with symptoms.

If one day you do become hypogonadal, you can bet your ass you’re gonna want to “do the T thing”–TRT (medicine) to be exact.

  1. Eat fish–simple as that.

No supplement or vitamin or mineral is going to raise your T levels if you do not have a nutritional deficiency, none. T raises T–end of story!

Vit. D is useful for those with little sunlight and vegetarians.

  1. Plenty of people went from skinny to having a nice, muscular body, including myself. HOWEVER, if you have a diminutive frame, then there’s no changing this. But ANYONE who has better genetics than Woody Allen can gain, depending on genes, 25 to 40 pounds of muscle over the course of five to seven years or so, sooner if they do things right and have great genes and little life stress and live like a monk.

  2. If you limit cardio to low intensity 20 to 40 min a week, it can actually help your physique and health along the way. I myself run for 20 to 40 minutes three times a week at low intensity, or play games at the park in the summer, like paddleball, tennis, handball, etc.


Get some digestive enzymes with HCl will allow you to handle more food and push back the feeling of indigestion/bloat.

Try this on training days…

Also look into Biotests Alpha Male for getting some pep back/ high T feeling


Thanks to all of you for good advice. I guess, as I thought, the number one thing for me is to just basically eat more. Alot more.

Yes, my T-levels are in the 600 or so range if I remember correctly. Got pretty good libido, so I dont think theres anything wrong with my hormones (although I know libido is more complex than just hormones). I do seem to add most of my weight around my stomach area though, which I didnt when I was in my early 20s.