Can't Gain Muscle. What Should I Do?

What is intensely? Intensely for me is when I feel lightheaded after a heavy set, when your brain releases endorphins from the intensity, thats when you know you’re having a good workout, from pushing to the limit, doing nearly every exercise till failure on the lasts sets, making sure my muscles hurt the day after, it should be a battle, not a torture but a bit of a struggle at least. (a lovable struggle, like a relationship lmao)

I’m in the UK. I should be going to uni this September so I’ll have more control over what I eat and I’ll be able to shop more effectively. At the moment I don’t have as much say over what meat we get and from where, so the meat we get is usually more expensive than it would be if I were to look a bit more into where the cheapest place is. Thanks for the heads up

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I work out with proper form, and with high intensity whenever necessary, so I don’t know why my body acts the way it does. I initially started out with Athlean-X and stayed with them for quite a while before moving to Wendler, and my form is pretty solid. I’ve filmed myself and corrected and ensured form is good. I suspect something to do with the mind-muscle connection is at play, but I can’t be sure as I wouldn’t have thought that that alone would prevent muscle gain to such a great degree.

I will try to eat more though wherever I can.

How much have you gained in the first year and half of lifting?

First gains should be quite noticable, after year or so gains are a bit slower.

If this is the case, I’d just do the best you can with what you have. Commit to training hard (given that you can’t totally eat enough to recover from extreme training, minimalist-style training may be best for you) and recovering. Get your form perfect and it’ll help you a lot when you can eat enough.

Maybe offer to help shop for good deals to help your family get more food for the same amount of money. I’d imagine being a parent and provider is so much work that your parent(s) don’t have time to shop for cheaper food. It would be a good exercise for you and would help you as you enter the workforce and get out on your own as well.

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I have gained some muscle on my traps and legs, and my abs have got a bit chunkier, but other than that not much. My tris are a bit bigger (but not by that much), and my forearms have got slightly bigger. I’ve mainly noticed strength increases, with my deadlift increasing from around 105KG 1RM to around a 150KG 1RM. My squat 1RM has also increased nicely too by around 40KG.

The fact that my body should have gained some decent muscle initially is what makes it quite frustrating. I want to at least look as if I lift, even if I might want to focus on strength sometimes.

That’s encouraging to hear man. I’ve felt like nothing I’m doing has been working to get muscle mass, but your post gives me peace of mind that that is alright until I can shop for myself. The UK is a bit quarantined rn because of the coronavirus, but I’ll still see if I can find some good food sources online that will provide better value for money for myself and my family. Thankyou

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That’s the right attitude to have man. Get after it and good luck!

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It seems almost impossible that you wouldnt gain in more than a year…

Are you sure ur eating enough protein? try to add more shakes not just in the morning. (I dont know about lactose free but it must surely exist)

Or else try adding more meat, a bit more if you can.

I remember back the days first few years when i started lifting, I was around the same age and still with my mom, she didnt have much income so at the time I couldnt really ask my mom to buy me more meat or things like that.

Also way more eggs, i know theres all kinds of people against too many eggs, but a few more cant hurt, plus youre still young, that cholesterol wont matter so much…

Not to offend but your diet looks more like something I would eat if I was cutting, trying to lose fat.

Try to add more meat? If its possible at your situation. Or maybe more other protein sources as well.

I live in the UK and go aldi for fresh chicken breast, frozen chicken m, cans of tuna, chicken thighs (so cheap) and turkey mince.

All really cheap and as rice with each meal and it is healthy, can bulk you up and cheap as chips.


Sounds good, I’ll check out Aldi and compare prices - cheers man

I’ll swap to lactose free cows milk for a bit and see how my stomach finds it (despite saying lactose free there are usually still v low amounts, so I can sometimes react to it). I’ve been suggested some good cheap meat sources here so I’ll check them out at some point to increase my meat intake.

I agree, on paper my diet does seem a little thin… I like staying focused on tasks for long periods during the day so I almost avoid eating sometimes. Guess it’s time to break that habit!

Aldi turkey mince 7% fat £1.60 a pack (ish) gives you pretty much 100g of protein sand an extra 700 cals. You can throw in a tin of kidney beans (30p ish) and rinse a tin of baked beans 30p ish) in a sieve and put a jar of chili sauce in total cost of £2.80. That’s 1450 cals and macros:

Could always split it in two and have it over two days, works out that less than £10 a week then. Probably going to get you closer to your goals than soy powder.


Aldi also does lactose free milk for £1 a carton, I am lactose intolerant and love it. Tastes so much better than oat or rice milk.