T Nation

How to Gain 20 Pounds?


Found this article very interesting: https://www.T-Nation.com/training/20-pounds-of-hollywood-muscle

It got me thinking. I’m a competitive person so lifting is something I’m finding to enjoy mentally. I want to get bigger and eating more food is something I enjoy too. What do I really want though? Truly, at the base I want to look and feel better about myself.

Standing 6’1", 165, 10-15% body fat. Athletic figure, just skinny. What approach should I take in my first months to get to something like 6’1", 185 pounds, less than 10 percent body fat?

Strength based/calorie bulk? Size based/calorie bulk?

My goal if I was to tell you word for word for myself would be to gain 20 pounds, and gain as much muscle as possible in that frame, so I could look/feel my best. The goal is muscle gain. Along the way I want to get bigger and stronger.

  1. Lift Weights
  2. Eat a ton
  3. Sleep

It really is that simple.


What he ^ said. I’m in a pretty similar boat to you (started smaller, now a bit heavier). 5/3/1 and bulking shakes have helped, but I’ve recently thrown in a layer now and again, and I’ll probably get a bit more aggressive with the bulk and switch entirely to layers after the holidays/vacationing is over. Type in Layer System in the search box, and give the program a try.

My bulking shake:
1 scoop chocolate whey
2 cups chocolate milk (Costco brand)
1 banana
1 Tb natural peanut butter (or a little more)

I make several in a day, put them in mason jars and in the fridge, and drink one in the morning each day. I think I calculated them to 933 cals a shake. Great for me because I hate bulk eating.


getting bigger is actualy an opinion thing
there are a couple of methods in general use
it depends on which method you prefer
eat a shit ton lift cut weight later
increase calories slowly say half pound per week weight increase less or no cutting later
increase calories slowly say 1 pound week cut later although not as much as first method maybe more than 2nd method
as said depends


A cheat I use that could make your “Reese’s” smoothie over 1,000 calories is add a tablespoon of olive oil to it (119 calories). Two tablespoons and your up almost 250 calories.


9-10 hours sleep

Train high volume like this… https://www.T-Nation.com/training/athlete-lean-athlete-strong and you can go buck wild on clean carbs and protein post workout without adding fat

as mentioned slop olive oil on all meals apart from post workout

Load up on intra workout supps like Plazma/karbolyn/aminos etc depending on budget


drink a gallon of whole milk a day and do stronglifts 5x5
if you’re having trouble getting it down, make it chocolate milk
i wish I wasn’t so fat so I could do gomad