T Nation

Weight Gain, The Slow Way...


Hey guys,

I'm currently doing a slow/clean bulk. Started at 68kg and now up to 73kg. Its been about 6 weeks and started around 12% fat and now up to 15%. I have been doing 5x5 training, do you guys reckon the weight gain is too slow? I don't really want to 'bulk' then 'cut' want to clean bulk then do a little cutting. Goal weight is 85kg and I have a few questions:

  • How long will it take to get there? I will probably have to overshoot to 87kg then cut back a few kg?
  • What is the best method to cut? HIIT e.g. Tabata front squat? How many times a week?
  • How long will it take?
  • Will 5x5 training help me gain the weight (provided I eat enough i.e. 500 calorie excess ATM for slow bulk) ... weight gain seems to have stagnated despite increasing lifts and still in calorific excess.
  • Wondering if its due to strength gains via CNS adaptation rather than myofibrillar hypertrophy? How can I change this? I take 1-2 mins break between sets.

NOTE: I am not bothered about size gains at all. Size is just a bonus for me. I don't really want to do high rep work like 3x8 etc. More interested in raw strength (5 reps and less) and also increasing bodyweight (to about 85kg) but at the same time I don't want to get a pot belly in the process! I know its multiple goals and targets etc but I just want experience and opinions of you guys. Especially those who have done 5x5.

Also, current stats (still increasing steadily):

Squat: 120kg
Bench: 80kg
OHP: 60kg
Barbell Row: 80kg
Deadlift: 140kg
Bodyweight: 73kg

Thanks guys!


How long have you been lifting? Also, 5kg in 6 weeks doesn't seem so slow to me - thats nearly 2lb a week man.


I am very skeptical of the validity of the OP.


So you gained 5 kg and 3% bodyfat in 6 weeks on a clean bulk? I don't think that's slow progress my friend. Over a year that will add up to a lot of weight and probably far too much body fat. By the same reckoning, in 2 months you will be almost 20% body fat on a 'slow clean bulk'.

After 8 months, I'm now happy if I can gain around 1-2kg a month. Post up your diet, how long have you been training?


I've been training on and off for around 8 months but never been able to get over 73kg bodyweight but my lifts have always gone up. Whenever I get to 73kg it seems I stop putting on weight and I'm at that stage now so trying to figure out why I'm stuck!

@countingbeans: Validity in what sense? What seems invalid?

@HiFiBoy: I guess its not slow progress now that you put it that way but the weight gain seems to stall at 73kg so I get good fast progress then it all just stops at 73kg. Any ideas why? I'm guessing it may be diet / not enough calories. How can I increase my calories in a clean way? Would milk be the best option or are there 'cleaner' ways to increase calories? At the moment it'd be 160lbs x 18cal = 2880 calories to bulk during heavy lifting and from below it works out to about 2850 calories on non workout days and 2950 on workout days. Should be plenty? I'm pretty sure I'm not a 'hardgainer'. I'm thinking maybe just have an extra 500ml milk to boost the calories?

Sample Diet:

Breakfast: Cereal + 3x Scrambled eggs on 2x toast (550cal) + 200ml orange juice (100cal)
Snack: 500ml milk (250cal) + bannana (100cal) + apple (100cal)
Lunch: 2x Cheese and Salmon sandwiches (1000 cal)
Snack/Post Workout: 500ml milk + 30g whey protein powder on workout days (250/350 cal)
Dinner: 150g mince lamb (250cal) + 200g brown rice (250cal)

Thanks again guys!


I only weigh a little more than you so I'm in no real place to give advice, but I would think under 3000 calories is not enough to gain at your weight. I would have thought at least 3500, I drink 2l of milk a day, partly because it's my favourite drink, but also because it's 1000 easy calories.

I think you could add another solid meal in there too. I'm bulking so I don't really care too much about eating 100% clean, I'm just scared of wasting my time in the gym by not fueling my body. If you want to gain 10kg you definitely need to eat more, don't worry about a little fat gain, just don't eat shit.

Also, I recently added 2 raw eggs to my protein shakes, more easy calories.


@BulletproofTiger: Kinda see what he's getting at but I use the metric system out of personal preference... Weight scales are in kg, my home gym has kg on all the weights so yeah. And anyway why would I post up all that information if I didn't want/need help? But If you prefer imperial then I guess I can accomodate:

Squat: 264lbs
Bench: 176lbs
OHP: 132lbs
Barbell Row: 176kg
Deadlift: 308lbs
Bodyweight: 160lbs


I was just going for a laugh; not that I thought fags used the metric system (although it is evil and foreign lol), but thanks for obliging by posting the weights in pounds :stuck_out_tongue: I can honestly see your sincerity in the original post.

My best advice is that you should be happy with nearly a pound of solid muscle gain per week. For real. That's nothing to sneeze at. Imagine if you could keep that up for a year... So just try to be patient. Best.


Firstly, like others have said 5kg in 6 weeks is fast weight gain and you cant really expect gains like that to continue forever unless you gain a lot of fat.

Dont worry too much about counting your calories (unless you think its funlol) it is very hard to determine eaccuratly wat your energy expenditure is. Even though you think you are in caloric surplus you aren't if you are not gaining weight, so you need to eat more.
When I am "bulking" I aim for 1kg a month (ON AVERAGE). One way I make sure I achieve this is to weigh myself at the same time every week. If I do not gain weight (more that 100g) for two weeks in a row I know I need to increase my food. If I have been lazy and not been eating 5 solid meals a day then I will make sure I get that right, after that I find the easiest way is to dring 500ml (as you sugested) of milk before bed. There are plenty of tips for increasing your food/clories in the bulking threads.

As for How long it will take I would say at least a year (obvioulsy this is variable depending on a lot of factors), you should aim to hit 85kg in around a year or less, from there you can decide if you need to gain more before cutting back.

A good way to judge if you are putting on too much fat is to take a waist measurement at navel hight. You can expect it to go up but you want to minimise how much. If you are getting to fat for you liking dont freak out, make small ajustment like not eating as much crap (fast food, soda, snacks) and using low fat dairy ect.

I'm not as experienced with cutting (I usually just dial back on the milk and have smaller portions when I want to drop a kg or 2) but its generally faster. How fast will depend on how much you need to loose, if you only have a couple of extra kgs you can go for 1kg per wk. Cutting is much more about your diet, adding in some cardio is helpful though.

I havent done 5x5 but it seems like a good program for your goals. Just keep your form strict (read: full ROM) and eat enough and you should gain the muscle wieght as you get stronger.

Hope this answered your questions. PS how old are you?


Sample Diet:

Breakfast: Cereal + 3x Scrambled eggs on 2x toast (550cal) + 200ml orange juice (100cal)
Snack: 500ml milk (250cal) + bannana (100cal) + apple (100cal)
Lunch: 2x Cheese and Salmon sandwiches (1000 cal)
Snack/Post Workout: 500ml milk + 30g whey protein powder on workout days (250/350 cal)
Dinner: 150g mince lamb (250cal) + 200g brown rice (250cal)

Thanks again guys![/quote]

Personally I wouldn't increase my calories by adding more milk. I would try and get in another solid meal. Just make extra dinner (or get you mum too) and eat the left overs during the day when ever your longest time without eating is. Also I hope there are some vegetables in there, if not add them in or at least take a fibre supliment.


Personally, I dont even read posts that are made with 'kg' in them. Im a dum dum meathead.


I just multiply by 2.
Fuck it, close enough.


The obvious and correct answer is that you're not eating enough to support more than 73kg.

The more muscle you add, the more you'll need to eat to gain more.