T Nation

Why Can't I Add Muscle?


#1

If anyone is asking this question, we need to look at protien intake and make draw some basic theories.

1 Lb is equal to 435 Grams. Muscle is 80% or so protein. So for a round about figure we will say there is 350 Grams of protein in 1 Lb of muscle.

All day long your body is in 1 of 2 states, Catabolic or Anabolic. Catabolic being the state where tissue is broken down to feed essential organs, and anabolic being the state where the body stores excess nutrients for future use.

Now in a perfect world where we could stay in an anabolic state 100% of the time, a 200 lb man consuming the accepted 1 gram per lb of bodywight would consume 1400 grams of protein in a week.If every single gram went to building muscle, he would gain 4 lbs of muscle in a week.

This is not a perfect world and most people who do not manipulate their nutrient intake (eating) are splitting thier time evenly between catabolic and anabolic states. This of course leads to no muscle gain and no fat loss, Hypothetically. If one can manipulate thier diet in such a way that they are in anabolic mode for say 16 hours and in catabolic for only 8, that would leave 8 hours of extra muscle gaining potential. This is 33% of the total time one would be alive for a week. This equates to 462 Approx grams of protein assimilated (turned to muscle) over a week. or a little over 1Lb.

Of course this assumes none of the amino acids are being used for energy, and that there is 100% absorption in the gut. Niether of this is true real world, so we can degrade that number even further, by how much, I have no idea. I mean your body has a daily caloric need and some of the protein you inevitably eat must be used in that process. So in a perfect world, if we consume 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight throughout the day evenly, we can conceivably put on around 1 lb of muscle a week. 4lbs a month.

Being that this is not a perfect world and things happen, we need to stack the odds in our favor if we wish to make even near this amount of gains. Training will help your body decide that muscle is a priority over other systems, stacking the deck a little in favor of adding muscle. Eating a slow digesting protein before bed will give you more time in the anabolic mode, further stacking the deck in favor of muscle. Not having long periods of time where there are no nutrients in your system causing you to go catabolic during the day, will help stack the deck in favor of muscle.

Many people here have a good idea of what needs to be done in order to get more muscle on thier frames. I just wanted to do this write up of some of the basics so that people can re-focus for the winter months ahead on just what they need to do and have the motivation to stick with it. Anyone else who wants to add some simple well known ideas, please feel free to add them in. This may well be a good refresher for all of us who may have strayed a bit in our approach.

V


#2

I know that I'm a n00b compared to most people on this site but: Very well put.
Puts it into a perspective