T Nation

What Am I Doing Wrong?

I’m 30 y/o and started training one year ago.
(Skinny fat,very small frame)

I train twice a week,mostly the upper body.

I always have my protein shake after the workout and plenty of rest between workouts.

I have improved in my lifts,posture and mass but considering it’s a year,the improvements are very disappointing.
I’m 5.3 and 130Lbs ,20% body fat (I guess),My weight did not change significantly but since my lift improved a bit,I guess I lost a few pounds of fat,and “swapped” it with lean mass…I hope so.

I grow very slowly,it takes me MONTHS to lift 5 Kg more on the shoulder press (my favorite).
I can’t understand why… I work with intesity, I always make sure to go to failure especially in the last set, I do 3 or 4 sets.

I suspect that only two protein shakes a week (after workout) it’s not enough…I know I eat enough calories (since I still have my love handles) but maybe it’s bad calories…Do I need more protein shakes ?

Do you guys take the protein shake everyday ?

Afterall the good thing is I enjoy going to the gym and lifting weights even if I didn’t reach my goals.
What makes me mad is also reading here…your posts…people write things like “I put on 50 pounds in 9 months”…WTF ?!

[quote]Horazio wrote:
I train twice a week,mostly the upper body.

[/quote]

Hmm . . . call me crazy, but maybe twice a week upper body workouts might be your problem.

I’ll point out some stuff you do wrong:

  1. You train mostly upper body. You should train your upper and lower body equally.

  2. Still having love handles doesn’t mean you eat enough. It could mean you’re eating an unbalanced diet.

  3. I don’t take protein shakes, but I get stronger. You shouldn’t be basing your gains too much on protein shakes.

  4. You didn’t take into account your age. It’s easier to get gains when you’re younger.

  5. You might be training to failure too much.

  6. You failed to mention your current workout and how long you’ve been doing it. If you did, people might find more stuff that’s wrong, and we’ll be able to help you even more.

  7. You also didn’t mention your diet.

Horazio, you are not eating enough.

I suggest reading the contributor articles instead… if you fail to see that training 2x week upper body only is a problem, you are lacking the basic knowledge required to train properly.

[quote]Horazio wrote:

What makes me mad is also reading here…your posts…people write things like “I put on 50 pounds in 9 months”…WTF ?![/quote]

Look up the blast your bench program, buy it, use it.

Look up the smolov squat program, use it. But not at the same time as the blast your bench program.

bulk to 150-160 durring smolov and then bulk another 5-10lbs durring the blast your bench program.

Start training much more often, 4times a week at the very least.

switch your excercises as soon as you stop makeing gains with them, and try to move the bar or dumbells as fast as posible on every rep none of this slow tempo bullshit.

Go to the doctor and get a blood test to see if you have low test.

As far as diet goes try this.

meal 1
Breakfast
100+ carbs
40 gramsprotein

workout

meal 2
100+ carbs
40 grams potein’

meal 3
50 carbs
30 protein

meal 4
no carbs
30 protein

meal 5
no carbs
30 protein

meal 6
no carbs
30 protein

You will definatley gain weight but not as much fat as you usualy would due to the carb timeing. 250 carbs 200 protein for you = growth and power.

Feel free to get a good bit of your carbs from poptarts dohnuts and chocolate milk. Its not realy healthy but it will work and they taste great.

Post post back in 16-20 weeks after you have done smolov, gained 30lbs and done the blast your bench program.

Also, if you try your best and dont put hardly anything on your big 3 doing this then consider steroids because it cant be your fault.

Man,whatever it is,if it’s low test I’ll shoot myself. I’m only 30, not 70 !

[quote]Horazio wrote:
Man,whatever it is,if it’s low test I’ll shoot myself. I’m only 30, not 70 ![/quote]

lots of people have low test, you should consider your self lucky if you can get test legaly plus its not like your 18 and will mess up your body with it.

win win situation.

[quote]n3wb wrote:
Horazio wrote:
Man,whatever it is,if it’s low test I’ll shoot myself. I’m only 30, not 70 !

lots of people have low test, you should consider your self lucky if you can get test legaly plus its not like your 18 and will mess up your body with it.

win win situation.[/quote]

From what this guys says I’d be surprised if low test were the money issue he’s having. The fact that his training consists of upper body twice a week leads one to believe that he probably isn’t even getting much out of that. Somebody who knew how to train anything effectively would probably know that upper body (whatever exactly that even means) twice a week is not a program.

The questions about protein shakes would lead one to further conclude that he doesn’t have a real firm grip on nutrition either. Nuthin wrong with protein shakes, but preoccupation with that at the expense of overall diet is indicative of classic acute noobitis. I would be looking at a real program and some manfood (as you and others have said) before believing endogenous hormonal issues were to blame. All just my opinion of course.

[quote]n3wb wrote:
Look up the blast your bench program, buy it, use it.

Look up the smolov squat program, use it. But not at the same time as the blast your bench program.
[/quote]

Mate I believe that you are honestly trying to help this person but by no means should a beginner try the smolov squat routine even the entry level routine.

A balanced training regime with focus on primary lifts, with adequate nutrition and rest should be suffice to deliver achievable, healthy, and significant gains

Long Live The Body Science

Horazio, why don;t you post your daily diet (typical), meal breakup and timing, including post WO nutrition on this thread?
I strongly suspect you are NOT eating enough and from the question on protein shakes, not eating properly.
Secondly, you could try some well connected program like the Big Boy Basics program on this site. But whatever you try, if you don;t eat enough to grow you’ll never gain. In any case, believe your body will have recomped a bit at the same weight, at least in the beginning when you started lifting. But that would probably have happened npo matter what you were doing and/or eating.

1.) Read the beginner thread and the articles linked by it. If you think that low test level (or whatever) is limiting your growth while training upper body 2x a week and nothing else you lack (as someone else already said) the most basic knowledge

2.) Go pick a beginner program (if you lack knowledge you should not design one for yourself), either TBW 3x/week or some upper/lower split 4x/week or something similar and follow it

3.) Eat. Don’t think about supplements or when to take a ‘protein shake’ or whatever, get enough calories in that you actually start gaining weight and get ~1.5-2g protein per kg of BW per day.

Ok, this is my typicla diet :

9,10 AM brakfast : coffe and milk (

12 PM lunch : big sandwich,with tuna or cheese or eggs and salad.

18 PM dinner : another big sandwich (similar to the first one)
I also “cheat” during the day,cos I have a sweet tooth.

I always drink the protein shakes after the workouts.

[quote]Horazio wrote:
What makes me mad is also reading here…your posts…people write things like “I put on 50 pounds in 9 months”…WTF ?![/quote]
Sorry, I was not trying to gloat, just encourage others to set ambitious goals.

Anyway, I’d say eat more often - six-seven meals a day every 2-3 hours. Make them a little smaller if you have to, or just drink a liter of milk or a protein shake for a liquid meal. Eating more frequently discourages fat storage, too. If you still want to snack between meals keep some nuts around, maybe mixed with raisins.

[quote]Horazio wrote:
Ok, this is my typicla diet :

9,10 AM brakfast : coffe and milk (

12 PM lunch : big sandwich,with tuna or cheese or eggs and salad.

18 PM dinner : another big sandwich (similar to the first one)
I also “cheat” during the day,cos I have a sweet tooth.

I always drink the protein shakes after the workouts.
[/quote]

Try this:

Breakfast - coffee and milk, 6 egg omelet with real cheese (not processed), onions, spinach and 4 oz of ham 2 slices whole grain toast with honey. Add oatmeal if you can.

12 lunch - 6 oz beef, chicken or tuna, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, hard boiled egg or two, raw veggies.

15 snack - big sandwich, raw veggies, raisins or figs.

PWO shake - whey and gatorade, or Surge.

18 dinner - 8 oz meat, salad w/ oil and vinegar, 4 eggs. On workout days add 1/2 cup oatmeal.

before bed - Shake of whey/casein or all casein. Add 1/2 cup of cottage cheese to blender.

This is about half of what I eat when I want to gain size, so it’s a start for you, read up on nutrition here, especially by Dr. John Berardi, or buy his book “Scrawny to Brawny”. You really need to start a 3 day a week Total Body Workout. Working your legs works your entire body as far as strenth and power, don’t neglect them.

Horazio, get Precision Nutrition from Dr. John Berardi. Read and study all the articles you can from this site.

The list of educated, experienced authors is second to none and the advice is time proven and free! Get in the gym 3-4 times a week and start working your lowwer body and posterior chain and the gains will come.

Remember, if someone says they’ve gained 50 lbs (of muscle) in 9 months, you need to go somewhere else for advice because they’re full of shit! Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just keep after it and focus on your goals.

whoa, that’s like four times what I usually eat…

[quote]Horazio wrote:
whoa, that’s like four times what I usually eat…[/quote]

…which is why you haven’t been able to gain weight.

[quote]J L Erwin wrote:
Remember, if someone says they’ve gained 50 lbs (of muscle) in 9 months, you need to go somewhere else for advice because they’re full of shit![/quote]

Just for the record, I have never said anything about gaining only muscle, mostly muscle or even given any estimates of how much might be muscle.

[quote]Der Candy wrote:
Horazio wrote:
whoa, that’s like four times what I usually eat…

…which is why you haven’t been able to gain weight.[/quote]

Yep =] You are a naturally small guy which means comparisons to other people have to be made with that in mind. However, my 11 year old daughter, who trains BTW, eats quite a bit more than you do.

Please don’t take that as a jab about you being short. Being short is no hinderance to building a truly impressive physique and in some ways can be useful as short guys can be naturally suited to power movements. Regardless, you need food to grow. What you’re describing wouldn’t build muscle on a midget.