T Nation

Weight Gain

I just started working out a few months ago after graduating from college. I’m 24, 5’6", 140lbs. I lifted weights a little off and on before college but for 5+ years I hadn’t done much of any physical activity. I’ve always been a pretty skinny guy. After college was over I had a little fat on me but not too much, so my first goal was to lose most of that extra fat which I have done in 3 months. I’m now fairly cut.

All the articles I’ve read on controlling weight basically state that if you intake more calories than you burn you gain weight, and vice versa. This makes sense, but what if I want to gain only muscle? Should I try to get a larger percentage of my calories from protein? I’ve been training at the gym at work and am in the process of buying some equipment for home so that I can work out longer hours at home. I have a bench with a rack for squats, dumbells, curl bars and the weights obviously. I need to know if I should buy more equipment or how good of a workout can I get just from these? Please post some articles I can absorb!

I’m sure there is an article on workout plans. I searched and found reference to CW’s TFT program but couldn’t find the actual program mentioned. Can someone help me?
I’ll share my current workout below.

For the past few months my workout has been the following
M,W,F:

8-12 reps of the following (2 sets):

Bench, squat, preacher curls, then 4 freemotion machines consisting of shoulders, lats, row, and back, then I do calf raises and jump rope between sets.

T,R:

2 sets of:

Cycle for 10 min
Run for 10 min
jump rope
Pull ups and dips

Sat.:
I try to run for an extended period and do some other cardio… sometimes it’s just an active sport for a while.

Sun.: rest

If I want to bulk up should I do other weight lifting on the days i’m doing cardio or in addition?
After talking to someone I should cut back on reps and then maybe try to do 3 sets?
I feel like I should probably cut back on cardio also if i want to get more size because won’t cardio slim me down?

I’m pretty ambitious and know I will definitely stick with working out now because I love the results I’ve gotten in only a few months. I just want to make sure that I am being as productive as possible.
I also recently purchased whey protein, protein bars, some creatiine/NO-X, and some Lipo 6 fat burners that was recommended to me. I have been taking some fat burners trying different ones. It’s hard to know for sure if they are really helping or not. Since I’m working out in addition to taking these.

If you goal is to gain ONLY muscle, its probably not going to happen unless you are a complete newb, so throw that idea out the window right now.

There are three phases of body shaping you can go through:

1 - Bulking : Typical mass building phase in which you eat more calories than you burn in an effort to gain total mass. This mass will include both muscle and fat.

2 - Maintenance : Phase in which you are eating the same amount of calories you burn in an effort to neither gain or lose weight.

3 - Cutting Phase : Eating a marginally lower amount of calories than you burn in an effort to lose ONLY FAT. Muscle loss in this area can be lost if proper precautions are not taken.

As far as cardio goes it is usually only a good idea to do a lot of it on a cutting or maintenance pahse. However, for health reasons High Intensity Cardio done at short intervals is beneficial and may even be CATABOLIC!!! (burns fat and promotes muscle gain!)

Well I want to continue to lose fat but gain muscle at the same time. I don’t have a lot of fat to lose since i’m so small. What do you suggest I focus on?

Should I eat more or less calories than I burn?

Since I want to gain weight I would assume eat more calories. However, I want to lose my body fat. Will my body fat naturally go away if I am working out and putting on muscle? or will it just be less noticeable?

It’s more important for me to remain cut or become more cut but I also want to gain size.

Looking at your stats, you must be having a similar physique as mine.

Trust me, I am skinny

Do yourself a favor and don’t pursue the impossible, that is, burn fat while trying to add muscle- as it simply won’t happen.

Concentrate on increasing overall body mass rite now. If you eat big and clean, you will put on more fat than muscle, I can assure you.

Also, the more muscle you add, the less noticeable your “existing” fat will be. I highly doubt you are carrying much fat weighing 140lbs.

Read the other poster’s advice and start a BULKING PHASE.

[quote]chirag wrote:
Looking at your stats, you must be having a similar physique as mine.

Trust me, I am skinny

If you eat big and clean, you will put on more fat than muscle, I can assure you.

[/quote]

What? I think you meant the opposite.

Not necessarily…its kind of hard to add more muscle than fat. Its a combination of HARD ass gym training, calories that are just above maintanence and good genes.

If you want to gain ANYTHING (fat or muscle) you MUST eat more than you burn… no exceptions. If you want to save money in the bank, you must earn more than you spend.

It is relatively easy, albeit a long process, to lose a good deal of fat with minimum atrophy on a cutting phase.

I’m not really sure but are you guys suggesting I put on weight at first… fat and muscle whatever I can get. And then once I have a little extra weight cut back and go in a maintenance phase and try to turn it all to muscle more or less? and then put on more weight and so on?

My problem right now is that I have a hard time gauging just how many calories I burn since I’m extremely active.

Also, I have a hard time because some sources say eat a lot and they will show you meal examples. These are usually for guys who way quite a bit mroe than me. However, I can eat A LOT. Seriously I don’t know of many people who can out eat me. If I wanted to I could easily take in a pretty lean 5k calories per day. I just don’t want to add any more fat, that’s my biggest thing.

Look, you aren’t going to be able to add any appreciable amount of muscle without also gaining some fat. Unless you are on the juice or some sort of anabolics, it just isn’t very realistic to think that you can do this.

If you want to stay cut, eat maintenance calories. If you want to gain weight, you need to eat more.

Try doing a food log for a couple of weeks and see how many calories you are taking in. Take your weight and, if possible, measure your bodyfat before you start and then again after 2-4 weeks.

If you are gaining weight and and not much fat, continue. If you are gaining weight and a lot of it is fat, cut back the calories a bit or throw in some cardio a couple days a week.

There is really no way to determine an individuals calorie needs, everyone is different. Read some Berardi articles and try some of his eating plans.

[quote]Rockscar wrote:
chirag wrote:
Looking at your stats, you must be having a similar physique as mine.

Trust me, I am skinny

If you eat big and clean, you will put on more fat than muscle, I can assure you.

What? I think you meant the opposite.

[/quote]

Sorry man, thanks for correcting me.

I type a bit too fast at times.

[quote]tad wrote:
I’m not really sure but are you guys suggesting I put on weight at first… fat and muscle whatever I can get. And then once I have a little extra weight cut back and go in a maintenance phase and try to turn it all to muscle more or less? and then put on more weight and so on?

My problem right now is that I have a hard time gauging just how many calories I burn since I’m extremely active.

Also, I have a hard time because some sources say eat a lot and they will show you meal examples. These are usually for guys who way quite a bit mroe than me. However, I can eat A LOT. Seriously I don’t know of many people who can out eat me. If I wanted to I could easily take in a pretty lean 5k calories per day. I just don’t want to add any more fat, that’s my biggest thing.[/quote]

Listen dude, apart from having similar stats as me, you’ve also got my same bad habit: to mycroanalyze everything.

Fuck calculating your daily caloric expenditure- as its almost impossible to determine accurately anyways…

…what happens if one day you get laid, do you “plan” an extra meal to compensate for the unexpected extra activity you just had??

If you’ve got a good apetite, you are already at a big advantage.

Just start eating a lot of clean foods. 6 times a day.

Record your progress in weight gain and look in the mirror or ask ppl if they find you more muscular or more soft ever since you started eating more.

Hell, you yourself should be able to gauge whether you are adding more fat than muscle. Aim to gain 1 pound a week or a bit less- that’s a reasonable goal and won’t allow much fat gain anyways. If you are active, most of it will be muscle.

Don’t get worried about that little fat you may put on along the way. Its MUCH easier to diet off that fat later on, than fret about being skinny your whole life. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t be asking for advice on how to gain muscle in the first place!

[quote]chirag wrote:
tad wrote:
I’m not really sure but are you guys suggesting I put on weight at first… fat and muscle whatever I can get. And then once I have a little extra weight cut back and go in a maintenance phase and try to turn it all to muscle more or less? and then put on more weight and so on?

My problem right now is that I have a hard time gauging just how many calories I burn since I’m extremely active.

Also, I have a hard time because some sources say eat a lot and they will show you meal examples. These are usually for guys who way quite a bit mroe than me. However, I can eat A LOT. Seriously I don’t know of many people who can out eat me. If I wanted to I could easily take in a pretty lean 5k calories per day. I just don’t want to add any more fat, that’s my biggest thing.

Listen dude, apart from having similar stats as me, you’ve also got my same bad habit: to mycroanalyze everything.

Fuck calculating your daily caloric expenditure- as its almost impossible to determine accurately anyways…

…what happens if one day you get laid, do you “plan” an extra meal to compensate for the unexpected extra activity you just had??

If you’ve got a good apetite, you are already at a big advantage.

Just start eating a lot of clean foods. 6 times a day.

Record your progress in weight gain and look in the mirror or ask ppl if they find you more muscular or more soft ever since you started eating more.

Hell, you yourself should be able to gauge whether you are adding more fat than muscle. Aim to gain 1 pound a week or a bit less- that’s a reasonable goal and won’t allow much fat gain anyways. If you are active, most of it will be muscle.

Don’t get worried about that little fat you may put on along the way. Its MUCH easier to diet off that fat later on, than fret about being skinny your whole life. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t be asking for advice on how to gain muscle in the first place!

[/quote]

sniff

They grow up so fast, don’t they?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
chirag wrote:
tad wrote:
I’m not really sure but are you guys suggesting I put on weight at first… fat and muscle whatever I can get. And then once I have a little extra weight cut back and go in a maintenance phase and try to turn it all to muscle more or less? and then put on more weight and so on?

My problem right now is that I have a hard time gauging just how many calories I burn since I’m extremely active.

Also, I have a hard time because some sources say eat a lot and they will show you meal examples. These are usually for guys who way quite a bit mroe than me. However, I can eat A LOT. Seriously I don’t know of many people who can out eat me. If I wanted to I could easily take in a pretty lean 5k calories per day. I just don’t want to add any more fat, that’s my biggest thing.

Listen dude, apart from having similar stats as me, you’ve also got my same bad habit: to mycroanalyze everything.

Fuck calculating your daily caloric expenditure- as its almost impossible to determine accurately anyways…

…what happens if one day you get laid, do you “plan” an extra meal to compensate for the unexpected extra activity you just had??

If you’ve got a good apetite, you are already at a big advantage.

Just start eating a lot of clean foods. 6 times a day.

Record your progress in weight gain and look in the mirror or ask ppl if they find you more muscular or more soft ever since you started eating more.

Hell, you yourself should be able to gauge whether you are adding more fat than muscle. Aim to gain 1 pound a week or a bit less- that’s a reasonable goal and won’t allow much fat gain anyways. If you are active, most of it will be muscle.

Don’t get worried about that little fat you may put on along the way. Its MUCH easier to diet off that fat later on, than fret about being skinny your whole life. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t be asking for advice on how to gain muscle in the first place!

sniff

They grow up so fast, don’t they?[/quote]

LOL Prof X…

… you just had to crack me up at work didn’t you?

Words of wisdom!

I was on the same boat as chirag. Forget about losing fat, you’re not fat, and your abs will come back when you cut.

[quote]PharmD Pete wrote:
Look, you aren’t going to be able to add any appreciable amount of muscle without also gaining some fat. Unless you are on the juice or some sort of anabolics, it just isn’t very realistic to think that you can do this.

If you want to stay cut, eat maintenance calories. If you want to gain weight, you need to eat more.

Try doing a food log for a couple of weeks and see how many calories you are taking in. Take your weight and, if possible, measure your bodyfat before you start and then again after 2-4 weeks.

If you are gaining weight and and not much fat, continue. If you are gaining weight and a lot of it is fat, cut back the calories a bit or throw in some cardio a couple days a week.

There is really no way to determine an individuals calorie needs, everyone is different. Read some Berardi articles and try some of his eating plans.[/quote]

Pete is right. I was at 145-150 lbs. all the way til I was 20 years old. I tried to gain weight but not fat, it doesn’t work that way. I ate literally everything every 1 1/2 hours or drank a weight gainer shake. I put on alot of weight, fat and muscle. I gained about 30 pound in about a year. I was amazed I could be 180 pounds. No one in my family weighs more than 170 pounds, I now wegh 215 pounds, I’ll be doing some fat burning later not now. I’ll try to get up to 225-230 befor I begin my diet.
Eat more and don’t worry about the fat, the fat is actually your friend

[quote]nanjingldv wrote:

Eat more and don’t worry about the fat, the fat is actually your friend
[/quote]
That fact is tough for many people to swallow, including myself. But very true.

Topic creator, take note.

OK thanks guys…

I’ve been trying to follow these boards as much as possible lately and absorbing as much knowledge from the experts here as my busy life schedule will allow me.

I am now intaking roughly 4k-4.5k calories per day and I think I will try to keep increasing that another 1k every couple of weeks and sort of monitor the effect of that. I read that it’s not good to just drastically increase your caloric intake all at once.

I also got my body fat % tested and I’m a lean 8.6%.

I just started CW’s TBT workout and it just seems like i’m not doing that much honestly. I’ve read and re-read it several times but it just doesn’t seem like by doing that amount of work in a week that I will get results even close to what I want in the amount of time that I want them… I realize these things do take time. I’m willing to put in at least an hour or more per day and his guideline is less than 3hrs per week all together. Maybe I’m naive or maybe i’m misreading something. However, I just feel like I can reach my goals quicker if I train more.

I’d like to be able to throw in some cardio and also I enjoy indoor climbing but I don’t want that to interfere with my TBT workout plan.

Please advise
Thanks guys… you’re all truely awesome!

4.5k of CLEAN food?

And increase that every week or two?

Uhm… are you serious?

You’d be suprised the results you get with “less” effort. If you’re in the gym more than an hour at a time, you’re either going to slow with your workout (read not intense) or doing to much…which would burn even more calories. Seeing as you want to utilize the calories you’re taking in for growing…I don’t think you really want to use them for “extra” work in the gym. I’ve seen guys grow from as little as 30 - 35 mins in the gym at a time. Of course, you gotta be intense about it!

[quote]needoptic wrote:
4.5k of CLEAN food?

And increase that every week or two?

Uhm… are you serious? [/quote]

yes, why?

Tad,

I’m surprised no one suggested you review vroom’s Are You A Beginning (I and II) threads. They have lots of useful links.

Best of luck to you.

/Sully
Big. Old. Pissed off.