T Nation

Need to Gain 20 Pounds


#1

6’0", 180. I want to gain 20# of muscle and sit around 200# at roughly the same bf % that I am now (10-12)- what is a strategy to accomplish this? Should I plan on getting up to 210 (gaining 20# muscle/10# fat) then leaning back down to 200? Or will I need to go higher than 210? Is this a 6 month goal, 12 month, 18 month, etc. Would appreciate insight from guys who have done something similar.

Background - was an olympic weightlifter who focused in rep ranges from 1-5 for the past few years, and will be transitioning into higher volume/lower weight training to get a hypertrophic effect.


#2

I would say this is a five plus year goal. How you want to go about it is up to you, although my gut would be to go with a slower process to avoid adding excess fat - this is something I’m working on currently myself and I’m around your weight.


#3

It’s definitely not a short term goal. I went from 204 to 222 over a summer once. The main difference is that I was 17 and it was the first time I really hit it hard in the gym. I see that you’re not a newbie so that’s working against you for this goal.

Dirty bulks are garbage. Eat clean for this. Find your maintenance calories and increase gradually over time. You might not need to weigh your food and track your macros like I do but you’re definitely going to have to pay close attention to your nutrition. I don’t think a haphazard approach will work.

I think you should strive to gain 0.5 to 1.0 lb a month. That sucks because your weight can fluctuate way more than that throughout the day so you’re going to look at a bigger picture. I suggest planning your nutrition to put you on pace to gain 0.5 to 1.0 lb per month but look at least six months into the future. Aim to weigh 186 by January 1st. Way yourself first thing in the morning daily, weekly, or whatever interval you choose but make sure it’s consistent. First thing in the morning is usually the best because you eliminate a lot of variables such as food, fluid, and salt consumption that can cause you to fluctuate throughout the day.

As @MarkKO said, this could be a long journey if you want to do it right. Many people have fallen victim to the bulk/cut approach (myself included). As articles on this site have pointed out, it’s better to go slow and steady. You can bulk for 3 months and gain 10 lbs only to follow that with a cut where you lose 7-8 lbs. Now you’re 6 months down the road and only 2 lbs heavier. Do the smart approach and you could be 3-6 lbs heavier in the same amount of time without the need to cut.

Good luck!


#4

Great info, this confirms exactly what I was thinking.


#5

Follow @MarkKO! He’s very detailed in his log. He also “thinks out loud” in his log with his thoughts and plans for the future so you can get an idea of his future plans as well as what he’s currently doing.


#6

Meat is your friend!

I once gained 15 pounds in 21 days while being complimented on losing weight, but that was going to the gym every single day, alternating heavy and light back squats and fitting in other exercises around them. And I was a younger man then.


#7

Obviously the previously stated approaches will work. One thing I’ve found is that if you run a program like German volume training, DC etc that are slightly on the extreme side you can often gain muscle at a fairly quick rate. Now the key is having the nutrition and recovery down.


#8

I think all your questions have pretty much been answered. How old are you? As that will play a factor in how quickly you can achieve this. Given your background, I’m thinking mid 20’s.

Not that being younger means you should be any less diligent or detailed, but if you are 25, you could maybe achieve this in 2-3 years. If you’re 20, maybe as little as 1-1.5 years. Those are just general numbers though, everyone is different, and I cannot iterate enough: it will require great diligence and attention to detail.


#9

What are your numbers like, also power clean and deadlift?

You can actually really blow up just by making a bunch of adjustments to an olympic lifting program.
Plus one day a week add on tons of very high rep beach work for negleted groups like side laterals, arm isolation work. Ask Thib in his forum also -…

Also get in as musch intra workout nutrition that can digest/within budget like Plazma or Bcaas+ karbolyn, leucine etc