T Nation

Stuck in a 'Beginner' Rut, Need Help

Okay guys, I’m a newbie athlete and I messed up, and am currently in a rut that is rather depressing. I am in grade 12b, about to graduate high-school forever (thankfully) and have had fitness class for the entire semester, which is around 4 months long. I am 6 feet tall, 5’11 without shoes (rough estimate) and just got my body fat/BMI and weight measured. I am 145 pounds with 5% body fat…I have no clue if these numbers are accurate or not.

I’m a skinny fuck, and thought I have been eating lots of food, but have actually LOST weight from my 148 at the starting semester. My BMI stayed around 19%. I have been doing a 2 day Wendlers 5/3/1 split, while going to Muay Thai classes 1-3 times per week. I never once missed a workout, I slacked on kickboxing a little bit, and did only 1 class a week for a 3 week span, but i “made” up for it by doing some bag work (roughly 8-10 rounds) at my house.

I feel that I got a little bit stronger throughout the semester, but feel I wasted a lot of time. I’m on week 4 of the Wendlers with the 1+ reps. On the heavy sets-Squat 195 for an average of 2-4 reps bench press 155 for 1-3, Overhead press only 1-2 reps at 115, and deadlift 245 for 1-3 reps. I know, I’m weak, skinny and I hate it. Did I overestimate my lifts? because I feel I should be hitting more reps on those.

My biggest flaw, was obviously my nutrition, because I did not gain. I always thought i was eating enough, and maybe the lack of progress in the mirror was merely low self-confidence, but it is not.I am not making the progress I want. In the summer, i’m going to train WAY more while i look for a job. 2-3 classes of Thai, and I like the Wendler layout so i will stick to that. I am not sure about my current 1RM but If i had to guess- 280 deadlift (beltless, no chalk, no mixed grip) 170 bench, 225-230 squat( Beltless), and 120-125 overhead press.

This has turned into a rant I guess, but I just want advice on how to increase my strength and lifts while doing Muay Thai at the same time. Primary goal- Muay Thai. Secondary goal- Strength/size. Any help, criticism would be greatly appreciated.

Eat more.

Work on technique.

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
… thought I have been eating lots of food[/quote]
I’d ask what you ate yesterday, but the bottomline is, regardless of how much you were or weren’t eating, if the scale wasn’t moving for the last 8 weeks, that certainly should’ve been a clue that something needed to change. This is why weekly weigh-ins, when trying to gain size, are important. All you can do at this point is accept that you screwed up on that end, and work to correct it going forward.

This is good work. Keep it going.

I think you might’ve overestimated your starting weights. Did you take 90% of your actual max, and then calculate the training percentages off of that?

Understand that training more, especially in the summer, will mean you need even more of the calories that you weren’t getting before.

Don’t guess. Either take a week to actually test the big four lifts for a legit 1RM (or even a solid 2RM, which you can pretend is your 1RM going foward) and properly redo your training max and calculations, or just take a few steps back by dropping your training percentages now, and keep moving forward that way.

In the last few months, has this improved? Stronger strikes on the pads, better conditioning in sparring/bagwork, flexibility, etc.?

Post exactly what you ate yesterday. Not an average, not what you planned on eating; exactly what you ate.

Aright, I can do that. Yesterdays meals. Breakfast- 7:15 Peanut butter jelly sandwich on silver hills sprouted-grain bread with a glass of milk. 11:05- Lunch. Generic tortilla wrap with two slices of lunch meat, lettuce, dressing. Apple. 12:05-Workout- Squats, 5/3/1 3 sets of 8 for assistance. Bench, 5/3/1. Chin ups 3x8, back extensions, 3x10, dumbbell press, 3x8, seated lateral raises 3x8. Post workout- I don’t think i had anything, this is most likely a problem. With school, i never had the biggest lunch. Relied on when I came home for a big meal. After school meal 3:15- two eggs, bowl of pasta (Not sure what kind), homemade vanilla pudding, home-made jello (small cup of each) around 5:00 ish, Tim Horton’s coffee, 2 millk, 2 sugar (I drink a lot of coffee, 1-3 cups daily) another bowl of pasta. Later on that night-One slice of sprouted grain bread with peanut butter, and mixed vegetables with dressing. That’s all.

Chris- Yes I screwed up in the nutrition game. I accept it. Yes, i also think I scrwed up my percentages. For example, the very first cycle of wendlers is 3 sets of 5, with one 5 . After i finished that cycle (4 weeks) i would add some weight onto the lifts (usually 10 pounds on lower body) I kept the upper body lifts the same and tried to add reps because the school had no 2.5 plates, and 10 pounds was too much. And i kept using that formula without actually testing my maxes, so i think i may of made too big of a jump on Overhead press. This Friday i sign up for my gym, i will use that day to finish my last workout of this cycle, then start fresh and ACTUALLY test my maxes. Yes, training more will involve more calories, but i can focus on it since i have free time. The last couple months excluding the weeks were I slacked off and missed classes, I have improved. It’s also hard because i train constantly in muay thai with a friend, who sometimes does not go, meaning i have to find transportation there and back. Those are merely excuses that I am willing to change though. But yes, i have improved. I don’t plan on being a jack of all trades, i just want to get better at striking and gain weight.

On a random side note, i want to get this out of the way because it’s discussed on a few forums (I will probably recieve criticism for this) after training, or after school on off days I smoke some pot with my friends to relax, (I never exclude training for the stuff) and EVEN then i get munchies and sometimes refrain from eating food, thinking i’m eating too much, yet i have not gained and weight. It is a confusing scenario.

Assuming your pot use is not interfering with your decision-making process (meaning you train and rest consistently and make good food choices), I don’t think it would have a detrimental effect on your goals. You may even be able to leverage this other habit of yours to meet your goal.

I would suggest keeping lots of healthy “munchies” on hand and have at it after you smoke. Your problem seems to be suboptimal food intake, and pot might actually help with this. Eat, and eat a lot.

As an aside, one young man who trains at my gym always comes in reeking of dope (it is basically legal here in Maine, the worst that can happen to you is a ticket). He’s one of those misguided beach muscle types who just benches and curls, but he’s definitely STRONG at what he does. He loves smoking dope after he lifts. I’m fairly sure there’s some correlation there. There may also be a correlation between his dope smoking and poor training choices, he could just be dumb as a post or, more likely, some combination of the above is present.

Enjoy your pot.

Learn to count calories. Eat more.

Thanks for the reply twojarsteve. I try my absolute best to make good choices, the worst I would do is eat something unhealthy. I never skipped fitness class, I skipped a few striking classes because it was a huge hassle to get there, so i just stayed back. That’s it though. Yeah, I’m going to start planning a lot-making meals before i go to bed for the next day, cutting up vegetables, meal planning etc.

… I eat more calories than you had all day by lunch and have 2 other full meals and a massive shake before bed… Just saying.

your nutrition or lack there of is the problem here. I understand you say you understand that but, your not eating half what you need in a day especially at that level of activity. Eat more period.

5 Eggs Whole Jumbo
1 cup (dry size) Oats with Berries or Chocolate Chips with Slenda
16oz of Milk

Some Fruit and Peanut Butter or PBJ Sandwhich will be fine

Post Workout
30g of protein
60g of sugar. I take a scoop of whey and scoop of Gatorade and mix in shaker. Taste great and is easy.

Lunch: Take some thing with you if you don’t like school lunch.
Sandwhich - 6oz Lunch meat 2-3oz of Cheese I like thick cheddar, Vegetables and what not

8oz of Beef or Chicken its cheaper
100g of Carbs in what ever form pasta, tortilla, fruits what ever doesn’t have to be boring make a massive thing of Chicken Stir Fry and Teriyaki, Burritos, Lasagna, freaking something.

Right before bed
16oz milk, peanut butter, chocolate protein, 4 eggs, Ice Cream you probably need it to be honest. Drink go to sleep.

^^^^ that’s simple and not even a dirty bulk in my opinion and will be a massive increase from your before mentioned day.

Won’t comment on the pot as personally that’s your decision but, I know alot of smaller guys who have been able to successfully use it to stimulate their appetite just so they could keep eating. Just know consequences suck with the stuff but hey we all have a vice.

Thanks a lot for your reply Reed. Holy…that’s a lot more food that I have eaten for the last couple months, sure shows why I am underweight. Seems like milk is a staple, I usually never drink it unless it’s with a shake or cereal, will start drinking with every meal. In regards to the pot, i know it’s an addiction, and maybe even an immature one at that. I have researched a decent ammount, and i am nowhere near the clinical “heavy smoking” and don’t plan to be. The only research I could find where chronic abuse leads to affects in the lungs is when it’s mixed with tobacco, or inhaled in excess through joints. That’s up for discussion on a different thread (;

Also, another interesting thing I have read. A lot of anti-gmo, anti-monsanto pages on facebook have lots of claims and propaganda againt milk (Weaken bones) and would like to hear someones input on that.

That is a moderate I would eat that to drop weight slowly essentially. I listed milk because its easy calories to get in and is cheaper than a ton of protein powder. As for the milk making bones weak I honestly can’t say. I have drank it daily since I was baby. I have never broken a bone and to be 5’6" I have a fairly thick bone structure supposedly. I honestly don’t know of those studies hold weight or if there even is a study ever really done to proven it or if its just another diet like not eating gluten. I know if has been a time tested staple from old day of guys like Kaz and even Arnold when they were coming up. Stories of small guys drinking a gallon a day (GOMAD) has worked for many over the years. But you can get that amount of food down it may take some time to get used to but you can. I take in more than that even and I am a very light eater and have to force myself to finish a days calories.

8 eggs over medium
1 1/2 cups oats with Choc Chip Pancakes or Bananas
4 slices of Bacon
16oz of milk.

Rest of the day I combine 2 pound or 32oz of beef or chicken with pasta or rice and eat it all day. May be a massive pan of lasagna broke up into 3 meals, Taco Sald or Stir Fry and I alt each day. Put it all in one massive container and make sure its all gone by the end of the day.

Right before bed I have mix of Whey and Casien, Peanut Butter, 6 Eggs, and 12oz of milk makes almost a extra 80g of protein just before bed alone.

Also have essentially the same post workout as I listed.

I was in the exact situation you were in at your age. Same martial art (also did boxing and some grappling).

You’re going to have to choose one or the other if you want to be great, or be mediocre at both. Look at how many MT fighters are jacked vs how many are skinny.

Do some soul searching and decide which you want to be awesome at.

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
Also, another interesting thing I have read. A lot of anti-gmo, anti-monsanto pages on facebook have lots of claims and propaganda againt milk (Weaken bones) and would like to hear someones input on that. [/quote]

Without getting into a lengthy discussion about organic vs GMO or whatever other hot topics are floating around those circles, please accept my synopsis of what you are likely to get from the type of sources you mention.

Stupid hippie bullshit.

What you need right now is quality calories, and lots of them. Reed has given you excellent advice on this topic. I think regular whole milk from the grocery store will suit your purposes just fine.

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
On a random side note, i want to get this out of the way because it’s discussed on a few forums (I will probably recieve criticism for this) after training, or after school on off days I smoke some pot with my friends to relax

I’m actually curious, as an 18 year old high school kid, what are you relaxing from? I’m less concerned about the impact of the drugs and more concerned about the stressers that are driving its usage, as that in and of itself can be pretty catabolic.

Do you have anxiety issues or anything like that?

count calories and make sure your eating in a surplus. In my opinion i would rather see you on a linear progression fullbody routine than 5/3/1

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

I’m actually curious, as an 18 year old high school kid, what are you relaxing from

Not speaking for the kid, but the American Psych. Association recently came out with its annual stress survey and found that teenagers are the most stressed age group out there. This due to a lot of things: pressure from family/friends/etc., higher expectations, a more competitive culture (they have internships for highschool kids now!), and poor role models (parents living stressful lives with poor coping mechanisms).

Also, I came across a recent study on weed smokers and dietary habits that found (and this is me trying to remember an article from 3 months ago) that people that smoke weed actually eat less than non-smokers, they just make poorer food choices. So, using weed to stoke appetite may be misguided, particularly if the food choices will be fritos and tostitos cheese dip.

Could you give me an example of a full-body linear progression? I use the 2-day template of 5/3/1 because its easy and I enjoy it-having the percentages are quite useful. Pwnisher, thank you for your input. I do not plan on competing in muay thai, or else i would not be so keen or interested in lifting. I want to excel at muay thai, but lifting is so fun and addicting not to mention i’m so early into it and have SO much progress to make. If i wanted to excel at weights, i would probably go 3-4 days a week, but i enjoy kickboxing more (self defense, fun etc) that’s why i’m trying to make the best of both. And, i’m not exactly “stressed” per say, but I lost my father at the young age of 16 and it was quite difficult to go through, but other than that, I just do it to have fun and chill. About the milk debate, yeah it’s probably hippie bullshit. The only links they would provide would be to a website like “Eatorganic.com” or some bullshit like that, no actual research.

[quote]ThyArtisMurder wrote:
Could you give me an example of a full-body linear progression? [/quote]

Starting Strength, Stronglifts, Greyskull LP, IronStrong Average Program… something that adds weight every time and is intensity driven, as opposed to cycles.

Also, unless you’re doing research on how social media affects interaction, or some other social science exploration… nothing on facebook should ever be considered “research.” Just call it stalking like a normal kid.

Thank you. I know, when i do research I look up actualy scholary articles and actual documented research. Studies and so on.

My only issue with a full-body linear progresion, is it does not go well with a combat sport unless it’s off season or something. I don’t think there is a two-day full body linear progression routine, is there? and 3 days would be managable in the summer,
hell i would enjoy it! it would just be difficult to do that and Muay Thai at the same time.