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Based on some of the threads touching on this before, I'm fairly certain there are some amateur body-builders lurking on these fora, covered in baby oil and Brooks Brothers. Hopefully you lot can offer some pointers or relate your own experiences. I did some searching and didn't come up with anything on this topic. I imagine it is easier to answer in reverse, when someone is looking to shed pounds and has a goal weight in mind. Here's the deal:

I am skinny, no two ways about it; always have been. I am roughly 6'2 and am currently at my heaviest ever, 185lbs, having put on a little inner-tube 'round my midsection since graduating a few years ago. Having measurements like 15.5/36 and 38L make it difficult to find anything OTR. Unfortunately, just as I am developing a taste for clothes that fit, I find myself also moving to 'fix' my body-image issues. Apparently I've had quite the attack of vanity.

Regardless, I have just retained the services of a personal trainer, a lovely fellow who used to be a Marine and one whose hobbies include wearing a kilt while throwing large logs and beer kegs. I am fairly sure that if I'm not killed, I will probably increase my chest size, as well as possibly my neck size. It should be noted that my intentions are not to "bulk" or anything, but rather just increase muscle strength and overall health. Being someone who used to eat slightly better than the average American but only workout maybe 4 or 5 times a month, I am now lifting 2-3 days a week and doing cardio 1-2 times. In addition, I have greatly increased the amount of protein and raw vegetables that I am taking in.

My actual question: Even though I'm not doing a bulk/cut program, I expect that I will see at least marginal gains in my overall mass. Any idea how big or how fast this growth might come? That is, do I have to worry about not fitting in anything I own 6-12 months from now? If so, would you recommend putting clothing purchases on hold until I hit some type of plateau/goal strength?
 

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I wouldn't make any expensive clothing purchases, just in case, but otherwise I think you are trying to put the cart before the horse. First, see if you will stick with your new exercise routine - most people don't, which is why so many Americans are so fat. At some point you probably won't be seeing a personal trainer every week, and you'll have to be self-motivated. Again, a lot of people will do the work if they have an appointment with a trainer, but without that they resort back to their old habits.

How big will you get, or how much will your body change? That depends on your genetics, your diet, and how much effort you put in. A lot of the big gains you see are due to either good genetics and/or steriods. I think steroids are far more common than most people realize, and everybody denies using them - so it can be difficult to get reasonable expectations upfront. If you say you've always been thin, then you probably won't add too much muscle mass due to your genetics. Of course, if your diet was bad, then possibly you have been under-nourished.

First things first, see if you stick with the program, and see what level you can maintain. You'll see in a few months where things are going.
 

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I would probably wait a few months to see how things level off. The results of following a regular and intense training regimen vs. reaching a certain point and then maintaining that fitness level could be quite different. As you know, some things can be tweaked with little expense and strain on the garment (e.g. trouser waist) while things like jacket size are difficult and expensive to change.

Congrats on the commitment to fitness and good luck with the training program!
 

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I would strongly recommend putting major wardrobe purchases on hold for a year or so.

Back when I was a young fellow shortly before I went to Oxford, I inherited about a dozen finely made new suits from a very wealthy relative. At the time, I was 6'3" and maybe 185 or so. Fortunately, he was close enough to me in size so that they could be altered for a good fit. (I also inherited a morning suit and a white tie ensemble that I never bothered to get altered.)

A bit over a year later, when I was a student at the summer session of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, I came down with a bad case of dysentery and returned to Oxford weighing about 165 pounds. Using just a pair of dumbbells, I build my weight up to about 205 pounds within a few months. Friends were amazed at the transformation by the time the Michaelmas term started. All this was well and good, but the suits fit less and less well. Eventually, I got my weight up to 220-225. I did a lot of squatting, and my newly bulked up thighs wore out the insides of the trousers in short order. Not too many years after I got back from Oxford, the suits were a thing of the past. The only consolation was that my relative had lived in Toledo, and fabrics optimal for the Great Lakes area in wintertime are not the best for the Sun Belt, where I have spent all my days.

Most of the gains a man is likely to make will be in the first six months of training. See where you are at that point before making any decisions about sartorial acquistions. In the meantime, don't spend any significant amount on clothes. At least that would be my counsel, based on my experience.
 

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How old are you?

Your earliest strength gains will not come from increased mass, but actually from neuromuscular learning (i.e., your body learns to recruit muscle fibers more efficiently as you practice the various exercise movements).

You'll probably gain some mass, but after a certain point you'd be surprised how hard this becomes.

In college, I was 5' 10" and wore a 42R suit. Today, at 48, I am still 5' 10" (well, probably a hair or two shorter due to the effects of aging in compressing my spine), but wear a 48R suit.

I had size-44 and -46 phases of a few years each, but stabilized at 48 in my mid-30s and have been there ever since, despite a fair amount of resistance training (including substantial protein intake). In my 20s I took up distance running and ran four marathons, which probably had some effect in moderating mass gains (not that I was a twig; when I ran my last marathon, at the age of 28, I weighed 190).

My actual chest circumference now is 49 inches, but coats that fit me tend to be marked 48.

Everyone's different, of course, and results will vary.

But if you're a young guy, unless you have money to burn, I would suggest holding back on spending tons of coin on MTM or high-end RTW stuff; it just won't fit you as anywhere near as long as the clothes will last, and you'll find yourself forced to part with great wardrobe pieces that you've outgrown before their time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Most of the gains a man is likely to make will be in the first six months of training. See where you are at that point before making any decisions about sartorial acquistions. In the meantime, don't spend any significant amount on clothes. At least that would be my counsel, based on my experience.
That is what I was looking for. I realize that many don't stick with it, so responsibility for that is squarely on my rather thin shoulders.

However, knowing that most of my gains, if I see any, will be in the first six months is very beneficial. As I said, I'm not working out to bulk-up specfically, but I want to be mindful of the possibility. Based on my genetics, I don't expect to end up stacked like some of the forum members, but I would be happy if I could go up to more common size like 42L or 44L. Even a solid 40L is a bit easier to find than 38L.

Edit; I am 25. My trainer has already assured me that after a few weeks I will have gained much "strength" but little to no muscle or mass. He said after that is when he can really start having "fun" with me.
 

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I will echo what others have said and just hold off on any major purchases for 6-10 months. I have to ask though, what are your goals? The trainer you describe sounds like he's a power lifter, but I'm going to assume that's not what you are going for. I obviously don't know what your financial situation is like but hiring a trainer is an unnecessary expense in my opinion, do yourself a favor and pick up "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe. It's an incredible workout program for a beginning weight lifter and you will see immense gains in the first 6 months of using it, it's also very simple to follow. Anyways, my best advice would be to determine what your goals are, it's been my experience that people who go to the gym to "get healthier" don't usually go the distance. It seems to really make a big difference to have a goal; be it to get bigger, get smaller, run farther/longer, lift heavier, etc.

Either way it's a big commitment, good luck with it! I treat it as something fun but I know others who are consumed by it, I can see how it can be addicting though
 

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Invest in clothes when you have the waist/chest you're looking for and the discipline to maintain your form.

Keep in mind that if you pursue a strength training regimen and couple it with a good diet, you will continue to get bigger. At some point, you need to leave well enough alone. If that isn't in your plans, forget about the clothes. You will just waste your money. Even the best tailor cannot turn an OTR 40 into a 42 and then a 44.

I speak from experience.
 

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It really depends more on how you eat. 1,000,000s of guys are trying to bulk and still can't eat enough. It's the #1 reason guys don't grow. Since you aren't even trying to bulk and you are doing cardio; you should be able to have gains in strength, weight, and health without gaining size. Remember that the same volume of muscle weighs more than fat. You can make great tangible improvements without getting bigger. It takes serious will power to choke down five or six meals of tuna and brown rice or oatmeal cooked in egg whites to put on the lean muscle. Also it takes a lot of time. On average 5-10 pounds of lean muscle/year is more than most can do without the help of science. ;) And that is net after full revolutions of bulk & cut cycles which you stated is not your intention. Diet is so important to growing that it's generally much worse to miss meals than to miss a workout.

You can also pump up a lot in the smaller muscles without changing your actual frame. The problem area for me is shoulders and lats. The shoulders are odd in that they are made up of smaller muscles but add up the gains quickly and screw up my clothes. And my lats just respond easily to any work I give them. The result is the center back pleat in my shirts kept popping out. I simply have replaced them all over time with custom shirts that don't have pleats. The shoulders, chest, and lats will require new sizes, but it shouldn't happen every six or twelve months. Think of it this way, if you put 2" on your calves would you need new trousers? How out of balance are your thighs and your calves now? Most people have pitifully small calves compared to their thighs unless they are genetically gifted with big calves. It's the same with forearms. Are you using a neck machine? If not; your neck probably won't grow much and if you lean out it will probably get smaller.

If you notice a bodypart getting ahead of the rest of your physique just have your trainer adjust your split & sets to keep everything in balance. Look into the "priority principle" and focus on your lagging bodyparts.

Congrats on your new beginning and Good Luck!

OOPS! One more thing! Use a tape measure and not just a scale to keep track of your progress. If you are growing out of your clothes you should have plenty of time to "see it coming."
 

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It's a difficult question to answer as everybody has a different body type, but I can sympathize to a degree. I agree with others in holding off on any major clothing purchases for awhile. Being a marathon runner, it can be frustrating to see how my body fluctuates in weight and muscle mass based on season (I run a lot more in the spring/summer) for how my clothes fit. I have learned that I have to make sure I maintain my weight training, even when I am running a lot to keep my muscle mass.
 

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Based on some of the threads touching on this before, I'm fairly certain there are some amateur body-builders lurking on these fora, covered in baby oil and Brooks Brothers. Hopefully you lot can offer some pointers or relate your own experiences. I did some searching and didn't come up with anything on this topic. I imagine it is easier to answer in reverse, when someone is looking to shed pounds and has a goal weight in mind. Here's the deal:

I am skinny, no two ways about it; always have been. I am roughly 6'2 and am currently at my heaviest ever, 185lbs, having put on a little inner-tube 'round my midsection since graduating a few years ago. Having measurements like 15.5/36 and 38L make it difficult to find anything OTR. Unfortunately, just as I am developing a taste for clothes that fit, I find myself also moving to 'fix' my body-image issues. Apparently I've had quite the attack of vanity.

Regardless, I have just retained the services of a personal trainer, a lovely fellow who used to be a Marine and one whose hobbies include wearing a kilt while throwing large logs and beer kegs. I am fairly sure that if I'm not killed, I will probably increase my chest size, as well as possibly my neck size. It should be noted that my intentions are not to "bulk" or anything, but rather just increase muscle strength and overall health. Being someone who used to eat slightly better than the average American but only workout maybe 4 or 5 times a month, I am now lifting 2-3 days a week and doing cardio 1-2 times. In addition, I have greatly increased the amount of protein and raw vegetables that I am taking in.

My actual question: Even though I'm not doing a bulk/cut program, I expect that I will see at least marginal gains in my overall mass. Any idea how big or how fast this growth might come? That is, do I have to worry about not fitting in anything I own 6-12 months from now? If so, would you recommend putting clothing purchases on hold until I hit some type of plateau/goal strength?
I believe you may have come to the right place. As a man in my 7th decade, I've had 5 or 6 different bodies during my adult years. But since I'm very tired, I will try to be brief so as to make some sense, and perhaps add to it tommorow.

Most importantly, irrespective of what pop culture may be telling you, and even what your trainer may tell you, I'd strongly urge moderation in your goals and efforts. This can prevent many costly changes of wardrobe, and in the long run be healthier in that it is more likely to be sustainable. Also, diet is probably more important than exercise, and should be focused on good nutrition with minimal, if any, caloric restriction. Last, stay entirely away from roids, HGH, etc., and any silly GNC bodybuilding products. At best, they will waste a lot of money, but are more likely to do serious harm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks to everyone, excellent advice all around. I guess it's not really necessary to justify my choices, but I will say that the reason I am using a trainer right now is that it works for my personality/experience level. I feel pretty out of place in a gym, so I don't want to be carrying a book or sheaf of papers around trying to ensure that I am maintaining proper form as I struggle to lift a 5lb dumbbell or something. In addition, I find that I am willing to push myself more when working out with a partner giving me the right energy to work with.

Yes, my trainer does compete in Strongman competitions for fun. However, that is certainly not the type of program that we are using for me. Someone also mentioned having goals; I do have them, and am in the process of prioritizing. One possibility is completing a triathlon, but my asthma has always made swimming a tough prospect for me. I do plan to try putting on at least a little size. I am eating plain oatmeal and egg whites with some fruit for breakfast, which I like to think is actually a fairly balanced way to start the day. We'll see how I do. It would make buying sweaters easier if I sized up a little, but I guess I would have a good excuse to buy MTM/bespoke if I stay extra lean :icon_smile_wink:
 

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When I was working out seriously I was putting in a minimum of 75 minutes per day, 6 days a week. I would see weekly gains when doing that, but beyond putting in that amount of serious effort you will likely not change your body type in the next 6 weeks.

I am often reminded of people I knew who had seriously fluctuating weight- they had clothes for fat months and clothes for skinny months.
 

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If the trainer is helping you "find your way around the gym" so that you can use your time there with maximal efficiency, then you are indeed making good use of his services.

You are young and your joints are probably still quite healthy and resilient. Go for training based on multijoint, free-weight exercises with challenging (not dangerous, but challenging) levels of resistance now, while you can. I'm talking the classics here: bench presses, squats, front overhead presses, pullups, etc.

These will help you build the mass you want to have in order to grow out of being a 38 Long (which indeed sounds like an inconvenient size to be when one is hunting for RTW stuff), and will stand you in excellent stead with all your future fitness endeavors. Good luck.

PS: On the question of protein intake, the rule of thumb I've picked up is at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day as a bare minimum if you're into regular resistance training, more if you're really going for mass.
 

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J Libourel is spot on with the observation that the major gains come in the first 6 months. Every drug free bodybuilder finds this out to his disappointment. You are also largely limited by the size of your skeleton and this can be gauged by measuring your wrists and ankles. At 6'2'' if you have an 71/2'' + wrist you could probably end up with at least a 50'' chest and a relatively fat-free weight of well over 2001bs
 

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Speaking as someone who a couple of years ago started general weight/cardio training to improve my fitness and physique, I would echo comments about not making significant investments at this time. In particular I found that lower body growth (thighs especially) meant that trousers stopped fitting rather quickly! The other major change I noticed was that as my shoulders bulked out, it meant that my shirts/jumpers/jackets became too small length wise, mostly in the arms but also in the body. FWIW my neck has not changed size at all.
 

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I am now lifting 2-3 days a week and doing cardio 1-2 times. In addition, I have greatly increased the amount of protein and raw vegetables that I am taking in.

My actual question: Even though I'm not doing a bulk/cut program, I expect that I will see at least marginal gains in my overall mass. Any idea how big or how fast this growth might come? That is, do I have to worry about not fitting in anything I own 6-12 months from now? If so, would you recommend putting clothing purchases on hold until I hit some type of plateau/goal strength?
Lots of great advice given so far. And varied.

I'll echo what others have said about holding off on expensive clothing purchases. You may have to get several items along the way to your desired size and shape.

What I don't agree with is that you can expect most of your gains to happen in the first 6 months. You can't know for sure.

I only mentioned that because you seemed to agree that you also expected to make the majority of your gains in that time.

I've seen many different results in my 20+ years of heavylifting. Not only in my body but in many other men and women.
If you do stick with working out and keep adding weight to the machines or free weights while keeping your protein high, it's likely your body will be alot different even 1-2 years later.
You will gain strength even through your 40s if you train correctly.

I've trained for and competed in bodybuilding and I also trained for and compete in strength competitions. Two different ways of training.
I can guarantee if you stick with it and if you ever decide to get stronger or gain more muscle mass 2-5 years from now that you can. And do it drug-free.
 

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I am fairly sure that if I'm not killed, I will probably increase my chest size, as well as possibly my neck size. It should be noted that my intentions are not to "bulk" or anything, but rather just increase muscle strength and overall health. ...

My actual question: Even though I'm not doing a bulk/cut program, I expect that I will see at least marginal gains in my overall mass. Any idea how big or how fast this growth might come? That is, do I have to worry about not fitting in anything I own 6-12 months from now? If so, would you recommend putting clothing purchases on hold until I hit some type of plateau/goal strength?
Depending on what he has you do, you might have the physique of a Men's Health or RL model. That is, high rep (>15+), lower weight, fast paced circuit training will get you some muscle, some strength and stamina, but not a whole hell of a lot of size. Especially if you keep your diet fairly clean and on the light side. Not only weight training, but eating builds muscle.

If you wanted to "pack on slabs of beef" (I hate the jargon :rolleyes: ), you'd train bodybuilder or even powerlifter style... weight as heavy as you can handle for lower reps (4-6 for pl; 8-10 for bber... 7 is right out! :p). That would cause you concern in the clothing dept.

The trainer you describe sounds like he's a power lifter
Highland Games. The kilt and throwing are a dead giveaway. ;)

P'lifitng is training in deadlift, squats, bench press. Other exercises are used for assistance work, but those are the three that are judged in a meet.
 

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Our person at the weight loss center suggests that over 12 reps won't help burn muscle although it will help burn calories. Frank, is that what you are getting at for the models?

(I really need to lose fat although I keep trying to add muscle to my body (which Bill O'Reilly might call a "muscle-free zone.") Oh well, all I can do is keep trying the resistance exercises. I have a kettle bell and an ultimate pushup machine I've stopped using (I still do pushups, etc.) I may need to get myself back onto those two items.
 

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Our person at the weight loss center suggests that over 12 reps won't help burn muscle although it will help burn calories. Frank, is that what you are getting at for the models?

(I really need to lose fat although I keep trying to add muscle to my body (which Bill O'Reilly might call a "muscle-free zone.") Oh well, all I can do is keep trying the resistance exercises. I have a kettle bell and an ultimate pushup machine I've stopped using (I still do pushups, etc.) I may need to get myself back onto those two items.
Resistance training can aid weight loss, since muscle tissue is so metabolically demanding: More muscle means that your body will tend to devote more of your caloric intake to maintaining that muscle.

Pushups are an excellent exercise. I had to quit doing bar dips recently because of elbow problems, but I've found a challenging way to do pushups using strap-and-handle accessories that I added to this rig (which I had been using very happily for bar dips till my 'bows started giving me trouble):
 
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