How Many Calories for a 'Hardgainer'?

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]Eveson wrote:
I don’t do any cardio because I’ve always been skinny (skinny fat unfortunately). A couple months ago I was getting 120 - 150 grams protein a day. I’ve since upped my protein and lowered my carbs, so I’m getting 180 - 220 grams a day. I only train 3 days a week for 45 minutes, so I know I’m not overtraining. I do Deads, BB and DB Benching, Rows, and Goblet Squats with a few accesory movements. The first 6 months I was just struggling to strengthen my messed up back using very light weights and now I’m slowly upping them.

Now my plan is to eat more, obviously, and start back squatting. I also need to prepare a protein shake for the middle of the night b/c I’m a long sleeper (9 -10 hours a night) and I know that I’m pretty much fasting almost half the day. [/quote]

Maybe that’s your problem? Try to train more often. 3 times a week isn’t always enough.
[/quote]

Training more often will burn more calories and put more stress on the body, so since I’m not even gaining fat right now I don’t see how that would help a guy with a fast metabolism? If I up my calories, I will gain whether I train 2 days, 3 days, or 5. I get the science behind growth, and I get that eating big is the most important thing I can do. What I don’t get is the science behind where all those extra calories I have to eat compared to much bigger guys are going. I’ve heard theories like low stomach acid, high histimine levels, and my friends’ personal favorite: the tapeworm.

[quote]Eveson wrote:

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]Eveson wrote:
I don’t do any cardio because I’ve always been skinny (skinny fat unfortunately). A couple months ago I was getting 120 - 150 grams protein a day. I’ve since upped my protein and lowered my carbs, so I’m getting 180 - 220 grams a day. I only train 3 days a week for 45 minutes, so I know I’m not overtraining. I do Deads, BB and DB Benching, Rows, and Goblet Squats with a few accesory movements. The first 6 months I was just struggling to strengthen my messed up back using very light weights and now I’m slowly upping them.

Now my plan is to eat more, obviously, and start back squatting. I also need to prepare a protein shake for the middle of the night b/c I’m a long sleeper (9 -10 hours a night) and I know that I’m pretty much fasting almost half the day. [/quote]

Maybe that’s your problem? Try to train more often. 3 times a week isn’t always enough.
[/quote]

Training more often will burn more calories and put more stress on the body, so since I’m not even gaining fat right now I don’t see how that would help a guy with a fast metabolism? If I up my calories, I will gain whether I train 2 days, 3 days, or 5. I get the science behind growth, and I get that eating big is the most important thing I can do. What I don’t get is the science behind where all those extra calories I have to eat compared to much bigger guys are going. I’ve heard theories like low stomach acid, high histimine levels, and my friends’ personal favorite: the tapeworm. [/quote]
Higher volumes (and frequency) of heavy training stimulate higher levels of growth hormone. You can eat 5000Cal per day while training 3 days a week and gain mostly fat. Eat the same amount of food while training 6 days a week and you’ll gain mostly muscle.

There is always an ‘optimal’. You have an optimal caloric intake, an optimal bodyfat level for gaining muscle, an optimal training intensity, training frequency, exercise selection…

The challenge is to figure out what is optimal for you. Overtraining is obviously not optimal. Undertraining is definitely not optimal, either. Find your OPTIMAL.

[quote]Eveson wrote:

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]Eveson wrote:
I don’t do any cardio because I’ve always been skinny (skinny fat unfortunately). A couple months ago I was getting 120 - 150 grams protein a day. I’ve since upped my protein and lowered my carbs, so I’m getting 180 - 220 grams a day. I only train 3 days a week for 45 minutes, so I know I’m not overtraining. I do Deads, BB and DB Benching, Rows, and Goblet Squats with a few accesory movements. The first 6 months I was just struggling to strengthen my messed up back using very light weights and now I’m slowly upping them.

Now my plan is to eat more, obviously, and start back squatting. I also need to prepare a protein shake for the middle of the night b/c I’m a long sleeper (9 -10 hours a night) and I know that I’m pretty much fasting almost half the day. [/quote]

Maybe that’s your problem? Try to train more often. 3 times a week isn’t always enough.
[/quote]

Training more often will burn more calories and put more stress on the body, so since I’m not even gaining fat right now I don’t see how that would help a guy with a fast metabolism? If I up my calories, I will gain whether I train 2 days, 3 days, or 5. I get the science behind growth, and I get that eating big is the most important thing I can do. What I don’t get is the science behind where all those extra calories I have to eat compared to much bigger guys are going. I’ve heard theories like low stomach acid, high histimine levels, and my friends’ personal favorite: the tapeworm. [/quote]

I’ve always wondered this about hard gainers as well. I’m by no means a hard gainer, but I’ve never really figured out the science behind certain metabolisms going crazy vs. others not working too well.

[quote]Eveson wrote:

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]Eveson wrote:
I don’t do any cardio because I’ve always been skinny (skinny fat unfortunately). A couple months ago I was getting 120 - 150 grams protein a day. I’ve since upped my protein and lowered my carbs, so I’m getting 180 - 220 grams a day. I only train 3 days a week for 45 minutes, so I know I’m not overtraining. I do Deads, BB and DB Benching, Rows, and Goblet Squats with a few accesory movements. The first 6 months I was just struggling to strengthen my messed up back using very light weights and now I’m slowly upping them.

Now my plan is to eat more, obviously, and start back squatting. I also need to prepare a protein shake for the middle of the night b/c I’m a long sleeper (9 -10 hours a night) and I know that I’m pretty much fasting almost half the day. [/quote]

Maybe that’s your problem? Try to train more often. 3 times a week isn’t always enough.
[/quote]

Training more often will burn more calories and put more stress on the body, so since I’m not even gaining fat right now I don’t see how that would help a guy with a fast metabolism? If I up my calories, I will gain whether I train 2 days, 3 days, or 5. I get the science behind growth, and I get that eating big is the most important thing I can do. What I don’t get is the science behind where all those extra calories I have to eat compared to much bigger guys are going. I’ve heard theories like low stomach acid, high histimine levels, and my friends’ personal favorite: the tapeworm. [/quote]

I dont think you actuall “get it”. You will not gain muscle from training 1 or two times per week. Most people wont even gain from 3 times per week.

Of course training more often will burn more caloires. Everything you do while youre awake burns calories. Thats an assinine statement to make in defense of training less often.

You burn more calories simply because your metabolism is built that way. THATS IT. Theres no science to it. Its not magic. Youre not the only person in the world that needs 4000+ calories to grow.

Please list the 4000+ calories you ate yesterday. Lying will only hurt yourself.

And JayPierce: your comment about the growth hormone increase is based on shitty science. The increase in anabolic hormones due to weight lifting is very insignificant when it comes to muscle building. Anabolic hormones need to be elevated for long periods of time (weeks-months) to improve nitrogen retention. Increased nitrogen retention will allow for more protein synthesis. etc. In the long run the increase in hormone levels from lifting wont acommplish that.

Sorry, when I said gain from training just two times a week I meant fat or modest amounts of muscle, not slabs of muscle. My first six months of training after my injury I trained with very low volume only twice a week and went from being a stick at 123 pounds to being a little thicker stick at 138.

The second six month period I went from 138 to 152 pounds training two and a half days (the “half day” was just a very light workout). The start of my second year with my back feeling 90% healed I switched to three days and figured I wouldn’t go up to four until I put on 10 or 15 pounds more. I guess this was just an arbitrary decision on my part.

It sucks needing more calories to grow than average guys but I realize some people have it much worse than I do and can’t even put on 10 or 20 pounds. I just have to eat more, I know.

As far as the 4,000 plus calories to grow, I haven’t started eating them yet. I’m still eating the 3200 calories like in my first post. I’m stuck at the same weight but I’m getting a slightly harder look so I haven’t looked at the past two months as just spinning my wheels. I realize I need to up my calories and the weights by a lot. I’ll post my diet in a sec.

[quote]BONEZ217 wrote:
And JayPierce: your comment about the growth hormone increase is based on shitty science. The increase in anabolic hormones due to weight lifting is very insignificant when it comes to muscle building. Anabolic hormones need to be elevated for long periods of time (weeks-months) to improve nitrogen retention. Increased nitrogen retention will allow for more protein synthesis. etc. In the long run the increase in hormone levels from lifting wont acommplish that. [/quote]
I know it doesn’t have any real solid proof behind it, but the basic idea is correct. I’m not sure there has been enough research on the matter to solidly prove or disprove it.

My reasoning is basically this:

  1. Things don’t happen in the body without signaling from hormones.
  2. You don’t grow without growth hormone.
  3. We know that certain hormones are converted to different ones in certain tissues, under certain circumstances or just in general.
  4. Are we completely sure that a local form of growth hormone isn’t created by the muscles? One that isn’t released into the bloodstream, and therefore won’t show up on a blood test? I’m sure it happens inside each muscle cell, and I have a suspicion that it has something to do with the ATP/ADP energy system because heavy use of that system (high-intensity anaerobic work) creates the most anabolic growth. Maybe some byproduct of ATP/ADP conversion converts Test into GH? The drop in Test would almost be imperceptible on a systemic level, especially since it would be quickly corrected. But the difference in GH inside each of the affected cells would be enormous, if you could test it.

Regardless, whether my theory is correct or not, we know that training a body part twice a week will make that body part grow faster than training it once a week.

Yesterday I ate:

a.m. - protein shake, 2 glasses of gatorade
pre-workout - rice mixed with 1/4 can of corn, can of tuna, 2 glasses gatorade
post-workout - protein shake, rice mixed with corn, can of tuna, ice cream
lunch - chicken tenderloins, steamed broccoli
dinner 1 - garlic pizza, protein shake
dinner 2 - chicken tenderloins, steamed broccoli, half a can of pineapple, protein shake
throughout the day: 4 glasses of water, 6 fish oil caps

The ice cream is an anomoly, I haven’t bought any in at least six months, but you’re right lying only hurts me. Also I usually drink milk and not so much gatorade but I didn’t feel like grocery shopping.

The protein shakes are only 116 calories, so if I buy or make my own that contain just 316 calories that would be an extra 800 calories right there, so that’s my next step.

Amounts man. give us the amounts of the food. I honestly dont think thats 3200 calories. And if it is you have about 50% carbs 45% protein and virtually no dietary fat. Fat should be around 20-35% of your calories depending on how well you tolerate carbs.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:

[quote]BONEZ217 wrote:
And JayPierce: your comment about the growth hormone increase is based on shitty science. The increase in anabolic hormones due to weight lifting is very insignificant when it comes to muscle building. Anabolic hormones need to be elevated for long periods of time (weeks-months) to improve nitrogen retention. Increased nitrogen retention will allow for more protein synthesis. etc. In the long run the increase in hormone levels from lifting wont acommplish that. [/quote]
I know it doesn’t have any real solid proof behind it, but the basic idea is correct. I’m not sure there has been enough research on the matter to solidly prove or disprove it.

My reasoning is basically this:

  1. Things don’t happen in the body without signaling from hormones.
  2. You don’t grow without growth hormone.
  3. We know that certain hormones are converted to different ones in certain tissues, under certain circumstances or just in general.
  4. Are we completely sure that a local form of growth hormone isn’t created by the muscles? One that isn’t released into the bloodstream, and therefore won’t show up on a blood test? I’m sure it happens inside each muscle cell, and I have a suspicion that it has something to do with the ATP/ADP energy system because heavy use of that system (high-intensity anaerobic work) creates the most anabolic growth. Maybe some byproduct of ATP/ADP conversion converts Test into GH? The drop in Test would almost be imperceptible on a systemic level, especially since it would be quickly corrected. But the difference in GH inside each of the affected cells would be enormous, if you could test it.

Regardless, whether my theory is correct or not, we know that training a body part twice a week will make that body part grow faster than training it once a week.[/quote]

Let me present this from a compeltely different side of the coin.

Taking exogenous growth hormone injections (alone, ie sans AAS) will do little for muscle hypertrophy. Even with relatively large doses. How can the small short lived spike of growth hormone that occurs after lifting weights have a significant impact on muscle growth in the long term?

And your statement number 1 doesnt make any sense. You can try to explain it but I dont see how it applies. Plenty of “things” happen not involving hormones. Including muscle building “things”.

statement 2 simply isnt true. Its not 100% false but its not an absolute.

statement 3 is irrelevant to what Im saying. parroting info here is pretty useless.

statement 4. muscles dont “create” growth hormone. GH is synthesized in the pituitary gland. TESTOSTERONE DOES NOT FUCKING CONVERT INTO GROWTH HORMONE. Growth Hormone is a peptide. Its a string of amino acids. Please stop making things up. Read a textbook.

And training 2x per week is only superior if other factors are in line with it. Like volume. Food consumption. Genetics. Age.

edited

Hey, I said it was just a theory of mine.

It is true that you don’t grow without growth hormone. Hormones are also a necessity for almost everything else that happens in the body as well, except those that are run on electrical impulse.

Something is responsible for the growth of muscle cells due to exercise. That spike of HGH and the subsequent spike in IGF-1 after intense lifting is no coincidence. Add to that the fact that muscle growth is a localized process affecting only the muscle cells that have been stimulated, even though there was a systemic release of hormones, and that is evidence enough that something else is going on in the muscle cells that science doesn’t understand yet.

Regardless, again, if a trainee is training 3 days a week while eating enough to grow, and isn’t putting on LBM, he would probably benefit from training everything twice a week. Do I need to list all the medical factors that would prevent such training from being effective, or can we leave it at that?

To be honest I have never counted grams of fat, and I’ve only been counting carbs for three weeks. I just aimed for my protein goals but now I will start counting fat as well. I just bought some EVOO and some coconut oil. Need to buy some nuts too.

As far as the calories, you’re right it’s only 3162. Everything was packaged so all I had to do was read the nutrient panels. I slacked off a little yesterday on the diet, and it only hurts me.

I will start upping my fats and drinking higher calories in my protein shakes. Thank you for your advice Bonez.

Just had my first shot of coconut oil. It looks like semen but goes down better than Tequila.

Aiming to get 3500 calories in by bedtime, this stuff will help.

Good call on the coconut oil. It’s mostly MCT (medium-chain triglycerides), which contain 9 calories per gram (like fat) but get burned for energy quickly (like carbs). You need this–read on.

I seems like your diet is protein-focused, and I think that’s a mistake. Bonez is right (as usual) that you need more dietary fat, but focus your eating on carbs. Carbs fuel your body, fuel your workouts, fuel your growth, and spare your muscles. Aim for at least 50% of your calories to come from carbs (at 3200 calories a day, that’s 400 grams of carbs daily), and for a butt-ton of those to be consumed post-workout. As long as you’re getting about 1 gram of complete protein per pound of lean body weight, your growth won’t be hampered, and your body won’t be overly taxed converting extra protein into energy.

Think of it this way: Your body is a building. Protein = bricks, carbs = workers. If you want to get that thing built quickly, which would you rather have more of?

I literally just read an article by Thibs in which he wrote “Fat slows down digestion and absorption of nutrients. This is a good thing for individuals with slow metabolisms, but a very bad thing for people with super active ones. The nutrients won’t be absorbed fast enough to satisfy the demands of their raging metabolisms! That doesnâ??t mean that fat should be avoided, just that it should be limited to 10-20% of the dietary intake, most of it coming from good fats.”

Not sure if I should listen to Bonez or Thibs bc I’m just a dumbass newbie, so anyone who wants to add their two cents about fats please feel free.

As far as keeping carbs up, I try my best. Also started back squats with very light weight and am looking forward to the added growth hormone that I’ve heard tons of people talk about as I increase the weight.