T Nation

Stalling After Mass Gain

Hello,

So I am doing 5x5 Stronglifts, I am on my 3rd week now, and I was doing more “classical” hypertrophy 3x8 before.

Here is the progression, I’m 5’9 :

  • 2009 : 125 pounds
  • 2010 : 140 pounds
  • dec 2011 : 155 pounds
  • today : 157 pounds

But, those last 2 weeks, my weight has been totally stalling, and I eat really far more than I was eating before.

Typical rest day eat :

  • 7:00 AM - Breakfast : 1 scoop whey, 1 scoop casein, 1.5 cup oatmeal, some coconut powder, honey, blended (approx 600 / 700 Kcal I believe)

  • 10:00 AM - coffee with a bit of sugar + cereal bar (140 KCal for theb ar) + multivit

  • 12:00 - Big big meal : like 350 beef, pasta, dessert / 1200 to 1600 Kcal

  • 7:30 PM - usually Pasta or Potatoe or Rice + Lean meat (800 to 1000 Kcal)

  • 0:00 - Casein 1,5 scoop + creatine + some honey blended (250 Kcal)

So a total of more than 3000 Kcal at minimum… On weekends I go up to 4000…

I walk like 30 min a day too, and work hard (hard to split those meals so I just eat a lot)

I don’t really know what’s happening. My weight is the same, stalling between 158 to 159 pds…

ANy idea on how to improve this ?

Tyro, well first off great work, Looks like you are eating alot…Mayabe try some nuts…i.e almonds eanuts cashews, premade meals that you can bring with you are great. Trying adding one more small meal in there or a snack . That 6th meal will shock your system and should get you over that hump. Let me know if you have anymore questions

The actual number of calories you eat is irrelevant to your problem.

If you arent gaining bodyweight, YOU ARE NOT EATING ENOUGH. So whether you think 4000 calories is a lot or a little amount of food, it is irrelevant. A lot =/= Enough in your case.

You seem to know this but dont want to acknowledge it, it seems.

How old are you?

Goodness.

When my weight doesn’t increase when I want it to, I eat more. Little did I know it was THIS complicated.

What is getting ridiculous is guys making no progress because they would rather try to be “perfect” than make sure they are actually giving themselves enough to grow at all times.

God forbid you lose an ab before you adjust your caloric intake.

As soon as one of you who acts like this gets huge, let me know.

It’s been like…ten years and not one yet.

Maybe your physical activity level has increased (join a sport recently?) and it’s interfering. Get a scale and get really accurate with measuring Calories in. If you find you’re still eating as much as you think you are then you’ll just need more. On a semi-unrelated note, where’s the fruits and vegetables? I see that you take a multivitamin but don’t mention Essential Fatty Acid Supplementation.

I don’t want to say it’s a micro-deficiency that’s stalling your weight (via hormonal effects or some bullshit like that) but it’s something that should be adressed anyway for long term reasons.

But yes, eat more in a measured way until you see a correlation. Don’t go sumo, but don’t go abercrombie either.

[quote]Gumpshmee wrote:
Maybe your physical activity level has increased (join a sport recently?) and it’s interfering. Get a scale and get really accurate with measuring Calories in. If you find you’re still eating as much as you think you are then you’ll just need more. On a semi-unrelated note, where’s the fruits and vegetables? I see that you take a multivitamin but don’t mention Essential Fatty Acid Supplementation.

I don’t want to say it’s a micro-deficiency that’s stalling your weight (via hormonal effects) but it’s something that should be adressed anyway for long term reasons.

But yes, eat more in a measured way until you see a correlation. Don’t go sumo, but don’t go abercrombie either.[/quote]

A “microdeficiency” causing someone to not be able to gain weight? If you don’t want to get into it, why mention it when you know most of these guys are looking for something to blame for lack of progress other than themselves?

I am very interested in what one of those could possibly be that would override caloric intake on someone outside of a third world country.

In fact, don’t even take this the wrong way…but if I walked into a room filled with professionals and started talking like this I doubt it would be accepted without some credentials.

I see a lot of you jumping to issues like that before the obvious gets taken care of…as if guys in their 20’s should be getting hormones checked as to why they aren’t gaining weight instead of analyzing how much food can fit in their mouths.

It isn’t just you…but holy crap, it also doesn’t make some of you look more informed just because you bring things like that up.

[quote]BONEZ217 wrote:
The actual number of calories you eat is irrelevant to your problem.

If you arent gaining bodyweight, YOU ARE NOT EATING ENOUGH. So whether you think 4000 calories is a lot or a little amount of food, it is irrelevant. A lot =/= Enough in your case.

You seem to know this but dont want to acknowledge it, it seems.

How old are you?
[/quote]

simple as that. And to add seeing as that food labels have been shown not to be entirely accurate on calorie count sometimes upwards of 20% IIRC on frozen dinners for example. Add to that “eyeballing” errors in the count.

OP, this is just in my limited experience from the last few years, but I’ve always had bodyweights at which I had to really step up my game. Going from 140-185(ish) was pretty easy. Just ate a ton and kept gaining. For some reason (there’s been a lot on this board written about ‘set points,’ of which I think Prof X is a proponent), at 185 I just had to step up my eating game. The same thing happened when I hit 200.

I was seriously underweight at 140, and my body was looking/seeking to put on some muscle. At 185, I was at that “average” point, where my body wasn’t looking to put on weight but was open to it. At 200, I was really needing to start forcing my body to adapt and put on size.

So just try getting aggressive for a few weeks and see what happens. Bump it up by 500-1k cals and just track your progress?

Ha, this reminds me of Dr. Lowrey on Iron Radio talking about athletes saying “But I’m not hungry,” to which he says (paraphrasing) “I don’t care if you’re hungry…saying you don’t want to eat is like saying you don’t want to go train. If you don’t want to, then just stop showing up to the gym.”

Thanks for your replies

I m just counting Kcal approx in order to see when I really step up. What I feel is that on january, I really started to eat a ton more than before and gain less. I just eat, eat, and eat.

I am going to add a meal on top of this… During afternoon, maybe.

Set points exist. The only people who don’t believe in them are scrawny people.

It may take WAY more food for me to break past a certain weight whereas it didn’t for me to reach that point. It means pushing for more is pushing my body right out of its comfort zone…and it will fight me on that unless there is a HUGE surplus of calories coming in to support even more muscle growth.

This is the whole reason I bulked up. I didn’t do it for no reason or because I was lazy. I did it because it worked because I understood what I just wrote.

For info I’m 26 yo

I never had this kind of point and discovering it, and just want to optimize my reaction.

[quote]Tyro wrote:
Thanks for your replies

I m just counting Kcal approx in order to see when I really step up. What I feel is that on january, I really started to eat a ton more than before and gain less. I just eat, eat, and eat.

I am going to add a meal on top of this… During afternoon, maybe. [/quote]

OP, it’s worth mentioning that folks who say “I just eat, eat, and eat” almost never actually eat a lot.

I have a buddy that I’ve been trying to help in the gym for the better part of this academic year. He’s been really stalled on progress because he won’t eat enough. Any time I tell him that, he’s like “No, man, but I eat crazy amounts!!!” I can guarantee you he doesn’t eat sh** compared to what he thinks he does.

If you do a search on the training logs, I kept an old log last year called “BBB and Progress Updates” that started at about 150 and went to 200. The whole log isn’t that well-kept, but it gives you an idea of how you have to get aggressive. I remember the first day I purposefully tried to overeat, I hit 3k calories. I was hugely disappointed that it was only that much when I actually kept track. That was in February. By May, I was eating enough that it was insane–upwards of 5k cals per day. You literally have to condition your stomach to take in the amount of food, as well as condition yourself to eat when you’re not necessarily hungry. Treat eating like the training–honestly, it can be the suckiest part of the training. That doesn’t hold for everyone, but just people who have trouble putting on weight.

I’m not saying that people bulking need to track all the shit they eat. In fact, I think that would be counterproductive. But you need to get mentally acclimated to a baseline. The diet you wrote, e.g. “like 350 beef, pasta, dessert / 1200 to 1600 Kcal” is total bullsh**. Take a few days and really get specific. Even if it means just eating whole containers of stuff to know how many cals you’re putting down. Just to get a sense of where you’re really at. Then move it up.

Just thought I’d add, OP, from one who is also still a pretty small dude: listen to Bones and ProfX. I’ve had periods where I was skeptical of what prof X says about getting big and stuff (esp when I first started reading the boards a long time ago), but I honestly take what he says about gaining on the food side of things as pretty much gospel.

I agree with the above as far as “conditioning your body to accept more food”.

Look, I was scrawny little kid. I was scrawny enough that I was identified by other kids based on how scrawny I was. There is no way in hell someone that frail could eat over a pound of beef in one sitting like I can now…without TRAINING MYSELF to do it.
People don’t get huge on tuna. They get lean on tuna. They get huge on plate shattering amounts of real food and earth shattering weights.

Hell, basically just think about breaking shit and you should be set…toilet seats, the lining of your coat…etc.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I agree with the above as far as “conditioning your body to accept more food”.

Look, I was scrawny little kid. I was scrawny enough that I was identified by other kids based on how scrawny I was. There is no way in hell someone that frail could eat over a pound of beef in one sitting like I can now…without TRAINING MYSELF to do it.
People don’t get huge on tuna. They get lean on tuna. They get huge on plate shattering amounts of real food and earth shattering weights.

Hell, basically just think about breaking shit and you should be set…toilet seats, the lining of your coat…etc.[/quote]

X, this got me thinking…was weight gain a linear process for you?

The general thought is calories in v. calories out. But then I think of the way strength often works, where someone just experiences a rapid period of sustained gains after oftentimes a period of slow gains or even stagnation. Can weight gain be the same way? It’s always been linear for me, but I’m still in the ~200lb range.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
… Hell, basically just think about breaking shit and you should be set…toilet seats, the lining of your coat…etc.[/quote]

LOL!

[quote]The3Commandments wrote:

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I agree with the above as far as “conditioning your body to accept more food”.

Look, I was scrawny little kid. I was scrawny enough that I was identified by other kids based on how scrawny I was. There is no way in hell someone that frail could eat over a pound of beef in one sitting like I can now…without TRAINING MYSELF to do it.
People don’t get huge on tuna. They get lean on tuna. They get huge on plate shattering amounts of real food and earth shattering weights.

Hell, basically just think about breaking shit and you should be set…toilet seats, the lining of your coat…etc.[/quote]

X, this got me thinking…was weight gain a linear process for you?

The general thought is calories in v. calories out. But then I think of the way strength often works, where someone just experiences a rapid period of sustained gains after oftentimes a period of slow gains or even stagnation. Can weight gain be the same way? It’s always been linear for me, but I’m still in the ~200lb range.[/quote]

Hell no.

In college, I started keeping track of my weight when I hit 170lbs (because I thought I was “built”). It took me one year to get to 190-200lbs but then I stagnated. I had also gained a little more fat than desired (because my overall diet was pure crap…literally). I hovered around 200-220 with obvious changes in body comp until I graduated college. That was not all intentional as I had many other goals other than weight lifting…and I had to drop weight a couple of times in efforts to try to get a record deal back then or several other things I was into.

I didn’t really gain more than that until out of college when I had more control over what I was eating (no more cafeteria food). I got up to about 275lbs by the time I was recruited in the Air Force…and then had to drop a ton of weight to get in which took me over a year to actually gain back because of the stress.

The military also kept me from being able to just gain due to deployments and PT tests.

I was never able to just gain in a linear fashion. I would gain weight, judge whether I could deal with any more fat on me…if not, then I would lean up a little.

What was “acceptable” body fat for me through much of that then is no longer where I want to be.

I like the way my body is shaping up so there will be less drastic changes in body weight in the future even though I am still working on gaining some.

Things I would change: No one told me what to do or how to do it. There were no internet forums discussing this shit until after I was in college and definitely none on the level of this website. I would have got a better understanding of proteins, fats and carbs and would have ate more beef and less chicken wings…or gone ahead and got more scoops of eggs and THEN ate the giant waffle…instead of getting full on the waffle.

Either way, the main thing I learned is that your body will grow until it feels growing more is a threat. Unless even more food is coming in, it will fight against more anabolic growth because it is not cost efficient. Muscle eats a shit load of calories.

There is no need to become a whale, but if your goal is “huge”, you had just better accept trying to get there from “skinny” probably ain’t happening with you staying under 10% body fat the whole way.

So many people underestimate how much you have to eat… I was stuck at 190 for forever. Finally I said “FUCK IT” and decided I would eat as much as humanly possible to gain weight. So for an entire week I ate every single fucking thing I could and guess what… I lost a pound.

You want to know what I did then? I got so pissed I ate so much food my stomach hurt every single meal and a week later I weighed 197. I was eating an entire little caesar’s pizza as one meal… and I was eating every 3-4 hours. I must have doubled their business while I was bulking. Those pizzas only cost 5 bucks lol it was probably the most calories I could get for my buck. I kept that up until I weighed 230 and had added 90 pounds onto my bench press. I didn’t track meals or calories at all. I didn’t even think about that shit and I made more progress than I ever have in my life.

I didn’t take anything in terms of supplements or vitamins at all during this time. The answer to your question is EAT MORE. That’s it. End of discussion.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
A “microdeficiency” causing someone to not be able to gain weight? If you don’t want to get into it, why mention it when you know most of these guys are looking for something to blame for lack of progress other than themselves?

I am very interested in what one of those could possibly be that would override caloric intake on someone outside of a third world country.

In fact, don’t even take this the wrong way…but if I walked into a room filled with professionals and started talking like this I doubt it would be accepted without some credentials.

I see a lot of you jumping to issues like that before the obvious gets taken care of…as if guys in their 20’s should be getting hormones checked as to why they aren’t gaining weight instead of analyzing how much food can fit in their mouths.

It isn’t just you…but holy crap, it also doesn’t make some of you look more informed just because you bring things like that up.[/quote]

To be unmistakeably clear, “it’s a nutritional deficiency” is what I’m not saying. I’m sorry for even remotely suggesting it.

Obviously the boy needs more calories (which is what I recommended first), but no matter who you are and what your goals are, you can’t deny the value of essential nutrition. This also goes for the gains you’re making when you’re not on your death bed because you remember to cram some healthy shit down your cake hole every now and then.

I can see what mentality you’re trying to prevent and I agree with the sentiment. But I don’t want anyone to go around thinking that they’re beating off disease with a shitty multivitamin once a day on top of crap.

I think it’s also important that we shouldn’t get into the practice of recommending last resort dietary measures as the immediate solution and I see it happening a lot.

It is unrealistic to give young trainees magical expectations by ignoring the fact that you can gain weight “too fast”. A measured approach is far better, where we consume roughly no less or more than that which is required to gain at a reasonable rate, looking how we want to look, feeling how we want to feel, whether it takes 3000 calories or 5000 calories.

Just because a trainee is undereating for his goals doesn’t mean we have to give him the opposite problem. We don’t have to go nuclear every time we get to a plateau.

Edit:

Reading over some of the other posts it’s clear that he needs to cram food. But I would suggest that he gets a good picture of how much so that he doesn’t go from insufficient, straight to overboard. Gaining seven pounds in a week may look impressive just because it took a lot of effort, but it only means that you’re now eating too much. It would be better to back off than to continue blindly shoveling down more thinking that you can change your set point tomorrow by doing so, or that you’ll be getting all that lean body mass you were “entitled to” all at once.

Save your tear jerking stories about how you courageously ate until you had a tummy ache and 10 pounds of fat and muscle followed. Like no shit. It’s still calories in vs calories out. Good for you for breaking past the limiting factor of your appetite, but don’t pretend that every last bit of it went to the benefit of your physique and more importantly your health.

Gumshee, here’s something I was thinking about regarding weight gain:

As far as the guy gaining 7lbs in a week, who are you to say that it was too much? Hell, that might have been waht it took to get the muscle generation moving, and after holding that new weight for a few weeks, who knows where it led.

Honestly, I’m not even sure about whether folks who are training really hard can really eat too much clean food consistently to create real problems. I can’t think of anyone I know of on these boards or in real life who has eaten clean foods, regardless of how high the calories, and put on a ton of weight without becoming a big, brutalizing motherfu**er. Just read about MODOK, Prof X, etc when they were in our shoes. After 18 straight months of hard bulking, MODOK said he was puffy, but he was also a big, brutalizing SoB.

If there’s one thing I learned from last year, it’s that obsessing over keeping one’s abs and only making lean gains is a recipe for disaster, at least for most of us that really want to get big at some future point. I know that “lean gains” and “IF” and such are big buzzwords right now on these nutrition boards, but I would just need to see someone actually go from small to big with that sort of lifestyle.

Honestly, I find the whole “lean gains” ideal to be somewhat inconsistent insofar as it puts itself forward as forward-looking (e.g. ‘i’m so patient about my gains.’) when really it’s basically saying "i’m not willing to get big if it means being bigger than I’d like right now.’ I realize that the lean gains idea is that you don’t have to get higher in bodyfat than one would like, but again, I would have to see an actual example of that before I believe it.