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Trying to gain weight. Pictures from October til July

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JULY 2015


I have been trying to gain weight for the last 8 months. I eat between 3000-5000 calories per day, though I try to shoot for 4000. I am 21 years old and practice calisthenics and cycle about 30 minutes a day (to work). I eat mostly fruit, veggies, legumes and grains close to 80-10-10. The pictures are where I was and where I am now.


How can I gain weight? And what muscles are underdeveloped (aesthetics is 1/2 of my goal)? I have also gotten a little weaker, noticeably on my pushups and pullups. I can't seem to make gains strength wise or muscle, and if I eat a lot I just get a big stomach temporarily but don't gain weight.


Also I looked the same from October til February, so I didn't just start in February. It's been 8 months.

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  • 3 weeks later...

In my opinion you eat too much carbs and not enough fats and proteins. Increase the amount of saturated fats such as coconut oil/milk/cream in your diet, this enhances natural testosterone production thus increasing muscle growth.


Training sounds excellent, but you need more building blocks from proteins and more hormone activity which can be enhanced by increasing saturated fat intake.

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Looking good!


I think 60-20-20 should work well. Just be patient, and while bulking my tip is not to count calories - just eat as much as you can. If you keep eating a lot every day your stomach will adjust. Also if you do not gain weight, then you might want to switch the food type you are eating - for me it is really difficult to bulk without wheat, since wholewheat tortillas are like a drug to me and I can keep eating them for weeks in a row. Of course I fill the tortillas with beans ect. with lots of oil (avocados should work well!). Corn tortillas are a good option if you don't prefer gluten.

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Don't worry about the ratio of carbs protein and fats so much, just focus on eating a lot.. Don't count calories just stuff your face whilst keeping it as health as possible!

Calisthenics will help... But you'd be better off with heavy free weights in my opinion, all the best dude

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  • 2 months later...

I have been smashing in calories as well as increasing fat and protein. I'm eating 5,000 calories a day minimum and I only count my calories to make sure I hit at least 5,000. I feel the same as before, I just get a big stomach but don't seem to gain weight much. I cannot seem to add reps as well on pullups.


This is me after 3 months of higher calorie, higher fat.


not flexed, post meal: https://www.flickr.com/photos/130367959@N02/21872015986/in/dateposted-public/

flexing: https://www.flickr.com/photos/130367959@N02/21907844331/in/dateposted-public/




I have a weighted vest and plates for adding resistance now, but I feel that switching to progressive overload may not address the cause of my plateau and lack of increasing max pullups (stuck at 12-13).

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  • 6 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Hey man some late night (healthy of course) snacking does wonders for mass. Before I go to bed I eat 2 pieces of whole grain toast absolutely covered in peanut butter, bananas and some dashes of cinnamon. I usually wash it down with a big glass of almond milk, but sometimes water.


I was 195 lb. before going vegan a year ago...dropped down to about 175 but have been eating more and working out more the last 2 months and back to around 185 now.


Hope my little snack tip helps you out!

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Thanks, will try that. Been eating more fat lately so I've gained a few pounds, probably mostly water weight from salt intake. My stomach has looked better but II'll try some late night snacking with more fat to see if that helps. Possibly due to fat intake before sleep taking longer to digest and taking longer for the body to deplete glycogen/less fasting time during sleep. I'll see if that helps.

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  • 1 year later...

As an update I reached 14 pullups but I believe 90% of the results come from proper exercise programming. For years I have found that the idea of "forced anabolism" is just an idea. I stuff myself meal after meal, week after week, year after year to rarely ever reach 170 lbs. Just stuffing yourself gives you a big distended stomach. The problem is likely that I never increased my volume enough to cause growth stimulus so the extra food never got put to use. Since I was always focused on repping out right away on early sets I never got to work the muscles enough and fatigue them to build back stronger.


Lesson here is to save a few reps in the bank to keep the workout going until you reach deep fatigue or superset/drop set to continue getting volume you otherwise would not have the chance to. Hit it hard and often. If you anihilate your muscles don't grease the groove because it hinders recovery and new growth. Choose one or the other, don't hit back hard monday and grease the groove T/W then hit back hard thursday and grease the groove F/SAT. It sounds complicated but it's not. Just give your body a tough growth stimulus and then let it fully recover. It's that simple. Eating tons of food only helps if you are hitting your muscles hard and deeply. Maxing out on say 14 reps is just as much work as doing an easy 2x7 reps. Perceived effort in a max rep set is completely opposite of cumulative volume/intensity training and prevents you from properly applying progressive overload.


Sorry to ramble it's just something that I have learned over the years and I wanted to share this information with anyone in my situation. Food and stuffing yourself is not the answer. I've tried that. Protein is not the answer. I've tried that. Maxing out reps is not the answer. I've tried that. It is purely using more weight, changing leverage or adding CUMULATIVE sets/reps with control and full range of motion that is the answer. That is the cold hard truth that has taken me years to learn. The only important concepts in getting stronger/gaining weight are:


1) Add reps

2) Add sets

3) Reduce rest period time

4) Speed it up (fast concentrics)

5) Slow it down (slow eccentrics)

6) Add weight

7) Change leverage or unilaterals

Full ROM

9) Improve body positioning for correct muscle activation

10) Mind to muscle connection for proper load sharing


These are the ten most important things... ever. It just happened to be ten. I derived this from W=MAD where mass, accelaration, distance, work, and other factors broke down into these ten principles. If you completely understand and grasp the physics equation of W=FD and P=W/T then you understand 99% of everything important to bodybuilding.


Hope this helps "hardgainers" like me that are stuck in a weight or strength/rep plateau.

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  • 3 years later...

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