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  1. #1
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    Paranoia about weight/muscle gain

    Bit of history: I've recently come off a successful long-term (6 months) combination of low-calorie diet (~2000 cal/day) and exercise (4x/week) that has dropped 40 pounds. I'm now thinner and in better shape than I have been since college (I'm now 30, 6'4", 175lbs). Hurray! I'm very proud of this.

    Trouble is, it's a bit TOO successful, in that now I'm just skinny. As a tall vegetarian, I don't expect to ever be huge, but I would like a bit more mass in the upper body so I'm not such a stick. So a couple weeks ago, I decided to go off the diet and start supplementing with protein - a 20g shake in the morning and a 20g bar in the afternoon, combined with simply eating more.

    I shot up four pounds in 2 weeks! This has me worried, because I've been so focused on dropping weight for so long, fighting to get every pound off. I've been told that protein that isn't used to repair muscles gets stored as fat, and while I know muscle weighs more than fat, 2lbs/week of muscle gain seems unlikely. Of course, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

    I DID see improvement at the gym during the last couple weeks, but not necessarily more than I've been seeing all during the diet. My workout is typically 2 spin classes a week with a long ride or hike (with weighted pack) on the weekend for cardio, and a weight circuit twice weekly and one or two session in the rockclimbing gym for strength.

    OK, actual question time:
    How do I gain weight while ensuring that the weight I'm gaining is the weight I want (ie, lean muscle mass)? I have no means of calculating bodyfat percentage. This feels like such a leap of faith to let my weight climb unchecked, it has me worried and thinking about dropping the protein supplements.

  2. #2
    Recumbent Ninja
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    I could help you with this, but you're not going to like it. You won't be able to stop fat gain, since you've been so hypocaloric for so long, but you can minimize it as much as possible.

  3. #3
    '05 NUEser EJ123's Avatar
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    I recommend you ask the folks at IntenseMuscle.com cause they will know a lot more than on here. If you want to add muscle Im sure you know that weight lifting is the best way. Cardio can actually cause a loss in muscle tissue. Maybe I'm wrong..we'll wait for Danno to come and clear things up, heh. Of course whey protein isolate is highly reccomend after workout, I would consider calcium caseinate, or micellar casein during the day and before bed as it is slow to digest and all. I think you may want to add 500 calories more, unless you want to be mega body builder, it is probably more.
    Last edited by EJ123; 05-22-07 at 03:11 PM.

  4. #4
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    No, cardio is extremely catabolic, you are correct.

  5. #5
    Splicer of Molecules Nickel's Avatar
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    How much did you increase your Calories by? After being below maintenance levels, it is a good idea to increase Calories slowly as your body sees this as a 'not starving I'd better store up!' situation. You might want to eat at maintenance for a week or two (not an exact number) before trying to eat more.

    Do you know your protein %? I always keep my intake high in order to be able to feed my muscles so they don't atrophy. You can't prevent fat gain but you can minimize it. And rock climbing is great!

  6. #6
    Senior Member etothepii's Avatar
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    When you lose weight, you lose muscle and fat. When you gain weight, you gain muscle and fat. Losing or gaining slowly, with weight training and cardio exercise is a good way to maximize your results. The p-ratio (fat to muscle gain/loss) is what you want to maximize. When you gain, you want to gain more muscle than fat, and when you lose, you want to lose more fat than muscle. Body builders go through bulking and cutting cycles to do this, along with their training, of course.

    Drinking a carb/protein shake before and after exercise is very good for you in terms of your p-ratio. Avoiding overtraining is also desirable.

    Catabolism happens. But you can't have protein synthesis (muscle building) without catabolism! Through nutrition, sensible training, and plenty of sleep, you can halt catabolism before it destroys too much muscle continue to build the muscle you want.

    I lift weights using a method called HST. Google it and read up on the science behind it.
    "I'm a loner Dottie, a rebel."

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  7. #7
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    HST can be an excellent cycle.

  8. #8
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Who says you're too skinny?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  9. #9
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    Thanks guys, this is a lot of good information.

    I'll read up on HST, and see how I can apply it to my current regimen.

    As for "too skinny" - well, it's just what I feel when I look in the mirror. It may just be something I have to get over - I've always been lean, and always will be. Shooting to 6'4" early in life led to an overly sensitive body-image to comments like "stick" and "skinny" - that and my co-workers are yelling at me that I've grown too skinny, but I think they're just jealous. My girlfriend says I look great, and that's more important.

    Anyway, I think what I'm going to do is try a bastardized, not-too-strict version of John Berardi's Precision Nutrition diet for the next month - in other words, concentrate on proteins and healthy fats for most meals except those after a workout, when I'll concentrate on carbs. I'm not gonna pay the cash for the system or pay TOO much attention to it, because previous experience has taught me that if I get to anal about diet then I start resenting and sabotaging it. So I'm gonna try and keep it vague and follow it as more guideline than rule.

  10. #10
    Senior Member etothepii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deolmstead
    Thanks guys, this is a lot of good information.

    I'll read up on HST, and see how I can apply it to my current regimen.

    As for "too skinny" - well, it's just what I feel when I look in the mirror. It may just be something I have to get over - I've always been lean, and always will be. Shooting to 6'4" early in life led to an overly sensitive body-image to comments like "stick" and "skinny" - that and my co-workers are yelling at me that I've grown too skinny, but I think they're just jealous. My girlfriend says I look great, and that's more important.

    Anyway, I think what I'm going to do is try a bastardized, not-too-strict version of John Berardi's Precision Nutrition diet for the next month - in other words, concentrate on proteins and healthy fats for most meals except those after a workout, when I'll concentrate on carbs. I'm not gonna pay the cash for the system or pay TOO much attention to it, because previous experience has taught me that if I get to anal about diet then I start resenting and sabotaging it. So I'm gonna try and keep it vague and follow it as more guideline than rule.
    I have mixed feelings about Berardi. He certainly advocates healthy eating, but I think a lot of his ideas are unnecessary fluff. HST is free info, but you should have some weight training experience before you start(only saying this because I don't know you -- not making any assumptions here.)
    "I'm a loner Dottie, a rebel."

    '80's Raleigh Technium 440 fixed/SS conversion
    KHS mountain bike
    2005 Trek 2100

  11. #11
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    Berardi is the man. Precision Nutrition changed my metabolism, and I was already eating healthy to begin with! protein and veggies every meal, and get your carbs during and immediately after workout. THis will not fail to make positive changes on your body.

  12. #12
    Senior Member 8Lives's Avatar
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    Congrats on the good progress. My advice is to forget how you "think" you should look and remember that to someone with 15-20 (or more) extra pounds you will always look "skinny". If you are cycling strong and sending 5.10s/11s in the gym - you have a good strength balance. At 6'4" I am betting you have a pretty nice ape index too! In other words, if you are cycling and climbing well you have great functional muscle - don't mess with it!

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