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  1. #1
    Registered User KetoBob's Avatar
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    Completely stalled and injured, but cannot figure out why

    Well, this is troubling me. I seem to have stalled. Completely, as in not putting on muscle. I've been tracking my weight, BF percentage (with calipers) and also muscle measurements. I also log how much I'm lifting on each exercise, etc. So from late July thru early Sept, for example, I gained about 1/2" on my biceps. And they look leaner and more defined as well, as my BF percentage slowly lowers. But since then, I've stalled. No measurable gains since early Sept., though I can feel my chest is stronger, tighter, and more defined, same for my legs and arms. They also appear to look larger and leaner, but the tape measure certainly isn't pulling a late April Fool's joke on me!

    I decided over the summer that first I want to cut and get leaner, until my abs are totally flat and the six pack shows. Not quite there yet. If I flex, they do pop out some, but not relaxed. Then I would start bulking up for more muscle.

    Then I discovered body recomposition and decided to make that work. Well, not sure it is. I get the concept, I have to have a surplus to gain muscle and a deficit to lose fat. Read a lot about it, and it seems easy enough to understand. Problem is, it seems as if I'm either missing something or it's a lot harder/slower than I've been led to believe.

    What I've been doing is working out (lifting) 3 days a week, doing HIIT 2 days a week and most mornings doing LISS. I've also been hitting as many muscles as possible from multiple angles. I've also been progressively adding weight every 3rd week to my lifting. On days I don't train, I eat a calorie deficit - down to around 1,650 calories or less. Some days as low as 1,100 calories on those days. Then I do a lot more on two of my workout days - around 2,700+ calories, and then on the third workout day about 1,700 to 1,800. I'm averaging about 1,650 to 1,700 cal. / day going by weekly numbers (averaged out). I seem to be getting stronger, just not larger. It's as if fat loss and muscle gain have both stalled. Not sure how I can be getting stronger without size gain. I can do multiple sets of 10 on various exercises (which eventually brings me to or damned near muscle failure) that I couldn't do a single set of 5 reps with two months ago. So it's confusing.

    The other thing I've noticed is that I'm excessively sore lately, which wasn't an issue two months ago. My left knee has been stiff and achy sometimes after the workouts, and my entire back gets stiff. I'm pretty achy the next day or two. And I eat a good diet, virtually no junk of any sort (occasionally some organic cranberry oat cookies on workout days or high quality dark chocolate). I've been taking curcumin and tart cherry extract, which in the past seemed to make me almost immune to pain, but now it's not helping much. Or maybe it is and I'd be unable to move if I weren't taking it - not gonna test THAT theory and find out!

    My left elbow has been making a slight clicking type noise, like tendons being twanged or something, mostly on bench presses. I've even tried using a special glutathione cream that normally works wonders, but it's always in pain. It shouldn't be sore and aching this long (6 weeks at least).

    I do get enough protein, averaging about 130 to 160 g of protein a day (.82 times 168 lbs. = 137g which is what the studies seem to be saying I need to grow muscle). If I'm getting enough grams of protein, do overall calories really matter when it comes to building muscle? Muscle is made of protein, after all, not fat or carbs. I'd assume I should be growing. Someone I know suggested that the pain and soreness is because I'm not getting enough protein. But if I go much higher, and still want to get enough good fats in (and a minute amount of carbs for veggies), then I end up in a daily calorie surplus, not a deficit. Catch 22.

    Any suggestions?
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  2. #2
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    OldFartTom is offline
    You weigh 168 lbs and you eat average 1,650 to 1,700 calories a day and exercise very hard

    Would you expect your muscles to rapidly blow up under calorie deficit? Recomp can work (especially if you've got fat to lose and not been training too long) but you've got to understand that recomp is a slooooooOOOOooooow process.

    I suggest take a couple of days off as complete rest (for ache and pain). Then continue exactly as you are now. You say your 6 pack is starting to show and you're slowly getting stronger... sounds like things are going very well!

    Once you swap to a slow bulk you'll see the gains come back. Think of the pain now being a down payment for the gains later, it's not wasted even though you're not seeing immediate benefits

    Enjoy...
    Faith in Jesus first and faith in squats second.
    Then other details will start to slot themselves into place.
    Fell off the bandwagon on the diet :( need to get back on, mañana
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  3. #3
    Registered User KetoBob's Avatar
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    KetoBob is offline
    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    You weigh 168 lbs and you eat average 1,650 to 1,700 calories a day and exercise very hard

    Would you expect your muscles to rapidly blow up under calorie deficit? Recomp can work (especially if you've got fat to lose and not been training too long) but you've got to understand that recomp is a slooooooOOOOooooow process.

    I suggest take a couple of days off as complete rest (for ache and pain). Then continue exactly as you are now. You say your 6 pack is starting to show and you're slowly getting stronger... sounds like things are going very well!

    Once you swap to a slow bulk you'll see the gains come back. Think of the pain now being a down payment for the gains later, it's not wasted even though you're not seeing immediate benefits

    Enjoy...
    Thanks! I've noticed that my back and other achy stiffness fades just in time for the next work out. So 2 days off in between and then BAM! Feel better before my workout after 2 days off, then sore again the day after the next workout. Getting older does suck!

    But my elbow is what's pissing me off. It just never stops being achy and sore no matter how much rest I give it.

    I understand recomp is a slow process, but shouldn't I expect to see even slight gains in size over the course of 2 months? I'd assume I should, especially since I've gotten stronger. Kinda confused about that.

    Also, would it help to eat a lot more protein (and slightly higher carbs) on workout days to increase muscle growth? The theory being the carbs spike insulin, the proteins absorb better into muscle, but eating almost no fat those days to make sure fat isn't stored. Then two higher calorie days and several very low calorie days to burn fat?
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  4. #4
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    OldFartTom is offline
    You say you're already eating 130 to 160g of protein a day, will eating more make a noticeable difference?

    Just IMHO you shouldn't eat almost no fat at any point.

    Actually insulin spikes a lot from low carb protein shakes anyway
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  5. #5
    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Heisman2 is offline
    Originally Posted by KetoBob View Post
    Thanks! I've noticed that my back and other achy stiffness fades just in time for the next work out. So 2 days off in between and then BAM! Feel better before my workout after 2 days off, then sore again the day after the next workout. Getting older does suck!

    But my elbow is what's pissing me off. It just never stops being achy and sore no matter how much rest I give it.
    If it does not improve even with substantial rest (like a week off from training it) then you should see a doctor.

    I understand recomp is a slow process, but shouldn't I expect to see even slight gains in size over the course of 2 months? I'd assume I should, especially since I've gotten stronger. Kinda confused about that.
    You need to eat enough calories to gain muscle. You are not doing that. It's easy to get stronger without getting bigger due to neuromuscular adapations; that's the entire basis of "beginner gains".

    Also, would it help to eat a lot more protein (and slightly higher carbs) on workout days to increase muscle growth? The theory being the carbs spike insulin, the proteins absorb better into muscle, but eating almost no fat those days to make sure fat isn't stored. Then two higher calorie days and several very low calorie days to burn fat?
    Protein alone spikes insulin sufficiently if you are eating enough of it. Going almost no fat is a terrible idea as that will probably lead to low testosterone and screw you over.

    Try to eat at a 200-300kcal/day surplus and see where that takes you.
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