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Please help guys!!!

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:58 pm
by scarecrow
Hello guys. I really need some help here.
I'm a 23 year old Indian guy. I currently weigh 74kg, and I'm 167cm tall.
I have been working out for over 4 years now.
Right from the start, I noticed that I failed to make progress.
Initially I discovered that I was over-training, so I changed my workout.
No use. Since I was not seeing any visible changes, I started noting the weights I used. No progress.
I thought it's cos of my diet, so I started supplementing with Optimum nutrition Gold standard whey.
For the past 6 months or so, I've been taking an average of 4 scoops per day: one in the morning, one before workout, one after workout and one before bed.
I have noticed a very small improvement. My friend gave me an ebook by: Sean Nalewayanj- The truth about building muscle.
I've been using this programme for over a year now. Nothing.
I've tried many rep ranges, I've tried rotating exercises.
I don't know what else is left to be done.
Sean recommends a high calorie diet, and for the past 3 months I did that. The result: I gained 7-8 kg of fat. Now I cant get into my pants.
I've always had love handles and a belly0- now they're huge.
I look at ALL the other people at the gym and look at the progress they are making. I can't help but envy them. I try to tell myself not to compare, but even my weights, sets and reps are not progressing!
I think the only thing left for me to try is anabolic steroids.
For almost a year, my bench is 60kg- 10 reps, deadlift is 70kg-8 reps, squat is 60kg-10 reps.
I tried taking a planned break as well.
Can somebody please help me?
Am i just not genetically built for this??

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:08 pm
by Stephen Johnson
@scarecrow:

It would help us if you listed your current workout (exercises, sets, reps weights)
scarecrow wrote:I currently weigh 74kg, and I'm 167cm tall.
BTW - scarecrow's current ht/wt is 5'6" and 163 pounds to those members who don't know the metric system. Not scrawny like his handle would suggest.

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:12 pm
by scarecrow
First I'd like to say that I stopped writing down weights and reps for forearms and calves cos I saw absolutely no

progress or development in them over 4 years.
For forearms I do 2 sets each of cable forearm curls and cable forearm reverse curls usually. Sometimes I add some

barbell behind the back curls or reverse bicep curls.

For calves I sit with 60kg plates on my lap and push my legs upwards- sorry don't know what its called!! :P

Also, at the gym I go to, the machines don't have numbers written on the plates. I just assumed they each weighed 10

kg. To avoid confusion, I'm just gonna put down the number of plates in each exercise!! Sorry!! :P


Day 1: Legs and Shoulders

Warm up sets with leg press

1. Leg press:
a. 60kg * 13 reps
b. 60kg * 12 reps


2. Barbell sumo squat:
a. 40kg *13 reps


3. Leg extension machine:
a. 6 plates * 10 reps dropset
4 plates * 4 reps


4. Hamstring curl:
a. 30 kg * 8 reps


5. Calves

Warm up sets with shoulder press

1. Shoulder press:
a. 50 kg * 12 reps
b. 50 kg * 11 reps


2. Dumbbell press:
a. 15 kg each * 7 reps


3. Cable cross over up
a. 2 plates each * 10 reps
b. 2 plates each * 8 reps


Forearms



Day 2: Chest and biceps

Warm up sets with bench press

1. Bench press:
a. 60 kg * 8 reps
b. 60 kg * 6 reps

2. Cable cross over down:
a. 5 plates each* 11 reps


3. Peck deck:
a. 50 kg * 12 reps
b. 50 kg * 11 reps


4. Incline bench press:
a. 40 kg * 10 reps


Warm up sets with dumbbell curls

1. Body weight pull ups:
a. 9 reps
b. 11 reps with light support


2. Dumbbell preacher:
a. 10 kg * 12 reps
b. 10 kg * 8 reps


3. Cable curl:
a. Dropset from 10 plates to 2 plates, max reps


Forearms

Day 3: Wings and triceps

Warm up sets with barbell deadlifts

1. Deadlift:
a. 75 kg * 5 reps


2. Barbell shrug:
a. 75 kg * 7 reps
b. 60 kg * 11 reps


3. T-bar row:
a. 65 kg * 11 reps
b. 65 kg * 8 reps


4. Lateral pull down:
a. 12 plates* 10 reps


5. Rowing pulley:
a. 13 plates * 5 reps dropset
8 plates * 6 reps


Warm up sets with triceps press downs

1. Weighted triceps dips:
a. 50 kg * 7 reps
b. 50 kg * 7 reps

2. Triceps cable pull down:
a. 6 plates * 10 reps

3. Triceps behind neck cable extension:
a. 7 plates * 6 reps dropset
5 plates * 3 reps dropset
3 plates * 3 reps

Forearms

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:07 pm
by Dub
Steroids won't work if your workout doesn't work. You should make progress without them also, I think all the hormones and stuff like that are more like enhancers and add the extra touch to some egomeathead.

It seems really weird that you have been working out for years but can only barely squat and even deadlift your own bodyweight.
I just have bunch of questions, nothing more. There has to be something that you ain't sharing with us yet. Usually when you workout, you make little progress, no matter what you do. The most important questions that come to mind are the following:

Have you tried to push the progress on your workout? Like trying to add another rep/set or add weight and work the reps to previous level? That's important, because if you just do the same workout with the same reps and weights time and time again, your body will adapt and nothing happens.

How intense is this workout? It's quite high rep and lots of machine-isolation, so I'm afraid you're bodybuilding without strength. Working and isolating muscles that aren't really there to begin with. Have you tried anything else but 10RM's? Like 5 or 2RM?

Is your working consistant? Are you strict enough to workout every week of the year, or do you just have these one-two month sprints and motivational stacks you use few times in a year?

You are small, but not that small. I'm a bit taller and lighter myself, so size is not necessary the thing what is stalling your progress.

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:38 pm
by robertscott
I'm going to see if I can be any help here...
scarecrow wrote:Hello guys. I really need some help here.
I'm a 23 year old Indian guy. I currently weigh 74kg, and I'm 167cm tall.
I have been working out for over 4 years now.
you are quite small, but I know straight away from just reading this statement that your diet sucks...
scarecrow wrote: Right from the start, I noticed that I failed to make progress.
Initially I discovered that I was over-training, so I changed my workout.
No use. Since I was not seeing any visible changes, I started noting the weights I used. No progress.
I thought it's cos of my diet, so I started supplementing with Optimum nutrition Gold standard whey.
For the past 6 months or so, I've been taking an average of 4 scoops per day: one in the morning, one before workout, one after workout and one before bed.
Bingo! Your diet sucks. You need to eat more. Much, much more. Especially protein.

And whey protein is not magic, if your diet sucks, which it does, then a few scoops of whey are not going to change that.
scarecrow wrote: I have noticed a very small improvement. My friend gave me an ebook by: Sean Nalewayanj- The truth about building muscle.
I've been using this programme for over a year now. Nothing.
I've tried many rep ranges, I've tried rotating exercises.
I don't know what else is left to be done.
Sean recommends a high calorie diet, and for the past 3 months I did that. The result: I gained 7-8 kg of fat. Now I cant get into my pants.
I've always had love handles and a belly0- now they're huge.
If you stick to a good routine and eat properly, you will make progress. Every single person on the planet will make progress with a good routine and a good diet, no matter how much there genetics suck. You tried to eat more, which was good, but you ate the wrong kinds of food and got fat. You need to eat more of the right foods.
scarecrow wrote: I look at ALL the other people at the gym and look at the progress they are making. I can't help but envy them. I try to tell myself not to compare, but even my weights, sets and reps are not progressing!
Been there my friend, sucks to be skinny eh? I used to think my genetics sucked and that I could never make progress, but sorting out my diet changed everything. I cannot stress this enough.
scarecrow wrote: I think the only thing left for me to try is anabolic steroids.
VERY bad idea. If your diet and training suck, which yours do, then all that'll happen is you'll get a little bit bigger on cycle, then when you come off you'll lose it all again, and chances are if you know as much about steroids as you do about diet and training you'll do it wrong and end up really messing up your hormones. DO NOT DO STEROIDS. They are only for people who have been in the game a long time and already made progress. Seriously, don't touch.
scarecrow wrote: For almost a year, my bench is 60kg- 10 reps, deadlift is 70kg-8 reps, squat is 60kg-10 reps.
I tried taking a planned break as well.
Can somebody please help me?
Am i just not genetically built for this??
Your bench, deadlift and squat numbers are proof that you simply are not eating enough. You probably think you are, but you're not. Everyone overestimates how much they are eating when they first start training. Keeping a food log listing EXACTLY what you've eaten'll show you what I mean. 4 years of training and not being able to deadlift your bodyweight is really, really bad.

So really, the main thing to do is just to improve your diet. That'll fix everything.

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:41 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
I smell something fishy.

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:50 pm
by Jungledoc
And eating more fish would be good for him.

Scarcrow--have you tried focusing more on strength for a, then coming back to more of a bodybuilder approach later with the added strength?

Like Dub said, you need to do something other than these 10, 11, 12 rep sets. Try doing 3 sets of 4 reps, and build up the weight.

Are you sure that your form and technique are sound? Have you worked with anyone on this?

Where in India do you live?

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:44 am
by scarecrow
Wow guys!! Thanks a lot for the replies!!

Yes, I try to push myself with each workout. I try to get one rep more. Thing is, I usually fail before that. My aim was to at least squat, bench and deadlift my body weight. I weighed 67 kg 3 months back, before I started eating lots of calories. Then I put on a lot of fat.
Long back, when I first got Sean Naelwayanj's programme, I followed it exactly. He recommends a 5-8 rep range, but after a couple of months of that, I noticed no visible gains and no progress in weights. I workout alone. For exercises like benchpress, I ask one of the trainers to spot for me. Is that the reason maybe??
The other guys who workout made massive improvements in 3 months. I noticed that they stick close to the 12 rep range. Also, they use much more sets per body part.
Most people suggest that more than 6 sets per small body part and 8-10 per large body part is serious over training. So, I cut the volume. I make sure that I don't train for over an hour, cos I read a lot on the net that cortisol and other catabolic hormones get released.
But to be honest, I have not tried anything below 5 reps. Nobody else I know trains like that. To be honest, tiny as I am, next to some huge guys, I probably push the heaviest weight in the gym.
Also, I've read in many articles that working in the 8-12 rep range helps hypertrophy more. I know I'm vain wanting to look huge but not get strong, but really, I need some visible change to keep me motivated, don't you think??
I am very, very consistent. Despite not making any progress, I workout week in and week out.
When I have my University exams or I have a long holiday, I take a week or sometimes 2 off. Other than that, I've been training pretty much every week.
When I first started training, I trained every day, one part per day - Sunday off - like some of the trainers told me to, with high sets and reps. Later, when I found it was overtraining, I stopped.
I train 3 times per week, with at least day between each workout.


About my diet, well, I pretty much eat what a standard Indian guy eats. I've asked the guys about their diets, and the only thing that was different about those making major progress and me, was the amount of whey they took.
As I said, for the past 6 months, I've been taking 4 scoops per day- which though pretty expensive for me ( I'm a student ), I stuck to. I made a little improvement. I thought to myself: I've been consuming over 120 g of pure protein per day, excluding what I get from a normal diet. Isn't that much protein enough??
At one time, I tried to eat about 8 eggs per day. Was really difficult, and when i look at it, thats just 48 grams of protein and a lot of hard work. So is stopped the eggs and concentrated on whey (increased it from 2 scoops per day to 4).
So, like what should I be trying to get into my diet?? I eat fish, meat etc. Right now, I've cut down majorly on the amount of rice I eat- it's the staple food here- cos of all the fat that I've put on. Should I be eating more carbs? Or protein? Or fat? I use a bit of olive oil and cod liver oil capsules just in case that's what I'm not getting in my diet. I drink green tea to boost my metabolism.
I don't know what I should do. Thing is, I ask the "big guys" here, and they have nothing to offer me. They say more sets, more reps, workout every day, eat more whey protein. The spot reduction myth still exists here, so they tell me: wanna sculpt your body? Do 30 sets of 15-20 reps each for each body part. I just nod my head, cos I've been there and done that.

I'm really not hiding anything intentionally. If there is something, it's cos I don't know what it is.
The diet, the workout, the consistency, my stats, all are true.

My form and technique: well, as you can see from the above, the people I know, are not exactly very wise in the bodybuilding business, but considering that they're making good progress doing what they do, I've accepted their advice on form. I check exrx for how to execute each exercise before doing them.
Also, I am one of two (yeah: 2) people I know in the gym who do deadlifts.
I am also one of the few people who works out legs every single week- the guys with huge arms and chest workout their legs about once a month. I don't ignore any body part, cos unlike them, I don't make gains no matter what I do.

I live in South India. It's a place called Trivadrum in the state of Kerala.

I'm not trying to be rude, so please excuse me if I sound so.
Do you guys think that I should increase the weight and reduce the reps below the 5 rep range?
I mean cos nobody else I know does that!
They're all training with lesser weights than me, with more reps and sets.

And is there anything I should specifically look at in my diet? Like more carbohydrates, more protein?
Thanks in advance

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:00 am
by scarecrow
Oh, and one other thing. If you don't feel the pain in your muscle the next day, does that mean that you're not training with enough intensity?
About the deadlift: I've been doing the deadlift for only about one and a half years.
That's when I started serioulsy searching the net to find out what I may be doing wrong- why I'm not making progress.
The deadlift is probably the one exercise I've made some progress in. I'm just wary of pushing it too far, cos I don't wanna hurt my back by using too much weight...
In the barbell exercises, I haven't added the weight of the barbell. Should i do that?? I've heard that it weighs like 15kg by itself...

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:38 am
by scarecrow
Now, the most depressing thing is that, when I look at my log, I notice that one week i can do 2 more reps in a particular exercise, and the next week, it goes 6 reps down. So in the end, if I look at my stats 1 year back and right now, it's either the same, or worse now!!

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:30 am
by Dub
Long back, when I first got Sean Naelwayanj's programme, I followed it exactly. He recommends a 5-8 rep range, but after a couple of months of that, I noticed no visible gains and no progress in weights. I workout alone. For exercises like benchpress, I ask one of the trainers to spot for me. Is that the reason maybe??
No, working out alone isn't the problem. It could help to have spotters and motivators training with you, but the most important part is your own effort and mindset.
The other guys who workout made massive improvements in 3 months. I noticed that they stick close to the 12 rep range. Also, they use much more sets per body part.
Most people suggest that more than 6 sets per small body part and 8-10 per large body part is serious over training. So, I cut the volume. I make sure that I don't train for over an hour, cos I read a lot on the net that cortisol and other catabolic hormones get released.
But to be honest, I have not tried anything below 5 reps. Nobody else I know trains like that. To be honest, tiny as I am, next to some huge guys, I probably push the heaviest weight in the gym.
Also, I've read in many articles that working in the 8-12 rep range helps hypertrophy more. I know I'm vain wanting to look huge but not get strong, but really, I need some visible change to keep me motivated, don't you think??
This is one thing I think is totally wrong.
These "others" seem to be bodybuilders. High rep-ranges and bodypart sets sounds like isolation training and more like gaining hypertrophy and only little maximal strength. The problem here is, without strenght, there is no muscles to develop. More strength means more muscle. But more reps and more sets don't equal more strength. No. It is true, that for muscle growth the best rep range is from 6 to 12, with lots sets (3-5) and lots of different movements/exercises. But the base for all strenght training is maximium strength. You can't build a palace to the swamp, you need a proper foundation. And to be honest, you don't have much strenght to build on.

Besides, who doesn't want to get strong?

Looking good and muscular/huge is all about the co-operation of strength training and diet. There might be something wrong with your diet also. But eating alot is an important part of getting stronger. If done correctly, it doesn't just come out as body fat.

Doing high reps with low weights doesn't make you huge. It has its place on the workout schedule, but to be frank, you need to go low-rep. You need to cause the muscle to overload. What you are doing now, is you're stressing the muscle and making it produce anaerobic energy with lactic acid. But I think your muscles have adapted to this stress. You've been doing it for as year without changing anything. You need to get it to reach max levels, to recruit more and more of muscle cells. That happens when you do max effort work. Lots of low rep, high intensity sets, with focus on big lifts that work the whole area.

It doens't matter if no-one else is doing it. They might have done it before you know. It doesn't clearly work for you, even if it works for them. There is nothing to shame on high weights and low reps. I think squatting hundreds of kg's is a lot cooler, better and impressive than a 12-rep set with some silly leg press.
Take Arnold Schwarzenegger for an example. Before he went to win these bodybuilding competitionsd, he was well accomplished as a powerlifter and a weightlifter, winning several titles. So he did his share of olympic lifts, low rep sets and high intensity.

I'm not taking opinions on the diet yet. Yes, protein is your most important part. Lots of calories, good fats and avoiding sugar and alcohol takes you somewhere. As my knowledge of nutrition is not yet at high levels, I leave this to someone else.
My form and technique: well, as you can see from the above, the people I know, are not exactly very wise in the bodybuilding business, but considering that they're making good progress doing what they do, I've accepted their advice on form. I check exrx for how to execute each exercise before doing them.
The deadlift, bench and squat are usually moves that lack of form, no matter how well you have read some instructions. What I recommend is to film your set, and see for yourself, or post here, if there is something that needs corrections. When you are under the bar, you don't always see what happens during the rep.
Also, I am one of two (yeah: 2) people I know in the gym who do deadlifts.
I think deadlifts are a great exercise, and advice you to continue doing them.
I am also one of the few people who works out legs every single week- the guys with huge arms and chest workout their legs about once a month. I don't ignore any body part, cos unlike them, I don't make gains no matter what I do.
You should never skip leg work. Never. Even if you are making gains you should never do only upper body work. I would just roll my eyes to these guys rather than idolizing them. It's starting to seem like they don't know anything about bodybuilding either.
Oh, and one other thing. If you don't feel the pain in your muscle the next day, does that mean that you're not training with enough intensity?
No. It doesn't mean that. The pain, or "DOMS" is most likely your muscle having minor tears and trigger points or tightness. It's not a bad thing, but it's not a goal you should aim for.
The deadlift is probably the one exercise I've made some progress in. I'm just wary of pushing it too far, cos I don't wanna hurt my back by using too much weight...
If your form is proper and your back is arched you should not worry about it. I bet there are many things that make you drop the weight than your back. By the way, the deadlift is the only exercise you are doing low rep. And that is the only lift you are making progress at. See that?
In the barbell exercises, I haven't added the weight of the barbell. Should i do that?? I've heard that it weighs like 15kg by itself...
Barbells vary from 10 to 20kg's usually olympic barbells are 20kg. It not necessary to add the barbell weight, but I don't know too many people who do not add it. It's not that important tho.

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:34 am
by scarecrow
Could you give me an example of a workout for strength gains?

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:50 am
by Dub
Well there are and will be tons of suggestions from different users, but most popular programs are probably Stronglifts 5x5, Rippetoes Starting Strength, 5/3/1 and WS4SB

I've been doing well with Stronglifts 5x5
http://exrx.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=5803" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Starting Strength link
Westside for Skinny Bastards
(Also WS4SB has been edited and modified a few times by DeFranco.)

These are programs that all have been proven to work. But I'm not saying you must do these to get progress. They are just things worth reading and maybe trying for a few months. Of course like I said, different people have different training methods. Some other users might have their 2 cents to add on this too.

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:15 am
by Jungledoc
Why would anyone not add the weight of the bar? Why is it unimportant? Especially people who are smaller, and lifting lower weights, it's a very significant part of the load. It's silly not to include it. Yes, bar plus plates makes a barbell!

Scarecrow, you obviously need to do something different. No one else can tell you what's best for you. You have to gather some information, make a decision and try something different than what you're doing. Then, if after a reasonable try you feel a need to change, then change. I'm not saying to try some fad for a couple of weeks then try something different. Give each new approach a fair trial, make adjustments and improvements and give it enough time so that you know what you're doing with it. But if it isn't producing the results you want, move on.

For a workout, I'd suggest that you pick a handful of lifts that are the lifts that you want to commit to for a significant period of time, like a year. Just a few, like 4-8 lifts. Those are YOUR lifts for this year. Then decide which one you want to prioritize over the others for the next 2 months, and 2 or 3 others that are second-tier priority. The others will be on the back burner, so to speak. You'll work them a little each cycle, but won't worry about a lot of progress for the moment. The priority lift gets the first day of your workout cycle, whichever day of the week gives you at least 2 days of rest prior to this lift. Then for that day, that lift is the centerpiece of your workout, maybe even the only lift you do that day. Maybe a single isolation lift or some core work, but not much else. That lift you would work with relatively low reps, high weight. Maybe for now 4 sets of 3 (after warmups). Or 3x3. Or even 2x3. Whatever, just pick something. Start with a weight that won't bust your spleen. But then, every week, increase in some way--add a rep or two to one or two of the sets. Then maybe add a little weight to one set. When you've added a lot of reps, drop the reps back maybe to your original plan, but at a higher weight than before.

Then on your second day, you would work your number 2 and 3 lifts, but not as intensively. You'd still gradually make progress. Then your third day could be for some of your back burner lifts and accessories--a pretty light day. Some of those you could do high-reps, if you want.

After a couple of months, you could move a different exercise into the priority position, rearrange things a bit according to what you learned over the previous months. Your core lifts would still be the core lifts, but you'd shift them around.

People who know me here realize that I've been kidnapped and brainwashed by a strength training cult. I used to say "why re-invent the wheel? Don't try to make up your own routine, just do one that an expert has planned out for you." Now I tend more to say something like "who is a better expert on you than you?" I still think it's unwise just to throw together a bunch of exercises on your own. But I think you can learn some good principles, and begin to own your training. Of course, it's nice if you can have someone more experienced who is willing to give you some direction, either on line or in person. That's what my new "cult" does for me.

I agree that strength is the foundation. I'd urge you to focus on strength for a while. Then if you want to shift back to the body builder mode, great.

Re: Please help guys!!!

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:05 pm
by stuward
Scarecrow, There's a lot of good advice so far but I just want to add that you can't compare yourself to people that you see in the gym. Most of the big ones have the genetics that made gains come easy. There are some who have to work hard for every bit of muscle they have and sometimes it's hard to tell which is which. Perseverance is what made the difference for them, and it's what will make the difference for you. If you read Matt Z's log, you will see that's he's been at this for a long time, although he probably was about your size at your age. There were some years that he plateaued and ended the year where he started. Other years he made huge gains. I just use his log as an example since it's long and complete. Most others have had similar experiences. Again, that perseverance and consistency is what is making the difference for him and it will for you. Also, because of his log he can go back and see what worked and what didn't. I think you've already seen that your log is doing the same for you.