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Am I a poor responder or do I just need to eat more? (pics inside)

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  • Am I a poor responder or do I just need to eat more? (pics inside)


    After learning about genetics role in training, I'm wondering if I have bad genetics for hypertrophic training since I feel like my results are underwhelming. But I don't know if my expectations are unrealistic and/or I am suffering from a case of body dysmorphia.


    Male, 28 years
    5'5" / 165 cm
    123 lbs / 56.5 kg
    Waist: 27.5 inches

    Training historiy:

    I've been training seriously in the gym for hypertrophy for six months.

    Before that, during lockdown, I was doing bodyweight excercises for about three months. It's not my first time in the gym - I've been messing around on/off for a few years, but most of them I did a lot of stuff wrong, programming and nutrition wise and I had no real goal.

    I know my weight seems low, but I look at my body and think I have a decent amount of fat (lovehandles).

    flexed w. pump:


    This is me now at 123 lbs after a six week caloric deficit eating 1700-1800 cals per day. Before that I'd bulked up to 131 lbs over six months but felt like I got more soft and flabby around the stomach than jacked, which I found odd considering I have been doing most things right. I do high volume, have good technique and generally get decent pumps/soreness, I train each muscle group twice weekly, apply progressive overload as much as possible and stay 1-3 reps shy of failure mostly.

    Do I look like a poor responder to hypertrophy training to you? And am I wrong in saying that my bodyfat is pretty high even though my bodyweight is quite low? Or is it all in my head?

    I don't really focus much on strength and rep ranges below 5, so my lifts are estimates, but they're about: 75 kg bench, 95 kg squat, 130 kg deadlift.

    I hope I can get your honest opinion on my progress so far and also where to go from here.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    You do not look like a poor responder to resistance training, but if you want to be significantly bigger, you're going to have to gain weight. I would do it slowly, over time, and yes, you'll gain fat mass. No, your body fat is not high at all.

    This would likely best be done while training for both strength and hypertrophy given your short history.

    You have a great base to work from, but similar to a savings account, things will take time to accumulate.

    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. Where would you put my bf%? Above 15? Looking at my unflexed photo, do you not think that that's a lot of fat (specifically around the abdomen - love handles) for someone weighing 124? It really baffles me how I'm this low in weight yet still look rather soft and have love handles.

      Also I'm quite confused about whether I've done the weigt gain/fat loss thing correctly. I started 6 months ago at 123 and gained up to 131 lbs before I started dieting six weeks ago, and now I'm at 124. I do think I look a bit bigger when flexed, but I don't think my fat mass looks much different. Did I do something wrong or am I missing some logic?


      • #4
        I don't know what your body fat is and no, I can say with certainty there's not a lot of fat there. It's just where your body stores fat, though again, there's not a lot of it. Perhaps a more important question is why does the number matter to you so much? It's just a number and does not really matter unless very, very high or very, very low.

        I don't know what you did previously and without any measurements I can't really say. If I had to make some recommendations I would:

        1) Alter your programming to make it more appropriate for you
        2) Slowly gain weight, monitoring your waist and weight regularly for change
        3) Consider talking to a professional about body image, eating habits, body fat concerns

        You just started training, OPF. It's going to take a while to get where you want to go.
        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
        ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///