BigRed tries to grow some muscle

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BigRed
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BigRed tries to grow some muscle

#1 Postby BigRed » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:08 am

Hey gang! So inspired by the folks on this forum, I thought I'd dive in!

My story:

29 year old man, was skinny kid, have exercised on and off most of my life, usually more off than on. Have lifted weights, not usually more consistently than 1-3 months at a time. Have run as well usually about as consistently. I have enjoyed both very much when I've done them, and I find running especially very therapeutic and meditative. I've got a pullup bar and an adjustable set of dumbbells that go from 10-50 lbs each. In grad school I did the 5x5 program for about 3 months and enjoyed it very much and got noticeably stronger, but my waist line increased much more quickly than my muscle mass and I ended up looking totally ridiculous (dirty bulking I think you would call it).

Where I am now:

I've been eating much healthier past month and officially became full vegan 2 weeks ago. Right now I think my bodyfat is low enough that I can think about gradually carefully and healthfully "bulking" a little bit. I've spent the last month doing regular strength workouts focusing almost entirely on bodyweight exercises (pullups, pushups, air squats, crunches). I'm now going to start working more with my dumbbells (no gym membership yet - might join one in the fall, depending on cash). I've long been annoyed with how skinny my muscles and I really want a fuller shape all around (legs, arms, chest, shoulders). Especially now that I've become vegan I want to make sure I don't wither away because I want to be a living testimony that vegans can be healthy and strong.

My challenges:

I've always been the kind of person that doesn't concern himself too much with eating. My challenge will be being disciplined enough to get enough calories. I'm 6' 0" and 167 lbs, so I'm thinking a good place to start might be about 2500 calories/day (which I'm sure is way more than I currently eat). I'll be running the NYC marathon in the fall so I know I definitely will need to increase that amount as my running increases over the next couple months. I love running but I'm not so concerned with performance...i e I'm not worried if I get slower because of added mass.

Here's my starting point:
Attachments
rsz_6-2-12fullsmall.jpg
167 lbs, including legs
rsz_6-2-12fullsmall.jpg (38.27 KiB) Viewed 4760 times
rsz_6-2-12uppersmall.jpg
167 lbs, torso
rsz_6-2-12uppersmall.jpg (38.5 KiB) Viewed 4760 times

The PhytoAthlete
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Re: BigRed tries to grow some muscle

#2 Postby The PhytoAthlete » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:58 am

Welcome Big Red! I read your intro. thread as well. Glad to see you are wanting to improve your health with your food intake and exercise.

So what weight are you looking to get to? At 6'0 167 your BMI is 22.6, which is considered a healthy weight, although I am not always a big fan of BMI because larger muscle mass people can throw it off. I like to look at body fat percentages as well. As you say, your body fat level seems to be fine.

Since you are not exactly sure how many calories you are taking in a day now, you might want to go to www.myfitnesspal.com and start keeping a log of what foods you take in. This site makes it easy to keep up with your calories, fat, protein and carb intake levels.

Once you get an idea of your average intake in a day currently,(i would say after a log of 5 days you should have a general idea) that will give you a better idea of what you need to increase your calorie intake to in the future to get to whatever weight you want.

BigRed
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Re: BigRed tries to grow some muscle

#3 Postby BigRed » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:52 am

Phyto-

Thanks for the welcome and the response!

I'm less concerned with a specific scale number than I am with increased muscle mass...I've been as heavy as 200 lbs but not looked so good, because I was skinny-fat. I've seen photos of guys who weren't any heavier than I am but who looked bigger because muscle mass was higher and body fat was lower. I don't know my specific bodyfat percentage - I have calipers but I've read that they aren't always reliable because the tension in the spring can change over time which affects the measuring process...and that the different formulas are so variable that the same measurements can get you a large range of bodyfat percentages based on which formulas you use...But basically I think if I could get to 200 lbs with approximately the same bodyfat levels over the next 5 years I should be very happy with the amount of muscle on my physique. I understand that adding muscle takes time, while adding fat can happen quickly, so I want to do it right and not get chubby just to pursue a number on the scale at all costs.

Thanks for the advice on food logging, I've been thinking about this, and am starting to track my food today. I think this will be a very helpful tool for me.

Cheers

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Gaia
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Re: BigRed tries to grow some muscle

#4 Postby Gaia » Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:49 pm

For or against protein powders?

BigRed
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Re: BigRed tries to grow some muscle

#5 Postby BigRed » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:24 pm

Gaia - not against protein powders. Is it cheaper to get that extra protein through powder form or through more food? And do the extra carbs/fat from getting the extra protein through food make it harder to bulk cleanly? I counted my calories and protein today and I ate 2,519 calories and 96 grams of protein from food. Also I am uneducated on vegan powders like soy, pea, rice, and hemp and not sure what the best way to go would be. What would you recommend?

Cheers

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Gaia
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Re: BigRed tries to grow some muscle

#6 Postby Gaia » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:49 am

Your word of 'extra protein' is used well in this topic. It is extra, thus I go for the protein powders. It is easier for the body to digest most plant-based protein powders out on the market today, and thus the aminos go right into the blood stream and go to the muscles fast. Protein in food takes energy to break it down and utilize it as it goes thru the digestive track. And this process is different for everybody: as the GI tract is different for everybody with digestive enzymes, bacterial flora, intestinal yeast, health of the villi in the small intestine for absorption, etc.

Would you say that the 96/approx. 100 grams of protein that you had that day was a normal amount? Or did you incorporated some foods because it had extra protein? Look at the amount you usually take in a day, and up it first by 25% (food or powders). See how your body responds. Timing of taking extra protein is also important. Make sure the protein is being used to build, and not for energy (have enough carbs to keep the fires burning clean with glucose). Have it after your workout, and not before cardio.

I would recommend trying the many different kinds of protein powders out there! Most companies are doing sample packs. See which ones taste good to you (important to get it into your body), see what sources there are (for me hemp would go right thru me, thus I was spending $$ on something my body was not using), and what is in your price range. How does your body respond to it? I usually go thru a tub a month, and that is enough time to see how my body is responding to the stuff.


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