T Nation

Putting on 10 lbs of Muscle?


#1

Im 54 years old. 6ft and 172 lbs. I lost 30 lbs in the last year. Changed my diet and am hitting the gym 3x/week. I’m not bodybuilding, but I get after it pretty good for an old guy. I’d like to add 10lbs of muscle without getting fat. I know I’ll have to eat more, but how do I figure how much more and what types of food. I am not a teenager, so just shoving a ton of food down my throat will not work. Any thoughts from some old guys? Thanks.


#2

start by getting a calorie counting app like my fitness pal tracking what you eat now
check macros protein fats carbs
add 100 calories
check results after one week
adjust as neccessary
take pictures
same lighting same pose
compare each week or each month


#3

Congratulations on the recent weight loss. I have no specific advise for you, but rather a question that might help others give you better advice.

If you aren’t “bodybuilding”, what are you doing? There are many things you can do in the gym that will not elicit a significant growth response from your muscles. You could be the hardest, baddest dude on the elliptical machine but you will never force your body to grow 10 pounds of muscle with it.

To make your body grow 10 pounds of muscle will need some form of progressively overloaded weight training, commonly referred to as “bodybuilding”.


#4

Excellent point. I guess what I meant was I’m not in the gym five hours per day trying to turn myself into Arnold. I lift weights three times per week. A mix of free weights and machines. When I use machines, it’s usually hammer strength. I’ll do chest and arms in one workout. Back and shoulders in another. Legs in another. I’ll do three exercises per body part and usually do three sets per exercise. I push myself pretty hard by trying to either increase weight or reps every week. I also try to minimize rest between sets. I also change up my routines every now and then. I try to combine some strength type work and some hypertrophy type work. I have no interest in becoming a gym rat or getting ripped. I just want to add some size to my frame that’s muscle and not fat. I realize being 54 presents some challenges.


#5

I hate to break it to you man, but you are bodybuilding. Try not to get too down on yourself for it.


#6

Lol. Ok I give up. I guess I’m bodybuilding. Just funny to think of it that way. There are literally women at my gym with bigger muscles than I have. There are guys who barely fit through doorways.


#7

if youre not trying to gain fat with it I suggest getting good at chicken breast, fish, rice, almond and sweet potato recipes


#8

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#9

Push harder. In reality, I’m probably not up for all that. I don’t mind eating a lot more, but I don’t want to gain 25 lbs just to put 10 lbs of muscle. So I guess I’ll just continue my lifting routine and add a moderate amount of calories and see what happens. Thanks…


#10

Hi Nashtide.

You’re thread reminded me of this one. Maybe some of this discussion will help. Some of these people know a lot about gaining and keeping muscle in our 40’s and 50’s. I liked what Brick said about training age in that thread. If you’re new at this, you’re in a little bit different position than someone who’s been lifting for 20 years and has likely reached their natural potential long ago.

Idealism - What Now?


#11

Thanks powderpuff. I’m relatively new at this. Been at it about a year. Also just started TRT, so I’m hoping that helps offset my age a little.


#12

TRT will help but be patient - results for fat loss can take up to a year but continue from there. You can gain LBM at your age but it takes longer and all of the variables become more critical, especially diet!

Good luck.


#13

Thanks. Any specific thoughts on diet? My T was below the low range both free and total. So it’s gotta help to raise the level to the high side of the range. I already eat very healthy. No fast food, no junk food. Lots of fresh veggies and fruits. My problem is I’m not motivated enough to check the calorie content of everything I eat. I’m just not disciplined enough to keep at that kind of thing for any length of time. So my current plan is to increase my caloric intake a little at a time and to monitor my progress.


#14

I’m a believer in protein and cycling carbs. Do some reading on it - basically, eat most of your carbs around your workout and go low carb on days you don’t work out. Read the thread by Eye Dentist, I think it’s in the training category - the guy is in his fifties and ripped.

The TRT may not get you to the high side of the range - I’m mid-range a week after my shot so higher right after and then tapering down to mid. It makes a world of difference and from what I read, helps your body use protein more efficiently. I was 170 before TRT and about 650 now (300-1100).

I’m batshit crazy and log every thing I eat in an app, then transfer it to a spreadsheet every morning. I don’t think that’s necessary, just my own psychosis.

Read a little about resting between exercises - from memory, I think 90 seconds is best for hypertrophy, less for tone, more for strength.

Get sleep!!!

I also supplement - protein, creatine, chromium piccolinate, Alpha Lipoeic acid, grapeseed (AI), and whatever else I feel like polluting my body with.

Just some ideas, not gospel, and I’m far from an expert. Been on TRT for 18 months and have added some LBM and lost some fat, around 13% body fat now. But, most every body else on here is more knowledgeable than I so take it all with a grain of salt.


#15

As someone mentioned above try tracking your diet on Myfitnesspal.com. It’s a real easy to use site/app. I’m having some issues with low iron so started tracking on it about a year ago. After a bit when you get your common foods in the diary it takes probably a minute to log you day’s food. Remember the management saying, “what gets measured gets managed”.


#16

Thanks for the responses. I will definetly checkout eye dentists posts. I’m not a detailed oriented guy. I just can’t get into the minutiae. I need easy to follow, broad sweeping generalities! I know this will not be optimal, but I just know myself. I never gonna track calories for any length of time. Things like carb cycling, I can get with.

I only mentioned the high side of normal on the TRT because that is my docs goal for me. I assume doses will be fiddled with as time goes by and as tests indicate.


#17

Sounds mostly like an unrealistic idea of what’s actually possible. Most people in their 20’s or 30’s are not going to put on 10 pounds of muscle in a year, or over a span of years – especially without gaining some extra weight in the process that needs to be trimmed off later. I’m not saying don’t have big goals, but at your age you should expect to need a major effort to put on half of what you’re asking about.

I’m 48 with a T level of around 1000, and I’ve been having some success by calorie cycling. That is spending about 2 months in a calorie surplus and then cutting back for 2 or 3 weeks. I’ve maintained a low body fat while adding a couple pounds of muscle since October – and that’s probably an overly liberal estimate.


#18

Thanks @adrencg. I just pulled the ten lbs figure out of the air. I actually have no idea what ten pounds of muscle would actually look like. I suppose I need to amend this goal. So, I’d like to increase the size of my chest and shoulders. My arms are actually looking pretty good and so is my back. So maybe that’ll only take a couple pounds of muscle to accomplish. I’m just not at all interested in gaining back any of the fat I worked so hard to lose! I’m intrigued by this idea of calorie cycling. Seems the winter and early spring would be a great time to stay in a calorie surplus and late spring and summer in a slight calorie deficit. Then maybe spend the fall in an equilibrium?


#19

I think a lot of people get the idea that so much is possible by these articles about movie stars “packing on muscle” for film roles. Like Bradley Cooper’s “amazing” transformation by adding 35 pounds of muscle in 6 months, or whatever it was. They should have called the movie American Fat Sniper.


#20

Do you know your body fat percentage? I would suggest getting as lean as possible before making an effort to gain muscle. You’ll be less likely to gain extra fat, and be in a more anabolic state right from the outset. From my recent experience, I can tell you it’s actually hard to get fat after you’re been down to 8% body fat. I was eating like a fiend (comparatively to my cutting diet) and my abs stayed pretty much visible for about 3 months.