Age old question

  • trl_

    Posts: 994

    Jul 26, 2009 7:53 PM GMT
    How does someone who has been lifting regularly for a couple months and not seen a change gain muscle?

    I think the key rests in my diet but I'm not sure still. It seems like such a chore to me to have to eat six times a day and the couple of times I have tried it, I almost couldn't even eat that much.

    And even though I love to run, I've completely removed cardio from my routine in hopes that the calories used there could be put toward muscle development instead.

    (just to clarify where I am right now, I'm 5'10.5" @ 144lbs)

    I usually lift on weight machines since I don't really know what I'm doing with free weights. Is that another piece to this puzzle?
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    Jul 27, 2009 12:05 AM GMT
    eat,
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    Jul 27, 2009 12:41 AM GMT
    diet, diet, diet...carbs, protein, and a little bit of fat.
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    Jul 27, 2009 12:52 AM GMT
    Get a trainer to teach you how to use free wieghts. Ditch the machines, Ditch the cables. They are indeed nice decorations.

    !. Trainer
    2. Free Weights--Circuit Training
    3. [As everyone said before] Diet... meaning: Proper nutrition for building muscle

    Also, I would completely remove your cardio
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    Jul 27, 2009 1:27 AM GMT
    free weights will be better for you, machines are great for some things but they've very limited range of motion, tend to isolate and don't really take your unique body mechanics into consideration.

    Free weights will stimulate more muscle fibers, force your body as a whole to work harder and develop a more even body since even something as simple as a standing bicep curl requires you to stabilise the shoulder join.

    If you don't know what to do, a personal trainer is always a great option (a good personal trainer) you can search online http://exrx.net/ <- thats a good site to check out, do a search for dumbbells/barbells/cable exercise and good books, they aren't difficult to find either exrx makes some good recommendations also but they aren't cheap you can find others elsewhere just search.

    Food will depend on your goals, since your already very learn I'll make an assumption you want to gain muscle mass? if thats the case you'll need to eat more, A LOT MORE, but, since you are still so new you might want to try and focus on one thing at a time, however, you can find that info more your self easily, if build muscle, you have to stimulate it to grow, for it to grow you need to feed it, so you'll need to eat more calories, carbs, protein, fat. You should workout how many calories you need, google BMR, it's not absolutely perfect, you are overly lean (but your also very young and still haven't finished puberty) so you will need more then they recommend, but, know, that food is the biggest part of the equation, your body wont grow without food.. you can't build a house if you have no wood!

    more specific questions though.

    One thing you should know, is when you are new to lifting weights the first few months see massive changes in your body, after that, it goes down to measuring it with a tape by incremental changes.
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    Jul 27, 2009 3:52 AM GMT
    Let me share a personal experience. First, I was your exact height and weight at your age - frankly I stayed that way thru my early thirties. I lifted passionately and regularly - both free weights and machines. These were not pansy-ass work-outs either. I ran regularly too. At one point - under the advice of a bodybuilder I did the eat-as-much-as-humanly-possible approach (lots of raw egg milk shakes). Sure I gained some weight - but at some point during that process I started developing this inner-tube like fat around my waist. This was unacceptable and as soon as I stopped it went away and I went back to my natural weight.

    So what made the difference. Frankly - I think nature finally caught up with me - I joke that I went thru puberty in my mid-thirties. I also think what I was eating and more importantly when also contributed. Here is what I do that seems to have made the biggest difference.

    Free weights - minimum two -three different exercises for each muscle group - chest shoulder triceps on one day then back and biceps the next.
    Ab crunches on a ball every workout.
    I run (not jog) three times a week.
    I swim about 1/2 mile twice a week.
    Eat a combination of protien and carbs 1-2 hrs before your workout.
    Most important - Within 30 minutes of finishing your workout drink a protein drink (I carry a small plastic shaker bottle with the pre-measured mix in it to the gym - then just add water and shake it up)
    Lots of protein and veggies for lunch and dinner.
    Good luck.
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Jul 27, 2009 2:18 PM GMT
    trliber saidHow does someone who has been lifting regularly for a couple months and not seen a change gain muscle?

    I think the key rests in my diet but I'm not sure still. It seems like such a chore to me to have to eat six times a day and the couple of times I have tried it, I almost couldn't even eat that much.

    And even though I love to run, I've completely removed cardio from my routine in hopes that the calories used there could be put toward muscle development instead.

    (just to clarify where I am right now, I'm 5'10.5" @ 144lbs)

    I usually lift on weight machines since I don't really know what I'm doing with free weights. Is that another piece to this puzzle?


    Lift all you want, you're not eating enough and won't gain a bit until you do. Your diet is setting the parameters on what you can gain, and right now those parameters are really, really low.

    It can be a chore to eat a lot at first. You'll get used to it.
  • sracer

    Posts: 142

    Jul 27, 2009 3:17 PM GMT
    EAT! EAT!
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    Jul 27, 2009 3:57 PM GMT
    I agree with everyone else you need to eat. I was a total ectomorph when I was your age, and basically still am. My metabolism just ate up everything I tried to eat to gain. It will not be easy to start gaining and bulking up, but you really have to up your calories and make sure you have a bunch of protein. You can add some weight gainers to your day, but some of those are mostly fat and you won't gain like you want, but def find a way to up your calorie intake.

    Find a trainer, read online, read books about lifting and working out. Everyone has a different opinion but find a trainer who will tailor the routine to your body type. If he/she wants to put you on a cookie cutter routine and diet, it isn't going to work for you.

    And be patient like I said, you and I have the body type that really takes a commitment and sticking with it. Once you find that balance on food intake you'll see results. And over the years it will come much easier as your metabolism slows down.

    And in 10 years you will start to bitch and wonder where those love handles came from when you could eat McD's 5 times a day now and not gain a pound.

    Edit: Google "Ectomorph weight training" and read some of the advice on the web. It will back up and explain what everyone is saying here.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jul 27, 2009 4:30 PM GMT
    A slightly different perspective from someone who was skinnier than you (as in, taller while weighing less):

    Have patience. Your mileage may vary.

    You are young, thin, and presumably have a high metabolism. It will be harder for you to gain weight than it will be for most guys; this is something you'll probably be happy about in your 30s, but which is annoying to you now. It's easy to fall into the trap of seeing how much easier it is for some other people and thinking you must be doing something wrong, but different bodies respond differently, and what is a reasonable goal for someone else might be unrealistic for you.

    Many people will tell you to eat, but that's not all there is to it. I'm well over 3,000 calories a day and still buying belts in the children's section of department stores. Most people have a few "set points"--narrow ranges of weight that their bodies will tend to gravitate towards if they're near by. It can take a lot of work to move yourself from one point to another. It took me probably 8 months of lifting weights to actually see any visible change (moving from my initial set point of about 135 to my new one of about 152), even though I started being able to up the weights within a month. A few years later, I still haven't managed to find another higher set point; the highest I've gotten was 162, but it seems every time I manage to crack 160 pounds I get sick for a week and watch 5 hard-earned pounds melt off my frame.

    As far as the types of weights, I actually agree with you that when you're brand new to things, machines are a better choice than free weights because you're less likely to hurt yourself from not knowing what you're doing. However, after you get used to an exercise, and you know what is supposed to feel strained and what isn't, free weights become a better choice--the added challenge of stabilizing the weight will recruit more muscle fibers to the activity. At that point, the main time to use a machine is when you want to really push against your maximum and don't have someone present to spot you.
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Jul 27, 2009 4:51 PM GMT
    ...3000 calories isn't much at all. BMR will be in the ballpark of 1500-2000 calories, and that's if you lie in bed all day.

    You need to eat more, too.
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    Jul 27, 2009 4:53 PM GMT
    EAT! Dense carbs and good fats. It's called the see food diet. You see food. You eat it.

    You need to eat 5000 calories a day for a while.

    DO NOT get rid of your cardio. You need it for good health. Do HIIT instead. It'll preserve your lean muscle mass. Go get the SR21 Nutrition Data from the USDA or visit http://www.metroplexwfitness.net and use the programming there to track your diet. If you're eating less than 4000 kcal, eat more. I've never had a person I couldn't get to gain. flex89 / Logan who lives with me gained 82 pounds in five months and he's a type 1 diabetic. Your plan isn't correct if you're not gaining. Likely you're just not eating enough, but, you don't know unless you compute your kcals. It's all science.

    Sometimes, folks have disorders, such as hyper-thyroid. It's a simple blood test to find out.

    Eat.

    When I say dense carbs, I mean rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, grits, oatmeal. When I say good fats I mean things like peanut butter, and almond butter. Throw some pizza in their, too.
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    Jul 27, 2009 7:35 PM GMT
    It's only been two months. Give it time. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jul 27, 2009 8:52 PM GMT
    trliber said
    I usually lift on weight machines since I don't really know what I'm doing with free weights.


    You can either get a trainer to show you proper form, or do the homework and teach yourself (I chose the latter). If you choose to teach yourself, start with low weights, go slow, and focus on the muscle you are working. You don't have to push heavy weights to start building muscle if you learn how to do the exercises properly.

    There's plenty of videos on here Realjock that can show you proper form. Watch them, take notes, and bring your notes with you to the gym if you need to.
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    Jul 27, 2009 9:11 PM GMT
    i suggest you also change your routine every few months. your body learns to adapt to a working pattern. growth comes from the body realizing it needs to add muscle tissue to handle a work load. but just like your mental process, it becomes comfortable with it's capabilities and you see a plateau.

    make sure you aren't doing heavy cardio right before working out. you'll burn through all your fuel needed to work out your muscles.

    keep eating foods packed with healthy content. it's important to keep your cardio program going. activity consumes fuels which generate hunger to refuel.

    keep in mind that what works best for one person may not work much at all for you. between a nutritionist and trainer, you will figure out how to approach your training schedule for better effectiveness.
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    Jul 28, 2009 2:03 PM GMT
    Been there. Weighed 155 lbs and 18% body fat in my late 20's. Met with a personal trainer who asked me "what are your goals?" and I told him I wanted to be 200 lbs. Gawd I wish I had a camera to capture the look on his face. icon_lol.gif 10 months and about 5000 calories a day later I was there. Here's a quick run down of what works for me:

    Diet
    You need to eat, a lot. You'll get to the point where you don't want to eat any more but you have to force yourself to eat. Over time it gets easier to eat that much food. Food supplements (protein shakes, protein bars, etc) will become your friend.

    Calories were calculated at the beginning of each month as RMR + Daily Activity + Exercise + Gains = Daily Calories. So, when I was at 155 it looked like 1500+400+700+500=3150. From there, we'd break the total calories in to % of protein, carbs, and fat (usually as 30% protein, 50% carbs, and 20% fat).

    Every body is different, monitor your body fat %. If you're gaining too much fat, dial back the calories a bit, but keep the protein, carbs, and fat %'s the same as best you can.

    Exercise
    Weight training three times a week for an hour, no cardio. Between sets, rest for 2 minutes to keep the heart rate down. 6-8 reps each set. The muscle should be fatigued on the last rep of each set (can't do any more). Would follow each workout with a protein shake. If I added cardio I needed to add the appropriate amount of calories.

    This is what has worked for me. Maybe it will work for you. Good luck!
  • Jonno11

    Posts: 181

    Oct 03, 2012 4:47 AM GMT
    Im in the same boat, I weigh 125 soaking wet on a good day, and am 5'10. But, I am healthy at least. I try and consume around 5-6000 calories a day, I eat roughly 6-7 times per day.

    My biggest problem is that for 2-3 weeks at a time, I am in a work camp up north, and my food intake is restricted to what the camp kitchen provides. I can get salads and veggies no problem, but the majority of the foods served tend to be either deep fried, or high in fats. Not exactly the healthiest mass produced food.

    I am coming off a bad back/leg injury so I havent been active in the gym for a while, and did see a drop in weight and a loss of anything I might have gained in the gym. I was going with some work guys, but now Im on my own in a different camp and its been a couple months, so I'm still new to lifting and all that.

    My job is physically demanding, 10-12 hr days, 14-21 days at a time with 7 days off in between shifts. I walk around 10 kilometers a day, every day, and am always on my feet, carrying up to 80lbs of tools and materials, plus a ladder, so I've been finding that it keeps me toned and fit on its own, and requires a ton of calories just to maintain weight from my energy expenditures during the work day. I bought some Weider weight gain stuff, and so im hoping that will work, but I still know shit all about the types of food I should be piling on my plate, and the stuff I should be leaving off, especially when Im not in charge of the grocery shopping and meal preparation, lol.

    For breakfast I usually have an omelet with bacon or pork sausage and waffles or pancakes, maybe some cereal. I eat at coffee as well, usually a wrap or sandwich, or more cereal. Lunch is soup and sandwiches and salad. @nd coffee is usually pizza or sandwiches. Supper can vary immensely, but there is always potatoes, rice, some type of veggie, usually pasta, and a couple meat dishes. And snacks after hours are ice cream, cereal, pizza, etc. Anything I should be adding, or leaving off, or should I just be trying to add some weight gain shakes in with each meal? Any help is much appreciated.