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I've been bulking for 3 years, going from 48kgs to 69kgs at a height of 5"3 (male, unfortunately). My stats are pitiful.

bench - 70kgs squat - 90kgs deadlift - 120kgs

I started from the bar in all 3 exercises, weighing in at 48kgs from an improversished south asian family that only consumed rice and beans.

Since then, I've changed to a proper diet consisting of lots of meat and some meal replacement drinks for calories.

My concrete question is: Despite a good training and weight gain from good nutrition, what are some tell-tale signs that one simply does have to build strength/muscle at the average level? Low t-levels? Bad protein absorption?

I have tried for 3 whole years, with PTs, bulked 20kgs, and have far below-average progress. It makes no sense for me to go on 5 years what the average adult in the western world can accomplish in 1 year.

I was under the impression once I reached "average" lifts (my stats now), my progress would get much faster and better because I'm nearly as strong as the average western man who doesn't work out. But if anything, my strength is stalled like a wall and i've grown a full belly flab.

In a world where masculinity and strength are prized, it is painful and emotionally exhausting thinking about how low my potential is.

Therefore my question is: under what conditions is ok to stop training and bulking with the same instensity? Have I already reached diminshing returns?

(And please: spare me the "you never quit training heavy bro" BS. You have no idea how difficult and mentally debilitating it is to be in my position. You would've done yourself in, a long long time back :))

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    – Alec
    May 18 at 9:16

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Despite a good training and weight gain from good nutrition, what are some tell-tale signs that one simply does have to build strength/muscle at the average level? Low t-levels? Bad protein absorption?

The wording here is unclear, but if you're asking about when you can know that you're at the limit of your progress, the only tell-tale sign would be that despite a good training program, sufficient intensity of effort (i.e. high RPE or training sufficiently close to failure), good nutrition, adequate rest, and no improvement when increasing training volume, you are unable to make further progress. However this is complicated by the fact that most people will spend years in the gym without ever getting on a good training program.

I was under the impression once I reached "average" lifts (my stats now), my progress would get much faster and better because I'm nearly as strong as the average western man who doesn't work out.

No, that's not how it works. Your gains get slower and slower from day 1, and the amount of strength or muscle you can add across the entire duration of your training career will be roughly proportional to how much you had when you started. E.g. Most people can probably double their initial, untrained bench press strength, regardless of their starting size or sex.

Therefore my question is: under what conditions is ok to stop training and bulking with the same intensity?

It's ok to stop training whenever you want, but if you're talking about reaching somewhere near the maximum strength that you're capable of and maintaining it then once you're sure you can't progress further (as defined by the "tell-tale" conditions above), you could reduce your food intake to maintenance levels, then gradually reduce your training volume, trying to find the minimum volume of training that you need to maintain strength. (E.g. When you got to the point where you'd reduced your training volume so much that you started losing strength, you could just increase your volume until you'd regained that strength, then reduce it again, but not as much as the previous reduction that caused the loss of strength.)

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  • >and the amount of strength or muscle you can add across the entire duration of your training career will be roughly proportional to how much you had when you started. Do you have sources to explain this? I'm looking for a conversion of "if you start out with a weight of x kgs, you can gain a max of y kgs".
    – user33409
    Apr 17 at 14:40

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