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Weight Dilemma: Advice For An Ecto


Ive been lifting weights for about 7 years now (im 23) but really only for about 2-3 years seriously. Im 5'11" and currently range from about 175-180lbs, and have relatively low fat 12-15% or so.
Although, I feel that im in really good shape, and have developed a good amount of strength/power, I dont have the appearance of someone that is as dedicated as I am. Recently a co-worker even told me I look no different than i did five years ago. This was kinda a wake-up call for me. Building muscle isn't my main goal, but I would like to have the image of someone that workouts as i do.

Here's a little background info about myself.

When i started training at the age of 16-18, I was about 150lbs, now im about 175lbs. In the last year or two, i was able to get up to 195lbs, but the level of food needed to achieve/maintain this weight was greter than im willing to consume..

I consider myself an ectomorph, as ive always been skinny, but I also thing i have a large percentage of fast twitch fibers, because I do best at low rep/ power type training.

So thats my basic background info. I currently follow some of the different plans I have found on this site, and am a Kinesiology major, so I do understand a lot about training and health.

Ive been training 3-4 days/wk. All compound lifts, usually 4-6 exercises per workout, 3-7 sets of 3-10 reps.

DB snatch

I dont do any cardio really at the moment, but do enjoy HIIT type stuff.

I do have the feeling that I am still somewhat young, and in 5-10 years from now, maintaining weight will not be an issue for me.

What do you guys think. Should i just continue training for power and strength, and the muscle will come in time, or should I make some changes to my training/nutrition to gain now.

If im gonna eat more to gain weight, i'd only be willing to add 500-1000 cals/day, which has never seemed to lead to serious gains for me.

I have switched from 3 weeks of training 1 week rest, to 2 weeks of training 1 week rest. Im also thinking of switching my workouts from 4-6 exercises to 3-4 exercises.


Go to Amazon.com and buy "Scrawny to Brawny" by John Berardi.

It's only $12 and will give you training and nutrition advice that will set you on the right path and help you "look" the part and have the strength to back it up.


There's your answer right there. Sorry, but there's no magical workout plan that anyone can give you that's going to offset the unwillingness to eat enough food to grow. Either decide to be willing to eat enough to achieve mass gain, or choose another goal.

I agree with Nate Dogg that getting a copy of Berardi's "Scrawny to Brawny" would be a great investment. But, I'm going to tell you that in a nutshell his advice is the same as the advice that I just gave you above.

You need to eat more, and be willing to eat as much as is needed in order to gain muscle. If you're not willing to do that, then you can go ahead and keep training, change up any parameters that you like, try every routine out there, but you will never get the muscle gain results that you're after.

Why would you only be willing to add 500-1000 cals/day? Also, if that has "never seemed to lead to serious gains" for you, what makes you think that it's going to now? Guess what, if 500-1000 cals/day haven't produced gains in the past, then you're going to need to eat more than that in the present/future in order to produce gains.

Sorry if this reply comes off as harsh, but you are in serious need of a wake up call.

There is an old saying that goes "Winners are simply willing to do what losers are not." So, you need to make a choice, are you a winner? Are you willing to do what it takes to reach your goals? Or, and I hate to say this because I'm sure you're a nice guy and I'm not trying to attack your character, are you a loser? Are you doomed to failure and mediocrity for the rest of your mass building career due to an unwillingness to do what must be done?

If you decide that you're really not willing to do what it takes, that's ok. No one is going to ridicule you for deciding to follow a different path (maybe you decide that you'd rather get really "ripped" or participate in some sport and dedicate your time and effort to getting better at it).

But, your tone in your OP suggested that you are unhappy with your current level of muscle mass and that you feel almost ashamed that you train as hard as you do, and for as long as you have been, and yet "don't even look like you work out". That sounds to me like mass gain is something that you really do want.

If that's the case then seriously, take my advice, and take Nate Dogg's advice and pick up a copy of Berardi's book. Like I said, the book is going to tell you basically the same thing that I did above. But, it's also going to provide you with a plan to achieve your goal.

Good luck and good training,



These kinds of things really wind me up, you clearly aren't eating enough food. Eat more food and when you've put on loads of muscle and no longer need any advice, then and only then will I give you advice.

"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."
Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'


Good post sentoguy.

The willingness to do things is what sets you apart from the lazy and those who don't take action but continue to whine.


I think the reason I might be so against eating much more, was that when I used to bulk, I would eat a ton more. I would do this by making shakes that had 1000 cals, and eating huge pb&j sandwhices and tons of pasta. I always felt full and bloated. I might try a clean bulk like that mentioned in this article:


Its not that am not willing to eat more, its just that if it means always feeling like crap and being bloated and gassy, its just not worth it to me. Health and fitness are the most important of my goals, and although gaining some muscle may help with my fitness its just a side goal i have.

I'll check out that book, and follow some of the guidelines in this article. But also, i think im gonna cut back on training a bit, and see if that leads to gaining some muscle. My best gains ever were when I was in the gym for only 15-25 minutes per workout.

Thanks for the help guys.


Don't get locked into the fallacy that "eating more" has to mean more volume. Lots of ectomorphs struggle with the feeling that they "couldn't eat another bite".

Instead you need to focus on making your meals more calorie dense. Mayonnaise, peanut butter, nuts, cheese, milk, dried fruit, etc. are your friend. If you can't figure out how to get at least 6000 calories a day, you're not even trying.


The feeling you were getting with bulking is the mistake many people make! They are bloated from pasta and other carbs. You can easily "bulk" without feeling bloated by eating more good foods like lean meats, eggs, cheese, veggies, fruit, etc.

Instead of making huge shakes and carb meals, eat more protein and healthy fats.


I hate people who say their ectomorphs. Its just an EXCUSE saying that their not bothered enough to try. I'm an ectomorph i think as I never used to seem to get fat or changed weight, I'm 6,2, and I managed to put on about 10lb in a few months (I know thats not a lot but thats a lot to me, and I first noticed the 10lb gain, which made me really happy).


Good Job man, but I AM an ecto, and I have put on 25lbs from my natural weight already.