T Nation

Worked Hard, Made Progress, but Unnoticable...


So over the past few months I've really been busting my ass with the whole 'attempting to change my physique' thing. After a long struggle with an eating disorder and a series of illnesses its pretty much been the last 3 or 4 months that I've really pulled it together.

This time last year I was about 115lbs, and now I'm round 135lbs (I'm 5ft 11 and 20 years old,) but for a good period of that time I wasn't at the gym- too weak to lift/ low energy/ fear of losing even more weight. Its only been the past 12 weeks though that I've been monitoring my weight gain, and in that time I've put on 12 pounds, but not at a consistant rate (i.e. not always 1lb a week.) I'm eating 5000 cals a day on workout and 3500 on non-workout, but on both days I'm very active.

I'm happy with the progress I've made, but although I don't look sick and gaunt anymore, I don't look like I've put on any weight- I still have to look for the 'small' sized clothes, and most of them still look baggy on me, I can still see my ribs sticking out, I'm still not shifting huge amounts of weight, despite always trying my hardest, and I still have trouble holding my own against strong gusts of wind...

I just want to know how much more weight I have to gain in order to actually SEE or properly notice the changes. I've worked so hard to get to where I am, but it's disheartening to not really be able tp see a whole load of progress...


First of all, are you serious?


Totally serious. Why wouldn't I be?? I didn't think there was anything in my post that could be taken as being a joke?


You're tall man like me. In my profile pics from months ago I was only around 175-180. I'm a bit heavier now but far from done in terms of how much size I want and need. I still feel small as hell. I don't see myself being content until I hit at least 230-240. Which will take quite a bit of time.

So stay with it, in another year you'll look a lot better. I know it sucks having to work real hard to get where some people start. fuck I had to start at a 126 lbs @ 21 years old.


Many will echo what I say when I state it takes years of progress in eating and proper training to have noticeable results. Not months.


you're 135 at 5'11"...do you expect to look any bigger?

I'm your height and around 180lbs and people refer to me as THIN!!!!!!!!!!.


It's very simple - there's no chance of looking 'full' when you're 135lbs. Don't you realize that? You're VERY lean. And you get disheartened way too easily. What can you expect after 12 weeks??


You were 5ft 11 and only 115 pound? Wow, did you have any health issues that contributed to that?

Obviously you have a long way to go. It's frustrating to only go from shit to suck, but stick with it and you will start seeing more results when you gain another 20-40 pounds.


12 pounds in 12 weeks is nothing to be sniffed at. Even from where you're starting from.
And progress is not always linear, but it will come if you keep working hard at it.

I understand it is disheartening to not see what you consider progress after 12 weeks, but you must understand that this is simply the nature of the iron game. Every big and strong guy has put in years and years of hard work to get what he has. If it was easy and happened overnight, everyone would look like a bodybuilder.

5000 cals is a good starting point but I would consider putting this up to 5500 or 6000 cals a day. And no need to have less cals on the non-workout days, your body repairs itself on non-workout days and when you sleep, so it can be counter productive to not have enough cals on non-workout days.

What kind of routine are you doing...?


Thing is though, would I really need to increase my calories anymore if I'm already able to gain up to 2lb a week on my curret intake?? I mean, I've no problem with gaining up to 2lb a week, but wouldn't really want to go above that, as I don't want to start adding too much noticable bodyfat, especially as I'm not too keen on eventually (after however long it may be) having to do a cut


what do you eat in a day? what is your workout schedule and what do you do when you train? be as specific as possible please.


OP stick at it. Be consistent. Work your ass off. Eat high protein. Patience is key. It will take time but if you work hard in a year you could be at 180 (about 1 lb a week). Then from 180 you have a good starting point to add even more.


12 pounds in 12 weeks is good.

Keep it up for a few more years, and you will start to like what you see.

VERY FEW people training and eating to gain muscle could put pics up every 12 weeks showing a big, noticeable, visible difference.

Do not be afraid of a little fat gain, especially with a history of ED. People with EDs who refuse to give up their striations never gain any muscle.



Rise 6.30am

2 Whole Eggs, 3 Whites, scrambled on 2 slices Wholemeal Toast
Half cup of Oats w/ half a large Banana and handful of Mixed Nuts and Raisins
Large Glass water w/ tsp creatine + glutamine
(700 Calories)

Walk 15 minutes to gym

Workout 8.45 - 10.00 (1 hour weights, 10 mins moderate cardio as part of warm-up, then 5 mins as cool down)

Walk 15 minutes to flat

2 Whole Eggs, 3 Whites, scrambled
Cup of Oats
Tub of Yoghurt w/ tsp Cocoa Powder (no-added sugar, low-fat greek yoghurt)
Large Glass water w/ tsp creatine + glutamine
(550 Calories)

(Incredibly busy during this part of day, next real chance I get to eat a whole meal is the following...)

Tuna and Red Onion sandwich on 2 slices Wholemeal Bread with Lettuce
Tub of Yoghurt w/ tsp Cocoa Powder
Handful of Almonds
(550 Calories)

Half cup of Oats w/ tbsp Honey
2 Tubs Yogurt w/ 2 tsp Cocoa Powder and chopped Apple
Handful Mixed Nuts and Raisins
(550 Calories)

4.5oz Grilled Turkey Breast w/ Tbsp Salsa and half a small Avocado
Chopped Broccoli and Carrot mixed w/ Tbsp Mustard
Half a tin of Creamed Corn
Large Sweet Potato, Boiled
(650 Calories)

Tinned Salmon w/ 2 Tbsp Cream Cheese and Cucumber on 2 slices Wholemeal Bread w/ Lettuce
Tin of Vegetable Soup
(550 Calories)

2 Whole Eggs, 3 Whites, scrambled on 2 slices Wholemeal Toast
Half cup of Oats w/ 2 tbsp Mixed Seeds and Raisins
(650 Calories)

Tub of Fat-Free Cottage Cheese mixed w/ half a chopped Apple on 2 Wholemeal Crackers
Tub of Yoghurt mixed w/ tsp Cocoa Powder and half a chopped Apple
2 small tubs sugar-free Jello
2 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter and Jam (no-added sugar) on 2 Slices Wholemeal Bread
(850 Calories)

5000+ Calories, ration of c/p/f around 50/30/20



My muscles feel like they recover from workouts pretty quick, so I train each muscle group twice a week. I'm always exhausted by the end of every workout and try to push myself each time, attempting to keep intensity high and training to failure, whilst always trying to either increase number of reps or weight. I start of with 10 minutes moderate to high intensity on the elliptical, to really wake up my muslces and get a sweat going, and finish my workout in the same manner. I rest 60-90 seconds between most sets, and won't lift any more than 1 hour

Monday and Thursday- Back/ Biceps/ Legs
Barbell Rows- 2x Heavy Warm-Up, 3x 8-10
One Arm Dumbell Rows- 3x 8-10
Wide-Grip Pulldowns- 3x 8-10
Deadlifts- 3x 8-10
Leg Press- 3x 6-8 superset w/ Leg Extensions- 3x 8-10
Cable Bicep Curl- 3x 8-10
Alternating Dumbbell Curl- 3x 8-10
Cable Woodchops- 3x 15-20
(Depending on how my back and biceps feel, will sometimes finish with some assited chins)

Wednesday and Saturday- Chest/ Shoulders/ Triceps
Incline Dumbbell Press- 2x Heavy Warm-Up, 3x 8-10
Overhead Dumbbell Press- 3x 8-10
Flat Dumbbell Press- 3x 8-10
Overhead Machine Press- 3x 8-10
Incline Dumbbell Flyes superset w/ Cable Crossover- 2x 10-12
Upright Cable Row superset w/ Dumbbell Lateral Raises- 2x 10-12
Dips- 3x 8-10
Ticep Pressdown- 3x 10-12
Cable Crunches- 3x 15-20
(If I have time, I may do one or two sets of shrugs before moving onto triceps)

I don't particularly like using barbells, as I get a better squeeze of the muscles when using dumbbells, especially in regards to chest work. Plus I also find them easier on my shoulders.
When doing low-rep work, I never feel as if I've worked hard enough, so tend to favour higher-reps. In honesty, I'm not a huge fan of low-reps as when I try going heavy I usually always find my form starts to slip, and I'm keen to maintain as perfect form as possible.
My exercises will often change from one workout to the other during the week, especially on the days where I train back- as there's a large array of rowing movements, I like to switch it up; I rarely will do the exact same workout 2 weeks in a row


looks good, and to echo the other posters you gotta stay motivated, a pound a week is stellar and you can maintain those gains by eating properly and hitting the iron with a vengeance.


Don't get frustrated man, just be patient, it'll come. In the weight training world, 12 weeks is no time at all, keep it up for like 3 or 4 more months then come back with an update. I bet you'll be a lot happier at that point.


At 5% BF, you could really do with more BF%.
I know this really isn't what you want to hear, but stop fucking worrying about body fat. You are not going to gain proper weight while staying that lean. Most fuckin' pro BB'ers are 5% when walking onto the Olympia stage.
A BF phobia could very well be what stops you putting on the weight you want to.


See, because I KNOW that I am so lean, unhealthily lean I'd even say, I'm wanting to gain some bodyfat. Only thing is that I know there's a difference between adding it at a good pace and at a pace which may be too quick, which is the only reason why I question what rate of gain I should go for per week- doing research I've found lots that says that .5lb to 1lb is a good rate per week, but for me that's bull, so I'm trying to put on nearer 2lbs.

That's the reason why I questioned your last response in regards to increasing my calories more, as I'm already achieving a gain of up to 2lbs. I totally agree with you about a BF phobia, but for me its now reached a stage of rather than being too scared to put on ANY, it's rather a case of putting it on too fast in comparison to the rate at which I'm actually growing muscle, if that makes sense...


Also, before I get any possible questions regarding it, I don't take a protein shake immediately after my workout. I prefer to wait the 15/ 20 minutes after I finish my session at the gym to get back up to my flat and get my wholefood meal. I don't think it's something that will reeeeeally hinder my progress, and I prefer to try and get all my sources of nutrients an whatever from solid food meals