T Nation

Gaining Weight with All of the Activity


I'm looking to gain weight but I train different aspects of mma 5 days a week for at least an hour a day. Is it still possible to gain weight with all the extra activity? Also I'm not quite sure what my body fat is but I'm carrying a lot more fat than most other fighters, would it be easier to put on muscle if I first lose the extra fat? I would rather hear from people who have actually gained weight while still training than just armchair warriors although I haven't had that problem here as I have on other sites.


So you want to gain weight, and lose fat?

Train harder and eat better, the fat will fall off. It's possible to gain weight, but you're gonna have to be eating a metric shitload to do so.

But you already knew that.


I'm really interested in gaining weight and from reading different articles on here it seems that the rebound after dieting will make putting muscle on, if only slightly, easier. So would it be smart to diet first then try to build muscle?


Pick one goal at a time and stick with it. If you say you are carrying around extra fat as a fighter, focus on losing the fat first. How is your diet now? Are you eating enough good, clean food? If you have the extra money you might want to look into hiring someone like Shelby Starnes. He works with athletes of all types and he has never failed to get results for me.



If you could answer a few questions it would help me and maybe others reading this get a better picture of you, and what advice to give. I am going to break them up and number them just so I can keep them straight.

1.) What are your age, height, and current/everyday/walking around weight? If your competition weight is different can you state that as well?
2.) Do you actively compete in MMA or any other weight class sport currently? If so at what weight class? If not, have you competed in MMA in the past and at what level (pro-amateur, how long, how many fights)?
3.) What is your weight/strength training experience? Do you lift weights, if so what do you do and for how long? If you currently are on a program, what is it, how often do you lift, and how are your results?
4.) What do you do for conditioning/cardio/metabolic training? How often do you do it?
5.) You stated you train the different aspects of MMA 5 days a week. What do you train and for how many hours? How much experience do you have in these aspects (e.g. â??Have you only boxed 3 months, but wrestled all your lifeâ??)?
6.) How long have you been training MMA? Did you train for anything else prior, if so what and for how long?(If you were a Division 1 athlete than you may get different advice than someone who has little athletic background and is taking up fighting fresh)
7.) What is you non-training time spent doing(office job, student, construction worker, assembly line, ect)?

I just donâ??t want to put my foot in my mouth by advising a 28 year old powerlifting champ to try Starting Strength.


eating more is the only way to gain weight



I'm having trouble too. Weight is just falling off me now (I'm 40 pounds less than I was this time last year), and I really need to up the calories too. I was trying to get my weight to a place where I could be competitive in a weight-class, without having to cut much pre-competition, but it's leaving me feeling weak, and a little pissed about how much hard-earned muscle I've lost. I think it's time to start shoveling food again, and worry about being competitive in a weight-class later.


1) I'm 17, 5'9", and my current weight is about 160 lbs.
2) I have yet to compete in mma but I compete in submission wrestling, however, the weight class is just 140+ since I'm a minor. I've only been training mma since July but I've wrestled several years.
3) Currently I'm doing very little weight training, I have very little extra time but I'm wanting to add more weight training sessions. However, I've lifted for 3 years now but still consider myself a beginner.
4) I don't have a car of my own so I walk most of where I go so even on my laziest days I walk several miles. On top of that I have 30 minutes of hard conditioning three times a week at a minimum. Outside of that my cardio training is haphazard.
5) I train muay thai, bjj, submission wrestling, and mma. I train all of them between 2-3 hours a week. Like I said before I've wrestled for several years but besides that only have about 6 months of training mma.
6) Besides the combat sports I have no other athletic background.
7) I'm currently in highschool so I'm pretty sedentary most of the day.


If you want to gain weight eat more.

If you want to gain LBM, you need to lift too, just eating more will add muscle, but will likely also add fat.

The trick is figuring out how much you can lift without being to fatigued to train effectively, or constantly fatigued (and eventually over-trained). This will be somewhat individualized. But I think it's why the 5,3,1 is so popular, it's a much lower volume than a lot of programs, but has been shown to promote consistent gains. There's even a two-day a week version.


Nickfury 93,

You have already got some excellent guidance. You need to eat more to gain, well theoretically you could move less but that is a shitty option for an athlete, and weights are the most proven path to adding muscle.

I will just give some general advice. At your age I would just try to get in great shape cardio wise and get stronger. The body comp changes should take care of themselves to a certain extent. I would not worry too much about â??bulkingâ?? or â??cuttingâ?? in the traditional sense. At your age you should still put on muscle easy, which is great.

If you can keep the "I consider myself a beginner" mindset throughout training and education you will go far. I think maybe one of the keys to that is to search out groups/scenarios where you really are a beginner relative to everyone else. In other words, once you are the toughest guy on the mat, smartest kid in class, etc., go find another mat, or class, or what have you. I did this when I was younger and I think I am the better for it. I need to do more of it now.

You have experience wrestling, I am going to assume you are wrestling for your school, so in-season strength/conditioning and practice schedules are probably dictated to you. Off-season you need to get access to a weight room. A gym with free weights, squat racks, and that allows lifting from the floor (deadlift, power clean, etc.) would be preferred, especially for a wrestler. For someone new to weight training I really like Starting Strength by Rippetoe, both the book and DVD.

It is a designed to be a beginnerâ??s program and it is how I wish I would have started out. Regardless of what training program you do, learn how to perform the lifts correctly and safely. I really like Joe Defrancoâ??s "West Side for Skinny Bastards" program for athletes, but it assumes you can perform the exercises in Starting Strength safely. Of course DeFranco is a master of teaching lifts as well, so at his gym it may be perfect.

Everyone thinks the basic barbell exercises (squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press) until they get stronger, pile on weight, and get hurt. One reason I recommend Starting Strength is that it gives you a lot of practice with the movements before you get so strong that you either tear yourself up with bad form or have to knock the weight back down and struggle with doing it correctly. I have done both. Donâ??t be me.

Some would say you donâ??t have to bench for fighting, grappling, wrestling. They are right, but I would not have listened at 17, or 27, so learn how to do it correctly. You need to keep your shoulder blades pinched together and down or you may wind up like one of the guys in this thread: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_boxing_fighting_mma_combat/531_7

Here are some links to articles or things I mentioned:

Here is Dave Tate in a T-Nation video explaining bench form

On Mark Rippetoe and Starting Strength
Interview: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/starting_strength
Program: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/most_lifters_are_still_beginners

DeFranco: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/westside_for_skinny_bastards_ii&cr=

Hope some of this helped, or at least didn't feel like a waste of time. If you have any questions feel free to ask. I have a long ,early to late, day of work ahead of me, but hopefully we can hear from some others who have been in your shoes and may be able to give better, less general advice than I can.



why are there no flames here? You vets are slipping :slight_smile:

d00d...calories in > calories out = gain
calories out > calories in = loss

with the activity level you have, there's only 1 thing you gotta do differently.

Eat clean....a lot.