Been working out for about 5 years, hit the genetic wall, 5'9 136-142lbs, please help

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    Jan 09, 2011 2:03 AM GMT
    Hi folks,

    I have been visiting here for a few months, and the members here seem very friendly and helpful, so I thought I come out lurking mode and start posting icon_wink.gif.

    A little about me:

    I'm 32, 5'9, 136-142lbs. A big fan of MMA (mixed martial arts), weight training, basketball, football, and my spare time, I do poster art.

    I have been lifting weights since I entered college, and lifted seriously for about 5 years. Injured myself playing football and took some time off. Currently studying to become a physical therapist.


    About my training history:

    I first lifted weight since 8th grade, using 10lbs cement dumbells that my father bought which he never used. Took my first weight lifting class during my sophomore year (10th grade) when I had a coach who taught basic lifting techniques.

    I started lifting about 2 to 3 days at the school gym and off-campus from that point on until I went to college, when I got more serious with my training. At which point, I begun going to the gym 5 days a week, doing 1 to 1.5 hours each day.


    My current stats:

    40983971.jpg

    Age: 32 years old,
    Height: 5'9
    Weight: 136lbs (pre injury was 142lbs+)
    Body fat: 7-10% (caliper, bodpod)


    Current goals and challenges:

    My short-term (6months) goal is to reach 145lbs; long-term (1 year) goal is to reach 160lbs while keeping my body fat the same.

    As someone with a natural ectomorph, lanky body type, it has been a difficult challenge for me to put on lean muscles, despite how much I eat. Eating and not having to worry about gaining weight is a blessing to some, but it's a curse to me.

    When I talk to friends and people at the gym for advices, I get the same old "eat more" or "eat some more" icon_lol.gif. I have been eating like a mad man, 4-5 times a day, eating 6 egg whites with a 30 gram whey, 600+ calories shake before and after each workout. Other supplements include 5gram creatine daily, (10 gram on heavy lifting days).

    Despite all of this, I seem to be stuck in the mid to high 130lbs range like an old plane trying to break the sound barrier. Very discouraging. icon_neutral.gif

    If anyone here had similar struggles and was able to overcome them, PLEASE share your stories, tips, and whatever help you can!


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    Jan 09, 2011 2:08 AM GMT
    Post your workout routine. Days, types of exercises, reps, sets, and so on.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 09, 2011 2:08 AM GMT
    Eat one of these for desert after every meal:
    036.jpg
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    Jan 09, 2011 2:29 AM GMT
    xrichx saidPost your workout routine. Days, types of exercises, reps, sets, and so on.


    Hi xrichx,

    Thank you for the reply.

    Here is my routine for M/W/F (focus: Chest and back):


    Chest

    Flat bench:
    W: 135lbs
    Rep: 8
    Set: 3 (not including 1 warm up)

    Dumbell press:

    W: 40lbs
    Rep: 6-8
    Set: 3

    Standing Cable Cross-over
    (for lower and inner chest)

    W: 50-60lbs (or however much I can do for 6-8 reps)
    Rep: 6-8
    Set: 3


    Back

    Machine row (mid back):

    W: 100-110lbs (or however much I can do for 8-10 reps)
    Rep: 8-10
    Set: 3 (not including 1 warm up)

    Seated cable row (mid back, lower back):

    W: 80-100lbs (or however much I can do for 8-10 reps)
    Rep: 8-10
    Set: 3

    Lat pull down (lower back):

    W: 80-100lbs (or however much I can do for 8-10 reps)
    Rep: 8-10
    Set: 3

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    Jan 09, 2011 2:43 AM GMT
    Here is my routine for T/Th (focus: Arms and legs):


    Arms

    Machine bicep curls:
    W: 40-60lbs
    Rep: 8
    Set: 3 (not including 1 warm up)

    Seated cable curls:

    W: 35-40lbs
    Rep: 8-10
    Set: 3

    Barbell reverse grip curls (for lower biceps and forearm):
    W: 30-40lbs (or however much I can do for 6-8 reps)
    Rep: 6-8
    Set: 3


    Triceps:

    Seated machine dips:

    W: 60-90lbs
    Rep: 6-10
    Set: 3

    Standing rope pull-down (elbow extension):

    W: 30-45lbs
    Rep: 6-8
    Set: 3


    Legs

    Leg press:

    W: 135-150lbs (or however much I can do for 10-12 reps)
    Rep: 10-12
    Set: 4 (not including 1 warm up)

    Leg extension:

    W: 60-80lbs (or however much I can do for 10-12 reps)
    Rep: 10-12
    Set: 3

    Hamstring curls:

    W: 60-80lbs (or however much I can do for 10-12 reps)
    Rep: 10-12
    Set: 3
  • delthespaz

    Posts: 136

    Jan 09, 2011 5:42 AM GMT
    Your workouts are lacking more compound movements that will trigger a hormonal response. You might want to try swapping out your leg isolations with basics like:

    squats
    deadlifts
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    Jan 09, 2011 5:52 AM GMT
    I agree, you need to do squats. that will increase testosterone levels and then you will see more gains all around. Good luck man!
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    Jan 09, 2011 6:09 AM GMT
    . . . how much weight should a 5' 9" man carry? . . . and still be thought a man rather than a Rosemary Clooney impersonator . . .

    is there ever a point of diminishing returns, according to the body ideologues?
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    Jan 09, 2011 6:16 AM GMT
    noren said . . . how much weight should a 5' 9" man carry? . . . and still be thought a man rather than a Rosemary Clooney impersonator . . .

    is there ever a point of diminishing returns, according to the body ideologues?


    I am 5'9 and I can carry upwards of 200 lbs of lean muscle.

    However I think I am best at 175-180.
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    Jan 09, 2011 6:23 AM GMT
    true

    only compound exercises with 5-7reps only 5-7 sets (altogether) of each muscle group and no cardio at all

    And limit yourself to 45-60 min workouts 3x a week


    I am pretty much the epitome of the ectomorph type, I barely gained any weight until I had started my dead-lifts, squats, chin-ups, dips, hang and cleans etc.

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    Jan 09, 2011 6:26 AM GMT
    delthespaz saidYour workouts are lacking more compound movements that will trigger a hormonal response. You might want to try swapping out your leg isolations with basics like:

    squats
    deadlifts


    Thank you delthespaz and ncujock for your replies.

    About doing compound movements - squats and deadlifts in particular - I have done both before, but after a while - nearly a year, I began to notice mid and lower back pain, so I modified my routine. (Yes, I was very careful and did the exercise in strict forms, no cheating, etc.)

    I replaced squats with full range of motion leg presses. These are leg presses on machines that allowed for a deeper starting point so that the exercise is as close to doing squats as possible without putting too much stress on my spine.

    Overall, I haven't noticed any major differences when switching other than not having to deal with back pain icon_wink.gif. As a matter of fact, I found that I was able to use more weights and push my legs to failure much better when I switched to deep leg presses.
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    Jan 09, 2011 6:37 AM GMT
    spartanrda said
    noren said . . . how much weight should a 5' 9" man carry? . . . and still be thought a man rather than a Rosemary Clooney impersonator . . .

    is there ever a point of diminishing returns, according to the body ideologues?


    I am 5'9 and I can carry upwards of 200 lbs of lean muscle.

    However I think I am best at 175-180.


    spartanrda,

    180lbs would be a dream come true for me icon_smile.gif. But I wouldn't mind "settling" for 200lbs of lean muscle icon_razz.gif.

    Some people are just blessed with better genetics, and can put on lean muscles easily. I have a friend who's about my height and can put on muscles quite easily. The ironic part is that he's very lazy and doesn't go to the gym more than once a week, yet he's very tone and ripped icon_sad.gif.


    malibubarbie saidtrue

    only compound exercises with 5-7reps only 5-7 sets (altogether) of each muscle group and no cardio at all

    And limit yourself to 45-60 min workouts 3x a week


    I am pretty much the epitome of the ectomorph type, I barely gained any weight until I had started my dead-lifts, squats, chin-ups, dips, hang and cleans etc.



    malibubarbie,

    how much did you weigh when you started workingout, and how long did it take you to reach your goal/weight?
  • delthespaz

    Posts: 136

    Jan 09, 2011 6:44 AM GMT
    try changing the weight intensity. instead of shooting 8-10, try shooting for your 3, 5 or 7 rep max like

    5-5-5-5-5

    That's 5 sets where you increase your weight each set until you get to your 5 rep max by the last 2-3 sets.

    Here's a reference on this method:
    http://www.deepsquatter.com/strength/archives/dtate5.htm
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    Jan 09, 2011 7:03 AM GMT
    spartanrda said
    noren said . . . how much weight should a 5' 9" man carry? . . . and still be thought a man rather than a Rosemary Clooney impersonator . . .

    is there ever a point of diminishing returns, according to the body ideologues?


    I am 5'9 and I can carry upwards of 200 lbs of lean muscle.

    However I think I am best at 175-180.


    well, i'm 5'3" and 39 years old. i am currently 172 lbs at 14% bodyfat. granted, i'm not as lean as i want to be, but i can comfortably say that i look fairly decent naked (but ask giojameson for a second opinion) and do not look disproportionate for my size.

    do not make the mistake of using the scale weight as the ultimate arbiter of fitness, or even aesthetics. and do not mistake genetics for destiny; you would be surprised with how much you can actually influence without additional pharmaceutical enhancements.

    and alexandergreat3, what is this injury you mention?

    by the way, paulflexes, what the hell is that an image of? i can't really tell.
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    Jan 09, 2011 8:12 AM GMT
    9730_385714.jpg

    9730_385716.jpg
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    Jan 09, 2011 8:16 AM GMT
    delthespaz saidtry changing the weight intensity. instead of shooting 8-10, try shooting for your 3, 5 or 7 rep max like

    5-5-5-5-5

    That's 5 sets where you increase your weight each set until you get to your 5 rep max by the last 2-3 sets.

    Here's a reference on this method:
    http://www.deepsquatter.com/strength/archives/dtate5.htm


    This really isn't good advice for a hard gainer, especially if he's after weight and size. In fact, 5 by 5 aren't going to help him much, at all.

    The original poster needs to study hypertrophy being sure to understand the differences, and training methods required for, sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar hypertrophy.

    The OP should have workup done for T3/T4 and testosterone. Something might be off. If possible, 1000 for T is better...500 and up for thyroid...you'll want to study it. Sometimes, folks have too fast of a metabolism with a thyroid disorder. More often than not, they just won't eat.

    When I, or guys on college football teams, etc...train hard...we'll eat 3500 on up to 8000 calories a day. You HAVE to eat.

    My contest diet runs 3800 to 4800 calories PER DAY, every day.

    Unless there's a medical problem, most folks can gain about 1.5 pounds a week up to a point. For 5'9", that set point is sure not 135. My set point runs 180 to 230. I have to work hard to keep it at 220 and above. I have no trouble keeping my set point at 180, even being active, but, the key is to EAT. You have to eat small meals often.

    Sounds like OP has some exercise background. OP should examine his somatotype for potential (sounds like he may have).

    We've had our best success with guys doing leg sets 12 to 25, and 8 to 20 elsewhere. I've had several subjects that I've put 80 pounds on in 6 months. I had one subject that I put 80 pounds on in 5 months.

    flex89, right here on RJ, went from 135 to 210 in just under five months. Logan is a type 1 diabetic, and we trained smart. Logan lowered his bodyfat by 3% in the process with HIIT.

    Leg work is CRITICAL to overall success.

    Looking at weights handled by OP, it's one of those things a guy would need to observe. 150 pounds on leg press? Golly, I used to do 1200 and I routinely do 690, or better. Is OP really that weak?

    Very ecto guys will really have to eat, but, often, there's a metabolic, or caloric, issue there.
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    Jan 09, 2011 9:16 AM GMT
    Just throwing this out there... if you're a true ecto and it appears you are, what about increasing the fat intake. I know if I don't include probably more fatty stuff than "prescribed" I'll drop weight etc in the bat of an eye.
    Any thoughts on this.. Chuck? Do you know of ectomorphy guys who can because of their metabolism eat more fats to gain without necessarily it all turning to fat on their bodies etc.
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    Jan 09, 2011 10:06 AM GMT
    Unless there's a medical problem, most folks can gain about 1.5 pounds a week up to a point.

    Without use of steroids or some other drug or chemical?
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    Jan 09, 2011 12:27 PM GMT
    Contrary to popular expertise, you can't eat your way to anabolism without chemical assistance (and even then, it's not the food that's making you anabolic). Been there, done that, just got fat.

    Your program simply doesn't have enough "work" in it, work being loosely defined as reps x sets x weight (possibly x frequency). That number has to go up every week in some way, shape, or form. By the looks of your workout, you either started off quite low (and there's nothing wrong with that) and have progressed to the weight you're lifting now, or you've just been going through the motions at the gym.

    As a future PT, you should know that the only thing that's going to trigger strength (and therefore muscle gains) is to increase total work. There are countless ways to do that. Pick one and go for it! icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 10, 2011 2:00 AM GMT
    I usually do a minimum of 16 sets on major parts (chest, back, legs), and 12 set on minor parts. You have to make sure to recover, though. Without calories, and recovery, you can't sustain additional volume, and...end up going backwards. When I was younger, I'd do 20 sets, and...I've been lifting 35 years. For me, 20 sets is probably too much now. I always train with a stopwatch and vary my set intervals from a low of 45 seconds to a high of 90 seconds. On the days I do 90 seconds, it's in and out. I rarely go below 8 reps..ever. Trust me, if you can do 16 sets at 45 second intervals...you get some mass going, and some cardiac threshold, too. It's almost circuit training.

    I used to train through my whole body every three days, and do that twice, then, take a day off, but, I think that was too much. Now, I train one, or two parts a day, and take a week to get through everything. Bodybuilding-wise, I think my latest approach works better, giving me recovery, and better gains.

    With regard to fat, well....I've seen red shirt football players pack 60 to 80 pounds on in a year, eating beer, pizza, and being consistent in their lifting, and they don't lift for size. Not all fat is bad. You need your polys and monos, but, fried food, and too much saturated fat, I think, most folks would feel is not the right approach.

    With my roomie, we put 80 pounds on him in five months in multiple meals per day, high rep workouts, and not at all of fat, but, rather, about 30 to 100 grams of carbs at each sitting along with about 40 grams of protein. We lowered his body fat by 2% in the process.

    You're not going to get big in three sets, or just doing 5 by 5's. The body doesn't work like that. I sure would not recommend the volume that I've done, and do, to all folks. You have to eat hard.

    I agree, however, that volume / amount of work does count, especially for bodybuilding.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Jan 10, 2011 2:05 AM GMT
    You need to hire a trainer. They come with varying degrees of education. Don't hire the cutest guy. Hire the one who sounds like he understands your goals and limitations. For god's sake, don't listen to anything a bunch of drunk lonely guys on realjock are telling you, except for me!
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    Jan 10, 2011 2:45 AM GMT
    Thanks everyone for your replies! I'll try to take my time to respond to all your posts.

    delthespaz saidtry changing the weight intensity. instead of shooting 8-10, try shooting for your 3, 5 or 7 rep max like

    5-5-5-5-5

    That's 5 sets where you increase your weight each set until you get to your 5 rep max by the last 2-3 sets.

    Here's a reference on this method:
    http://www.deepsquatter.com/strength/archives/dtate5.htm


    delthespaz,

    About the 5 to 7 rep max approach:

    For most of my exercises, on regular days (M/T/W) I do 6-8 reps, which if I'm not mistaken, is within the range for both strength and mass building.

    Leg presses is one of the exceptions where I go 8-10 reps, because I notice I get a better blood flow, pump, and able to push my quads to the point where they feel fatigued.

    I don't get that when I go heavier (around 6 reps). It maybe just me, but when I go with the 6 reps range, my quads just couldn't lift but they don't feel fatigued at all.

    However, on heavy lifting days (the last days of my routine Th/Fri), I do go heavier on the last two sets for all exercises, including leg presses. So I'd be doing something very similar to what you're suggesting, where the weights are heavy enough so that I cannot do more than 5 or 6 reps.

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    Jan 10, 2011 3:43 AM GMT
    Cogitor said
    spartanrda said
    noren said . . . how much weight should a 5' 9" man carry? . . . and still be thought a man rather than a Rosemary Clooney impersonator . . .

    is there ever a point of diminishing returns, according to the body ideologues?


    I am 5'9 and I can carry upwards of 200 lbs of lean muscle.

    However I think I am best at 175-180.


    well, i'm 5'3" and 39 years old. i am currently 172 lbs at 14% bodyfat. granted, i'm not as lean as i want to be, but i can comfortably say that i look fairly decent naked (but ask giojameson for a second opinion) and do not look disproportionate for my size.

    do not make the mistake of using the scale weight as the ultimate arbiter of fitness, or even aesthetics. and do not mistake genetics for destiny; you would be surprised with how much you can actually influence without additional pharmaceutical enhancements.

    and alexandergreat3, what is this injury you mention?

    by the way, paulflexes, what the hell is that an image of? i can't really tell.


    Cognito,

    I have looked at your photos, and you're absolutely right: Scale weight is definitely not the indicator of fitness or aesthetics. You have a good build with developed arms and calves, so your scale weight would go up but you look athletic and fit, which is what matters. icon_wink.gif

    To clarify, I use my scale weight as a quick reference for my fitness goals. It's really not the actual numbers on the scale that I'm going for. I do understand, though, that if I were to reach a certain build and fitness level, my scale weight would also have to go up, and so I use it as a tool assess my progress.


    About your question regarding my injury:

    I was accidentally hit (kneed) in my right quads while playing football with my friends several years ago. There was no bruise or anything, but I was limping for a few days, and there was pain with every steps. Less than a week later when I thought most of the pain was gone, I went back to the gym and did my leg workouts... Right after that, I noticed my right quads had this incredible "pump" that I never experienced before. It got bigger and bigger, and it started to hurt, and soon thereafter, I realized that my quads might have been bleeding after the accident, and the leg exercises must have torn up some muscle fibers and increased the bleeding.

    Long story short, after taking about 3 or so months off, I went back to the gym to do light exercises to rehab myself back into shape. After about a month, I was able to walk again. After a year, I regained 100% of my leg strength.
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    Jan 10, 2011 4:01 AM GMT
    Are you sure you're pushing your legs hard enough? I'm only 134 pounds and yet I can leg press 200 pounds (just reached it yesterday).
    And I agree with getting a trainer, even just for 4 to 8 sessions so you can get back on the right track.
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    Jan 10, 2011 4:16 AM GMT
    chuckystud said9730_385714.jpg

    9730_385716.jpg


    chuckystud,

    Forget Wheaties - THIS is breakfast of champions icon_razz.gif!

    I used to have something similar to what you have here. It's a 2200 heavyweight gainer from GNC. I later found this weightgainer, which is practically the same in total calories, scoup-for-scoup, but tastes much better:

    img0287sb.jpg

    35g of protein
    8.5g of unsaturated fat
    103g of carb


    Mixed with whey and 6 egg whites (sometimes I go up to 8 whites with 2 yolks), each shake is over 50g of protein and 900 calories. icon_wink.gif

    I take one an hour before my workout, usually in combination with a toast and a banana, and I take one shake immediately (within 45 min) after I get back from the gym to take advantage of the anabolic window.

    Then about half an hour later, I eat my heavy meal - usually steak or chicken (sometime fish) with pasta, potato, or white rice.