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Thread: Hardgainer starting from scratch

  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    I posted this word for word in the online journal forum where I hope to keep everyone informed on my progress (if there is any


    My first post here although I've been lurking for a couple weeks. I've decided to change things around for myself and stop living in shame of my body. I'm 21 years old, heading into my senior (sophomore/junior really tho with transfers) year in college. Here is the pathetic stat line:

    5 feet, 9.5 inches tall
    141 lbs as of an hour ago

    Yes, you can imagine...downright scrawny. I don't feel ashamed saying it in here really, I'm sure you guys would rather help than criticize. I'm small-boned if there is such a word...shoulders aren't broad, very small wrists, long neck, etc. Typical ectomorph I guess. This is going to be a hell of a battle for me.

    Starting my diet and workout tomorrow (I'll be working out at the local YMCA at 6:00AM to try and avoid the rush). I'll be eating about 2500 calories daily, upping that as I gain weight...about 250-260g protein, 175-185g carbs, 80 or so g fat. (mostly from Udo's) I'll be using creatine and glutamine and trying to down about a gallon of water a day.

    Here's the workout plan I intend on using..please criticize it but keep in mind what I am working with here. I've never trained with weights before, so I'm sure my strength is going to be ridiculous. I'll be working out 3 times a week..

    Flat bench press(4 sets, 1 burnout set)
    Incline dumbell flyes (1 superset)
    Shoulder Press (4 sets, 1 burnout set)
    Side raises (1 superset)
    Shrugs (4 sets to failure, 1 burnout set)
    Bar dips (4 sets to failure)
    Tricep pushdowns (1 superset)

    Squats (4 sets, 1 burnout)
    Leg Extensions (1 superset)
    Stiff-legged deadlifts (4 sets, 1 burnout)
    Hamstring curl (1 superset)
    Calve raises (strip sets to failure)

    Wide grip pull-ups (4 sets to failure)
    One arm rows (4 sets, 1 burnout)
    Lat-bar pulldown (1 superset)
    Dumbell curls (4 sets to failure)
    Reverse curls (multiple supersets)

    (This routine may look familar to some people .. yes I was a sucker about a year ago). Anyway, when I say a burnout set, I'm referring to a set with much lighter weights than my last work set to completely fatigue the muscles. When I say superset I refer to taking no break between it and the last set of the last exercise.

    I'll be increasing the weight with each work set, and going with a 8/6/4/2 rep pattern if I can. I think that's about it .. I'll update every workout day starting tomorrow.

    Thanks in advance..

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yaz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    That burnout set on the DB row... put it in your last exercise. Same with the shoulder press. Or, another idea would be to drop them all (Burnouts) and simply move into the next exercise without a pause, if you feel the need to do that. I personally do not superset much myself, but hey... Also just a suggestion, I used to divide Back and Leg day by about 4, that way I could actually pull off doing Deads and Squats in the same week. You'll see yourself growing real focking fast if you can do both, IMO.

    And no sweat, man. I was 5'11 150 about 6 months ago. Believe me, what these guys will instill in you... is truly going to make a difference. Keep your ears open, and your mind.

    I'm now 5'11, 168... and looking deceptively larger than what my weight would lead you to believe.
    Last edited by Yaz; 06-26-2001 at 04:18 PM.

  3. #3
    Crazy Joe Devola vox's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Planet Tron
    Your stats are almost the same as mine were when I started lifting in April. I weighed about 142lbs and today I weighed in at 158, clothed with some stuff in my pockect to. I have put almost 2" on my arms. Hopefully this will help you, all luck to ya
    Last edited by vox; 06-26-2001 at 04:32 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2001
    First off, no need to feel ashamed about anything. You're about to embark on something very positive, so give yourself credit for that.

    About your routine -- To me, it sounds like too much for a rank beginner. You might want to take a look at the Wanna Be Big routine. Whatever you decide on, ease into it. I think that if you actually did the routine you outlined the first week, with burnout sets, supersets, strip sets to failure, etc., you'd be so sore you'd never want to set foot into a gym again.

    About the diet -- I doubt that you really need that much protein. Just my opinion, but I'd switch around the protein and carb grams. Try to eat about 6 times per day, and include 30-40 grams of protein within half an hr after your workout.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Taras; 06-26-2001 at 05:25 PM.

  5. #5
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Ok, ran into a problem with my routine.. Like Taras said, it might be too much, and I think I found out the hard way that it was...

    After completing my sets of bench presses and dumbbell flyes, I was so fatigued that I had difficulty even getting the 45lb. bar up for 8 reps of shoulder presses. That can't be good, and it shocked me that I was so weak, but oh well, I guess I shouldn't have expected much.

    Anyway, I pretty much skipped the rest of my routine because I couldn't lift myself up for more than a couple dips either. Now I know for sure that I can do these exercises separately, i.e. I can do at least 4 sets of dips without doing any prior exercises...maybe only 8/6/4/2 reps but still something. And I know I can do at least 4 sets of shoulder presses as well...maybe topping out at only 85lb or so on my last set for a rep or 2, but still, something.

    I guess I should look into the Wanna Be Big routine since it would appear from glancing at it that I would have more energy for subsequent exercises. Any suggestions besides giving this new routine a try?


  6. #6
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Cambridge, England
    Stick with it...

    I was like that before I trained chest/shoulders and triceps but after a while your shoulders will get stronger and stronger..

    Give it 10 weeks.. You'll get stronger each week...

    Then go back and see how you are stronger

  7. #7
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    So you think I'll benefit from keeping chest/shoulders in the same session? Maybe I should just take some extra time between the exercises, the 5-7 minutes may not have been enough.

    Sure was depressing though.. I wanted to push myself to do a few sets of shoulder presses but I figured I had better ease into this and not kill myself on the first day.

  8. #8
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    >>5 feet, 9.5 inches tall
    >>141 lbs as of an hour ago

    I've been there. I started training in March and I was about 145 lbs, 6'0". Now I'm up to 162 lbs. One thing to keep in mind is keep at it for at least two months before you make a serious judgement about your progress. Your weight might fluctuate a bit as your body is getting used to being worked (mine did). Also since you're skinny your metabolism will probably make your weight fluctuate even more. So don't weigh yourself everyday, more like once a week. Also when you are first starting out, it's pretty easy to overtrain, so take it nice and slow. Don't miss any workouts, and don't get discouraged, before you know it you'll be making some huge gains.

  9. #9
    MulletII - AKA Ninja Boner Gyno Rhino's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    FFFA Headquarters
    I could never get any shoulder strength until I gave them their own day. My shoulder pressing strength is through the roof now! Which of course has made my bench go up as well, something everybody loves.

  10. #10
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Northeast Tennessee
    Originally posted by Taras
    About the diet -- I doubt that you really need that much protein. Just my opinion, but I'd switch around the protein and carb grams.
    I agree. Carbs are incredibly underrated when it comes to putting on muscle...especially if your trying to put on loads of mass like you apparently are. At around 150 lbs, you will be fine with 150 - 200 grams of protein daily but you will require much more carb intake for workout energy and protein sparing.

    Keep this in mind...competitve bodybuilders typically eat more protein while cutting than they do while bulking especially in terms of a ratio to total caloric intake. This is to hedge against the catabolic nature of a cutting phase without the insulin effects of the carbs (which tend to lean toward lipogenesis).

    Regardless of all your bodyweight, you will be fine eating about any damn thing you please but you will be most pleased with your gains if you at least try to eat clean most of the time. Make high protein and complex carb foods the cornerstones of your nutritional arsenal and eat junk food sparingly but you won't have to omit it fully. Your body needs calories (now more than ever). Period.

    Your program looks pretty good. I would definitely add some deadlifts if they don't interfere with leg day. Also, Day 1 looks too long. I would venture to say that you'll be better off adding another day of just shoulders only and running a 2 on, 1 off, 2on, 2 off/per week routine as long as you don't increase the volume.

    It's been my experience that bodybuilding is more mental than anything else. Consider the following characteristics/capabilities that are required for success in your bodybuilding pursuits:

    High pain threshold.
    Gym focus.
    Mind/muscle connection.
    Discipline with diet.
    Motivation to train with ultra intensity.
    Consistent training habits.
    Goal setting.

    All the above are traits that will originate in your mind. They are mental in origin but not application.

    Where the mind goes, the body will follow.

    Best of luck, iwealth!
    Last edited by GenetiKing; 06-29-2001 at 03:26 PM.
    Backstage '75 Olympia:

    Serge Nubret, "I look like I can take you."

    Arnold, "Keep Looking."

  11. #11
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Thanks to everyone for the great advice.

    GenetiKing: I'll modify my diet slightly to adhere to your advice since it makes a great deal of sense. I will be eating cleanly as often as I possibly can...I'm sure it'll take some getting used to and I may slip up a bit for a few weeks but once my appetite grows I should have no problem.

    And based on what I experienced in the gym yesterday morning I will definitely take your advice and add an extra day entirely devoted to shoulders. My muscles were so fatigued after the bench presses that there was no point in my even trying shoulder presses. I probably could have done some side raises and shrugs but I figured my core shoulder exercise was the shoulder press..

    If you don't mind me asking...what do you feel about the Wanna Be Big routine found on this site? Would it be prudent for a complete beginner like myself to start with that program as compared to the one I am currently attempting?

    JungleJim: I can only hope I see gains like you were able to make. I guess if I stay dedicated and stick to my diet and workout things will fall into place.

    Thanks again.

  12. #12
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Dayton, OH

    I started the Wanna Be Big Routine just this May, and I love it. I've gone up in just about everything -- some exercises more than others. I've also put on almost 10 pounds since then. Granted I'm not new to lifting, I was just looking for a new routine, but I don't see why this wouldn't work for you.



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