T Nation

Being Smart About Gaining Weight

So here’s a recent discussion I’ve been having with myself.

All my training career I’ve put athletic performance before aesthetic goals. I still abide by this rule, but I recently have been lenient with it. I’ve decided to let my dynamic strength (Sprinting, Jumping, Explosiveness) go further by leaning out and not being so damn fat, I’m sitting at about 178lbs BW. The results aesthetically and athletically have been very rewarding.

Strength wise, since I’m young and I’m probably still getting some little beginner gains, I’ve still been gaining strength. Essentially I’ve been getting Leaner, Faster, Stronger since I’ve started cutting. Strength wise I have noticed that I do not recover quite as quick, which is not surprising for me.

My last “Bulk” was a over the summer. It was in short an effing wreck. I got very fat very quick, I got above average strength gains from it but wasn’t really happy with how fat/out of shape I was.
I don’t plan on even considering another “Bulk” until I reach my goal of 175lbs BW, but 175lbs isn’t far away.

Now for defensive line in American football you need to be pretty balanced in size, strength, speed and agility. Right now for my freshman class I’m ahead of the ball game in Strength and Speed. Which really leaves size and agility to further better. Around highschool size can come in pretty handy because down here in Texas we have some Big ol’ Boys, our smallest Offensive lineman this year weighed 233lbs.

So the question is, do I keep going with my weight cut until I hit 175lbs and then start gradually increasing my calories OR go even lower than 175lbs. I’m not afraid to Increase my calories this time because I somewhat have an idea of what I’m doing. Probably going to do something along the lines of 5/2 for lifters and keep my food choices to the Vertical Diet.

Input on this?

What is your height? What are your lift numbers? I find it hard to believe that you have gone through bulking and cutting phases and are a freshman. Post a picture.

1 Like

5’7- 178lbs. Like I said bulk was a fucking mess and I’m getting close to my goal weight for this cut. This has essentially been a recovery cut

Current Stats
Squat- 335lbs (Have not maxed in a while)
Bench- 185-195lbs
Deadlifts- 385lbs (Closing in on my 4 plate Deadlift)
Front Squat- 215lbs
Split Jerk- 195lbs (Also have not maxed in a while)

Strongman Stats
Log Press- 185-195lbs
Axle Clean & Jerk- 195lbs
Stone over bar- 195lbs x3

Also I have some pics in my training log from a while ago, while I was somewhere in the 184-186lbs range.

Whether you bulk or cut going slow will probably be best body composition and performance wise.

So… you’ll need to pull out a calendar and think about realistic/achievable goals according to your priorities and the time frames you’ll need to achieve them.

If you need to be at a certain level of performance or body weight by a certain date then jot it down and work backwards from that date to ensure you’ve given yourself plenty of time.

We want to avoid a short dreamer bulk if possible pretty much and that might mean starting the bulk now or if you have time to extend the cut a bit and wish to do so go right ahead.


Any human body can only build new MUSCLE so fast. A pound or two a month , and that’s in ideal situations (like s
eriously ideal situations and with seriously ideal, and with unicorn genetics!) anything beyond that will not be muscle. That’s the cold hard truth that most people think they’re going to be the exception to.

Obviously you can use some additional not-muscle to help you performance wise, but honestly ask yourself how much you need before
you just end up regretting what you tried to do.


That comes on day 2 of leaning out, dealing with not being able to shove whatever in your mouth

Then at week 2 when your initial honeymoon loss goes away and you still ave lots to do

Then at week 4 when you still have months and months to go

Then at week 6 when you have half a bad day and you’re back at week 4 weight and are back at months and months to go.

It’s basically daily regret for months on end lol


You said D Line? What position are you gunning for? My oldest was able to get all conference honors in High School as a DE at around your size.

Last year coach moved me around the D-line a good amount but I mainly stayed at nose guard.

Yeah really take your time. Fat is overrated. I mained nose in defense and guard in offense while being the lightest of the championship (195 pounds) and was among the tops. Sure it was in France and the level is garbaged compared to the US, but compared to when I was fatter ( 245 pounds) I was just so much better. Technique, strength and explosiveness are better

I recommend listening to @khangles, but don’t be near sighted. Texas is big on football; everyone in America knows that. Don’t think about your physique in terms of months; you need to think years.

Once you’re “experienced” in the weight room you might be lucky to add 0.5 to 1.0 lbs of muscle per month. Think about that. @The_Mighty_Stu is an accomplished bodybuilder who’s experienced all ends of the spectrum as well as coached people who have experienced it. He’s telling you that the top end of muscle gain is 2.0 lbs per month in ideal settings. So you can hope to gain 0.5 lbs to 2.0 lbs of muscle per month. I think to be realistic you tell yourself that you can gain 1.0 to 1.5 lbs per month.

I imagine you really want to play football if you’re playing in Texas. Think about your senior year and playing in college. What is it going to take for you to make it to the next level? What are the sizes of guys signing and starting their freshman year right now? I hope it’s something you can achieve. I think you’d best serve yourself to focus on that time and work backwards from there.

In some college sports they plan by the career. Freshman and sophomore year they build and build. Junior year might be a deload YEAR to peak for the senior year. If you truly want to succeed and get the most out of yourself then look at your career in these terms. You’re a freshman so I think you should start building your base. Build your strength and add quality muscle—slowly.

There are thousands (maybe millions) of people who were studs in high school but didn’t amount to anything after that. If you can set aside the present and think big picture then you could really set yourself up for success.

Imagine yourself at 211 lbs three years from now. Let that sink in… 36 lbs of muscle (up from 175) in 36 months. But you don’t just add muscle. Added muscle will hold more glycogen and water so you’ll be even heavier. You could be 230-240 lbs. Now if you don’t grow in height that may be suboptimal for you. You still have to move your mass. I just want you to think about a three to four year plan. I think you’d benefit from setting your calendar to the start of you senior year. Figure out a realistic place for you to be at that moment in time and make a plan.

Good luck!