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I swear my body doesn't have the ability to gain muscle

batorkinbatorkin Posts: 281Member, Premium Member Posts: 281Member, Premium Member
- 3 years ago I was 6'2" 270 pounds.

- A year of diet and exercise got me down to 145, but I still had a lot of fat around my stomach.

- In an attempt to fix my skinnyfat problem, I bulked from 145 to 175 over 6 months. I lifted 3-5x a week using various machines in the gym. My workouts were about 60 minutes long. I usually target 3 sets, 10-12 reps, and I don't wait more than a minute between sets. I push until I can't do another rep. I also made sure to get ~180g protein/day and ate almost no processed foods. Plenty of fruits/veggies/chicken, tracking everything.

- I felt like I was getting fat again, so I cut back down targeting 1 pound/week over the next 6 months. I still got ~180g of protein a day and 6 months later I was back down to 145 and looked the exact same as before!

- So I bought a scale that reads body fat/muscle weight. It claimed I was at 10-11% BF (yet I still have lots of fat around my waist). I started a faster bulk this time, getting my daily protein, and ended up at 170 (15% BF) in 2 1/2 months. The scale claims I only gained 2 pounds of muscle in those first 2 weeks and none in any of the other weeks. Yet, I gained 23 pounds of fat. My Bodyfat % just keeps going up and up at this point and muscle mass stays the same - plus I'll lose that measily 2 pounds of gained muscle when I cut back down.

I do cardio 3x a week (running/cycling and eat back the calories 100%). I lift 3-4x a week with one leg day. I. Just. Don't. Get. It. I'm at the gym 5-6 days/week doing one or the other, and it feels like my body is broken from being obese for 20 years. My lifts do increase, so maybe the scale is just wrong. However, I asked two friends and they both said they've seen no changes in me since the initial weight loss 2 years ago.

Close to giving up on this and just accepting that I will forever be skinnyfat.
edited November 22

Replies

  • rileysownerrileysowner Posts: 7,851Member Member Posts: 7,851Member Member
    1. Are you using a program made by a professional or just making it up yourself?
    2. Perhaps bulk and cut is not for you. You may want to research recomposition.
    3. Measurements and photos can be helpful.
  • jenncornelsenjenncornelsen Posts: 861Member Member Posts: 861Member Member
    Those scales are completely inaccurate for one. I also would highly recommend seeing a professional trainer if its at all in your budget, someone who specializes in body building could really help get you on the right track.
  • batorkinbatorkin Posts: 281Member, Premium Member Posts: 281Member, Premium Member
    1. Are you using a program made by a professional or just making it up yourself?
    2. Perhaps bulk and cut is not for you. You may want to research recomposition.
    3. Measurements and photos can be helpful.

    I don't follow a program because I lose motivation with them and skip days. I do whatever I feel like doing making sure to hit all the major muscle groups at least twice a week. I didn't think a program would be needed for someone just trying to get a "normal" non-skinnyfat build. I am not looking to get bulky.

    I think come spring, I will cut back down to ~11% BF and start working on recomp instead. Eating at maintenance and just living a healthy activity lifestyle. It *should* balance itself out soon or later I'd think...
    Those scales are completely inaccurate for one. I also would highly recommend seeing a professional trainer if its at all in your budget, someone who specializes in body building could really help get you on the right track.

    That's what I am hoping since my lifts are improving. There were 2 weeks where it said I lost 2 pounds of muscle despite all my efforts (which was really demotivating). In my mind, I know there's just no way I am gaining fat and losing muscle with 180g/protein a day + lifting 4x a week. I am pretty sure that's impossible unless I have something seriously wrong with me.
    edited November 22
  • giancarlov1191giancarlov1191 Posts: 199Member, Premium Member Posts: 199Member, Premium Member
    Building muscle takes time, patience, and consistency. You should make a program and stick to it, with progress overload (tracker and recorded so you know that you're progressing).
  • cupcakesandproteinshakescupcakesandproteinshakes Posts: 325Member Member Posts: 325Member Member
    I think you started too high and bulked too quickly with a programme that sounds sub optimal to be frank.if you don’t get an appropriate amount of volume you aren’t gonna see gains.

    Those scales aren’t very accurate.

    You have to be patient with this. It’ll take years to build a muscular physique. Unless you are genetically an outlier. Or on steroids. Years and years. It’s a lifestyle not a quick fix. Whatever those 12 week transformation programmes say.

    Honestly if I were you I would get on a decent hypertrophy programme with enough volume. You don’t have to cut or bulk if you are at a normal body weight you could just maintain that and train. Maybe forget about bulking for the time being.

    I don’t know the details of exactly what you have been doing in the gym but it sounds like you may still be a novice. There are some good reputable programmes out there. I would suggest the barbell medicine beginners programme which I just bought for my 14 year old daughter. It isn’t free though. If money is an issue there are lots of free programmes. Look at the thread at the top.

    There are also some very knowledgable voices on here and I’m hoping they will give you some input too.
  • cupcakesandproteinshakescupcakesandproteinshakes Posts: 325Member Member Posts: 325Member Member
    To add I wasn’t saying that the posters to date were not knowledgeable they are. Sorry peeps, I read the above post back and it sounds rude.
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Posts: 3,290Member Member Posts: 3,290Member Member
    OP:

    My impression is that you were doing too many rep/sets w/not enough wt in too long a workout session

    To gain muscle mass, the recommendation is generally to do fewer rep/sets w/MAX wts in shorter workout sessions to promote muscle growth.

    Doing too much cardio also can run counter to muscle gain.

    If gaining muscle mass is your objective, I suggest that you try to find a trainer in a gym that specializes in bodybuilding to help you.

    If that's not an option, try surfing the web. The problem is that there are all kinds of program suggestions and it's hard to know which one to pick.

    As you already apparently know, what you do in the gym also has to be coordinated w/what and how you eat, which is another reason to work w/a knowledgeble trainer, if you can

    One place to start looking is Ellington Darren's articles on HIT (high intensity training) for muscle growth which should NOT to be confused w/HIIT (high intensity interval training) for cardio vascular development.

    I still have several of the books that he wrote in the 90's that formed the basis of his current muscle development program.

    I'm NOT necessarily recommending Darden's approach BUT it would be as good a place as any for you to begin research on a better program than you are doing on your own now in order to achieve your goals to gain muscle mass and reduce BF.

    Good luck!
    edited November 22
  • lynn_glenmontlynn_glenmont Posts: 7,235Member Member Posts: 7,235Member Member
    Your surpluses are too large on your bulks (5 lbs a month the first time, 10 pounds a month the second time -- of course the majority of the weight you're putting on is fat!)

    Your deficit on your recent cut was too large (1 lb a week when you're moving from the middle of a healthy BMI range for your height to near the bottom of a healthy BMI range -- that's not a muscle-sparing approach.)

    We can't really judge whether your workouts are well designed to build muscle during your bulks and preserve muscle during your cuts, since it's just random stuff you do that you haven't described, or can't describe because it's random. Yes, adding weight to your lifts is generally what you want to be doing, but some of that can come improvements in your body's ability to use the muscle it already has.

  • ecjimecjim Posts: 758Member Member Posts: 758Member Member
    batorkin wrote: »
    - 3 years ago I was 6'2" 270 pounds.

    - A year of diet and exercise got me down to 145, but I still had a lot of fat around my stomach.

    - In an attempt to fix my skinnyfat problem, I bulked from 145 to 175 over 6 months. I lifted 3-5x a week using various machines in the gym. My workouts were about 60 minutes long. I usually target 3 sets, 10-12 reps, and I don't wait more than a minute between sets. I push until I can't do another rep. I also made sure to get ~180g protein/day and ate almost no processed foods. Plenty of fruits/veggies/chicken, tracking everything.

    .

    Nice job on the weight loss
    What machines? What excercises are you doing? 3 sets, 10 - 12 reps of what? What exercises? what weights are you using? You have told us nothing about your exercise program. Be honest with yourself for a minute. Do you have the knowledge and experience to design a good exercise program?
    Your best bet is to pick a full body beginner's program and follow it for a few months. The program should include Squats, Deadlift, Overhead Press , bench and pulls/ row . Lift full body 3 X per week. There are several to choose from - Starting Strength, Gray Scull, one of the 531 programs. Dan John Mass Made Simple. The point is pick one and follow it. If you get bored with it, I don't know what to tell you. Building muscle take time and effort. If you are doing everything right, under ideal conditions , the best you can do is gain a few ounces of muscle per week. If you do a random hap hazard program , those are the results you will get.



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