I've noticed there's a lot of people on the forums interested in bulking up and gaining mass. I thought I'd take a little to share what I know I on the subject and hopefully help some of you out. By no means am I huge guy. I'm actually pretty small. But over the past few years I've managed to pack on quite a good deal of muscle.
I used to be SKINNY. Not just skinny but SCRAWNY. I really can't emphasize this enough. I'm almost 5'11" and in my late teens/early 20's I was fluctuating between 115 - 125. These days I walk around comfortably at about 145 lb. I know that's still pretty skinny compared to most guys who are my height/age, but on my super-tiny frame it seems to be the weight my body wants to stay at. I've gotten heavier at times -- 150+ -- but it's been impractical to maintain that.
What's really changed for me over the last few years is that in the past, even if I got up to 145 - 150 lb, if I took a week off or ate a little less, I would shrink right back down to 130 lb or wherever I was at. These days, if I slack for a few days or a week, or even a couple of weeks, I stay where I'm at, which is indicative of real muscle gain.
I think it's really important for everyone to know that's it's completely unrealistic to expect to gain 20, 30, 40 lb of muscle in a year or less. You're really defying the laws of nature if you're trying to do this. Young guys in their teens who are still growing and have never worked out before might experience these kinds of phenomenal gains, but they are the minority and they have hormones working in their favor. Most grown men who have been working out for a while will be really lucky if they can gain 5 - 10 lb of ACTUAL muscle in year.
If you're serious about bodybuilding, you should get on Youtube and check out a guy named, Scooby. I think his website is ScoobysWorkshop. He's not a vegan but he is vegetarian and he has a lot of good advice. He's also HUGE, so you can be pretty sure he's not BS-ing you. I am not a bodybuilder; I'm more interested in running, gymnastics, martial arts... but I still watch/listen/read everything this guy posts because it's good info.
My personal advice: If you're eating a mostly whole-foods, plant-based diet, indulge yourself. Eat as much as you can as often as you can. As far as working out goes: Challenge yourself. Always try to do more -- whatever that may entail -- than what you did the last time you worked out. Also, maintain a consistency. Working out to your max 1 or 2 days a week probably isn't going to do anything for you. You have to stick to a plan. Don't forget, working out is a process of adaptation. If you want to be bigger, stronger, faster, etc... you have to give your body a reason be that way. That takes consistency.
I suppose the best advice I can really give any of you is to be patient and consistent. If you think your body is going to be transformed in 1, 2, 3 months... you're probably deluding yourself. Know your goals, too. If you're just working out because you want to look like that guy or girl on the cover of some magazine, I don't think there's a good chance you will meet your goals. I'm sorry, I just dont. You're not considering your own genetics; you're not considering the reality that no one's paying you to workout; you're chasing a vain goal... most reasonable people will give up if that's all they're after... Workout and eat healthy so you can feel better, be healthier, and ultimately be a better version of yourself and have a higher quality of life. If the end result of that is you looking like a fitness model, great! If not, it doesn't matter! There's a lot of vanity surrounding the whole workout/eat healthy mentality, and I don't think it's a good mentality to have.
So, that's my advice to those who are trying to bulk up and gain muscle. I hope at least some of it, if not all of it, is helpful. I really think the best thing I can leave you with is don't try to be someone you're not. Not everyone is meant to, or can be, 240 lb of solid muscle. Magazines want to tell you you can; people selling protein powders and weight gainers want to tell you you can; but it's not the truth. If you're a little guy or gal, be the best 150, 140, 130 lb you can be. There's nothing wrong with that.