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I am really sick of trying to gain muscle and not succeeding


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Any advice would be helpful. I don't know where to go next. I lift hard, eat a lot but still can't get past 6'3" and 200lbs. I did hit 225 at one point but that was a while ago and much has happened since then.

 

It is very frustrating to say the least. Been at this game for 23 years and never satisfied. Most people would never ever know I bodybuild, although you can tell with my shirt off......but I am still too thin for what I want. It causes me a lot of depression.

 

Unfortunately I am on a restricted diet, limited grains, limited starchy vegetables, no gluten, nothing processed, etc. Real pain in the arse.

 

Right now I am trying a power lifting program of deadlifts, squats, cleans, etc.....

 

-Rich

Edited by boardn10
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If you did bodybuilding type exercises and used muscle magazine false training theory for 20 years that will get you nowhere, no matter how hard you try. The only way for most non-freaks to make progress like that is by becoming a chemical-pharmacological lab.

 

But if you persist in the big exercises like you mentioned: deadlifts, squats, cleans then you should make strength gains and pack on muscular bodyweight provided you learn proper form, programming, nutrition.

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Well through college I did the usual 5 days a week, hitting all body parts twice...

 

Then in the past 10 years I switched to each body part once a week. In most of my lifting years I never did much squatting or deadlifting. I only recently got into these.

I also had some health issues in recent years that have held me back big time! I have also read all of Clarence Bass's books, I read the Mike Mentzer books and the Stuart McRobert's books which got me thinking more in terms of only big compound exercises, consistenty and innfrequent workouts. It's weird because some guys on the forum swear by hi frequency.

 

One thing I worry about is muscle over-lap! For example, I did trap bar deadlifts on Tuesday and my upper back was sore so I know there is lat involement. Then Thursday I did an upper back workout...essentially doing lats again.

 

The dietary restrictions have hindered me too, no soy, no gluten, no corn and no peanuts!

That leaves almost no meat substituers for me! I used to eat a lot of tofu stir fry for example. I have to avoid flours/breads/pastas, etc. As a result I have started adding in some organic dairy and eggs. I don't know what else to eat because I have to limit starchy vegetables, beans, oats, etc due to a candida infection. The last part is debatable so I might be adding some back in...

 

What do I eat? Keep in mind I added some eggs and dairy back in but not sure for how long!

 

I have 1-2 protein shakes a day

Keep in mind I don't typically eat three meals...I tend to eat 6 meals a day or sometimes I will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and some large snacks in between....

Typical breakfast:

large bowl gluten free steel cut oats with almon milk and veggie spread, some berries OR almond flour/quinoa pancakes with berries OR red skin potatoes/onions, bowl of amaranth OR large bowl of creamed buckwheat. Lately I did some plain yogurt and some eggs with some gluten free oats, etc. I tend to mix and match. I miss my soy yogurt.

 

Typical snacks through the day:

all sorts of nuts and seeds, almond butter and a green apple OR Grapefruit and some yogurt or veggies and hummis and nuts OR brown rice and veggies OR bean soup, etc

Sometimes quinoa, gluten free oatmeal, etc.

 

Typical Lunch:

Beans and rice dish with veggies, some fruit, and maybe some yogurt OR vegetarian indian food and sometimes with a large salad with nuts.

 

Typical dinner:

Large vegetarian stew, avocados, salad OR some form of veggie stir fry and wild rice OR Fallafal, salad, avocado, fruit OR bean dish with veggies, etc

 

The no startchy carbs thing and no gluten or soy is horrible for me. I miss those! I hate to think I'd have to add in chicken.

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Eggs and dairy are probably worse for yeast than any beans or starches... especially dairy. Who told you you cant eat beans or starches? I think they were bullshitting you. I would just stay away from all refined sugars, coffee, vinegar, stored potatoes, wheat, high fructose fruits, and especially dairy for starters.

How many calories a day do you eat? Personally I can eat 4000 a day and not gain a pound... I would have to go 6000+ to gain any serious mass. I would up your calories by a large margin and see what happens. No gluten or soy should not be a problem, no corn and peanuts are a non-issue.

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Yo, not sure if I can help or not, and you probably follow some of these things anyway, but these are a few suggestions off the top of my head:

 

- Eat protein as soon as you can after doing weight training

 

- Eat enough protein through the day, but you'll get different feedback on how much that should be

 

- When lifting weights, set a number of reps that will be your maximum, and as soon as you are able to lift that weight that many times, put the weight up so that you can't do that many, and keep going like that to get up the weights. Try not to get stuck with just one weight doing the same amount of reps each time

 

- Try cutting down the number of days you workout each week to give your body time to recover, if you are feeling an ache in your body, don't work that part of your body

 

- Experiment in changing the order of exercises in the gym, as well as type of exercise, and different approaches to sets (breakdowns, super sets, negatives and so on, things that shock your body and present new challenges)

 

- Consider doing "high intensity" workouts, where you hit your whole body each time you go the gym, doing only 1 set per exercise. This allows you to put your full energy into each exercise rather than starting off strong, then getting weaker and more fatigued as you go along, thus you can't lift as much by the end. High intensity workouts are quicker and you could very well lift more weight because of it (it has been working for me)

 

- Don't do cardio before lifting weights, and consider cutting down on cardio if you want to put on weight (you don't need to do a lot of cardio if your goal is not weight loss)

 

Hope these might spark some ideas!

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eggs cause candida? One thing though...vinegar has been shown to kill candida. Also.......good point because in studies...vegetarians have been shown to have more of the good flora in their systems than meat eaters, but I have no idea how the tests were conducted.

 

Richard, thanks bro. You play guitar? Me too!

 

Yep...the protein stuff is a never ending debate. Personally I never noticed big differences one way or another eating hughe amounts of protein or not. I always try to get a protein shake in right after a workout.

 

Yep, I know all about progressive resistance. I was a power lifter at Penn State in the early 90s and if I put a little more into diet and cut back on how often I worked out...I probably could have competed in some bodybuilding competitions.

 

One problem with me is I LOVE training...I could spend all day in the gym and obviously that is not good....but it kills me when I have to leave the gym. Feels like home to me.

 

I am still a little worried about overlap when doing the big compund movements. Always have been. For example....deadlifts and a back workout in the same week essentially hits the lats twice.

 

I never workout if I am sore...but this brings me back to the overlap. I am doing deadlifts and squats now and deadlifts hit the upper back so I might have to rethick my workout.

Maybe I could try a push/pull system with legs as a seprate day. Something like this:

Monday - push or chest/shoulder

Thursday - legs

Monday - Pull or back

Thursday - push

and so on ......So essentially 10 days between workouts hitting the same body parts.

 

Yep I do breakdowns, super sets, negatives, super sets, compounds, rest/pause and so on, things that shock the body...but I also think they can quickly lead to over training.

I have been thinking about trying HIT again as I did in the late 90s but I recall it is brutall in that I do not always have THAT intensity in the gym so one day could be killer and another so-so....I know Clarence Bass is a big HIT sort of guy.

I never do cardio before weights. When I was a personal trainer, that was always a shock to people. LOL

I cut out cardio completely...only some moderate walking.

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boardn10. sorry to say but you know nothing of good training theory. You should really look into reading the book Starting Strength. I have tried Mike Mentzer's crappy HIT system and read one of his books. The bottom line is he was a steroided up bodybuilder, so he didn't know or need to know training theory. Like all bodybuilders he compensates his ignorance in the field by resorting to chemical help. The worst of it all is that while bodybuilding is not a popular sport to watch, its chemical experiment freaks have managed to distort totally what good training theory is and isn't.

 

The body and mind are total neuromuscular system. So saying Monday is back day, Thursday is arm day, is a false paradigm, a fruitless path. General guidelines for good training: exhaust the neuromuscular system by doing big compound exercises and give at least one day of rest. Also don't go to failure and do negatives which are too taxing, you just want to breakdown your muscles enough to grow, not have your body spend all its effort, natural HGH and recuperation at regenerating yourself to the level you were before this over exertion.

Edited by NicholasV
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From what you've said, I'd say perhaps you are training too frequently. If you're worried about overlap, then doing full-body workouts will get rid of that, since you can't overlap when you do that, you either have a training day, or a rest day, so it's simpler. Right now I am only eating 60-100g of protein a day, and I weigh around 12 stone, and I am seeing gains.

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I gain the most muscle by working out (compound exercises) about 3 times a week or so. I'm an ectomorph, and I always have intense workouts. I do a split routine, and train for about 45 minutes per session. I sweat through the whole thing, and always lift heavy enough so that I'm gritting my teeth with that last rep.

 

I also take creatine, which I think helps.

Have you tried hemp protein? Is it available where you are? I take it everyday. It's very energizing.

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boardn10. sorry to say but you know nothing of good training theory.

Why do you feel the need to preface all your advice with insults? From the deadlift thread:

 

Your technique is horrible, sorry.

 

Try being nice to people, you'll find you don't need to apologise all the time. We can't all be 6'1 130lbs internet gurus.

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There is a right and wrong on issues like this, not everyone being equally right like you imagine. There is correct training theory which hardly anyone knows and popularized crap from bodybuilders that has everyone lifting and quitting after a few weeks or months from seeing no progress. Mike Mentzer who boardn10 is citing was a disciple of Arthur Jones, the man who ruined the once well established barbell lifting culture of the USA with his Nautilus machines.

 

Personally I know correct training theory and correct technique, my problem has always been lack of dedication and commitment. I always stop lifting for a few months, a year, miss workouts and I keep having to work up back to where I was before. Lately I have had to climb back from not lifting for a year due to becoming vegetarian and vegan. Also I have transitioned to healthy vegan which is even more difficult. I use to rely on eating almost exclusively my mom's cooking and and pre-packaged microwave crap with meat, and I still have not adapted.

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Personally I know correct training theory and correct technique, my problem has always been lack of dedication and commitment. I always stop lifting for a few months, a year, miss workouts and I keep having to work up back to where I was before. Lately I have had to climb back from not lifting for a year due to becoming vegetarian and vegan. Also I have transitioned to healthy vegan which is even more difficult. I use to rely on eating almost exclusively my mom's cooking and and pre-packaged microwave crap with meat, and I still have not adapted.

 

And you feel you have the right to be insulting to other people? Funny...

 

Your excuse to not lift for a year is rather lame.

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If you think telling people who don't know correct training theory the truth is an insult you have big problems.

 

The bigger insult is to allow them to continue the path they are on, without knowing bodybuilders like Mentzer whose books they follow, didn't need theory because they relied on chemicals to overcome their ignorance. Yet those type of bodybuilders when metering out advice in books or articles always leave out their biggest and only effective secret.

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If you think telling people who don't know correct training theory the truth is an insult you have big problems.

 

The bigger insult is to allow them to continue the path they are on, without knowing bodybuilders like Mentzer whose books they follow, didn't need theory because they relied on chemicals to overcome their ignorance. Yet those type of bodybuilders when metering out advice in books or articles always leave out their biggest and only effective secret.

 

 

it isn't the theory that's insulting. its you making dick comments before you indulge people in your wisdom.

 

It's all about language. Whats worse, me saying

"You are a self righteous ass that can't be helpful without insults"

or

"you would really be a lot more helpful if you'd come from a more positive mindset."

 

?

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There is a right and wrong on issues like this, not everyone being equally right like you imagine.

No, there are many rights and many wrongs. Step away from Starting Strength for a while, spend some time in the gym and witness the different approaches and styles. See the guys doing crazy stuff and doing well, see the guys training according to the book and getting nowhere.

 

As none of the knowledge you have has worked for you, how are you critically appraising it?

 

Consistency is a vital part of training, nothing comes quickly. Telling people they lift with horrible form and know nothing isn't going to encourage them. Maybe with more experience you'd recognise the importance of this and how damaging your snide remarks are.

 

Perhaps part of the reason you seem so keen to make people feel bad about their efforts is that you've never managed to get strong yourself?

 

Also I have transitioned to healthy vegan which is even more difficult.

It isn't more difficult.

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Hi Nick,

 

Actually I know quite a bit, more than you think. Of course I know Mentzer took large amounts of 'roids as did Arnold and half of the guys who have written such books. Obviously one can not look to someone who has years of steroid use under his/her belt and expect to follow the same protocol and achieve the same results. One would most likely never achieve those result because it can't be done without a little help from steroids. I believe Mentzer had a good idea as I believe less is more, but I gave his protocol a shot for a period and it was not for me. Then again, I do know guys who it has done wonders for....and these are straight edge guys with no drugs in their past. Everyone is different...so please keep that in mind.

 

By the same token, one really can not open a muscle magazine and expect to follow the training protocol of various pros who had a lot of "help" gaining such size and with ridiculous recuperative powers.

 

One thing I have been...is consistent. I have not taken more than two weeks off at a time other than after surgery and when I became very ill with Lyme disease and Babesiois.

 

So why is saying Monday is lower body day, Thursday is upper body day, a false paradigm, a fruitless path? If you feel you have full recuperated after 7 days, there is nothing wrong with hitting those muscles again. If you recuperate faster, great. If slower, then again we have to adjust the program. I have done programs where I wouldn't hit the same muscle group again for 10 days and programs where I have hit them twice in the same week. I am a fan of Clarence Bass and I know he is one who prefers to follow a similar schedule because it is easier when everything else in your life revolves around days of the week and you are busy. Doesn't mean you have to train this way....I have followed various protocols that fall completely outside of a standard weekly schedule.

 

What do you mean by one day of rest? Only one day of rest? I would be grossly overtrained. At the same time I don't believe there is one path to success.

 

I know for myself, I find I do not like to hit another muscle group until all soreness is gone and then I like to have another day or two of rest. As I was saying...my leg day includes trap bar deadlifts which hit my upper back...but not nearly as much as a standard back day so I don't find it a major overlap. Maybe I am wrong.

 

I used to be 174 lbs at 6'3" and worked my but off to get over 200 lbs and at one point hit 225 I believe. After that my life became a little chaotic, I moved out west, then moved back, job changes, got married, had a child, was in a few bands (I play guitar). So, all this time I never stopped lifting and training but due to so much going on....a lot of program design went out the window. 5 years ago after shoulder surgery, I started to come back hard. Then in 2007 I ended up with a few serious infections that caused problems with my immune system, thyroid, created some food sensitivities and so on. It's been a struggle ever since but I can't quit. I deal with pain everyday but I still go to the gym. Luckily the pain is much better when working out since it is not a structural thing and I was given clearance to continue working out even while under treatment.

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@el_flaco:

Are you joking? Go to a gym and see what others are doing and emulate them? Thankfully in my basement we have a power rack, bench, Olympic bumper plates and regular plates. So I don't have to waste my time at gyms full of useless specialized machines or have to wait for the squat or power racks to be unused, as if there are any or many at most gyms. Most people at these gyms have no clue how to work out, proper form, proper theory and listening to the hoi polloi there can only cause harm. Like I wrote before, most people who weightlift sadly are mislead by bodybuilding crap theory which comes from the elite bodybuilders who are walking chemical experiments. The guys who are successful and pulling dumbells behind their ears because Ronnie Coleman did it are compensating with drugs or they are the type of genetic freaks that have great natural recovery ability. Either way they are not making the progress they could with correct theory.

 

There are different systems and ways of doing things than Starting Strength. My bro did Olympic weightlifting with an Olympic coach at a local university. In about a year his bodyweight shot up from 170 something pounds to 220. The difference between him and me was that he was consistent, dedicated and had a coach to chastise him for missing workouts. According to bodybuilding pop theory it takes a year to add roughly 10lb of muscular bodyweight. so he must have been doing steroids as such gains are not possible otherwise. But bodybuilding is total crap that is misleading most people. There are effective protocols like Starting Strength, various powerlifting routines, Olympic lifting routines, etc., but the bodybuilding world is nowhere to take any influence from.

 

@boardn10:

That is false because the body is a total system where each part interacts with others as a complete whole. Different muscles are connected with others into muscle groups, which often have overlap, are connected to ligament and bone, with connections to nerves that provide hookup to the brain that controls the muscles. So it is a total neuromuscular system. And this total system can only endure so much fatigue and only perform so much recovery afterward. Thus it is more prudent to do only big compound exercises that hit as many disparate muscles as possible and never do it to complete failure. Especially do not go to failure when you cannot do the next rep and do breakdowns, where you backtrack to a lower weight like Mentzer mentioned and go to failure again, ad nauseum.

Yep I do breakdowns, super sets, negatives, super sets, compounds, rest/pause and so on, things that shock the body...but I also think they can quickly lead to over training.

If you are so fatigued it is probably because of the above approach.

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Nick, on the fatigued issue doing negatives and such. I should have said that I "have done" those techniques but I do not do them nor have I done them regularaly! That would be crazy! They are a once in a while thing.

 

I see what you are saying about the body being a total neuromuscular system. I agree. Due to joint problems at this time...certain power lifting exercises are just out of the question. So that leaves me more or less breaking up my workouts into more exercises than I would like. Going back to my example of doing deadlifts that also tax the lats. Without being able to do the big full body power lifting movements...I am left with squats, deadlift, dips, bench press, pull ups, and bent rows and probably something else I am missing here. Anyway, I find after a heavy set of squats and then a heavy set of deadlifts...I don't have a ton left in the tank for benching or pull ups, etc. For this reason I separate these exercises out over the week. Essentially I now do three brief workouts over the week or longer. depnding on whether or not I feel I have recovered.

 

I am going to pick up the book you recommended by the way.

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@el_flaco:

Are you joking? Go to a gym and see what others are doing and emulate them?

Try reading what I posted, I never asked you to emulate them.

 

I don't know why you have such a hangup about bodybuilding theory, you are arguing against a straw man. There's been a seismic shift in training habits over the last ten or twenty years, incorporating elements from oly lifting, strongman and powerlifting. Coming to a forum railing against bodybuilding training habits as if you are Moses descending with the ten commandments is misguided. If you'd been in the gyms rather than hidden in your basement you would realise this.

 

I'm not trying to stifle your desire to regurgitate what you have read in books, every forum needs its armchair expert. I'm just saying prefacing it with an insult is pointless. Maybe read some books on coaching.

 

Thankfully in my basement we have a power rack, bench, Olympic bumper plates and regular plates.

Barely used. You could get a good price for them on ebay.

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@el_flaco: Stop being a trolling ass. You say I am insulting but that is what you are.

 

The fact is that when people ask for advice I do a better job of giving it in the two threads you accuse me of insulting the solicitors, then you since you are so busy trolling after me. That is because unlike you I actually consult experts and read their books rather than think I can do anything since everything is equally valid in your world. And Starting Strength is a book on coaching weightlifting. The author even certifies people to do this.

 

@boardn10:

You have too many different lifts in your program. Too many of them greatly overlap in muscle groups and function as well. When you keep switching to different lifts it is harder to know if you are making linear progress. The Starting Strength routine has much fewer lifts and goes:

Mon.: Squat, Bench, Deadlift

Wed.: Squat, Press, Power Cleans

Fri.: repeat Monday's routine

 

All exercises are done for 3 sets of 5 reps. The rest of the days of the week are rest. One rest day between each workout and after Friday you get two days. The following Monday you start again repeating Wednesday program and continuing alternating between the two routines.

 

I have no idea why you say you have great problems about soreness. It could be because alot of the excercises you do involve the same muscle groups. In the routine I mentioned above the days you Press and Bench are kept seperate because they tax alot the same muscle groups. You also don't do deadlifts everyday like squat, because deadlifts are the most taxing. Personally I notice that when I leave off, missing several workouts for a while and come back to lifting I especially get soreness in my hamstrings while squatting. My bro discovered this book The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook and I have since learned that that hamstring soreness is from trigger points in that area. Basically trigger points are knots in muscle fibers that if massaged or pressed upon start to unknot, relieving the pain.

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