Not building muscle help!

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Not building muscle help!

Postby vegabunni » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:56 am

Ok so I have been working out for about a year solid (maybe there have been a month or two in total over the course of the year that I have skipped the gym, not consecutive) but I STILL am building muscle at a snail's pace.

I have been following a plan of 3-4 times a week of weight training that I have been slightly guided through. I don't have a personal trainer but I've been following the direction of the trainers at the gym. I know I don't work SUPER hard at the gym (I end up stiff in the morning but not incredibly sore) for the most part. Is this the problem?

I'm also thinking it's the lack of food I'm eating. When I wrote down my daily food intake for a few weeks I was getting enough protein and fruits and vegs but only about 1000 cals a day. I just eat when I'm hungry which ends up being the amount a small bird would eat.

The other thing is that no matter how healthy I eat, if I eat till I'm full and do this everyday for a few weeks I end up quickly putting on lots of fat (especially on the tummy). This prevents me from seeing ANY muscle.

Also I am female, 5'5 and weigh around 105-109 pounds.

I am terribly cold all the time. Like insanely cold so now I'm on iron pills.

Can anyone help?
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Postby VibrantVegan » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:24 am

vegabunni,

There are several reasons why you aren't seeing the results you want. (Especially at the rate you want.)

1) You are female. The hormonal environment of women's bodies (more estrogen vs. testosterone) makes it harder to build a lot of muscle. Unless you are going to mess with your hormones, which I don't recommend, there is nothing you can do about this.

2) Muscle growth is the product of progressive overload. You have to consistently ask your muscles to do more and more. The best way to do this is through a well designed, periodized strength training program. The factors you can play with to insure you are constantly challenging your muscles are: The number of sets and reps, your lifting tempo and frequency of workout. You don't necessarily need to to be sore after every workout.

3) Your caloric intake is too low at 1000 calories a day. At your height and weight, if you were totally inactive, you will need about 1100-1200 calories a day just to maintain your weight. Taking your activity level in to account you probably need somewhere around 1350-1500 calories a day. In order to gain muscle you need to eat approximately 1600-1800 calories a day. When you eat more calories than your body needs those extra calories will get stored. Regardless of how hard you are working out you will store some of those extra calories as fat.

The trick is eating enough food to gain weight while working hard enough to minimize fat storage. We typically gain fat and muscle together and lose fat and muscle together. If your goal is to gain muscle you will have to settle for storing some extra fat too.

If your goal is to get stronger and leaner you could accomplish this by eating around 1400-1500 calories a day and consistently strength training.

What is your goal? What are you ultimately trying to achieve? Do you really want more muscle mass or do you want to look leaner, more defined?
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Postby ^toby^ » Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:44 am

http://www.chadwaterbury.com/press.html

try the shoulder routine.

eat more.

sleep more
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Postby vegabunni » Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:24 pm

VibrantVegan:

I think the goal that I'm looking to attain is to:

1) Have more energy

2) Be lean AND build muscle

3) Be physically stronger


I'm not happy being skinny and flabby. I also don't want to be bulky looking (if that makes sense). However I do want to see and feel my muscles.

The food intake I can work on easily, but I'm lost when it comes to what exercises, when and how much. If you aren't sore, how do you know you whether you've worked your muscles enough. Most of the time I end up doing a 50-60 minute routine of weights (full body) and then my whole body feels like jelly.
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Postby VibrantVegan » Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:57 pm

Vegabunni,

Thanks for posting your goals.

1) More Energy: Get plenty of rest. 8-10 hours every 24 hour period. So you could sleep 6 hours at night and take a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. The point is your 8-10 hours don't have to be all at once. You can accumulate over 24hours.

Eat small meals frequently without exceeding your caloric needs.

Expect an energy drop around 3pm or so. It is a normal part of your sleep wake cycle. If you can, take advantage of the energy dip by napping.

2) Be lean AND build muscle: This is really to separate goals. To be lean you need to eat less than you need. To build muscle you need to eat more than you need. I will assume you want to look strong and athletic. If that is the case you should focus on fat loss through diet and strength training. For fast results you could do 1100-1200 calories a day and intense strength training 3-4 times a week

3) Be physically stronger: Strength training intensely 3-4 times a week will take care of this. I suggest doing a push/pull/leg split doing lots of compound movements.

Does this help?
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Postby puppydog » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:04 pm

quite simply you cannot add muscle unless you are eating more calories than you burn in a day.

if you can figure out how much cal you burn, i'd supplement that with 250 - 500 cals of protein
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Postby wannalift » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:05 pm

vegabunni,

it's hard to imagine you having much flab at all. i dated a girl who had almost identical stats (5'4.5", 108 lbs) and her body was to die for. uggggh, why did you have to remind me :cry:
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Postby vegabunni » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:20 pm

Thanks everyone for all the advice.


Wannalift: sorry to remind you hun :(

Vibrant vegan: That actually helps a lot but I'm not so sure what a pull/push/lift is. BY intense would you mean not a slow 1 hour routine, but maybe moving faster on the machines and doing only one rep that's very challenging?
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Postby JP » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:20 pm

how much have your lifts progressed during your year of training? As in, how much more weight do you use in your sets with various lifts?
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Postby vegabunni » Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:26 pm

Only about 15 pounds max.....usually only ten.
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Postby jemmyducks » Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:55 pm

Vegabunni, there is good advice already here, but I would counsel you to work with a personal trainer (or knowledgeable, fit friend) for at least a few sessions to get a good idea of how hard to work out and what exercises to do. There is simply too much info and too many details about this stuff to share it all online.

I'd ask around to find a good trainer who can push you hard and teach you a 3-day split routine. You could try something like 6 sessions to go over each workout twice so you have the info you need to work out effectively on your own.

Also, you haven't mentioned much about cardio, but interval training (and high intensity interval training) could be a great help to you.
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Postby vegabunni » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:46 pm

jemmy ducks: I think you're right, and yeah I really want to try out a good interval cardio/weight program!
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