I’m looking for a way to increase my appetite with the least amount of bad side effects and financial cost.
A little background info: I’m an entry-level recreational bodybuilder with a couple of years of experience. 5’1", 120-lb, 27 years old. I have established my “competition weight” to be at 145-lb and want to reach 167-lb before I start cutting. I have determined that I need to eat 4,000 kcal a day during my bulk-up (hypertrophy) phase to reach my goal. I’m not hitting that number by a long shot, usually eating between 2,000 and 2,500 kcal per day. I think the main culprit is lack of appetite.
Supplements I use: multivitamin, fish oil, protein/weight-gain powder.
4000 is a lot of calories for someone your size. I’m not saying you’re wrong, only that you may want to check your numbers. What matters most is the scale. If it’s moving in the right direction, and not too fast, you’re doing things right. What has worked for me in the past is calorie-dense shakes in the blender. Add peanut butter, olive oil, cottage cheese, etc.
You don’t need 4000 calories for sure mane. Eat enough calories to gain weight at a nice slow rate. Eating more and gaining faster is just getting fat faster cos one can only gain muscle so fast and the excess will be fat. This will come back and fuck you when it comes time to lean down again. Watch/track the scale and make changes to daily intake as required.
Don’t worrying about increasing appetite. If eating this much feels like a lot for you and its hard to shovel down more food I don’t think that’s going to go away anytime soon especially if you don’t start consistently eating enough for your goals.
Insteas worry about strategies and supplements for eating more whether or not you have the appetite for it. e.g. a shake at the end of the day to finish off your macros hell you could down a days worth of calories in a few minutes if required (not recommended tho lel). Drinking calories also works wonders. Even if you’ve just had a big meal you can still probably smash a glass of milk or a shake. If you do this after every meal (3-4 time per day) it adds up.
What kind of foods do you eat? Do you enjoy them/eating? Nobody has an appetite for chicken breast, broccoli and rice all day everyday. A nice steak or crispy skin salmon fillet tho…
for my sport I went from 275 to 325 in about 2 years, take it slow and eat often. eventually your body will adapt, I used to feel gross when I would eat 4k calories a day, now I can eat 6 or 7k and feel fine, your body will eventually adapt and get used to it.
What kind of crazy math did you use to determine that you need 4,000 kcal a day?
Going from 2,500 kcal a day to 4,000 ensures that you are going to gain a greater percentage of body fat.
If you’re only objective is to add body weight regardless of what it is, going to 4,000 kcals is you ticket.
If you objective is to maximize muscle mass weight gain while minimizing fat mass weight gain, here is what you need to do…
Increase Caloric Intake 20%
Drs John Ivy (Exercise Physiology) and Dr Layne Norton (PhD Nutrition/Pro Natural Bodybuilder and Powerlifter) independently found that increasing your caloric intake approximately 20% ensured greater muscle mass gain and minimal fat mass gain.
Doing The Math
Based on your daily intake presently being 2,000 to 2,500 kcals per day; your daily caloric intake needs increase to…
2400 kcal per day (2,000 kcals X 120%) to 3,000 (2,500 X 120%)
Type of Calories Consumed
Calorie dense food allow you to increase your daily calories.
The two most dense calorically dense food are…
Increasing simple sugar intake creates a multitude of issues.
a) It increases insulin. Insulin is a global anabolic hormone. That means it not only increases muscle mass it also increases body fat.
Thus, an increase in simple sugar intake means that you end dramatically increasing your body fat.
b) An increase in insulin productiondecreases your good cholesterol and increase you bad cholesterol. Over simplified but true.
Fat is calorically dense. Fats…
a) Don’t increase insulin production.
b) Fats are vital for hormonal (testosterone) production, especially saturated fats
Increasing fat intake also increases you good HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides; high triglycerides trigger cardiovascular problem.
However, combing a diet that is high in fat and high in carbohydrate simple sugars dramatically increase fat gain.
Take Home Message For Gaining Muscle Mass
20% Caloric Intake: Increase you present daily kcals by 20%.
Fat Intake: Increase you fat intake to obtain the additional calories.
Increasing fat intake means consuming higher fatty meats, eggs, cheese, nuts, adding butter, coconut oil and/or olive oil to you vegetables.
If you are really hard core, consuming a tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil provides 123 calories. Consuming four tablespoons per day would increase you caloric intake and to right at 500 kcals.
I’m following the advice of Mauro Di Pasquale, MD, who is also a nutritionist and powerlifter.
In the book “Serious Strength Training,” 3rd Ed. They recommend consuming “25 calories for each pound of the targeted weight they want to achieve.” In my case, that’s 25-cal times 164-lb, which is 15 percent above my “ideal” bodyweight (i.e. 143-lb) --I’m rounding numbers.
Granted, I came up with the ideal bodyweight figure on my own, after looking at some pro bodybuilders who are similar in size as myself (e.g. Flavio Baccianini, 145 lbs)
I’m aware that I may be gaining fat as well as muscle mass following Di Pasquale’s recommendation; he even acknowledges it in the book. That’s where his “metabolic diet” comes in. This is basically a high-fat, high-protein diet with carb cycling and one of it’s advantages is that it allows you to keep more muscle mass while cutting, than a traditional bodybuilding diet since your body has become accustomed to burning fat instead of carbs/glycogen. So, when you reduce your calorie intake, by cutting back on food fat on the metabolic diet, you will keep burning body fat and not lose as much muscle as in a traditional bodybuilding diet cutting phase.
I followed this diet for a few months. However, when I got to the bulking phase of my program, it became hard to increase the number of calories using protein and fat foods alone. Before, I could do maximum around 2,500-cal using protein and fat foods alone with very little carbs, but when I had to increase my calorie goal to 4,090 cal, this strategy became unrealistic. It’s not that it was impossible for me to eat more protein and fat, but I guess there were other factors at play as well (e.g. money, convenience, etc). So there you go.
I guess since I’m switching to a more traditional bodybuilding diet, your argument makes sense. But I think I still need to eat more than 3,000-cal to see further gains.
I am familiar with Di Pasquale. I have his Anabolic and Metabolic Diet books.
The Issue of 25 kcals Times Body Weight Based On Future Body Weight
The increase in kcal needs to be based on what you present calorie intake is.
Based on my personal experience with myself and working with other, Drs Ivy and Norton independent research regarding a 20% increase in current calorie intake makes sense as a means of increasing muscle mass while minimizing fat mass.
Arbitrarily, recommending ingesting a calorie intake 25 time of your project body weight doesn’t make sense for a variety of reasons.
The primary reason is that your fat gain will closely rival you muscle mass gain.
Research Has Proved This Hypothesis To Be Incorrect
Research by Dr Jack Wilson (formerly with the University Tampa Human Performance Lab) has demonstrated the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet actually increases body fat and minimizes muscle gains.
Secondly, Wilson research found that 5 days of the Ketogenic Diet followed by 2 Days of Carb Loading took individual out of ketosis for four days.
Thus, individuals on the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet were ONLY in ketosis for 1 day out of the week.
Increasing Fat Calories
Increasing you caloric intake by increasing fat intake is quite easy.
About a year and a half ago, I lost 17 lbs due to a metabolic condition. Due to my metabolic condition, I am on the Ketogenic Diet. It restrict my carbohydrate intake to 50 gram per day.
I then decided to gain some of the weight back. Since my protein intake was limited to 25% of my macros and my carbohydrates were limited to a definitive 50 gram per day, the only thing I could do was consume more fat.
In conjunction with high fatty meats, eggs, nuts, cheese and dairy, I ingested 4 tablespoons of fats composed of MCT Oil, Liquid Coconut Oil,Olive Oil, Avacado Oil.
I’d also mix whipped cream in with a Diet Dr Pepper (Cream Soda).
I ended up gaining 12 lbs back, mostly muscle mass primarily with Liquid Fats.
Bill “Peanuts” West
West was on of the best of the early Powerlifters.
West increased his body weight and obtained his nickname of “Peanuts” by drinking Peanut Oil. I followed West “Peanut Oil Program” for gaining 12 lbs back with the MCT, Liquid Coconut, Olive and Avacado Oils.
Consuming 4 plus tablespoons of oil is the easiest method there is for increasing kcals.
Doing The Math; In this section of my previous post, consuming 3,000 was listed.
More and A Lot More: A reasonable amount of more is good and lot more isn’t necessarily better.
Walking the “Tight Rope” involves experimenting with your caloric intake (anything) and seeing what works best for you.
My Personal Experience With Gaining/Losing Weight
I started out in Powerlifting as a 148, dropped down to 132, went back to 148, then 165, 181, 198, then dropped back to 181, then 165, then back up to 198, then up to a light 220 (208) then back to 198. All over the course of years of lifting.
I like the Ketogenic Diet. I feel better on it. It works for me.
…I don’t recommend the Ketogenic Diet.
The issue due to how restrictive and demanding it is.
The harder you make something for someone, the less compliant they will be. In other words, they won’t stay with the diet too long.
I am a proponent of higher fat intake combined with consuming “Vegetables of Color” (as Dr Jonny Bowden, PhD Nutrition put it).
“Vegetables of color” are fibrous and fairly low in carbohydrates.
Research (Dr Layne Norton) provides some interesting information.
“Refractory Period”: Norton’s research found that eating a high protein meal approximately every 4 to 5 hours is more effective than the dogma of eating every 3 hours.
Think of the body like a sponge. The dryer it is, the more water it can and will absorb.
When the sponge is wet, especially soaking wet, it cannot absorb much if any more water.
The same occurs with Muscle Protein Synthesis. Meals that are 4 to 5 hours apart allow for greater Muscle Protein Synthesis, which equates to increasing muscle mass.
Approximately, 30 to 40 gram of quality protein needs to be ingest at each meal.
That because it turns mTOR. mTOR is an anabolic trigger the increases muscle mass, via Muscle Protein Synthesis.
Leucine, amino acid, turn on mTOR. Approximately, 2.5 to 4.5 grams of Leucine are needed to turn on mTOR.
Whey contains the highest percentage of Leucine, approximately 10%.
Casein protein, meats, cheeses, milk, eggs contain around 8% Leucine.
Thus, 40 grams of Whey would provide 4 grams of Leucine (40 grams X 10%) compared to 40 gram of Casein, meat, cheese, eggs would contain about 3.2 grams of Leucine (40 grams X 8%)
The amount of Leucine (grams) that you need to trigger mTOR is primarily depend on your age. Younger individual need less since their systems are more efficient, older individual need more since their systems are less efficient.
Intense Training session also turn on mTOR.
The information that I posted can be found online.
This will prevent progress whether you’re shooting for 2,800 calories or 4,000. To put on 45 pounds, you need to eat enough calories 7 days a week, for the next 52 weeks.
Right now, you’re varying as much as 25% per day. Some people use that tactic when they’re cutting weight. I suggest you simply focus on eating no less than 2,500 calories for the next 14 days and watch what happens.
What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?
Going forward, you can either try eating a few big meals or a bunch of smaller ones, whichever suits your appetite and schedule the best. In the big picture, the results are essentially the same. 3 squares of “big breakfast, big lunch, big dinner” put plenty of size on plenty of guys for about a century.
You’re gonna want to check @robstein’s training log. He’s a natural competitor (not an assisted IFBB pro), who’s 5’4", competes around 140, and is currently a lean 160-ish in the offseason. I could be wrong, but I believe he’s said his average intake is around 2,200 calories while lifting 5 days a week.
@fit305, happy to offer any advice I can in addition to the other great info already posted on this thread.
While most people “pick” a weight, or think they should have one, (like when a first time competing client says, “what weight do you want me for the show?”), there’s no way to know what your stage weight will be, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is how you look, stage weight should only come into play if you’re on the borderline of a weight class, which you are not and won’t be anytime soon.
If you’re currently 5’1" and 120lbs, just being honest so you can approach your competitive career on the best footing possible, there’s no way you’ll be 145lbs on stage, and there’s no reason to try to get there. I’ve competed against guys that are 5’7" that went on stage at 148lbs and looked incredible. I started my first prep at 165lbs and assumed I’d be 150 on stage, and it wound up that when I got there I wasn’t close, and it actually took an extra 10lbs to achieve stage ready conditioning, 140lbs at 5"4". In the off season currently I’m 160lbs, in what might be referred to as “off season lean”, recent pics are in my log if you want to check them out.
At 160lbs pounds, I eat 2,200cals a day to maintain. When I’m in a gaining phase, I’m 2,500-2,800 at most, otherwise, as @Chris_Colucci, I’ll gain way too much fat too quickly. Just like on a prep when you want to maintain all your muscle and lose as much fat as you can, a proper gaining phase should be prioritizing gaining as much muscle as you can while limiting fat gains. If you’re 120lbs at 5’1", I guarantee even if you could eat 4,000 cals a day, you’ll gain some muscle, but will gain much more fat than muscle, and your prep diet will be harder than necessary. Additionally, the fatter you get, the less efficient you’ll become at gaining muscle compared to fat.
It’s easy to eat more calories. Have a couple spoons of peanut butter. Drizzle olive oil on everything. Eat more fruit. Most importantly, come up with a plan that includes foods you like and stick with it. Bodybuilding is equal parts training and nutrition, you must have a consistently executed diet no matter what.
If you can post a current pic of yourself, that would be helpful to provide some more info on a guesstimated stage weight, and where to improve before you pull the trigger and prepare to get on stage.
Calculate your TDEE. At 5’1" and 120lbs, I’m guessing your BMR is around 1600cals, factoring in activity level on top of that, TDEE would be anywhere between 1800-2400. The best thing to do would be to calculate your TDEE online, add 20% surplus, stick to that every day for two weeks and see what happens on the scale and in the mirror.
Calculate your TDEE and add 20%. Put protein at 1-1.2g per pound, fats at 30%, and fill the rest with carbs to get to your total caloric value. Follow that exactly for 2 weeks, and see what happens. It’s really not rocket science. It’s the basic principles (bodybuilding style split plan, great MMC, a well constructed nutrition plan, proper recovery), executed over and over and over and over and over again, every day, nonstop.
@KennyCrox I’m also a fan of ketogenic diets. I felt great while on Di Pasquale’s metabolic diet, even though it may not be a full keto diet, as you pointed out.
I might go back to doing the metabolic diet, knowing that I don’t really need as many calories as I thought to get bigger.
One other issue, I didn’t mention with the metabolic diet is variety, i.e. your food choices are kind of restrictive or you have to eat many of the same foods over and over again. I have tried to find a book or website with recipes in the past with no success; maybe you know of any such resources.
mTor Ever since I learned about it —ironically, on a nutrition website discouraging the use of meat/protein— I have begun to pay more attention to the Leucine content of my protein powders, i.e. the more Leucine per serving, the better.
@Chris_Colucci I eat out for most, if not all, of my meals. I used to meal prep in the past, with more consistent outcomes, but it was a hassle. I eat everything, from McDonalds to vending machine snacks. I want to start doing some meal prepping again with the knowledge gained on this thread.
@robstein I will be posting pics in the future. I have always have good definition, but I definitely need to put on more mass. I only started training consistently, i.e. following an structured program, less than a year ago. I’m optimistic that I will start seeing more results after my nutrition improves. I would say that’s my Achilles heel.
I would eat faster (chew less, scoop faster)
I would eat while distracted (TV/phone)
I’d buy big plates to serve in
I would focus on calorie dense foods
I’d drink less water (but enough to stay hydrated and plenty before/during training)
Basically, the opposite of all the little tweaks to drop weight.