How Fast to Gain?

Hey guys,

I started lifting 25 months ago. I was pathetically weak at the time:

5’11", 19 y.o., 173 lbs.
Max chins: 1
Max dips: 2
Struggled to bench press 95 lbs for 4 x 10

I mention this because despite the fact that my current stats are horribly unimpressive by T-Nation standards, I have made improvements:

21 y.o., 180 lbs

Dips, 4 x 10
Chins 12, Squat ~261 [i never test this], DL 330, BP 220

I was 193 lbs. at one point but certain life events have dropped me down to my current weight, albeit leaner than I was.

My training consistency wasn’t perfect over the last two years (I would take 3 weeks off every 3 months for exams etc, I went to South America for 3 months etc.) Also, I basically thought anyone who was anal enough to count daily calories probably had a psychiatric issue.

Both these problems are fixed now. I’ve maintained an excellent consistency for the past few months and have kept track of my calories for the past 3 weeks. I plan to start a counter-culture ‘summer bulk’ on Monday. I calculated my requirements at 3200. So I plan to do 5 meals/day x 750-800 calories/meal diet for 3800-4000 calories a day.

Basically, the next 3 months of my schedule are quite light so I’m sure I can maintain consistency until at least September (at which point I will have to move to a different city every 3 weeks for schooling.) Since I only have these 3 months where I know I can give it 100% I really want a set-in-stone goal to work towards.

What do you guys think is a reasonable set of weight gain / strength gain goals to try and pull off in this time? I like 20 lbs. of weight gain because it, itself, is a round number but also would leave me at 200 lbs. which would be a great psychological barrier to break. But is that too aggressive? Would shooting for 5 lbs/month be more reasonable?

I plan to increase my calories by 100/day any week where I fall of my projected weight gain curve. And before I get flamed; I don’t intend to stop gaining weight at the end of the 3 months, it will just be much more difficult.

Partly I write all this for critique and partly because it seems a lot more ‘official’ now that it’s up here.



I just wanted to add something to think about. With my weight gain, it has always been in 3-4 lbs increments over a few days, then nothing for a few weeks. I don’t ever get a steady 1lb per week increase. Because of this, macro changes to my calories haven’t worked.

I think it is my body’s way of trying to stabilize or adapt to the weight gains.

…Or it could be I’m not accurate enough in my calorie counting.

  1. Growth usually comes in spurts, so don’t get hung up on per week or per month increases.

  2. The best thing to do is just get your dieting, training and resting in order, then GIVE YOUR ABSOLUTE BEST for 6 months, fighting to increase your training poundages in every exercise, and let the results take care of themselves.

10-20lbs muscle for a period of years is the way to go, followed by more years at a slower rate of 5-10lb per year as you get much closer to being as big and strong as you can become.

For a specific goal, try to gain 50lb on your squats. That’ll make you grow.