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  1. #1
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    Body tests (blood/ gene test?) to find out culprits for not building muscles?

    I have been training on and off for many years, but I am still a rather lean person with no noticeable muscles or muscle growth. Yes, I may have some shapes, but still, not easily noticeable.

    I started gym since early 20s and now I am in my early 30s. But still I have not yielded any noticeable success so far.

    Note that I learnt gym from a private coach and a class in my 20s, so I guess I have no problem in terms of gym knowledge.

    I worked out 2-3 times per week throughout the past 10 years, though on and off (but lately I have been working out for more than 1 year continuously, I guess I should have been able to see some noticeable things but I still have not.)

    I have had enough and I want to find out the culprits in a scientific way.

    As what I can observe about myself, yes, I think I should be the hard gainer type. Almost 1 year has gone (in my lately 1 year continuous workout, 2-3 times per week), I have increased from 51kg to 55-6kg. I already put effort in eating more things to increase the calorie intake, but I start to feel a bit tough for eating further. I don't eat fatty/ oily food or food/ drinks that contain too much sugar, I don't eat unhealthy snacks like chips or fries as well. The food I additionally eat is in general still relatively plain and healthy: milk tea with little sugar, cheese cake with little sugar, etc. You may think they are snacks and seem unhealthy, but I deliberately eat this kind of calorie-high food to enhance my hard calorie-intake. And note that they are all still relatively more plain than many other snacks. I rather am thinking if I should indulge myself in even higher-calorie food. I mean food that is small in size but high in calorie--so that my stomach can accommodate them even if they are in a high quantity. So I wonder if you successful guys do this in the food intake--eat high-calorie snacks like sweet milk tea, sweet cake, fried food, all these sorts of real fat/ junk foods. If you guys eat plain (but more) but you still get muscles, then I think my body's muscle building mechanism might have some flaws.

    My current weight is 55-56kg and it seems it is a bit not easy for me to increase my food intake further (i start to feel like i am forcing my stomach to work harder) UNLESS i indulge myself to more small-sized snacks that are of much higher calories. Note that I did drink whey gainer--though I only drink it after a workout, not other days. I don't want to drink it too much as recommended (like many scoops per day even during non-work out days) to avoid any possible side-effects people say. After all, people often say whey products are not always needed. Well, you successful guys drink this kind of thing many times per week?

    I don't have many gym buddies and I am not sure if all of us have to go through tough times increasing food intake and building muscles. But I think I am quite sure some guys out there do not need to bother too much about these and they can still easily see results after even just few months (if not, gym forums will be flooded with my kind of post).

    I take Propecia (hair loss pills) and I am not sure if it is suppressing anything that helps build muscles in my body. Note that, however, I don't experience other side effects of this pill.

    So, science-wise, I think food/ calorie intake and propecia MIGHT be reasons for my poor result. But I am thinking if there are other BIGGER but hidden reasons--like genes? Or anything lacking in my blood/ body. I believe there are something inside my body causing such slowness.

    So I want to ask if there are some tests to find out other reasons why someone don't build muscles easily--like blood test or gene test or whatever. I want to find out the REAL culprits and try, if I can, to eliminate them, so that I can progress.

    Please take a look of the image attached below. This is not me. But just talking about his arms, my current arms' sizes/ shapes are similar to his. I think this is pretty strange for someone who has lately at least worked out continuously for 1 year and has increased 4-5kg to 55-6kg?
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    Last edited by kachibi; 08-16-2020 at 12:16 AM.
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Address the obvious causes first - not eating enough is an INCREDIBLY common cause of poor muscle gain. Usually the reason for this is that skinny people panic when they start getting a little 'fluffy' - even though it's just water retention / bloating. You don't suddenly gain fat.

    Small appetite is another feature. Every skinny person tends to overstate their calorie intake just like every fat person tends to underestimate. This is well established by research.

    I can tell from your text that you are a finnicky eater. There is no reason for you to be limiting fat or sugar. These guidelines are not targetted at you, they are for overweight sedentary people.

    Forget genes, anyone can grow a moderate amount of muscle, it's simply part of our biology. Genes determine whether you become world champion or not - they don't stop you getting a reasonable physique

    1. Eat more
    2. Get more committed to training. Do a routine which forced progressive overload, get all your number up.
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  3. #3
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    Okay, yes I might be a bit finnicky I admit, though I did put some effort taking in more food while working out. But in general, the fat, sugar or oil contents of these additional foods are still moderate. Simply put, I don't eat ice-creams more than 1 times per week, I don't eat junk foods (like chips or fries in Mcdonald) at all. Nor I drink sweet drinks except some fruit juices. I drink a lot of lemon tea without sugar. I don't drink full-fat milk nor chocolate. For fried food, I spit the fried layers out. When I see an oily dish, I just eat little to some of it.

    I did increase my food intake: like some wheat bread with peanut butter, some low-sugar cheese cake, an ice-cream, a low-sugar milk tea, eaten/ drunk in a turn-taking manner (so I eat/ drink each of these additional things 1-2 times per week).

    If @SuffolkPunch you think I am really overstating my calorie intake. Does that mean you successful guys really open yourself to a variety of high-calorie food (even junk foods) almost everyday and you guys will not think too much about whether these foods will cause other health issues and just keep eating regardless of it. You successful guys have this kind of mindset? So can I say muscular people MAY have relatively poor health indexes in some aspects like their bloods, if high-calorie food is unavoidable?

    But why some gym posts always say we should always try to increase CLEAN food intake to avoid other health issues?
    Last edited by kachibi; 08-16-2020 at 12:44 AM.
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    Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    why some gym posts always say
    If it's only some, it's not always. You're all over the place. What exactly is your goal?
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

    Formerly LactoseTolerant. I'm not very imaginative.
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    Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    Okay, yes I might be a bit finnicky I admit, though I did put some effort taking in more food while working out. But in general, the fat, sugar or oil contents of these additional foods are still moderate. Simply put, I don't eat ice-creams more than 1 times per week, I don't eat junk foods (like chips or fries in Mcdonald) at all. Nor I drink sweet drinks except some fruit juices. I drink a lot of lemon tea without sugar. I don't drink full-fat milk nor chocolate. For fried food, I spit the fried layers out. When I see an oily dish, I just eat little to some of it.

    I did increase my food intake: like some wheat bread with peanut butter, some low-sugar cheese cake, an ice-cream, a low-sugar milk tea, eaten/ drunk in a turn-taking manner (so I eat/ drink each of these additional things 1-2 times per week).

    If @SuffolkPunch you think I am really overstating my calorie intake. Does that mean you successful guys really open yourself to a variety of high-calorie food (even junk foods) almost everyday and you guys will not think too much about whether these foods will cause other health issues and just keep eating regardless of it. You successful guys have this kind of mindset? So can I say muscular people MAY have relatively poor health indexes in some aspects like their bloods, if high-calorie food is unavoidable?

    But why some gym posts always say we should always try to increase CLEAN food intake to avoid other health issues?
    I do have moderate amounts of sugar and fats and processed foods for sure. And I do think very carefully about the health implications of my diet. Fortunately there is very little evidence that any given nutrient such as sugar or fat is harmful to people of healthy weight who are very active.

    All food is just a combination of nutrients - none of them are poisonous in moderate doses. In excessive doses, even oxygen and water can be poisonous...

    It's important to read sources that can back their claims using evidence from research.

    Such as this article:
    https://completehumanperformance.com.../clean-eating/
    Last edited by SuffolkPunch; 08-16-2020 at 02:45 AM.
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  6. #6
    Registered User kachibi's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    I do have moderate amounts of sugar and fats and processed foods for sure. And I do think very carefully about the health implications of my diet. Fortunately there is very little evidence that any given nutrient such as sugar or fat is harmful to people of healthy weight who are very active.

    All food is just a combination of nutrients - none of them are poisonous in moderate doses. In excessive doses, even oxygen and water can be poisonous...

    It's important to read sources that can back their claims using evidence from research.

    Such as this article:
    https://completehumanperformance.com.../clean-eating/
    Ok, thank you! I may indulge myself a little bit more in terms of food intake to see if there are any changes.
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    "Some" of this and "some" of that doesn't tell you how much you're actually eating. Weigh and measure your food. Log everything (easiest using MyFitnessPal or a similar app) - both food and exercise. Set the app to gain 1-2 lbs per week. Follow an appropriate lifting routine based on your goals. You will gain weight (muscle and fat) unless you have a legitimate health issue (e.g. overactive thyroid, very uncommon for your age/gender).
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    A 30-year-ol man who weighs 120 pounds i2 NOT going to have much muscle, period. As you've been told, you are not eating enough to fuel significant muscle growth.

    How much weight do you bench, squat, deadlift?
    Last edited by CommitmentRulz; 08-16-2020 at 02:01 PM.
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    Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    Ok, thank you! I may indulge myself a little bit more in terms of food intake to see if there are any changes.
    *may*
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

    Formerly LactoseTolerant. I'm not very imaginative.
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    Originally Posted by CommitmentRulz View Post
    A 30-year-ol man who weighs 120 pounds i2 NOT going to have much muscle, period. As you've been told, you are not eating enough to fuel significant muscle growth.

    How much weight do you bench, squat, deadlift?
    My latest weight for, say, a pair of dumbells for biceps are 15kg (each pair) and I have not been able to lift higher weights for I guess 3-4 weeks. Sometimes I even needed to return to 10kg. Yes, you can say there's a stagnant stage.

    For other pieces of equipment, more or less the same, the increases in weights are slow. Like the shoulder press machine, I was able to increase from 25kg to 30kg, but stayed at 30kg for many weeks.

    I do feel responses in my muscles by working out the next day. Yes, I agree the culprit might be the fact that I think I eat a lot but actually I don't, so that's why I am not growing muscles (and hence staying in a stagnant stage for many weeks)/ or growing muscles very slowly.

    But I do put some effort into eating more things (the quantities I eat I guess are not abnormally low, are normal) but recently I start to feel I don't have the desire to eat further. And I am exposed to information that we should eat more but still ensure the food is clean--I see that the snacks recommended are bread with peanut butter, tuna fish salad, peanuts, almonds, fruits, etc. All these seem light food, doesn't it? So with this impression, the additional food I eat is also some relatively clean ones--milk tea without sugar, low-sugar cheese cake, canned tuna fish, smoked salmon, etc. Simply put, I eat more low fat, low sugar, low oil food. For cokes, ovaltine, fries, chips, fried food, sweet drinks, ice-creams, oily dishes, tarts, etc., most of the time I still avoid them or I just eat/ drink them in very low quantities.

    So sometimes I wonder if it is the above rigid impression that is hindering my progress, that successful gym goers are not finnicky in terms of sugar, oil, fat, etc., that they also eat much, if not a lot, the above so-called junk foods as well to help build their muscles. They are not just big but plain eaters.
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    Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    So sometimes I wonder if it is the above rigid impression that is hindering my progress, that successful gym goers are not finnicky in terms of sugar, oil, fat, etc., that they also eat much, if not a lot, the above so-called junk foods as well to help build their muscles. They are not just big but plain eaters.
    Yep.

    It makes no sense to eat foods that have low calorie density when you are having trouble getting enough calories, it's that simple.

    It doesn't help to label foods as "junk" as was already made clear in the article I posted. It's only junk to people who don't need the calories.
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Yep.

    It makes no sense to eat foods that have low calorie density when you are having trouble getting enough calories, it's that simple.
    And you, SuffolkPunch, if you take a look of my daily diets, and compare them to yours, you also think I STILL eat a bit plain right? And you do eat McDonald, ice-creams, cakes, chocolates, sweet drinks, fried foods, etc. every week like many normal people (who don't care too much about calories/ becoming fat) do? Want to know what you guys eat in order to realize myself that I am actually overestimating my calorie intake.

    Yes, I agree with one of the above users that I should download some apps that provide the calorie numbers of food.
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    It doesn't really matter what I eat. What's going to be telling is if you honestly record what your typically eat on an average day on myfitnesspal or a similar app.

    And it must be an average day - not a day when you make a conscious effort to eat a little (and then the next day subconsciously eat less to compensate).

    Appetite is a powerful force and it's just as hard to overcome for people trying to gain weight as it is for people trying to lose weight - so you need to constantly be conscious of eating enough.
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    Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    So sometimes I wonder if it is the above rigid impression that is hindering my progress, that successful gym goers are not finnicky in terms of sugar, oil, fat, etc., that they also eat much, if not a lot, the above so-called junk foods as well to help build their muscles. They are not just big but plain eaters.
    Not just successful trainees. My sense from the way you describe and segregate your diet is that you have a less than healthy relationship with food.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

    Formerly LactoseTolerant. I'm not very imaginative.
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    Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    My latest weight for, say, a pair of dumbells for biceps are 15kg (each pair) and I have not been able to lift higher weights for I guess 3-4 weeks. Sometimes I even needed to return to 10kg. Yes, you can say there's a stagnant stage.

    For other pieces of equipment, more or less the same, the increases in weights are slow. Like the shoulder press machine, I was able to increase from 25kg to 30kg, but stayed at 30kg for many weeks.

    I do feel responses in my muscles by working out the next day. Yes, I agree the culprit might be the fact that I think I eat a lot but actually I don't, so that's why I am not growing muscles (and hence staying in a stagnant stage for many weeks)/ or growing muscles very slowly.
    Also, based on this response, I'd guess that your workout leaves a LOT to be desired. (But it's pretty clear that your primary 'problem' is diet, or lack thereof.)
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    Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    I take Propecia (hair loss pills) and I am not sure if it is suppressing anything that helps build muscles in my body. Note that, however, I don't experience other side effects of this pill.
    Propecia, also known as Finasteride, decreases DHT (dihydrotestosterone) production in your body. DHT is a hormone that increases virilization and muscularity. As such, a side effect of a drug that suppresses DHT is muscle atrophy.

    Originally Posted by CommitmentRulz View Post
    Also, based on this response, I'd guess that your workout leaves a LOT to be desired. (But it's pretty clear that your primary 'problem' is diet, or lack thereof.)
    His primary issue is probably hypogonadism from the Propecia. Especially if he has been on it for awhile. It is like chemical castration.
    Last edited by ampire; 08-17-2020 at 10:33 AM.
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    Originally Posted by ampire View Post
    Propecia, also known as Finasteride, decreases DHT (dihydrotestosterone) production in your body. DHT is a hormone that increases virilization and muscularity. As such, a side effect of a drug that suppresses DHT is muscle atrophy.


    His primary issue is probably hypogonadism from the Propecia. Especially if he has been on it for awhile. It is like chemical castration.

    I read some old posts in this forum about the use of Propecia and some people had not experienced anything weird about the muscle growth with taking Propecia. I hope I am in this category too. Anyway, I will take you guys' advice and try to eat more (high-calorie) things first to see if there's improvement. And I will start to embrace some junk foods.
    Last edited by kachibi; 08-17-2020 at 10:47 PM.
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    Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    I read some old posts in this forum about the use of Propecia and some people had not experienced anything weird about the muscle growth with taking Propecia. I hope I am in this category too. Anyway, I will take you guys' advice and try to eat more (high-calorie) things first to see if there's improvement. And I will start to embrace some junk foods.
    DHT is a potent androgen that results in muscle growth. Propecia/finasteride reduces that androgen in your body. Finasteride does a lot of other things to your endocrine system, some of which may be permanent the longer you are on it.
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    Registered User SBSgroup's Avatar
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    Changes in Diet plan

    Originally Posted by kachibi View Post
    Ok, thank you! I may indulge myself a little bit more in terms of food intake to see if there are any changes.
    My current weight is 55-56kg and it seems it is a bit not easy for me to increase my food intake further (i start to feel like i am forcing my stomach to work harder) UNLESS i indulge myself to more small-sized snacks that are of much higher calories. Note that I did drink whey gainer--though I only drink it after a workout, not other days. I don't want to drink it too much as recommended (like many scoops per day even during non-work out days) to avoid any possible side-effects people say.
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    Note that I learnt gym from a private coach and a class in my 20s, so I guess I have no problem in terms of gym knowledge.


    Found the problem. You are not special, there isn't some underlying genetic condition that is costing you gains.

    Best of luck
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