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Basically I have always had very weak muscles. When I touch my arm it is completely soft all over. You can so no muscle when I 'flex' them.

I tried to start some dumbbell curls today. I am struggling with 5kg, my right arm can just about do it my left arm I can't do without moving my elbow and using all of my arm to lift.

My diet is not great, literally just roti sabji, sandwiches and bread (some fruit). I am really concerned by how weak my muscles are.

What can I do? Should I take some protein supplements, like powder? I have tried eating more protein in my diet before but its never helped. What is creatine?

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Brother (im assuming you are male here) i STRONGLY suggest you go to a fitness instructor who is also a nutritionist to sort your diet out together with your training. Also, consult your doctor first to find out if you have any underlying health problems. THis is the best advice anyone can give you. You need to seek professional health in order to build muscle with the correct diet for your lifestyle.

Depending on your lifestyle i.e. if you eat meat or are a vegi you will need to eat different food types to have the right energy to build muscle. You will also need to take the correct supplements when training because training hard stresses your immune system.

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Also, considering you are just starting out I would not recommend you take creatine. People out there who train take it for certain reasons and when you start taking creatine you need to start drinking up to 3-4 litres of water a day. Creatine makes your body retain as much water as possible i.e. your muscles become bigger due to then being "filled" up with water so your muscles can absorb as much protein as possible. You also have to cycle creatine as it make cause your body to stop making creatine naturally. You can google to read up the negative affects of creatine. I train and i would never take the stuff.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/dimaggio2.htm

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Just keep eating through out the day. If you're a vege eat those non-meat burgers/sausages (watch out for egg) and drink milk. Lots and lots of whole milk. I drink more milk than water. I always have one cup in the morning/ one at tea/ one at dinner and a glass before going to sleep. I also drink loads just sitting around. It seems as if you aren't eating enough. Keep eating lots of fruit, don't go for crisps or chocolate go for fruit, nuts and vegetables for a snack. Eat lots of badaams. Also go to the doctor, you could have a health condition.

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Guest zyzzzz

Singh, as an experienced lifter I will tell you the following. You sound like you are skinny or skinny-fat (what I started out as).

You should just eat as much as you can for now, you can clean up your diet a bit more once you become more experienced. Try to get protein in your diet, drink a lot of milk, eat a lot of bread, peanut butter, bananas etc. Try to figure out what your "maintenance" calories are (google it) and add 700-800 calories on top of that.

For lifting, focus on compound movements (benchpress, squat, pull ups etc) don't bother with isolation movements (curls etc) too much yet!

Educate yourself! Bodybuilding is one of the best things you can do and has completely changed my life for the better.

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eat mixed carb protein diet spread through the day, 80% consumed before 5pm.

if vegi, go H&B and buy soya products.

train daily different areas of body- if your goal is to improve overall fitness. also gym can be hit and miss if your confidence is not there. therefore start sport like squash, this will also increase fitness and strength of all muscles.

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You have not commented upon your overall fitness- body fat, cardiovascular, flexibility, bone density/strength, cholesterol levels, probable genetics (health of your parents, siblings) etc. Bulky bicep muscle is probably the last thing anyone needs and it is temporary- we need a body healthy from the inside with good overall muscle tone so that you perform the activities you intend to do. Remember that strength does not mean big biceps. I have seen skinny rock climbers wrestle with macho perky bicep dudes and guess who ended up winning? Basically you can condition your body with good diet and training so that over time it gets rebuilt more dense and strong- particularly the bones. You don't need a gym to be healthy and indeed, strong, there are many other exercises and activities one can perform.

PS regarding diet- supplements are not a replacement for a good varied diet, have simpler sabzi (minimum oil, not overcooked) and make sure to vary with good range of veg and green leafy salads and daals, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit, and low fat yoghurt for optimal nutrition, cut out white bread, fried and processed foods, snacks, regular tea and intoxicants, salt, high fat dairy etc (of course adjust for your specific conditions and needs of the body and your exercise regimen). The is plenty of protein in brown rice, wholegrain and certain lentils and beans. Protein and most vitamins/minerals are not retained by the body if not used/required so supplements on their own just make for expensive toilet waste, but if you do take a supplement, carefully check the label for nutritional value. Ask a doctor regarding any specific needs as too much supplement can cause problems.

Speak to a personal trainer. PM me if you want a custom diet chart and exercise plan. If you live locally I can help you train.

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It is possible that there are nervous system problems involved. It is possible for a muscle to become "switched off" resulting in poor mind/muscle connection (the ability to focus on and squeeze a muscle while training). Chiropractors and kinesiologists will be able to help by making adjustments of the neck, spine and by massaging trigger points to activate the muscle.

If your biceps are not activated, then it is possible other muscles are overcompensating and causing pain or stress elsewhere in the body. It can cost £40 a session upwards, but rather spend it on treatment than supplements that wont help and will be a waste of money until your brain is talking to your muscles properly.

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Remember that for the first few weeks of weightlifting, you're not really building muscle. Your muscle fibres are learning to contract together simultaneously and means you'll quickly rack through the weights initially. You'll then plateau and it'll be harder - this is where you're tearing/damaging muscle which will be repaired during rest. Repairing means both adequate diet and adequate rest.

Agree with compound exercises as the main focus. A lot of isolation exercises were created for bodybuilders when steroid use started and that's where they're really effective.

Agree with the comment about a trainer to help you especially in the early stages. It's important to learn the right habits and remember that form and posture is more important than how heavy the weight you're lifting is. No point trying to bench 100kg if you damage your shoulder through improper technique.

Log every exercise you do. I take a small notebook and pen, and write down what I've done eg:

bench press

week 1 - 60kg - 3x8 reps

week 2 - 60kg - 3x9 reps

It makes it easier to track your progress so if one week you achieve 8 reps for each of sets you do for an exercise, aim for 9 or 10 reps per set the following week.

I did a similar thing with diet - counting grams of protein, fat and carbs in every meal. I upped my vegetable/salad intake to help bulk up meals. I used protein powders to help boost protein intake when I felt I couldn't achieve more through diet without resorting to meat. Things like protein powders are supplements - they're meant to help supplement your diet and not replace it.

The biggest hurdle will be your own expectations. You will probably expect to look like He-Man in six months and will feel like a failure if you don't. Remember that to build muscle takes time.

Also look at cardiovascular exercise to reduce your bodyfat which will improve your muscular appearance, as well as improve your fitness.

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