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  1. #1
    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Is it possible that due to my genetics full body workouts aren't effective for me?

    Male, 19, 5ft7, 68kg.

    Hey, I've been working out around 6 months now but I'd say around 2-3 months ago I already started stalling and despite all my best efforts to break the plateaus (switching from a bro split, to an upper/lower split and then a full body split, dropping all my lifts by 15% and working my way back up, upping my daily caloric intake by 500 calories, taking a week off, etc...) I am still stuck at the same lifts with a couple tiny exceptions.

    I started doing Fierce 5 just after I started really stalling (about 2 months ago) so I'm wondering if it's possible that my body just doesn't respond well to three full body workouts a week and maybe I should try going back to an upper/lower split or something like that? I say this because when I was doing a bro split and then the upper/lower split I made some pretty decent gains but once I started stalling I moved to Fierce 5 without trying any of the other methods of breaking plateaus and now my lifts and therefore my physique have stayed the same for ages.

    I push myself to failure/close to failure (depending on the lift), eat 2700-3000 calories a day, including at least 130g of protein, and get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. The only other thing I can think of is maybe due to my genetics; my muscles just take longer to recover than other people which is why I made better progress using a bro split and an upper/lower split? That or I have genetics that stop me from building muscle (I feel like I could be a hard gainer but I'm not an ectomorph so I don't know if that's the case either).

    TL;DR: Been working out 6 months, lifts stalled for 2 months, have tried every plateau breaking method to no avail, wondering if it's possible that due to my genetics, full body workouts aren't optimal for me and I should try an upper/lower split, or is it possible that some people just cannot build muscle no matter what they do?
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    Registered User CommitmentRulz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    Male, 19, 5ft7, 68kg.

    Hey, I've been working out around 6 months now but I'd say around 2-3 months ago I already started stalling and despite all my best efforts to break the plateaus (switching from a bro split, to an upper/lower split and then a full body split, dropping all my lifts by 15% and working my way back up, upping my daily caloric intake by 500 calories, taking a week off, etc...) I am still stuck at the same lifts with a couple tiny exceptions.

    I started doing Fierce 5 just after I started really stalling (about 2 months ago) so I'm wondering if it's possible that my body just doesn't respond well to three full body workouts a week and maybe I should try going back to an upper/lower split or something like that? I say this because when I was doing a bro split and then the upper/lower split I made some pretty decent gains but once I started stalling I moved to Fierce 5 without trying any of the other methods of breaking plateaus and now my lifts and therefore my physique have stayed the same for ages.

    I push myself to failure/close to failure (depending on the lift), eat 2700-3000 calories a day, including at least 130g of protein, and get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. The only other thing I can think of is maybe due to my genetics; my muscles just take longer to recover than other people which is why I made better progress using a bro split and an upper/lower split? That or I have genetics that stop me from building muscle (I feel like I could be a hard gainer but I'm not an ectomorph so I don't know if that's the case either).

    TL;DR: Been working out 6 months, lifts stalled for 2 months, have tried every plateau breaking method to no avail, wondering if it's possible that due to my genetics, full body workouts aren't optimal for me and I should try an upper/lower split, or is it possible that some people just cannot build muscle no matter what they do?
    In your post from the end of June https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=177265501 you state you hadn't gained weight in up to 2 months. So, how much weight have you gained in the last 5 weeks?

    If you've worked out only 6 months, but gained virtually no weight in the last 3 months, you are not eating to grow (and are essentially trying to "recomp", which is a VERY, VERY, VERY SLOW process...)
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    Broscience disciple n64bomb's Avatar
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    Being a "hardgainer" is rough, isn't it? There is a secret tip passed on from generation to generation through the ages of bodybuilders; eat more!

    Also, make sure the "off" days are off days. And you aren't adding tons of additional exercises and sets to the workouts.

    As you do more work and get stronger, you have to keep upping your calories. What starts as a 500 calorie surplus will get less and less, and you will have to up calories. That is why you track your calorie intake. That is also why you record you weight a few times a week to make sure your weight it going in the right direction and at the right speed.

    If you don't track your weight and calorie intake, bodybuilding is going to be pretty hard for you once you pass the first few months.

    Full body novice programs need a moderate surplus. If you try to recomp or cut on these types of programs, you will have a much slower progression.

    Are you weighing what you are eating? Sounds like you should increase your calories 200 on every day. See how that helps you. And adjust in a week or two if needed based on your weight readings over the next 2 weeks.
    Last edited by n64bomb; 08-02-2019 at 03:45 PM.
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  4. #4
    Registered User CapitanNemo's Avatar
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    Bro splits worked for everybody. Stick with that
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    Originally Posted by CapitanNemo View Post
    Bro splits worked for everybody. Stick with that
    Yeah, bro splits CAN work, but they tend to not the most efficient, and things aren't as simple as "just do a bro split."
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    Originally Posted by Cani687 View Post
    Yeah, bro splits CAN work, but they tend to not the most efficient, and things aren't as simple as "just do a bro split."
    He's a troll. I wouldn't bother trying to have intelligent discussion.

    Eat more and train consistently OP.

    Worry about genetics when you are near your genetic potential. After 10 years of training and eating consistently
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    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CommitmentRulz View Post
    In your post from the end of June https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=177265501 you state you hadn't gained weight in up to 2 months. So, how much weight have you gained in the last 5 weeks?

    If you've worked out only 6 months, but gained virtually no weight in the last 3 months, you are not eating to grow (and are essentially trying to "recomp", which is a VERY, VERY, VERY SLOW process...)
    I've actually managed to gain around 1kg-2kg, so at least my weight gains back on track but that doesn't seem to have helped my strength. Yeah I've heard recomping's a bit of a trek :/

    Still though, is it possible full body workouts just aren't effective for my particular genetic makeup?
    Last edited by ArkI5; 08-03-2019 at 12:58 PM.
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    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by n64bomb View Post
    Being a "hardgainer" is rough, isn't it? There is a secret tip passed on from generation to generation through the ages of bodybuilders; eat more!

    Also, make sure the "off" days are off days. And you aren't adding tons of additional exercises and sets to the workouts.

    As you do more work and get stronger, you have to keep upping your calories. What starts as a 500 calorie surplus will get less and less, and you will have to up calories. That is why you track your calorie intake. That is also why you record you weight a few times a week to make sure your weight it going in the right direction and at the right speed.

    If you don't track your weight and calorie intake, bodybuilding is going to be pretty hard for you once you pass the first few months.

    Full body novice programs need a moderate surplus. If you try to recomp or cut on these types of programs, you will have a much slower progression.

    Are you weighing what you are eating? Sounds like you should increase your calories 200 on every day. See how that helps you. And adjust in a week or two if needed based on your weight readings over the next 2 weeks.
    I meticulously track everything I eat, weight of the stuff I'm eating and the subsequent nutritional value. I've been eating at almost an 800 calorie surplus and I'm gaining weight at a rate of about a kilogram a month (maybe slightly over) a just a 200 calorie surplus does nothing for me now (did when I first started). So it's possible to be hardgainer even if you're not naturally skinny/an ectomorph?
    Last edited by ArkI5; 08-03-2019 at 01:16 PM.
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  9. #9
    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    He's a troll. I wouldn't bother trying to have intelligent discussion.

    Eat more and train consistently OP.

    Worry about genetics when you are near your genetic potential. After 10 years of training and eating consistently
    I've been training with the same, consistent high intensity and effort for every workout and I'm eating an 800 calorie surplus, steadily gaining weight (after accidentally not doing it for a couple months) and still not gaining strength despite trying all the different stated methods in the post...
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    I've actually managed to gain around 1kg-2kg, so at least my weight gains back on track but that doesn't seem to have helped my strength. Yeah I've heard recomping's a bit of a trek :/

    Still though, is it possible full body workouts just aren't effective for my particular genetic makeup?
    No. If you just don't enjoy FB then you may progress better with upper/lower.
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  11. #11
    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TAWS6 View Post
    No. If you just don't enjoy FB then you may progress better with upper/lower.
    I do enjoy full body workouts. I just really can't see why else I may be struggling to build muscle and strength based on the fact I've tried all plateau breaking suggestions.
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    I do enjoy full body workouts. I just really can't see why else I may be struggling to build muscle and strength based on the fact I've tried all plateau breaking suggestions.
    If you are gaining weight you SHOULD be gaining strength at the same time, otherwise that weight gain is largely fat...what are your main lifts at now? What were they when you started Fierce 5? Bench, squat...

    The program has worked for a LOT of people, and it should work for you regardless of genetics...IMO.
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    Registered User TAWS6's Avatar
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    The thing is you can only get so strong at 150lbs. A more advanced program isn't going to change that.
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    Your biggest problem is lack of consistency. You say you meticulously weigh your food and check it’s nutritional value, yet you also say you eat 2700-3000 calories. 300 calories of uncertainty which could literally mean the difference between losing/maintaining/gaining weight. So I feel like you THINK you are doing enough when in fact you aren’t.

    Another example, you state that you tried “every” method for breaking plateaus, yet you also said you switched routines before trying other ways of breaking a plateau. You have tried so many routines in such a short period of time and now are questioning whether you should change again.

    Just be consistent with ONE routine, and ONE diet that you can slowly alter if you aren’t gaining weight. Eat well CONSISTENTLY, follow a routine CONSISTENTLY, aim for progressive overload. Those 3 are the only things that matter right now.

    Trying to find excuses, trying to kid yourself or being in denial might offer you a scapegoat for lack of progress, but it won’t help you fix the issue at hand. And ultimately, the only person it affects is you, and only you can change it.
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    A few months is nothing man. Welcome to the grind.

    Just follow the program. Do a proper reset and properly work your way back up (don't cheat and rush it). Work on your form, watch some form videos and impliment a few things while the weight is light. If you legitimate stall twice on a couple compounds, do what the program says and move up to intermediate. You're not special or a hardgainer. Some people can go nuts for 9 months before switching to intermediate (me), some can only do it for 4 months. It's not a bad thing, you may need more volume that the intermediate programs provide.
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    Originally Posted by ArkI5 View Post
    Male, 19, 5ft7, 68kg.

    Hey, I've been working out around 6 months now but I'd say around 2-3 months ago I already started stalling and despite all my best efforts to break the plateaus (switching from a bro split, to an upper/lower split and then a full body split, dropping all my lifts by 15% and working my way back up, upping my daily caloric intake by 500 calories, taking a week off, etc...) I am still stuck at the same lifts with a couple tiny exceptions.

    I started doing Fierce 5 just after I started really stalling (about 2 months ago) so I'm wondering if it's possible that my body just doesn't respond well to three full body workouts a week and maybe I should try going back to an upper/lower split or something like that? I say this because when I was doing a bro split and then the upper/lower split I made some pretty decent gains but once I started stalling I moved to Fierce 5 without trying any of the other methods of breaking plateaus and now my lifts and therefore my physique have stayed the same for ages.

    I push myself to failure/close to failure (depending on the lift), eat 2700-3000 calories a day, including at least 130g of protein, and get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. The only other thing I can think of is maybe due to my genetics; my muscles just take longer to recover than other people which is why I made better progress using a bro split and an upper/lower split? That or I have genetics that stop me from building muscle (I feel like I could be a hard gainer but I'm not an ectomorph so I don't know if that's the case either).

    TL;DR: Been working out 6 months, lifts stalled for 2 months, have tried every plateau breaking method to no avail, wondering if it's possible that due to my genetics, full body workouts aren't optimal for me and I should try an upper/lower split, or is it possible that some people just cannot build muscle no matter what they do?
    That sucks. Maybe throw in some more complex training by including periodization in your training. Fierce 5 is a very popular beginners routine, but it is a beginners routine because it doesn't include things like periodization and deload weeks. Maybe your body adjusts quickly to whatever is thrown at it on a consistent basis and therefore you were only going to make a few months progress off a novice routine and you would benefit from an intermediate routine.
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    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TonedJordan View Post
    Your biggest problem is lack of consistency. You say you meticulously weigh your food and check it’s nutritional value, yet you also say you eat 2700-3000 calories. 300 calories of uncertainty which could literally mean the difference between losing/maintaining/gaining weight. So I feel like you THINK you are doing enough when in fact you aren’t.

    Another example, you state that you tried “every” method for breaking plateaus, yet you also said you switched routines before trying other ways of breaking a plateau. You have tried so many routines in such a short period of time and now are questioning whether you should change again.

    Just be consistent with ONE routine, and ONE diet that you can slowly alter if you aren’t gaining weight. Eat well CONSISTENTLY, follow a routine CONSISTENTLY, aim for progressive overload. Those 3 are the only things that matter right now.

    Trying to find excuses, trying to kid yourself or being in denial might offer you a scapegoat for lack of progress, but it won’t help you fix the issue at hand. And ultimately, the only person it affects is you, and only you can change it.
    I consistently eat 2700 as a minimum, it's my required bulking calories as I moved up to that from 2500. Going up to 3000 is just based on whether or not there's an opportunity to get more food lol. Yes I changed routines as my first way of breaking the plateau, then two months later when I still wasn't gaining strength I tried all the plateau breakers I'd heard of and was advised to try, to no avail.

    I have been stuck lifting almost the same weights for two months now. I can try to add more weight but it feels no easier and I can never break 3-4 reps, and I'm also unable to get any higher than 5 reps for the current weight I'm using, therefore I'm unable to progressively overload any further, so I assumed what I was dealing with was a plateau. Pretty sure I'm not wrong there.
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    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by daudi81 View Post
    A few months is nothing man. Welcome to the grind.

    Just follow the program. Do a proper reset and properly work your way back up (don't cheat and rush it). Work on your form, watch some form videos and impliment a few things while the weight is light. If you legitimate stall twice on a couple compounds, do what the program says and move up to intermediate. You're not special or a hardgainer. Some people can go nuts for 9 months before switching to intermediate (me), some can only do it for 4 months. It's not a bad thing, you may need more volume that the intermediate programs provide.
    I swear to god every time I think I've tried everything Fierce 5 advises when you plateau, someone comes along and tells me something else I missed. Thank you for telling me that man, I did wonder if it was possible for some people's bodies to just adapt faster than others, requiring a routine change.
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  19. #19
    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    That sucks. Maybe throw in some more complex training by including periodization in your training. Fierce 5 is a very popular beginners routine, but it is a beginners routine because it doesn't include things like periodization and deload weeks. Maybe your body adjusts quickly to whatever is thrown at it on a consistent basis and therefore you were only going to make a few months progress off a novice routine and you would benefit from an intermediate routine.
    Yeah another guy in this thread suggested that maybe my body has just adjusted faster than I expected. I'm going to finish this week using the novice program then next week I'm going to start the intermediate program and stick to that for a few months and see how far it'll take me. Thank you for your advice! What's periodisation though?
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  20. #20
    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    If you are gaining weight you SHOULD be gaining strength at the same time, otherwise that weight gain is largely fat...what are your main lifts at now? What were they when you started Fierce 5? Bench, squat...

    The program has worked for a LOT of people, and it should work for you regardless of genetics...IMO.
    Six months ago:
    Bench: 40kg
    OHP: 20kg (seated)
    Squat: 60kg

    Today:
    Bench: 72kg
    OHP: 52kg (standing)
    Squat: 95kg

    However, my lifts in the "Today" section have been the same since starting Fierce 5 around 2 months ago.
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    This Space for Rent RockCrab's Avatar
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    Definitely your genetics. They've overcome thermodynamic law. Amazing!

    In all honesty, your story doesn't add up. Literally. The math you give regarding calories, weight gain, and pounds you're moving don't make sense. Either you're trolling, in self-denial, or are not tracking things nearly as well as you claim.
    Last edited by RockCrab; 08-12-2019 at 07:44 PM.
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    You’re asking a question people can’t answer. Nobody knows your genetics. You have the genetics you have and that’s that. Don’t waste too much time analyzing whether your genetics are “good” or not because you’ve gotta work with what you have and you can’t change it.

    All this type of thinking does is give people an excuse to not put in the work. They assume their genetics are bad and figure it isn’t worth the effort. It’s a negative mindset. But the reality is you don’t know your genetic potential.

    Focus on your training. Your training is something you can change. Your genetics you can’t.
    - Your mindset influences your outcome. It's time to take out phrases like "I can't" or "I don't have time" and replace them with phrases like "I will make the time" and "I will keep working at it until I find a way that works." Success starts with the right mindset and believing in yourself and your dreams.
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    Registered User ArkI5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by RockCrab View Post
    Definitely your genetics. They've overcome thermodynamic law. Amazing!

    In all honesty, your story doesn't add up. Literally. The math you give regarding calories, weight gain, and pounds you're moving don't make sense. Either you're trolling, in self-denial, or are not tracking things nearly as well as you claim.
    Why would I go through all this effort looking for help if I was just lying? Tell me what doesn't make sense and I'll see if I can correct it as some stuff is estimation (eg: how long ago I started Fierce 5 as I don't remember the exact date, weight gain's a tricky one as I admittedly didn't track it for a couple months yet it remained the same whilst I was eating 2300 calories a day and now I'm on *at least* 2700 cals a day, it is steadily going up again but my strength isn't, I get at least 130g of protein a day, sometimes 140g, sometimes even more than that).

    If you really think I'm making excuses, I will give you as much detail as I can to show you I'm not, I want to gain muscle and strength and I am doing what people are telling me to do and stuff is still not changing so clearly there's something I'm missing. I'm not here trying to find an excuse to stop working out because I love it, instead I'm trying to find a solution. I will eat more if I need to but I'm gaining weight so as far as I've been told I do not, I lift to failure with all my compound lifts and most of isolation lifts, I have tried resetting and it just made me feel weaker yet I stuck with it, I consistently get *at least* 7 hours of sleep a night, I don't know what else to tell you.
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    You gained 70lbs to all your lifts in 4 months. That wasn't going to continue forever. Now you can tweak your form a little more to increase the weight on each lift a little bit more, but going forward its going to be muscle mass that moves your weights up. And unfortunately that is a slow process.

    Another thing i would look at is what happened when you switched programs. Did daily/weekly volume go up or down? Do you feel more or less fatigued on this new program. You say that you take all your compound lifts to failure? Not a good plan if you are doing volume on the high end of the spectrum and not doing deloads every 4 weeks. Keep eating and lifting, even you are only getting better form you are progressing and building muscle. Hypertrophy routines can actually lower your peak 5RM in the short term.
    160 lbs and jacked is about as impressive as D cups on a 300lb woman
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    progress will not just magically get better if you change to something different than full body.

    Progress is just a matter of volume, intensity and frequency, generally.

    But if you are really eager to mix up things try the Viking's routines, fb or ul. It has more volume and higher reps
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