T Nation

Physiological Reactions to Mass Gain


Hi guys,

I thought about posting this in the Injuries/Rehab forum, but this is a pretty general (and anecdotal) question about putting on mass, so I thought I'd just post it here:

I've been lifting after a layoff and put on about 30lbs in the past 8 weeks (~155 to ~185, some of which may be fat, but no increase in waist size). I also run 5 miles a day (I've run up to 100mpw at times, as I used to train for long distance events, so 5 miles a day for me is very little).

This week, I've developed a pretty bizarre swelling in my right foot around the achilles tendon. I haven't been able to run for three days.

Thing is, I've had an injury similar to this one in the past that wasn't easy to explain. Last year, I went from 140 (very underweight from distance running) to 175 in short order. After a week or so at this weight, my left shin swelled significantly. I thought I had somehow broken my shin, so I got it seen by a doctor and X-rayed, and there was no break. He said he thought it might be compartment syndrome, but I should give it two weeks or so to see what it does since compartment syndrome is a pretty serious diagnosis. The swelling subsided after about two weeks, and the doctor never really gave a satisfactory explanation.

My own take on it now that I've had this sort of phenomenon recurred is that perhaps my body developed some sort of abnormality/slight injury (e.g. a slight stress fracture in the shin, or a slightly stressed achilles tendon), and the body supercomensated for the abnormality because of the drastic increase in load (bodyweight) over the short period of time. Does that seem reasonable?

Have any of you had any other weird reactions to putting on mass?


5 miles a day might be easy for you to do physically but its likely that your skeletal and connective tissue hasn't adapted to the stress that gaining 30 pounds and doing the same mileage a day does to your body.


Yeah, I went from 140 to 200 and when I started running again it was not as easy as before. Weird, huh?

5 miles a day might have been very easy for you and your shins at 155 pounds, but doing it with a 30 pound weight vest might not have been that easy. There's always a limit for what you can recover from and you seem to have reached it.

Try running every other day? When you've recovered of course.

Can you describe what you mean by "supercompensated for the abnormality"?

If it's around the tendon, it's NOT compartment syndrome. My guess is some sort of inflammation. Rest and don't stress it so hard in the future.

EDIT: Didn't see Joab's post.


Just to be clear, it's not as if I gained the weight then started running again. I had been running throughout the course of the weight gain in both occasions.

What I mean by 'supercompensated' is that, for instance, the body recognizes a point of stress (in this instance, perhaps my achielles straining somewhat, in the latter case my shin developing a slight stress fracture) due to a gradual but precipitous increase in tension due to bodyweight and overprotects itself from further injury. So while a stress fracture might normally yield discomfort and slight swelling and the achilles pain might yield something similar, the body swells more than usual because it's not used to the increased load and reacts to protect itself from further stress.

But yeah Joab's reaction was similar to mine. The reason I thought I'd ask is because the phenomenon has occurred twice now for me, and the first time the doctor didn't have any sort of explanation. It's only now that it's reoccurred in a different area during a weight gain phase that I'm seeing the distinct connection on that front.

Thanks for the responses.


If you've ever wondered why big men don't jog long distances, you have your answer. Five miles twice a week may be enough to recover from, but every single day???

You have a choice to make: Be good at distance running, or get big. If you try to do both, you'll fail at both.

Personally, I say screw jogging, I run. Three 40's to warm up, then five 100's as fast as I can go. Walk around the block to cool down, and I'm done. Hasn't seemed to get in the way of building mass, keeps my fat level manageable, and keeps my speed up. Wins all around.


^Agreed 100%. 5 miles every day is too much


Can we see pics of 30lbs in 8 weeks, while running 5 mi/day?


I PM'ed you because I didn't want to turn this thread into a RMP thread.

As far as the other responders go, I appreciate your input. I have been planning on phasing out running gradually until I hit 200lbs or so, after which I wouldn't run.

Honestly, recovery hasn't been the issue so much as calorie expenditure. I've had to eat pretty heroic amounts of food (5k calories/day +) to keep gaining, and I know that the calorie needs only increase as you put on weight.

And I'm not trying to be good at distance running. Like I said earlier, 5 miles a day is very little for me--about 30% of the my absolute peak mileage and about half of what I normally run. I just like running--relaxing and whatnot.

Anywho, thanks for the input, guys. I'll probably speed up my phasing out of daily running more quickly.


You would be putting those calories to much better use if you'd cut most of this jogging shit out. You're wasting food.