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Trainer Isn't Helping w/ Bulk


Hi i've been training hard for about 12 months and i need some advice.

I have an online trainer who is great, but as time is going on i'm starting to wonder if she has the experience and knowledge to help get me to my goals, we made great progress to start with but to be fair my diet was awful and my training plan was none existant before so anything she suggested was going to be an improvement.

I've done a number of short bulks and a number of short cuts so far and what i have learned is that i don't seem to build muscle or gain weight easily, the only time i have ever gained weight in my life was when i lived solidly on a diet of cheese pizza, chocolate and other rubbish, but even at my biggest i was never overweight and was only 6-7lb higher than my current weight. I've also learned that my body needs carbs, i crash and burn without them.

I'm currently sitting at about 18% body fat and i have reasonable muscle tone, i have good striation and even some vascularity on my top half and the fat is stored in my lower half (typical woman) but even at my fattest i still had visable abb's and quite defined arms.

However during the last 12 months i still havn't really gained the size i want my arms are skinny and when i cut below 16% fat i start to look like a crack whore. We've just started to bulk again but im not 100% im happy with my program im really not sure she's got my intake high enough.

I know some people are agaisnt the full hard bulk but i've done 2 other bulks in the last few months with very disappointing muscle gains, i know it's always a slow process but i really don't feel i've progressed as much as i should be and i actually managed to lose fat/weight during both bulks.

I was reading this article


and i think that sort of sounds like me.. i gain weight of any kind slowly and have always had a reasonably defined body and i do work better with carbs, but how do i know for sure??

Reading the program i seem to follow a similar plan training wise and as i suspect it suggested that food wise my intake is no-where near high enough, im 5ft4 115lb eating about 2000 cals bulking (about 200g protien) i've told my trainer that im not scared of gaining fat in order to reach my goals but 2000cals is still all she gave me, working out 5 short workouts a week.

what do you think?


Might be your problem...


do you mean i should be doing one or the other for longer?


Your doubts about the trainer's program for you would only be justified assuming
1) you really are training hard;
2) you are following the trainer's program precisely -- I have seen people who didn't follow a trainer's program exactly and did poorly, while others followed the same trainer's program to the letter and did great;
3) you are letting the trainer tell you how to reach your goal. What I mean by that is, are you showing your trainer a pic of what you want to look like and letting her program your diet and training to get you there? Or are you telling the trainer "I want to bulk" and then 4 weeks later, "I want to cut"?
4) your goals are realistic: what were your stats 12 months ago? i.e., what progress have you actually made? You haven't told us, so we can't know whether it was good progress or not so far.


LOL. It's you rather than your trainer who is clueless.


Uh oh...


I don't doubt that i have made good progress, but to be fair im diet training was none existant, give someone who has never lifted or done any form of exercise access to a gym and a basic nutrition plan and they will make some kind of progress im sure. switching pizza for lean meat, and veg is always got to be a positive right?

Tbh i made very good progress in the first few months i did gain noticable muscle and i lost alot of fat going from 30% body fat down to about 17% but having turned from someone in terrible shape to someone in not bad shape i seem to have significantly slowed if not come to a halt.

There has been no real change in my stats since christmas when i bulk i gain 1-2 inchs on the thighs (my fat retaining spot) and when i cut i lose it again, but my upper body where i really need to add muscle hasn't altered much at all since christmas. Last september my body fat read at about 18-19% and i had 11 inch biceps right now i am at about 18% fat wih 11 inch biceps and if i drop my fat lower my arms look terrible like i havnt eaten in 6 month and i really want to gain some solid muscle there but it doens't seem to be happening.

I follow my trainer plan to the letter, she doesn't schedual in cheats :frowning: so i am perhaps naughtie once of twice a month under my own steam and have a cheat meal.

I train hard, i go to the gym with 2 really big guys who push me really hard while letting me follow the trainers plan, tbh they can't understand how im not gaining mass as training wise they think i should be on target and they are convinced it's coming down to a problem with my food.

My trainer decides when i cut and bulk i just go with what ever she tells me at the time but im getting frustrated because i feel as if i am just gaining and losing the same small portion of fat over and over again with no real progress. I've not really shown her pictures of what i want to look like but i have given her a good idea of what i want, naming a couple of girls i admire and think rock, so she knows im looking for a nice powerful but feminine body rather than super model waif.

My total progress to date is mostly in the fat loss department, my weight is about 7lb lower than it was when i started an i don't doubt that i've tightened up, bu as i said my progress was great in the early days i did gain muscle and lost fat and for maybe 6 months i came n in leaps and bounds, however once i got to a reasonable fat % things came to a sudden and grinding halt.

However since christmas i really can't see much difference and my measureemnts are roughly the same also.


Yes i realise im clueless if i knew what i was doing i wouldnt need to pay for a trainer, im very greatful for what my trainer has done for me however im worried about paying for her service if she is unable to take me to the next level.


200g of protein? For reals? And you're forcing it down? That's a ton. So at least we eliminate that as a cause of non bulking.

5 workouts a week? Weights? that's an unusual number, what do they look like?

Maybe you just need to start pushing more weights around in your workout. Maybe kicking in a few extra carbs will put you over the top.

But bear in mind, if you succeed at gaining, say, 10lbs of muscle and fat... then what will you do?




Are these two big guys like "BIG" as in little fat lots of muscle 250lbd dealift, squat, bench guys or "big" as in mostly fat but have muscle underneath 205lbs that barbell curl in the squat rack, I don't know what a deadlift is, bench hurts my shoulder kinda guys?

If they are the "BIG" guys listen to what they eat and train like them.
If they are the "big" guys try to stay away from them.

I say bulk for a longer period of time then cut after that. Such as getting to 180lbs (whatever your goal is) then cut down to a reasonable weight your like to get at.

Just my 0.02cents


Does your trainer actually have experience helping clients reach similar goals? I don't want to stereotype, but an awful lot of female trainers seem to get their diet/training advice from Vanity fair or something. Good trainers are hard to come by in general, so if you're no longer a complete newbie and no longer getting results, then stop paying your hard earned money.

Find a good program and diet plan on here or Figure Athlete and stick with it.

I would say in general though, the consensus seems to be moving away from bulking/cutting cycles and more toward approaches that allow you to gain lbm while maintaining current leanness. There is no magic number for bulking and cutting, it's all a relative measure. If you're not gaining after 2 weeks, increase the calories. Measure again in two weeks and adjust.

Bulking is a much slower process than cutting, so be patient. Arm size in particular is hard increase.


Your trainer sucks. Drop her like a bad habit.

Of course you look sick when you drop weight. You are 5'4" and 115 lbs, Christ, I'm the same height as you and I looked sick at 115, and I'm a woman.

You don't need to cut at all, for a good, long time. You need to focus on eating and lifting and to hell with your abs or whatever the hell it is you're cutting for.


Did you bother to ask this trainer how she figured out the 2000 kcal? I ran your information through the formula I came up with for my senior research assignment in biochemistry and came up with about 2600 kcal. If you want to run some numbers for yourself, go to johnberardi.com and use his. As a side note, his calculator will probably be much higher than mine because he tends to assume everyone has an excellent metabolism.

It really doesn't matter how you calculate your daily caloric needs because at best it is only a guideline. You see, a calorie is a unit of energy. When the caloric values of the three macronutrients were figured, the scientist simply burned the nutrient and measured how much energy it took to burn. This does not mean that everybody's body can produce the heat to burn the calories and the ability to utilise the nutrients. Ever know someone that eats a ton of crap and never gained a pound. My point is that there is really no way to realistically know how many calories you need.

Your best bet is to calculate your needs and adjust your caloric intake until you see the results you want. A good plan is to evaluate your progress every 2-3 weeks. If your goal is weight gain, increase your daily caloric intake by 150-200 kcal every 2-3 weeks until you get the results you want. For weight loss, just go in the opposite direction.


haha they are the first sort of BIG guys, carrying abit of fat right now but they know what a squat and dead lift is and in the past have both been competative builders.

they are convinced my trainer simply isn't feeding me enough, i have a good metabalism i always have had, i don't gain fat easily and even during bulking phases generally my weight go's up maybe 3-5lb an i suspect that is the extra carbs/food in my stomach more than anything.

I just wanted a second opinion that the problem may indeed simply me a lack of food.


Im going to go ahead and assume your not bs'ing (apologies but i've wasted some amt of time helping people who cant help themselves)

So 1st things 1st, DUMP your trainer.

Personal trainers are the biggest waste of space in the gym (no offense) but they are. Most of em weigh 140lbs sopping wet and wouldnt know how to put muslce on a detrained athlete.

As for your trainer "FEEDING YOU" are you serious ?

YOU alone know your body and your entrusting your body to a complete moron (see above)

You have stated several times, it "may" be a lack of food........ ever try EATING more ?

As for cutting/bulking thats a fast track way of going nowhere EVER.

To put on any appreciable amount of muscle, you need to overeat for YEARS not days,months !

So put up your current nutrition plan (you do have one ?)

YOur current training plan

And the good folks or i will help you free of charge.

Or just ask the big guys........ they didn't get big by accident you know !


I took offense...although I do agree. Too many times, scrawny high schoolers somehow manage to get hired as personal trainers and make the rest of us look like complete jokes. Still though, not all of us are a joke. I definately agree with 300 with respect to the fact that mini bulks are going to result in mini gains...you couple them with mini cuts and you're simply taking 1 step forward, 1 step backward. You need to be in a surplus of calories for a long period of time in order to notice appreciable gains.


Ill be the first to admit i haven't got a clue what im doing thats why i hired a trainer i figured best to start with someone to advice me, the first steps of losing the exess baggage i had where easy, the next steps of adding some serious lean mass suddenly not going so well.

Ok so if i was to go it alone, using what i have as a starting point would the best bet be to just go at it till i'd gained quite a noticeable amount of size? or set a date / weight? what is concidered to be a good amount of time and what should i aim to gain in this time?

Secondly whats the best way of moving forward just add cal's till i start making noticable weight gain on the scales? how much do i aim to gain each week for example?

right now my training consists of a fairly old school 5 day split with no cardio, compound movements mostly, bench press, squats, dead lifts, military press etc


m1 oatmeal / protien powder / nuts
m2 protien powder / natural yogurt/ blueberry's
m3 lean meat, brown rice and green salad.
m4 lean meat and green veg
m5 oily fish green veg and sweet potato
m6 protien powder / peanut butter and natural yogurt.

Pre workout - banana postworkout - protien shake / rice cake.

thanks for the help btw guys :slight_smile:


Been away sorry dude.

Here's a program for the next 3 years:

When you are done with that do the advanced one, that's another 3-5 years.

DON'T leave and do another 2 weeks down the line, stick with it, it will get you to where you want to go.

See isn't that easy no payment needed.


Allright use this a template:


Eggs start at 6 and work upwards
3-4 Caps of Fish Oil
1 portion of Fruit
1 scoop protein

1/2 Tub Cottage Cheese
2 Tablespoons NATURAL Peanut Butter
(Both take time digesting so will hold you over)


8oz of Meat/Fish
2 table Spoons Olive Oil
2 Caps Fish Oil
Lots of Green Veg

1/2 Tub Cottage Cheese
2 Tablespoons NATURAL Peanut Butter
(Both take time digesting so will hold you over)

Dinner (Post workout)

8oz RED Meat
3-4 Eggs
(Real Mans Meal)

Pre Bed:

1 Tub Cottage Cheese
4 table Spoons Natural Peanut Butter

Pre Workout:
2 Scoops Protein

Post Workout:
If no dextrose or whatever use

4 Scoops Protein Powder

Now start at that, after 2 weeks if no results, add some more good fats to your meals, then add protein then fat then protein.

Keep going, come back in 3 years and show us you 500lbs and ripped :slight_smile:

(Joking but you get the point)

Best of luck with it.