Increasing lean muscle with BW only

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the monkey
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Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#1 Postby the monkey » Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:53 am

Hey, I am trying to increase my lean muscle % and obtain stronger/bigger muscles (not huge bulk) but using bodyweight exercises and anything that pretty much utilizes gravity and my body as resistance as well as isometrics and an isometric band that i got for free. Is there a way to do this, also how would the nutrition be for a goal such as mine??
Any help would be appreciated, Thanks

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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#2 Postby I'm Your Man » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:19 am

That's the kind of training I do since many months, and some periods of no training at all, and it seems to be plenty enough to gain and maintain a decent musculature. In fact that's what you need to do if you don't want huge muscles, just do endurance, long series with light weights or bodyweight, yoga, sports, running, cycling, speed rope, martial arts, all kind of gymnastic exercices and flexibility.

Here's a link to previous posts on the same matter:

viewtopic.php?f=47&t=13031

and inside that post there's another link to another post on same subject.
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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#3 Postby veganmaster » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:58 am

the monkey wrote:Hey, I am trying to increase my lean muscle % and obtain stronger/bigger muscles (not huge bulk) but using bodyweight exercises and anything that pretty much utilizes gravity and my body as resistance as well as isometrics and an isometric band that i got for free. Is there a way to do this, also how would the nutrition be for a goal such as mine??
Any help would be appreciated, Thanks


Read my posts in this thread for detailed references and info:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8318&p=103995#p103995

Basically, muscle work does not require anything but your body. I'm focusing on full body muscle contractions (you go from zero to bucketloads of sweat in just a few minutes) + my other focus is on push-ups and squats - you can make them as hard as you want, with goals like 1 armed or 1 legged PUs/squats etc. If you stimulate Muscle protein synthesis regularly, with (low-fat high CHO, moderate PRO) food in your stomach - you will increase PRO stores, especially if you overfeed. It takes energy to work muscles, regardless of whether you are holding something or nothing in your hand. And the bodyweight exercises help strengthen the joints, which is possibly the only shortcoming of static or flowing isometrics.

And if you want to gain muscle without FAT gain, the key is very low fat, very high CHO and moderate PRO (and the faster you want it, the more total kcal you eat). Remember, the fat you eat is the fat you wear ;). Of course that's easier said than done - I love my peanut butter and crackers, but I'm trying to focus on acheiving my goals first.
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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#4 Postby threeloaves » Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:34 pm

the monkey wrote:Hey, I am trying to increase my lean muscle % and obtain stronger/bigger muscles (not huge bulk) but using bodyweight exercises and anything that pretty much utilizes gravity and my body as resistance as well as isometrics and an isometric band that i got for free. Is there a way to do this, also how would the nutrition be for a goal such as mine??
Any help would be appreciated, Thanks

I lift during the week, and usually do bodyweight stuff on the weekend.

pullups - narrow, and wide grip
pushups
1 leg rows
pistol squats
rx squats
burpees
jump rope
box jumps
crunches
knee raises

I use the gym jones workouts as a basis, and mix some things in - check it. You may also be interested in plyometric stuff: here

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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#5 Postby the monkey » Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:34 pm

And if you want to gain muscle without FAT gain, the key is very low fat, very high CHO and moderate PRO (and the faster you want it, the more total kcal you eat). Remember, the fat you eat is the fat you wear


WOW :shock: ....maybe that would have helped a lot if i had known before, so you are saying that i can have a high-carb off course all whole grains fruits, natural sweeteners (very little) diet and as long as i decrease my fat intake i would gain lean muscle, definition and decrease my BF%???? that sounds wwwwaaaayyyy too good to be true, perhaps that is why as soon as i started splurging on PB and AB i started gaining some fat :(

Could you elaborate a little more into this veganmaster...it would be extremely appreciated.

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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#6 Postby veganmaster » Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:31 pm

the monkey wrote:
And if you want to gain muscle without FAT gain, the key is very low fat, very high CHO and moderate PRO (and the faster you want it, the more total kcal you eat). Remember, the fat you eat is the fat you wear


WOW :shock: ....maybe that would have helped a lot if i had known before, so you are saying that i can have a high-carb off course all whole grains fruits, natural sweeteners (very little) diet and as long as i decrease my fat intake i would gain lean muscle, definition and decrease my BF%???? that sounds wwwwaaaayyyy too good to be true, perhaps that is why as soon as i started splurging on PB and AB i started gaining some fat :(

Could you elaborate a little more into this veganmaster...it would be extremely appreciated.


Thanks for the response! Check out what I just wrote in the "can raw make you fat" thread: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=13468&start=15

Ah yes, yummy peanut butter, my nemesis. I've been studying metabolism with a vengeance for a few years now (I like to read the full studies myself), so I'm happy to share my hard-earned knowledge. ;)
Muscle gain factors:
1. Total kcal intake.
Whenever you eat more kcal than you expend, you will increase energy stores, in the forms: glycogen, protein, fat. The greater the kcal excess the more energy will build up in your body. The largest muscle protein gains are seen in very high CHO studies, with averages of up to 65 g/d (starch overfeeding studies achieved this with 4300 kcal diets 71% CHO/20% FAT/9% protein). During overfeeding all three energy stores increase, though glycogen stores are limited to 700-1100 grams.

2. Ratio of FAT:CHO:PRO
A key insight is that there is a difference in how excess CHO, PRO, and FAT are dealt with by the body. Fat is already in the chemical form of storage, so it takes a mere 3% or so loss of energy to deposit the fat. CHO (& PRO), on the other hand, must be converted to FAT via De Novo Lipogenesis, an inefficient process that uses up to 30% of the energy during the conversion. So right there you can begin to see why eating FAT is logically the best way to increase fat stores. Now, another important factor in this is that as CHO intake increases, less Nitrogen (protein) is excreted by the body (via urine, sweat, etc). So to maximize PRO while limiting FAT you actually want a very high CHO diet with modest protein (90 grams a day is fine - in fact the best studies show 50-65 grams out of 90 grams of protein deposited as muscle, multiply by 5 to get LBM). Now, these diets still included 20% FAT, so the fat gain was at least equal or double the muscle gain - but for overfeeding that's pretty good because I've calculated the FAT:PROTEIN ratio and when fatty diets are used in overfeeding studies, the result can be as much as 13 grams of FAT gained PER gram of muscle protein gained.

3. Energy Expenditure/increased protein synthesis - exercise on an empty stomach increases PS, but also protein breakdown, putting the body into a catabolic state unless food is present in the stomach. Exercise burns mostly CHO and FAT, about half of kcal from each. But still, it is quite easy to eat in one mouthful the amount of FAT it took you an hour jogging to burn off. Certainly, if you are in a caloric deficit you'll lose energy stores overall, that's the basic physics, but you certainly influence WHICH energy stores are used via diet. So for example this study:
"Metabolic effects of a mixed and a high-carbohydrate low-fat diet in man"
found a HCLFD to be superior to a mixed diet in terms of muscle gain on a caloric deficit diet (they did lots of cycling on a machine). The interesting thing is that despite a greater kcal deficit in the HC group (-458) compared to the MD (-340), the hi-CHO group gained 17 grams of net protein compared to only 11 grams gained in the mixed diet group. In addition, the CHO group oxidized 80.5 grams of fat while the MD group oxidized 75 grams. In other words, in terms of body recomposition, maximizing CHO, minimizing FAT and getting moderate protein was much more effective despite the fact that the total amount of energy consumed was the same. The HCLFD diet was 17% PRO, 4% FAT, 78%CHO. While just one study, the science is not controversial - here's a practical example of the same thing:

"Effects of high-calorie supplements on body composition and muscular strength following resistance training"

"BACKGROUND: Seventy-three healthy, male subjects randomly divided into 3 groups participated in a study to determine the effects of 2 high-calorie nutritional supplements on body composition, body segment circumferences, and muscular strength following a resistance-training (RT) program. METHODS: In addition to their normal diets group 1 (CHO/PRO; n=26) consumed a 8.4 Mj x day(-1) (2010 kcal) high calorie, high protein supplement containing 356 g carbohydrate and 106 g protein. Group 2 (CHO; n=25) consumed a carbohydrate supplement that was isocaloric with CHO/PRO. Group 3 (CTRL; n=22) received no supplement and served as a control. All subjects were placed on a 4-day x week(-1) RT program for 8 weeks. RESULTS: Dietary analysis revealed no significant differences in total energy consumption or nutrients at any time in the non-supplemented diets of the 3 groups. Significant (p= or <0.05) increases in body mass (BM) and fat-free mass (FFM) were observed in CHO/PRO and CHO compared to CTRL. Mean (+/- SD) increases in BM were 3.1+/-3.1 kg and 3.1+/-2.2 kg, respectively. Fat-free mass significantly (p= or <0.05) increased 2.9+/-3.4 kg in CHO/PRO and 3.4+/-2.5 kg in CHO. Muscular strength, as measured by a one-repetition maximum in the bench press, leg press, and lat-pull down increased significantly (p= or <0.05) in all groups. No significant differences in strength measures were observed among groups following training. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that high-calorie supplements are effective in increasing BM and FFM when combined with RT. However, once individual protein requirements are met, energy content of the diet has the largest effect on body composition."

If megadoses of protein built muscle, the high CHO group would not have gotten the best body recomposition - but they did, because high-CHO, low-fat is the best for Maximum Partitioning. Hope that's helpful, what do ya think? :)
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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#7 Postby the monkey » Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:56 pm

Thats is absolutely incredible and it makes complete sense. I thank you so much for that as it has clarified my doubts on the whole "carbs need to be eliminated to get definition/bigger muscles" crap that i have read everywhere. Also it is great to read this as my body digests carbs really well and it only digest protein well if there is a lot of carbs together with the meal, however fat and me :evil: ..not the best of friends. Again thanks a lot and i will definitely make big, and very good changes in my diet from this point on.
Also i imagine you utilize this approach yourself so i wanted to ask you kind of like what you eat typically if it is not too much to ask and also if it matters the source of the carbohydrates or not as long as it is complex carbs and healthy simple carbs such as fruits, molasses, agave, etc?

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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#8 Postby I'm Your Man » Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:47 pm

the monkey wrote:(...) as long as it is complex carbs and healthy simple carbs such as fruits, molasses, agave, etc?


Molasses are not healthy at all, in fact it's one of the most toxic product on earth, it's worst than sugar becaus eit's simply sugar cane that have been highly processed, which is why it contains so much sulfur, iron and other minerals deposit. And blackstrap molasse is not better, the difference is that it contains less sugar, but to be like that it needs to be even more processed and heated than first molasses.
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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#9 Postby the monkey » Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:59 pm

Damn.... i had no idea about that, thanks for clarifying I'm your man, i guess i will stay with evaporated cane juice, turbinado brown sugar or agave.

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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#10 Postby the monkey » Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:47 pm

I'm your man do you have any healthy suggestion to sweeten my oatmeal, home-made bread?

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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#11 Postby the monkey » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:00 am

Veganmaster i have made changes in my diet so that i have complex carbs in every meal of my day with the least amount of fats possible and some protein for example today i have had so far:

Breakfast
-Oatmeal with raisins, 1/4 apple, soymilk, and a very small amount of a;lmonds and pecans with a tsp of evaporated cane juice

Meal 2
-Clif bar and a small amount of raw oats again with raisins

Meal3
-I am having brown basmati rice with sweet peas, corn, carrots and broccoli

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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#12 Postby veganmaster » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:30 pm

the monkey wrote:Thats is absolutely incredible and it makes complete sense. I thank you so much for that as it has clarified my doubts on the whole "carbs need to be eliminated to get definition/bigger muscles" crap that i have read everywhere. Also it is great to read this as my body digests carbs really well and it only digest protein well if there is a lot of carbs together with the meal, however fat and me :evil: ..not the best of friends. Again thanks a lot and i will definitely make big, and very good changes in my diet from this point on.
Also i imagine you utilize this approach yourself so i wanted to ask you kind of like what you eat typically if it is not too much to ask and also if it matters the source of the carbohydrates or not as long as it is complex carbs and healthy simple carbs such as fruits, molasses, agave, etc?


Thanks so much for your interest - I appreciate it VERY much. The thousands of hours I've spent researching have educated myself but rarely get passed along, because people are so brainwashed with false memes about nutrition. Human metabolism (& nutrition) is actually pretty damn clear, but only if you are willing to dig deep, do the research yourself, and look at the big picture science (especially the few studies using whole-body, or indirect calorimetry). Most nutrition studies are poorly controlled, BS correlational studies whose intent is to support industry interests via lying with statistics. #1 MYTH in nutrition: humans are somehow NOT herbivorous primates like our cousins, chimps, gorillas, etc., - it's insane! The science clearly shows we are biological herbivores who are designed to perfectly process plant foods - and the majority of plant food is very high in CHO, modest in PRO, and low in FAT. #2 myth is that poor health is from lack of nutrients/variety/chemical toxins, when the truth is 99.9% of chronic disease is the inevitable results of putting the wrong fuel (animal foods) in the human gas tank - our herbvorous biology can certainly process animal foods, as we are built Ford-tough by millions of years of evolution - but sooner or later parts of the body breakdown when you energize it with the wrong fuel, especially if you never give your body a rest from animal foods via either exclusively plant foods or fasting.

As far as my own habits, I have been experimenting and exercising for a couple years now, and I have basically settled upon a plan for building muscle and minimizing FAT gain. I've reasoned that the fastest way to reach my goals is to make progress everyday.

#1 Fat oxidation/minimization: I fast completely until 2 p.m. or so - this burns approximately 30 grams of FAT, 6 g PRO, 60g CHO for someone my size (170). Yes, you lose a slight amount of muscle - but nothing burns fat faster, and notice you lose a lot more FAT than PRO. I have found that fasting is easy, because the body produces chemicals which dampen the appetite (catecholamines). I also try to eat as little FAT as possible during the rest of the day, but I often "falter" and eat peanut butter + fat-free crackers, thus I utilize regular fasting so that as long as I eat less than 50 or so grams of FAT a day, I will not increase FAT stores, and definitely decrease them on strict days. Even during massive overfeeding studies people oxidized at least 20 grams of FAT/d, and as I mentioned previously studies show that with zero fat intake and with total kcal needs met, the body has a net loss of fat of a little over 1 gram/d.

#2 2-11p.m. - Energy intake should be significantly higher than Energy Expenditure. Frankly, I'd like to eat as many kcal as I can without getting fat, lol - if the girlfriend remarks about any FAT gain, I know it's time to focus on fasting ;)
Since processed, liquid kcal speeds gastric emptying I use 900 kcal "shakes:"
25 g Soy PRO
200g Maltodextrin (glucose polymers, low in simple sugars)
ZERO added FAT + a little kool-aid flavoring (pure maltodextrin needs help, hehe)

My goal is to have at minimum a shake at 2 and 11 p.m. - eating more normal low-fat vegan foods in between. I understand many vegans would rather choose whole-foods, and that will work too, but the fact is the more total High-CHO kcal you take in, the more net protein you will deposit, and I find it very hard to overfeed on low-fat vegan food, for obvious reasons (high fiber, bulk). It's not hard to gain when you are eating milkshakes, colas and doughnuts like an average American lol - obese people indeed do have large accumulations of LBM & even more FAT due to overfeeding on FAT + refined CHO combos - but for maximum muscle partitioning you want to overfeed via liquid kcal, but with an eye on minimizing FAT deposition.

#3 Exercise. Significant muscle work, whether via one of my favs: full-body pulsing isometrics (I like to flex my entire body in waves - it can drench you with sweat in minutes) or via push-ups and squats. I actually like using heavy weights too but I'm a hermit with no home gym. But accessories are not necessarrily needed, you can make muscle contractions as difficult as you like. Something to recognize metabolically though, is that exercise increases energy expenditure - so it is vital if you do a ton of exercise that you eat a ton of kcal - exercise does push down the pedal of net protein accretion significantly - but one must remember than basic physics means the more low-fat kcal you consume, the more muscle you will gain. This is why those with naturally big appetites + interest in bodybuilding tend to do so well. In my opinion genetics is overplayed - physics is the same for everyone, and even steroid users built that muscle via megacalorie diets & exercise, not just from a pill. Often guys will talk about their "body types" and their "maximum potential" - and I think it is instructive to realize the science shows that excess energy with be deposited with 75-95% efficiency, depending on the CHO:F:PRO ratio. Think of sumo wrestlers and imagine how much muscle they have accumulated under all that FAT - clearly we don't want all that fat but I think it's useful to recognize they have gotten so huge because excess energy will be deposited into glycogen, FAT & PRO, that's basic physics. Glycogen stores are limited, but FAT & PRO stores are only limited by the health of the organism - so I am still fairly small IMO, but I know if I pursue my goals and overfeed daily while also preventing FAT gain, I will gain PRO - it is a universal law.

Obviously, these ideas aren't very popular, because we are hard-wired to love FAT, because it is such a concetrated energy source. To be clear, exercising regularly and eating a very low fat vegan diet will indeed build muscle, that's the beauty of human metabolism - our bodies prefer to maintain our PRO stores - FAT & CHO are our main fuels, after all. :)
Last edited by veganmaster on Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:09 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#13 Postby veganmaster » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:44 pm

the monkey wrote:Veganmaster i have made changes in my diet so that i have complex carbs in every meal of my day with the least amount of fats possible and some protein for example today i have had so far:

Breakfast
-Oatmeal with raisins, 1/4 apple, soymilk, and a very small amount of a;lmonds and pecans with a tsp of evaporated cane juice

Meal 2
-Clif bar and a small amount of raw oats again with raisins

Meal3
-I am having brown basmati rice with sweet peas, corn, carrots and broccoli


Sounds fine - I think as long as you understand how body recomposition works, then you can track your progress and make adjustments - as long as you aren't gaining much FAT increase your total kcal, etc. - if you get chubby exercise more and/or throw in some fasting for quick FAT oxidation. Personally, I wouldn't mind doing traditional bodybuilder method of massive overfeeding (high CHO, low fat of course), getting huge, then cutting down - but the GF won't have it ;) So I fast to burn the fat. There is one Swedish trainer with a pretty good understanding of these issues, his blog is http://www.leangains.blogspot.com/ - he helps clients melt the FAT while often building muscle via short-term fasting (not vegan-style of course). ;)
Maximum Nutrient Partitioning:
http://veganmaster.blogspot.com/

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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#14 Postby the monkey » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:58 pm

veganmaster but wouldn't the fasting slow the metabolism??

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Re: Increasing lean muscle with BW only

#15 Postby I'm Your Man » Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:57 am

the monkey wrote:I'm your man do you have any healthy suggestion to sweeten my oatmeal, home-made bread?


To sweeten oatmeal, maple syrup is delicious. It's natural but is boiled before canned.
You want to sweeten home-made bread? Bread is good without added salt nor sugar. But if you want to add a sweet taste, you can put a bit of agave nectar or a few drops of stevia, ... or you can make banana bread with carob chunks or raisins, or grated carrots and potato.

Here's an old post on Natural Sweeteners
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=10649

About juice fasting slowing down metabolism... check out Lean&Green Juice Fasting Blog or mine, it gives lots of energy because you can drink as often as you like all day long providing energy from fruits so it doesn't not slow down metabolism :wink:
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