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Starting out, could do with some advice

A bit of context first. I'm 24/m and never been super happy with my body. I'm 6'2 and currently 141lbs, so a bit of a bean pole.

Recent events in my personal life have given me a burst of motivation to get started on actually improving myself physically. I have tried in the past but I didn't do my due diligence and research so I quickly became demotivated and quit.

As I've never really been into fitness, the whole thing seems a bit overwhelming honestly. I'm fairly confident on what workouts I need to do, hydrate properly, get good sleep, etc.

My main concern is figuring out a diet plan that won't tear through my savings. I look about and find that the majority of meal plans are tailored more to just gaining weight and not so much muscle mass.

I'm not looking to get shredded, more just bulking up my chest/arms/legs while maintaining some definition. (I already have some definition, but I reckon that comes down to having low body fat so it's not exactly ideal. My mate called my abs a skin-pack aha).

I went through iifym.com and have been suggested the following:
144g protein/77g fat/243g carbs/2241 calories

...though when I look elsewhere, people are suggesting upwards of 3000 calories.

Any insight is appreciated :smile:
Reply 1
I think the main thing is just ensuring you are eating good amounts of protein and other than that just being pretty balanced. I don't think their is a need to track your macros unless you want to be super serious, and even some serious people I know who are in incredible condition don't track their macros. If you eat healthy, and ensure you are getting good sources of protein (and if you want the a scoop of whey protein after your workout) you'll build muscle pretty quick. If your eating enough protein, getting the vitamins your body needs and training hard then you certainly will build muscle.

Also considering your starting relatively from afresh, the muscle growth will be quite noticeably and quite given as the first year of consistent training is when the quickest rate of muscle mass is developed.
Reply 2
Original post by grovsey
I think the main thing is just ensuring you are eating good amounts of protein and other than that just being pretty balanced. I don't think their is a need to track your macros unless you want to be super serious, and even some serious people I know who are in incredible condition don't track their macros. If you eat healthy, and ensure you are getting good sources of protein (and if you want the a scoop of whey protein after your workout) you'll build muscle pretty quick. If your eating enough protein, getting the vitamins your body needs and training hard then you certainly will build muscle.

Also considering your starting relatively from afresh, the muscle growth will be quite noticeably and quite given as the first year of consistent training is when the quickest rate of muscle mass is developed.

I agree with this. Tracking your macros to the gram is not necessary. You just need a base amount of protein, a base amount of fats, a good spread of vitamins and minerals, and enough calories. Once you hit those things, you can fill up your calories with whatever else you like, including carbohydrates which tend to be cheaper to buy.

You'll see varying amounts of protein requirements depending on what you read, but I go for 2g per kg of body weight minimum, which is more than enough. For fats, I go with at least 0.8g per kg of body weight but usually have a bit more. As long as you eat a good mix of foods including fruits and vegetables you'll cover your needs for vitamins and minerals.

As for not packing on too much fat, this is all down to calories. As you're already really lean, you'll need to eat in a calorie surplus. You're not going to "maingain" your way to a muscular physique at your height and weight. I don't care what you might hear on certain youtube channels. But if you eat in too much of a surplus, that's where you'll gain excessive fat. You've got a maintenance calorie estimate of 2241 kcals, so try eating around 300 calories more than that and track your weight. If it's going up like 1kg per week it's too fast and mostly fat. It should be slow and hard to notice, like 0.25kg per week. The calorie estimates aren't totally accurate anyway as there's so many variables (including genetics) which they can't account for, so you may have to modify your calories a bit after monitoring your weight for a while.
Reply 3
Original post by grovsey
I think the main thing is just ensuring you are eating good amounts of protein and other than that just being pretty balanced. I don't think their is a need to track your macros unless you want to be super serious, and even some serious people I know who are in incredible condition don't track their macros. If you eat healthy, and ensure you are getting good sources of protein (and if you want the a scoop of whey protein after your workout) you'll build muscle pretty quick. If your eating enough protein, getting the vitamins your body needs and training hard then you certainly will build muscle.

Also considering your starting relatively from afresh, the muscle growth will be quite noticeably and quite given as the first year of consistent training is when the quickest rate of muscle mass is developed.


Original post by Kyri
I agree with this. Tracking your macros to the gram is not necessary. You just need a base amount of protein, a base amount of fats, a good spread of vitamins and minerals, and enough calories. Once you hit those things, you can fill up your calories with whatever else you like, including carbohydrates which tend to be cheaper to buy.

You'll see varying amounts of protein requirements depending on what you read, but I go for 2g per kg of body weight minimum, which is more than enough. For fats, I go with at least 0.8g per kg of body weight but usually have a bit more. As long as you eat a good mix of foods including fruits and vegetables you'll cover your needs for vitamins and minerals.

As for not packing on too much fat, this is all down to calories. As you're already really lean, you'll need to eat in a calorie surplus. You're not going to "maingain" your way to a muscular physique at your height and weight. I don't care what you might hear on certain youtube channels. But if you eat in too much of a surplus, that's where you'll gain excessive fat. You've got a maintenance calorie estimate of 2241 kcals, so try eating around 300 calories more than that and track your weight. If it's going up like 1kg per week it's too fast and mostly fat. It should be slow and hard to notice, like 0.25kg per week. The calorie estimates aren't totally accurate anyway as there's so many variables (including genetics) which they can't account for, so you may have to modify your calories a bit after monitoring your weight for a while.

Both solid answers, really appreciate the guidance.

I definitely fell into the youtube trap a bit. Gonna start building up a plan with this and get to work.

Is it worth applying the diet for a couple of days/a week to build some kind of foundation before getting back into training or start both at the same time? My thoughts are that it won't really matter since I'll be gaining whatever I lose back fairly quickly with the increased intake.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 4
Original post by Mauzey
Both solid answers, really appreciate the guidance.

I definitely fell into the youtube trap a bit. Gonna start building up a plan with this and get to work.

Is it worth applying the diet for a couple of days/a week to build some kind of foundation before getting back into training or start both at the same time? My thoughts are that it won't really matter since I'll be gaining whatever I lose back fairly quickly with the increased intake.


So you mean you're not planning to start training immediately? If so, then I'd suggest just aiming to eat this diet every day but try and keep your calories around maintenance level since a calorie surplus will just cause fat gain if you don't add the muscle building stimulus of resistance training.. You don't need to be 100 % strict though, since you probably have a life as well. Like, you probably want to eat out sometimes, but I don't see much advantage to gain by just starting out eating a great diet for only a couple of days a week.

As for the youtube trap you mentioned, there are lots of invaluable resources. For example Jeff Nippard, Renaissance periodization, Geoffrey Verity Schofield, Revival Fitness, Sean Nalewanyj, Alan Thrall... They're all fantastic and I learned most of what I know from them. But I'd definitely suggest you avoid a certain channel: Athlean X. He's so popular you've probably already found him. Athlean X does give some good information, but unfortunately he occasionally gives out some absolute BS information that's the complete opposite of what you should do, yet he sounds so convincing with his claims of "putting the science back in strength" (without ever citing a single study). Thing is, novices don't know enough yet to realise when he's said something stupid so it's best to just avoid him to avoid wasting your time.
Reply 5
Original post by Kyri
So you mean you're not planning to start training immediately? If so, then I'd suggest just aiming to eat this diet every day but try and keep your calories around maintenance level since a calorie surplus will just cause fat gain if you don't add the muscle building stimulus of resistance training.. You don't need to be 100 % strict though, since you probably have a life as well. Like, you probably want to eat out sometimes, but I don't see much advantage to gain by just starting out eating a great diet for only a couple of days a week.

As for the youtube trap you mentioned, there are lots of invaluable resources. For example Jeff Nippard, Renaissance periodization, Geoffrey Verity Schofield, Revival Fitness, Sean Nalewanyj, Alan Thrall... They're all fantastic and I learned most of what I know from them. But I'd definitely suggest you avoid a certain channel: Athlean X. He's so popular you've probably already found him. Athlean X does give some good information, but unfortunately he occasionally gives out some absolute BS information that's the complete opposite of what you should do, yet he sounds so convincing with his claims of "putting the science back in strength" (without ever citing a single study). Thing is, novices don't know enough yet to realise when he's said something stupid so it's best to just avoid him to avoid wasting your time.

I'm all for starting straight away, I feel like the longer it is until you start the more likely it is you won't at all. Was just wondering if it would be beneficial to delay it for a week or so. From what you said though I'll start both at the same time then.

I'll look into those channels, a lot of what I've found are more about the gym rat lifestyle which is fair, but not exactly what I'm looking for right now. Just trying to get a foot in the door atm.
Reply 6
Original post by Mauzey
I'm all for starting straight away, I feel like the longer it is until you start the more likely it is you won't at all. Was just wondering if it would be beneficial to delay it for a week or so. From what you said though I'll start both at the same time then.

I'll look into those channels, a lot of what I've found are more about the gym rat lifestyle which is fair, but not exactly what I'm looking for right now. Just trying to get a foot in the door atm.


I agree. If you have no specific reason not to start now, leaving it longer will make it more likely you'll never start.

And one more recommendation... track your workouts. Like, record how many reps and sets you did with what weight. For me, one of the greatest sources of motivation that kept me going was seeing my performance increasing. And since performance increasing over time, also known as progressive overload, is the key to building muscle, it's good to have the evidence that this is occurring.

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