Weightlifting & Exercise/Help on building muscle


I have been trying to gain muscle for over a year now.  I'll admit at first i was very much a beginner - not eating enough, workouts were half a**ed  some of the time, generally did not understand a lot about any aspect of weight training/nutrition.  However, now i feel i am very knowledgeable.  I've spent countless hours researching and studying about all aspects of gaining muscle.  I understand the caloric surplus it takes, i understand constant progression of weight, i understand not overtraining and the importance of getting proper sleep, and so on.
Basically, my question is one of frustration.  Im not seeing the gains i feel i should be, and i want to know why?
Ive always been a skinny person.  However, not to the point that i cant gain weight.  Infact one of the more frustrating things is that i am really developing my gut and not my muscles.   At first i very much thought it was a diet problem, ie not eating enough calories.  But im gaining weight.  Im 5'11 and weight about 168. I eat healthy, very healthy.  I try to take in AT LEAST 3000 calories a day.  I take whey protein, a fish oil supplement (ultimate omega) and just started creatine.  I eat 1.5x my bw in protein.  
My workouts consist of full upper body on monday and thursday and lower on tuesday and friday.  Ive cut all cardio because im trying to use every calorie i can to build muscle.  Im OK with putting on extra fat right now as long as im gaining muscle as well.  What's frustrating is there will be times where from monday to monday i will not see improvement.   Sometimes  Ill be able to lift more weight or do more reps.  However a lot of times i will either do exactly the same as i did the previous week or at times even do less.  I can understand this from a very advanced bodybuilder but for someone like me (who is even supposed to be enjoying the beginners boost where building muscle may happen at a quicker than normal rate) it is very deflating.  It is HARD to constantly be eating and to eat as much as i do (healthy foods sometimes dont pack a lot of calories).  And when i spend a week eating like a champion i wanna see the improvements that next week in the gym.
Working out isnt fun to me, especially with little to no results.  But i feel i have been so dedicated this last year.  I want to prove to myself it is possible to do this.  But im at a point where im close to giving up because the time and energy it takes to do all the things necessary takes a big toll on me.
I know its hard to assess my situation based off of just this.  I guess the best way to sum it up is it just really seems genetics are against me.  I dont lift too fast or too heavy or too little.  I focus on the negatives of a rep and use pretty clean form normally.  I eat.  I sleep.  I drink water like its going out of style.  I havent had a pop in years.  I dont eat sweets.  Even if im not doing SOMETHING right it feels like i ought to be doing enough TO SEE BETTER RESULTS THAN WHAT I AM!
I wont lie because i HAVE gained some strength and i am building SOME muscle.  I remember when i was nervous to put up 125 on the bench and now i do 165 as my normal set.  So it isnt like im completely stagnant.  Its just moving at a snails pace and i just dont think its normal.  If im consistently putting in the effort i am i should be seeing better results.  Its frustrating when you take your bicep measurement once a week for a solid month and see a .1 inches increase at the end of the month.
Even if i was seeing small improvements consistently every week i would be OK.  At least then i would be able to say that it may take longer than most but if i just keep doing this i will eventually get there.  But i cant say that when i spend 4 weeks trying to go from 150 to 155 on the bench press.  Nobody (who isnt my gf or mother or someone like that) has ever said to me "oh you look like you've been working out!"  In fact ive heard that i look like im losing weight (and ive gained 15-20 pounds since ive started).  and not the oh you look good like you'e slimming into shape its the "you need to eat a hamburger you're losing weight" tone.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!

I can appreciate your frustration, and I thank you taking so much time to give me the details of your journey. As I see it, there is nothing missing with your training and lifting. What I am unable to see is the details of your diet.  If you would be so kind as to indulge me further and give me details of your food consumption?

What you eat
When you eat it

With this info I will have a better look! Doesn't mean I won't have more questions!  I look forward to helping you further. Check out my site at http://karenfilisullivan.com and see the archived articles.

Be Well!

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Karen Fili Sullivan


Get on the inside track with Karen and her daily advice. http://karenfilisullivan.com. Or on FacebookLIKE us at ZWL - Zen of Whole Living I have more than 30 years experience and can help with lifting technique, muscle recovery, weight loss, body building and powerlifting. I've been certified by AFPA as a Personal Trainer and 12 years ago acquired a second certification from the same agency as a Post Rehabilitative Exercise Specialist. Any recommendations or advice rendered are based on fitness information as specified by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. Follow my Blog on http://karenfilisullivan.com


Almost 25 years coaching and training. Wow! I feel old. Before that I was a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter (ask my Chiropractor -- he can tell you). I have trained kids ages 12 to 89. From sports specific training to stroke rehabilitation. I love helping people move more gracefully, powerfully and safely.

A few.

Published in Spring of 2013 The Zen of Weight Loss: A Mindful, Livable Approach to Fitness Get your copy at Square Market. https://squareup.com/market/body-restoration-by-karen/zen-of-weight-loss-in-mo

English with a Journalism concentration was my college education. My training has been with my mentor, Jack Michaels, ACSM and professor at the College of William and Mary. My certifications are with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. AFPA. I hold a certification as a Personal Trainer and a Post Rehabilitation Exercise Expert (Isn't that a mouthful?l). My continuing education requirements have been fulfilled at a number of organizations and are monitored by AFPA. I keep my Red Cross CPR and First Aid current.

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Past/Present Clients
Clients include athletes training for marathons, mountain climbing and general weight loss. In addition I have clients troubled with COPD, Fibromyalgia, and Parkinsons as well as stroke rehab. She was the Strength and Conditioning coach for Williamsburg Aquatic Club, a USA Swim Team, in Williamsburg, Virginia for 3 years.   Karen is presently working at Main Street Gym in Historic St. Charles, Missouri where she teaches Pilates and continues her work with clients. Her training reaches across the country with her long distance Body Restoration eTraining. Her dedication to fitness reaches into the nutritional supplementation with Shaklee products. She only works with clients who add nutritional supplementation to their training. Read more of her story on www.shaklee.net/BodyRestoration

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