So I have six eight years of trial-and-error evidence to show that I am incapable of building strength to any measurable degree from any form of exercise. I do not show results and I have become tired of working out for no reason. I have put it all to an end and I am seeking alternative ways to build strength. One person told me he can genetically-alter my muscle cells and fibers to enable more strength without exercise - is this possible?

Another method I heard is heavily taking anabolic steroids, which supposedly can build strength even without exercise. At this point I am considering steroid-abuse if it means possible results I can appreciate.

I have never appreciated or have been satisfied with results from any workout program or routine over any period of time, and do not progress no matter what. I do not even wish to seek an expert as alternative approaches is what I am looking for.

Please let me know on any other possible ways that strength can be increased without exercise, since exercise does not work for me -- I have tried everything you can think of and after 8 years I am still where I started at 14.

A 22 year old man who is out lifted by small teenagers who barely workout ... I am a shame of a man and person overall.

  • 4
    Genetically altering humans is probably not a thing for the next few decades. Even on the off-chance that it were possible, it's unethical to make super humans and all that. Steroids will not really make you stronger without working out. All those huge dudes work out a lot. Without exercise steroids won't do much for you. Did you go see a doctor btw? If you don't gain strength it could be a hormonal imbalance, malnutrition or other things you won't notice until a doctor takes a look.
    – user8119
    Jun 5, 2014 at 6:26
  • 10
    You seem to have an incredible tendency to take the easy way out, which makes me doubt you tried any one program for 6 months straigth with the right nutrition. If you did and it didn't work you've got serious medical issues, so maybe you should rethink your approach regarding doctors.
    – user8119
    Jun 5, 2014 at 7:55
  • 4
    @halvey What strength training programs have you tried?
    – user4644
    Jun 5, 2014 at 17:15
  • 2
    @halvey "Plenty get strong this way, so what is wrong with me?" If you have "weak genes", like you say, then you won't get strong by just doing what other people do. You'll have to do something different and structured, and a lot more of it. Check out stronglifts.com. It's an easy-to-follow strength-building program
    – Jay
    Jun 5, 2014 at 23:55
  • 5
    'Why try when you aren't #1', To be the best person you can be. You can't just look at the next guy and be down because he lucked out and you didn't. Genetics is like slot machines, just because the guy next to you wins doesn't mean you do. So basically, do a program with structure, work harder than the rest and you'll get better. Just because you'll never lift on a world record level doesn't mean you can't benefit from what you learn along the way (strength, determination etc.).
    – user8119
    Jun 6, 2014 at 6:09

7 Answers 7


Stop Making Excuses

"I have six [to] eight years of trial-and-error evidence to show that I am incapable of building strength to any measurable degree from any form of exercise."

Either you have a serious medical issue or I call bullshit. I bet the reason you're not getting results is that you "have [never] been satisfied with results from any workout program or routine over any period of time". You try something halfheartedly for a little while, then stop, right? You just lift what you feel like and then go home? That's not going to work.

If you think you have a serious medical issue then see a doctor about your health, particularly any possible hormone issues. Stop making up reasons not to see a medical professional. Address your problem head-on.

Lift, Eat, Repeat

You must lift and eat if you want to be big and strong. You must work hard. You must be consistent. There is no other way. There are no excuses. There are no alternative methods. Buck up and be serious about your training.

Stop being concerned about other people's success and focus on your own progress. You know nothing about what they do. What they do has nothing to do with your own success or failure. Stop distracting yourself with fantasies about other people's supposedly quick and easy results and focus on working out hard and consistently.

Follow a Program

Originally I asked the OP to detail their workouts. ("If you want help on how to make your workouts effective, describe what you've been doing in as much detail as you possibly can: programs, lifts, sets, reps, rest periods, weights, frequency per week, diet, sleep. If you can't be bothered to even write a short description of your lifting then I seriously doubt your commitment to your project.") They have since responded:

I do not really follow any programs; I just lift stuff. Plenty get strong this way, so what is wrong with me?

You have fuckarounditis. I would sympathize, but it's hard when you seem more interested in whinging about other people than actually doing something productive. There are genetic freaks who can sit on a couch for ten years and still lift 400 pounds. They aren't me, so why would I do what they do? I am me. I do what works for me. You are you. You can do what would work for you.

Some people can get away with not doing a program. Most people can't. Stop making excuses and pick a program. StrongLifts would be fine, as would Starting Strength, as would 5/3/1 or GreySkull Linear Progression. Pick one of those four--it really doesn't matter which--and follow it unerringly for six months. Keep a workout log. Eat and sleep right. If you do that and it doesn't work, then you will know why it didn't work, because you will see it in the log. Skipped workouts or failed lifts will be quite evident in the log.

If you are interested in results--and that's a big if--then you'll pick a program, follow it, focus on quality sleep, and eat plenty of good food. (You have not described your diet so we can't yet help on that front.)

  • Also, "teenagers who barely work out" -- you're forgetting that their active play time is also exercise. And that, in most cases, their body mass is lower which is going to improve relative agility. No matter what you do, exercise is needed to tell the body which muscles it needs to invest energy in improving. Find something you enjoy doing and stick with it. (I've never been in better shape than (a) when I was playing Judo, or (b) when I was doing serious climbing every week.)
    – keshlam
    Jun 5, 2014 at 16:14
  • 3
    I was stuck for a long time, the "slow gainer" problem. Was working out in earnest, muscle aches 2-3 days after. Finally, increasing number of weekly workouts from 2 to 3, and adding protein supplements, was able to increase results 10-15%. Also, switching your routine might help, but then stick to that routine at least 2-3 months.
    – PA6OTA
    Jun 5, 2014 at 18:36
  • I really can't afford to eat such food ... it is too costly. My point is that I am just weak in the genes because plenty of people can lift more than me who have worse diets, lifestyles, less health, older, etc.
    – halvey
    Jun 5, 2014 at 23:15
  • 7
    @halvey I'm pretty sure nutritious food (just fruits, veggies, eggs, dairy) is cheaper than steroids or genetic treatment.
    – Jay
    Jun 5, 2014 at 23:55
  • 10
    @halvey Respectfully, you don't know jack shit about what other people do to get strong. And frankly it doesn't matter. If you're interested in fixing this problem then do as people are telling you and describe what you've been doing, so we can try to help. If you're interested in your situation staying like it is then keep doing what you're doing. The fact that you say "I should be strong without putting much in" and "I really can't afford to eat such food" makes it sound like you're more excited to make excuses than to solve your problem. Jun 6, 2014 at 7:14

Genetically engineering your muscles? Not in the next decade or two. Steroids without exercise? No. Steroids increase the protein available to cells, which effectively allows you to work your muscles harder so they grow more.

A 22 year old man who is out lifted by small teenagers who barely workout ... I am a shame of a man and person overall.

Your worth is not measured by how much you can lift.

“Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. ” ― M. Scott Peck

I suspect your barrier to change is not physical, but in your head. No, I don't think you're crazy, but (speaking from personal experience here) many people believe things about themselves that are not true and cause them to limit themselves drastically.


Disregarding the fact that I agree with Dave Liepmann (either you are not training properly or you have a medical condition inhibiting your performance), I will give you a constructive answer. There is one thing you can do to increase strength without training. It is something that elite athletes use, and is one of the main factors that separates the best athletes from the mediocre ones.

Mental imagery.

Mental imagery is the use of imagination to visualize certain movements. Science has shown that visualization of a movement increases activity in those areas of the brain, potentiation through the corticospinal tract (motor neuron axons), and activity of the EMG. All these effects lead to gains in strength (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24133427, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22127572 etc.).

The increase in strength comes about by two factors. Firstly, there is increased intra- and intermuscular coordination. That is, by visualizing a movement, your brain is getting used to the sequence of contractions between the muscles and inside them. Secondly, the areas of the brain controlling that movement get increased activity, and this leads to long term changes in activity (sort of like learning to ride a bike, and then remembering; someone who has squatted 300 pounds in their youth will be a stronger squatter than the average person even in old age).


If exercise really would not work then your muscles should have wasted away by now and you would not be able to get out of bed. Astronauts who stay on board the ISS for more than a few weeks have to work very hard to compensate for not having to carry their body weights all day long.

So, your muscles are able to repair themselves and maintain the strength needed to do your daily tasks. But it would be an enormous coincidence if this would be precisely the limit of your maximum muscle strength. Given your age (you are not 90 years old), that would be extremely unlikely anyway. So, you will get stronger if you do some exercise.


It can be a medical condition like growth hormone deficiency or testosteron deficiency, which you probably won't be able to get confirmed by a normal doctor.

Also the mental problems you have with it, feeling unworthy etc, can also stem from there, so balancing your body hormones would be a good first start. (assuming there is a medical condition)

You can find doctors specialized in so called anti-aging (e.g. Dr. Hertoghe and colleagues from Belgium) or men medicine who can help you diagnose and treat such a deficiency, but they will only supply the body with the hormones it is lacking, so usually get you on the level a "normal" person of your age would have.

Taking steroids en masse will open up a new world full of problems which you really don't wanna have, so I would strongly suggest to not follow this path, especially if you want to have children one day or don't want to have early heart attacks, etc. ;)

If the specialist can't detect a deficiency, you will probably have to live with the fact that your body is just not as strong as you want it to be. Every body is different in it's limits and that's definitely nothing to be ashamed of.


I have had a problem with the confidence and energy(visible as enthusiasm) which allow me to exercise and feel good until recently and I believe it was diet and sleep related. Because it sounds as though confidence and enthusiasm are likely a large part of your problem, I suggest getting at least 30 grams of protein (even better, the US government's recommended 50 grams per day) and try to sleep eight hours.

Separately, it sounds like you might have a shame issue with working out so that you don't exhaust your muscles fully(to failure) in public. Perhaps you are embarrassed to be seen struggling with what you consider light weight? To remedy this issue, you can do exercises that no one can see you do.

Examples include pushups, tricep extensions, curls, and shrugs. Try these with 20lbs. or less and marvel at how your arms shape up. This can be a ten minute super-set every day before you shower in the privacy of your home. If you've tried for eight years, what's the harm in another month with a new tactic?

PS: A super set is one which alternates muscle-groups between sets, thereby letting lactic acid flush from one muscle group while working other muscle groups.

  • 1
    30/50g of protein is waaaay too little to build muscle/strength in any meaningful way. 1g/lb is generally considered a good amount and screw US (or any 'official') nutritional guidelines, btw.
    – user8119
    Jun 6, 2014 at 6:14
  • 1
    @LarissaGodzilla - Just to clarify, it's 1g of protein per 1lb of bodyweight per day. As far as the validity of this rule of thumb, I'm not overly convinced. I used to follow it, but gained so much fat through the protein that wasn't being used. I'm currently taking 75g of protein per day, and experiencing way better results. In my opinion, these rules of thumb are way too poorly documented. Most of it is broscience at this point.
    – Alec
    Jun 6, 2014 at 7:11
  • 2
    @Aleksander: You didn't gain fat from protein, you got fat from too much calories. Of course one has to adjust the other macros (normally carbs) to even things out when increasing protein. Anyway, the best rule is the one that works for you, so go with it if you have more success that way.
    – user8119
    Jun 6, 2014 at 7:22

A 22 year old man who is out lifted by small teenagers who barely workout ... I am a shame of a man and person overall.

With that attitude, what you are experiencing is not that strange. When thoughts of that kind manifest in your mind, notice that they don't serve you, and are not even logical (why would your worthiness/value have anything to do with people you don't even know?). They are not even your ideas, but someone else's. Your environment (culture) has implanted detri-mental ideas into your unconscious. So why give them credence? The more you believe your negative thoughts, the more negative results you will experience. I suggest you get rid of your TV and learn to meditate. And then, if you still experience negative thoughts of self-doubt, perhaps have an entheogenic experience that might help you shed the baggage.

Addressing your perception of (what you have defined as) your problem should be your primary focus. Without addressing your negative thoughts (i.e. your state of being), you will continue to experience a negative reality, no matter what exercises you do.

With that said, thinking about exogenous steroids is a very bad idea in your case, I think. You want to read about endogenous growth factors instead (HGH, BDNF, etc). Consider supplements that decrease metabolic rate and increase growth factors. You'll have to spend the time to research this though; you ought to understand how they work. There is no single magical pill. Consider also meditation, as mentioned, and high-intensity exercises, like HIIT. There is no better way to make your body grow (via HGH) than HIIT (followed by a high-quality whey protein shake), and it requires very little of your time.

Consider also steering your diet toward a high-fat low-carb diet. It may seem contradictory but that's because of the failure to understand the metabolic role of fructose, and the falsehoods spread long ago by one Dr. Ancel Keys that began the baseless demonization of dietary fats (particularly saturated fats), which are actually your body's preferred source of fuel.

Personally, I only began to gain weight/muscle when slowing my metabolism and increasing growth factors using the methods above. I didn't include any links because if you really are determined you can simply google everything.

  • If I have a goo body, females may show interest. I don't want that
    – halvey
    Jun 6, 2014 at 17:03
  • What do you mean by "goo body"? You won't get fat by eating fats (except trans fats); you get fat by eating excessive fructose and glucose. Or did you mean "good"? Either way your post makes little sense. Jun 6, 2014 at 19:04
  • Good body I meant, yes. I mean I do not want to be chased by bad girls and stuff ... looking good will attract them more. Plus, I am conditioned to my current body shape. In short, I am after strength, not size.
    – halvey
    Jun 6, 2014 at 19:32
  • 3
    @halvey So you want to get strong, but you don't want to change your body or buy quality food or follow a program or see a doctor or make any effort? Have you tried praying to any Norse gods? That might be your best bet. Or maybe a vision quest. Jun 6, 2014 at 20:46
  • @DaveLiepmann My body's looks do not need to change to improve my physical performance. Seeing a doctor will not help one bit ... most are useless for these kinds of things. I do make efforts, but not if I don't get paybacks in some way.
    – halvey
    Jun 6, 2014 at 21:46

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.