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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
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must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

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ATTN: Dr. Darden, I Need Help
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MJSChase

Dr. Darden,
I really need your help with a strategy to gain as much strength and size as my genetics allow. I am 23 years old and have been training intensely on my Bowflex XTLU following your programs in your Bowflex book and eating well and using superhydration. I can't add size and I gain minimal strength. I have used many supplements due to this only to have wasted money.

I get discouraged when I eat healthy and train hard and see no results. What's even worse is that my co-workers eat fast food daily and are way stronger and muscular than I am. My arms have been at 12in for years. Even when measured after exercise they measure 12 3/4in. What can I do to help myself. Thank you for your time.

Mike
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Ellington Darden

Mike,

It sounds like you may be lacking in genetic potential.

What did you mother and father look like when they were at your approximate age? The same goes for your grandparents. How about your brothers and sisters?

What's your current height and weight?

Please fill in these gaps for me?

Ellington

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MJSChase

My father was built very well, my mother was and still is shorter than average, my grandparents were average (both sides of the family). My father even now at 50 is still large. My height is 5'11" and weight 168lbs. I also measured the gap between my bicep and elbow and found it to be just shy of 1 3/4in. on both arms. My triceps aren't defined enough to see the horseshoe so I could not measure it.
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MJSChase

Sorry for the additional post, but I forgot to mention my sister, who is 20 years old and tall and thin.
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henry_bordeaux

MJSChase,

you're maybe overtraining.

try 8 sets per full body workout...only twice a week for 1 month and see if this helps.

also pay attention to good form when exercising...train really hard...set yourself small goals you wanna achieve from workout to workout...which may end up in achieving one big goal...sleep at least 8 hours per night...

and then report back after 1 month.


the 2 most common reasons of not reaching your goals in bodybuilding, as per Arthur Jones:

training too much
or
not training hard enough...







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jrholt

Tennessee, USA

When you say you are eating well...this does not really tell Dr. darden if your calorie intake is sufficient. What is your approx. daily calorie intake?

Jeff
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RobT

Hi Mike

I think you may just need more calories to gain more size and strength - at 168lbs id go for about 20 cals per pound of BW so approx 3400 to start with - get a calorie counter and diary and log everthing for a few weeks - if your still not gaining try adding 200-300 more or if you start gaining too much fat, drop down to 3100-3200.

Don't just guess at this part - your appetite is not always a good guide - i really have to concentrate on 'high intensity eating' as well as training before i started gaining well.

heres a previous thread on building mass that might be of interest also:

http://www.drdarden.com/...ic.do?id=424039

good luck

Rob
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henry_bordeaux

weighing 168 at 5'11 with 12inch arms.

i don't think not having enough kcal is a problem here...


someone weighing 168 at 5'11 with more or less symmetrical proportions may have 14.5-15 inch arms with 10% bodyfat...
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Ciccio

henry_bordeaux wrote:
weighing 168 at 5'11 with 12inch arms.

i don't think not having enough kcal is a problem here...


someone weighing 168 at 5'11 with more or less symmetrical proportions may have 14.5-15 inch arms with 10% bodyfat...


How you know he has 10% BF? He writes even that he has not enough definition to see a horseshoe on his tris. He may be skinny fat.

I think poor genetics like Ellington said is the answer but it's not so uncommon that somebody has only 12-13" arms at that height when untrained/not properly trained.

Still he should be able to improve somewhat.
And if he can pump his arm to 12 3/4 then he should be also able to grow it.

To give up on it alltogether can't be the answer!
So, to the original poster:
Give us more info!

Exact eating plan would be nice. Activities outside the gym? Enough sleep is also of importance.

Franco



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henry_bordeaux

franco,

please reread my post.
i wrote that the arms of someone weighing 168 at 5'11 and with 10% bodyfat would be about 14.5-15.


someone weighing 168 at 5'11 with 12inch arms has a bodyfat % which is too high...so adding even more calories to his diet won't solve the problem.


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Yes

I think it would be of great help if you posted some pictures, for example front and back double biceps shots and a triceps shot - preferably full body shots. I understand if you don't want to, but it would make it a lot easier to tell anything about your genetic potential, and also give other advice. If you happen to have any before and after shots that would be great.

Also tell us how many calories you have been eating, how long you have been training and give us a little history on your training - post your routine and the strength gains you have made.
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SCN550

8 exercises 1 set to complete and utter failure (it really helps if you have a training partner) approx. 8-12 reps

Do that twice a week

Keep a record of what you performed, try to increase the repetitions each workout when you get to about 12 increase the weight.

Focus on form as well.

Make sure you eat more than enough good food.

It's as simple as that.
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jn6047

henry_bordeaux wrote:
franco,

please reread my post.
i wrote that the arms of someone weighing 168 at 5'11 and with 10% bodyfat would be about 14.5-15.


someone weighing 168 at 5'11 with 12inch arms has a bodyfat % which is too high...so adding even more calories to his diet won't solve the problem.






I disagree.

I was in the same position when I started training when I was around 19-20. I was 5'10 and weighed around 160lbs with 11" arms. I was skinny, not fat. I had abs and decent vascularity in my arms. My forearms were nearly the same size as my upper arms, and I don't have large forearms.

When I first started training, no one came to me and said I had good genetics. I had several people tell me I would never reach my weight/muscle goals because I just wasn't built for it. I didn't respond quickly to training. I had a hard time eating enough. I was extremely weak compared to others of my size, and I was/am unhealthy.

I'm around 245 right now, not ripped, but respectable from my point of view. I'm stronger than quite a few people, including my friends who got me into training that honestly didn't beleive I would get to this point. It's taken me 7 years, and I've had many setbacks along the way because of my health. The first 2 years of training were a complete waste, I didn't gain a damn thing. I made lots of mistakes (still do), but I learned from them (still am).

Anytime I see someone that I can tell is in the same situation I was, it always boils down to the same things:

-training too much per workout
-not eating enough
-worried about "getting fat"
-not training hard enough
-not enough sleep

I can't think of how many times a skinny/fat guy has asked me for training or supplement advice and I tell them that they need to eat more and their response is always something to the effect of "I eat more than anyone I know", "there is know way I could possibly eat anymore", "I'm just not made for this, I'm not like you", "I dont wan't to lose my abs", etc. Or when I give them training advice, it's the same kind of rubbish.

jn6047
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henry_bordeaux

jn6047,

congrats to your achievement, but it
seems that your bodyfat% is 20 or more now...

the majority of trainees is not training properly...only a minority is undereating...
and nearly everyone has mixed up fatgain with musclegain...at some point in his training career...


why weighing 245 when 205-210 would be a lot better looking and much HEALTHIER?


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mpx

5'10.5" started at appx. 158 lbs.
With 3 years of HVT off and on I went to 168.
Stuck there until trying Mentzer HIT which took me to 195lbs in 15 months with workouts that lasted 30 mins tops and consisted of no more than 3 workouts in a 10 day period. I went from barely being able to squat 135 for 12 reps to 315 for 6.

While I sit around and do nothing I lose weight and muscle since I have such a high metabolism. One could say at the onset that I had poor genetics. I didn't buy that argument once I knew what to fix with training and eating.
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jn6047

Why would you assume my BF is 20%plus?

The majority of skinny guys I see that are not achieving their goals are undereating. No question about it. Let's be realistic, the human body can take a lot of punishment/abuse and still grow, as evidenced by many people who make progress while volume training. I don't think this fellows problem is with his training.

I'm probably of the minority on this board in that I want to become as muscular as possible, I am not training for general fitness, general fitness is a welcomed side effect.

How many other people here have the same goal as I do, and have been working towards it for a few years? Now how many of you with that goal wish you were large enough that others would notice and not sound surprized when you tell them that you are a bodybuilder? And who out of this group can tell me why they aren't achieving their goals?

jn6047

henry_bordeaux wrote:
jn6047,

congrats to your achievement, but it
seems that your bodyfat% is 20 or more now...

the majority of trainees is not training properly...only a minority is undereating...
and nearly everyone has mixed up fatgain with musclegain...at some point in his training career...


why weighing 245 when 205-210 would be a lot better looking and much HEALTHIER?




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MJSChase

Thanks for all the replies, everyone. They are much appreciated. I am going to try and respond to each question, and I apologize in advance for the long response. I don't measure my caloric intake. I try and eat every three hours. Every morning I have a bowl of oatmeal and either egg whites or cottage cheese. Mid-morning I have a whole wheat wrap with boiled chicken, spinach, and a slice of reduced fat provolone cheese along with a sandwich baggie full of veggie chips. For lunch, I have whatever I had the previous night for dinner, which usually consists of chicken or other lean meat and a vegetable side. It's accompanied by a small salad. For the ride home from work, I usually keep a baggie in the car with almonds or peanuts. As of March 24th my body fat % was 17.5, haven't measured it since. My workout routines are taken directly out of The Bowflex Body Plan book, hopefully some of you are familiar with it. If not, a typical routine is between 10 - 12 exercises at 1 set each, 8-12 reps and only lasts for 2 weeks. However, there isn't a great deal of change from one to another. I have been training consistently for over a year now, but have trained on and off since I was 15. The on/off was primarily due to no mass or strength gains. Even now I remain using the same resistance and can't seem to get beyond it. It's very frustrating, but I can't stop training because what little strength gains I make, I will lose inside of a week. As for other activities, I hike with my dog on the weekends, other than that, nothing strenuous. As far as pictures, I would, but I have no clue as to how to post them even if I had them. I hope that addresses everyone's questions. If further info is needed let me know. Thanks.
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Yes

Your diet seems good but I think you need more fat. Aim for 0.5g per lb of body weight - it wont hurt to go a little beyond that either. Fat is essential to keep good hormone levels. You can also eat the whole eggs(two eggs per day wont be bad in any way, if you are worried about the cholesterol).

Also, start counting your calories and adjust them to your goals(if its fat loss or weight gain you want). You at least need to know for certain that you are eating enough(or not eating too much).

If you get any pictures you can upload them to http://imageshack.us and post the url here, or you can use the attach image function on this board(easy to find when replying to a thread).
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jn6047

I would say you are not getting in sufficient calories for growth.

jn6047
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Ciccio

jn6047 wrote:
I would say you are not getting in sufficient calories for growth.

jn6047


I 2nd that! As well the notion to eat more fat (even Ellington recommends a higher fat% for bulking. like in BIG).

Also, I know that Ellington is a big proponent of the bowflex but I believe you would do better to incorporate some other exercises as well. Particularly Chins and Dips(possibly NO) and some dumbbell moves maybe.
I heard repeadatly that the bowflex lacks resistance on the eccentric (negative) part of the exercise. That maybe a problem too.

Franco



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Zenontheterrible

i'm a very similar build to you. When i started working out i was 5'9 and 127 lbs.

now many years (10) of 'off and on training' later i am 5'9 and 168lbs and i have hardly gained any fat. Part of it was that your body just gains muscle with time... when i weighed 127lbs i was 18 and my body wasn't done growing yet.

but i have been training seriously for about 16 months. During that time i have gained about 18lbs of muscle. Much better than the average 1lb of muscle and 1lb of fat i'd been gaining over the previous years.

Anytime i gain muscle mass and body weight i have been doing the following things: PIGGING OUT.... as in eating way more than my natural appetite calls for. Forcing myself to eat even when the thought of it makes me sick. Compound MOvements. Leg exersizes. Short brief to failure total body workouts. 2 days of rest after every total body workout. At least 1 day rest after a split workout. at least 8 or more hours of sleep every night. Drink water like your dying of thirst. Eat first thing in the morning, and last thing before you goto bed.

Personally being a skinny guy, i'm not even hungry most of the time. Even when my blood sugar is low and my hands are shakey i just don't always feel like eating.

After i do eat the thought of eating food makes me sick. I think that its mostly genetic, my anscestors somehow survived by being skinny (why i don't know)so my genes strive to put me back into that state. You have to train yourself to eat more. Even if you have genetically low muscle growth potential, i still feel that you could probably double what you have now, with hard work, and enough food and rest and water. Go ahead and eat higher calorie and 'unhealhty' foods like pizza.

thats just my opinion, and i'm assuming that your just plain skinny, not skinny fat. I'm also assuming you won't mind gaining one or two pounds of fat to gain 10 or more pounds of muscle.

best of luck, peace.....
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jn6047

Zenon, your a breath of fresh air here. What you have wrote is definetly what I've experienced and seen to work most effectively.

jn6047
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