T Nation

Gaining weight

Im new on this site and this website was recommended to me. Im a university football and Im looking to gain some more weight. Im 6’3 188lbs, looking to get to 210lbs by the end of June. Im pretty strong for my size 225x8 (bench) power clean (245) but I just cant gain weight. If anybody has a suggestion on nutrition or supplements a reply would be greatly appreciated.

Check out the FAQ and Massive Eating

The only reason that you cannot gain weight is that you do not eat enough.

Read through Massive Eating Part 1 to open your eyes to the calories that you actually need to consume.

I think that 210 is doable if you go balls out. To help us help you, you’ll need to supply some information: 1) How long have you been lifting 2) What did you weigh when you started lifting 3) What supplements are you currently taking? 4) List everything you would typically eat in a day here

You may consider 225x8 to be strong, but it’s not going to cut it if you plan on going pro. In the NFL combine, you will need to be doing at least 15 reps, and depending on your position, you will need to do 20+. As for eating, check out John Berardi’s article on Massive Eating to help gain the weight needed. And check out Renegade Training if you want to keep yourself in the best possible condition to play at a level higher than the rest of your team!

Read the “Get Big” diet at T-mag as well. And you must keep a food log. Read the Missing Ingredient article at T-mag for info on that.

i would not follow massive eating protocols if you want to gain weight, and stuggle at this. eat lots of white pasta with meat sauce and a glass or 2 of milk. have this several times a day in addition to what your are eating now.

dman has a good point with his food suggestions. You should also take a lot at the most recent Appetite for Construction article as Berardi covers what he did to gain weight. Basically, you need to eat constantly and you need to find foods that you like, that are healthy and that pack a lot of calories.

“Can’t gain weight” means that you’re not eating a sufficient amount of calories, pure and simple. Start a food log and get a handle on what you’re actually consuming on a day-to-day basis. Then you’ll have a starting point from which to work. No supplement is going to help you put on weight in the presence of a calorie deficit.

Your overall caloric intake is the single most important number for you to know at this point. If you don’t it, you’ve found your problem and know what to fix. Good luck.

Ever think that maybe it’s not just how he’s eating? What if he’s overtraining? Sure nutrition is important but every teenager I see in the gym does 15 sets of biceps and has never squatted in their life. Try something like this if you’re having trouble making gains, it’s an example of an abbreviated routine that’ll really put on mass:


  1. Crunch: 1 x 10
  2. Squat: 2 x 5
  3. Stiff-legged deadlift: 1 x 10
  4. Bench press: 2 x 5
  5. Dumbbell rowing: 2 x 5
  6. Barbell static grip: 1 x 60 seconds


  1. Side bend: 1 x 10
  2. Deadlift: 2 x 5
  3. Press: 2 x 5
  4. Standing barbell curl: 2 x 5
  5. Standing calf raise: 1 x 10
  6. Back extension: 1 x 10

Each week, try and add 5 lbs to the bar of the major lifts. Less to the smaller ones, but your gym probably doesn’t have plates smaller than 2.5 lbs. In that case, try and work your way up in reps with the same weight, and when you get 3-4 more add 5 lbs. Eat 2 times your BW in protein, lots of extra virgin olive oil for healthy fat (hella cheaper than flax seed oil and just as beneficial IMO) and I’d say about your bodyweight in carbs, though I don’t really count these I just try and keep them low to trace after 6PM. Do this and you will grow like a weed.

sounds like a problem i had several months ago.i am 6’3" and i started lifting about 9 months ago.i was at 192lbs when i started lifting in late march this year.4 months later i was up to 204lbs and 4 months after that i was at 217 lbs.i lift for 45 minutes or so three times a week and do no cardio at all except for the voleyball games i play in during the week.as for supplements i use protein powder and vitamins.i have done 2-2 week cycles of androdiol and one 2 week cycle of norandrodiol.my body fat has dropped from 20% or so to around 14% and i eat rather poorly.my suggestion to you is,eat lots,lift very heavy weights and do squats.i used machines for the first three months and got very little results .i switched to free weights and my strength and size has been really good.doing squats has been the single best exercise i have done for gains.i do many variations of stances and also do box squats.best of luck with your weight goals.you will have no problem reaching that.eat,lift heavy,eat,sleep repeat!

I think we are all throwing solutions at him without even identifying the problem. NS, I saw the other thread you posted but somehow it got deleted. We need to know exactly what you are eating. I know it’s alot of work, but post a typical day here so we can take a look and see what’s going on. Also, what types of cardio or conditioning are you doing in addition to your weight training? Are you playing any other sports right now? How many days a week are you lifting, and for how long? How much sleep do you get a night?

Thanks for the replies everyone, its already been a help. Ive learned more today than in a year of training. Striker here is a typical day for me:

Breakfast 1 bowl of cereal (vector), two packs of oatmeal, one banana and a protein shake.

One can of tuna, on 4 slices of whole wheat bread. Two pieces of chicken or pork chops.
Extra lean ground beef. 6 egg whites with two whole eggs mixed in with whole wheat rice and vegs.(sounds gross) 2 more protein shakes, and one of them before bed. Three peanut butter and jam sandwiches (6 slices of bread).Also I use flax oil in my shakes to bring up the calorie intake. This was yesterday. I dont know what foods would help make up 4800 calories in one day?

Im a very active guy, I like to play squash and basketball. I lift 4 times a week and sprint twice a week. I dont like to workout for more than a hour, I was told that after that your muscles tend to shut down. I do alot of power lifting snatch, cleans, deadlifts and spuats (more front squats). Do you really think that 210lbs could be reached by June? Im coming off of a season and getting ready for a pro camp in the summer. Im well rested and ready to go balls out like you said.

Well, it sounds like you are already eating a fair amount, but unless you know exactly what you are putting into the system (food log), it is going to be hard to make progress.

Now if weight gain is a priority for you, you are going to have to limit your cardiovascular activity to some extent.

Once you've logged your intake for a week or so and your activity patterns, you need to start adding more calories or subtracting extraneous activity. A great article (or should I say "satire") on bulking would be Ian King's Bring on the Bulk article a few weeks ago. In that article he basically explains an optimal environment for bulking.

Also, I want to applaud you for educating yourself. Your response to our suggestions is indicative of someone who wants to educate himself and really make progress.

Your replies have been helpful. I’m not looking to get too bulk, I know at 6’3 210 would not be overly big. Could I get to 210 over the next six months and maintain my speed and flexability? Also could you list or give me a site that would give me grocery list to buy food?

The message that I sent to Striker is also for you, if you can help me that would great. NS

NS, you are getting alot of good advice here, and it sounds like you have the right attitude to succeed. I think we have identified the problem, and it’s your cardio. If I was in your situation (and I have been in your exact situation) I would decide what I can and cannot live with for the next 6 months. Your body isn’t growing because the calories you are taking in are getting expended into basketball, squash, and your sprint work. Since you are playing ball, you might want to look at what activity that you can do once a week (20 mins. max) that will keep your coordination and speed up, because you’re going to have to cut the rest out. If you have access to a strength coach, you might want to ask him what are some good sprint/coordination drills you can do while bulking. I put on a tremendous amount of weight one summer and I found that when I got back in the fall that I was so winded because my lungs had not adjusted to supporting my new weight. So you might want to keep a quick sprint workout up once a week, but if I were you I would cut out the basketball and squash, because I know both of those are sports that will seriously limit your growth. However, in my situation, I was like russ where I cut out all cardio completely. (Except for an occasional basketball game like once a month). If you look at NBA players, they always bulk up in the off season, when they aren’t running up and down the court 4 days a week. I definitley think that 210 is doable, but you are going to have to make sacrifices. In my case, I found lifting 3 days a week was optimal for bulking. 4 just taxed my body way too much. You are right to focus on the squats, deads, and cleans. Try some incline dumbells too, those are good for getting huge. Your diet looks good for the most part. One thing though, is that, does your food “move” along your digestive tract properly? I found that when I ate alot of bread that I became “stopped up.” When I replaced it with brown rice, things moved along better and the rice was a better energy source anyway.

not that my opinion matters, but… sounds like you are extremely active, which makes your caloric needs even greater. I like the way that Berardi takes the cost of activity into his calculations for caloric needs. if you havent checked out the Massive eating articles yet, I would. Even if you dont follow the system, I would use his methods for finding caloric needs. as for gaining wt, eat, lift hard. the details are better explained by others with better credentials.

NS- I would take a look at Mag-10, After you get your diet squared away. It will increase your lean body mass and improve your strength. If you eat big and work hard 20 ibs. isn’t out of the question. Good Luck.