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Trying to gain weight. Need some advice!

Old 05-12-11, 11:58 AM
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wismer
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Trying to gain weight. Need some advice!

I am 27 years old, 6'7" and I weigh 170 lbs. I am not fit (as you can tell). Over the years I have off and on tried to gain a measurable amount of weight but every gain I have made quickly gets burned back to my average. My appetite is not considerable but I do my best to eat healthily. Recently I started commuting to work, 5 days a week over a 5 mile distance. It roughly takes me 30 minutes to get there and 20 minutes to get back home (a large hill accounts for the time difference).

The commute itself does not exhaust me and I can handle the climb without stopping but I am somewhat concerned that this exercise might actually make me lose weight. In order to compensate, I forgo the usual bowl of cheerios and milk for a bowl of whole yogurt and granola and try to have a clif bar or two right after or before my commute.

Question is: What should I do in addition to help me gain more weight responsibly? What sort of extra exercises? Do I do it after or before my commute? I also have a fast metabolism. Is there a way to slow this down? Or to compensate for it?

I don't know what other details to give and I would like some feedback with people who are experienced in this sort of weight training. I fear this might be a sort of a stupid question in which the answer is likely to be "just eat more" or something like that. That might be true but I can't assume.

I once asked my physician on weight gain and while he didn't dissuade me from exercising, he also noted that my health problem isn't that much of a "problem" compared to those who are battling obesity.
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Old 05-12-11, 12:14 PM
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Since you're 27, it's nothing to worry about. You're built slim and have a fast metabolism as you said. Unless you have some concerns about cholesterol or something like that, don't worry about what you eat - just enjoy food and eat enough to make you feeling well. A bowl of cheerios and milk is okay for someone restricting calories but go ahead and eat more. Have chocolate cookies and cake for breakfast if you like.
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Old 05-12-11, 12:44 PM
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you sound like my brother-in-law. he's about 6'1" or so and can't seem to gain weight, i think he weighs about 145, and that's with very little exercise... i think he does a bit of hiking, considering his backyard is a mountain in Montana. my wife is a dietitian and he asked her recently about healthy ways to gain weight because the doctor said he's borderline anorexic. basically you need to increase your calorie intake but not in an unhealthy way. don't just start loading up on high-fat foods and sugar.

what is your diet like currently? you've mentioned what you have for breakfast, what about lunch, dinner, snacks? have you counted calories? what is your target weight?

if you do any weight training in addition to your biking, you'll put on pounds of muscle but only if you fuel your body right. you'll need to eat plenty of lean protein. you might try increasing your carb intake but try whole grains if possible.
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Old 05-12-11, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rmr1923 View Post
you sound like my brother-in-law. he's about 6'1" or so and can't seem to gain weight, i think he weighs about 145, and that's with very little exercise... i think he does a bit of hiking, considering his backyard is a mountain in Montana. my wife is a dietitian and he asked her recently about healthy ways to gain weight because the doctor said he's borderline anorexic. basically you need to increase your calorie intake but not in an unhealthy way. don't just start loading up on high-fat foods and sugar.

what is your diet like currently? you've mentioned what you have for breakfast, what about lunch, dinner, snacks? have you counted calories? what is your target weight?

if you do any weight training in addition to your biking, you'll put on pounds of muscle but only if you fuel your body right. you'll need to eat plenty of lean protein. you might try increasing your carb intake but try whole grains if possible.
Lean protein as in stuff like whey protein? As for my caloric intake average, I can't say for certain. I <i>hope</i> it's around 2000. For lunch, it's usually something like a bowlful of home-made vegetarian marinara + pasta, a ham/swiss or vegetarian cheese hoagie (a "sub" for the uncouth) or a vegetarian or chicken chipotle burrito (I remember reading it was around 600 cal. for the burritos). Dinner is harder to pin down but largely similar to what I have lunch since I tend to cook in bulk. I snack on a candy bar on occassion or a PB&J with milk.

As for target weight? I don't know but not skinny! I'll tell you that much! I have two older brothers that are a few inches shorter but weight an extra 30 lbs or so. Due to their professions (Mason, Carpenter) they are both pretty fit but have a tendency to eat unhealthily. Maybe like that. Not Conan the barbarian nor Conan the comedian. They are in between, I'd say.
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Old 05-12-11, 01:59 PM
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lean protein like fish, chicken, turkey, lean beef, although in your case whey protein may be beneficial too. it's been a long time since i've used any sort of protein supplement but depending on the milk you use (or some people even use water), you can get a couple hundred calories and a good dose of protein from one shake. you might also try Carnation Instant Breakfast shakes as a "snack" (not as a replacement for your current breakfast), i like to have those every now and then. i'll blend a packet of that with some 2% milk and fresh fruit and it's great. also, 2000 calories for someone your height is probably too low. try this tool:

https://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/

i entered the info you provided in your original post, and chose "gain 1 lb per week" and it says your daily calorie goal is approx. 3500 (i chose "moderate activity" for that option also). to maintain your current weight you should be taking in about 2700 calories. of course this doesn't factor in that you obviously have a high metabolism, but try just eating your normal diet for a week and recording everything in a log of some sort and see how many calories you're eating daily. try increasing this by about 500 per day, possibly more if you want to start lifting weights. monitor your weight over a 1-2 month period and if you're not gaining, try increasing a little more at a time.

have you been losing weight or just holding steady at about 170?
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Old 05-12-11, 03:32 PM
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I've had the same issue recently...cycling took off all my excess weight and then some.

I made 3 changes, and gained several pounds of muscle (or at least, several pounds of fluid in my muscles) in a month.

I bought chocolate whey protein mix off amazon (~900 reviews, you'll know it when you see it), a $5 blender cup (~500 reviews, again you'll know it when you see it), and plenty of 0% fat milk. Each "shake" ends up being about 30g of protein, 220 calories, and I'd have 2 every day....maybe a 3rd if I needed a snack. I'd still eat lunch and dinner as usual, but breakfast might be replaced by one of those shakes. The end result is 60-90g of extra protein a day, not much extra fat, and about 450-650 calories a day extra. I also sprinkled in some creatine powder into my first shake of the day (again, amazon), but that's totally optional.

Secondly, I started doing pushups using the perfect pushup plan. The gist of it is 4 drop sets of pushups (an example drop set would be 14 reps, 20sec break, 10 reps, 20 sec break, 6 reps) every other day, total 120pushups on a pushup day. This went on for 3 weeks, which works out to 10 or 11 days of 120 pushups, thats it!

Finally, I dialed my cycling back from 100mi/week to 50mi/week for this time period. This could probably be optional if you wanted to make sure you had all your meals + 3 shakes a day, but I really wanted to concentrate on muscle building with the pushups.

The goals here are to boost protein intake, and then do resistance exercise to build some muscle. Otherwise any weight you put on may just be fat. It took me from 157 to 165 in 30 days (I'm 6'1"), and now I've dialed things back to 1 shake a day. I'm sure my cycling will eat away at the muscle over the summer, but I plan to throw in these muscle building phases every few months to maintain things.

Last edited by jmX; 05-12-11 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 05-12-11, 04:54 PM
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Wismer, Are you a veggitarian?

It doesn't matter so much if you are. I do want to suggest consuming more protien as well, but after you work out (bike a while or lift weights) that way the protien will be transfered into mucles and not fat. When you work out you rip the lining of your muscles, if you consume protien after a workout you flush the mucles with amino acids. The amino acids repair (in a sense, don't jump on me about semantics) the torn muscles and build more muscle in the area. Muscle ways more than fat btw...

Anyway, you can have a smoothy with whey protien in it after one of your commuting rides.

You should also talk to your Dr. about hypotyroidism (or is it hyper... - whichever means overactive thyroid).
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Old 05-12-11, 05:27 PM
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Try swimming. Being in the water seems to bring on an appetite of a horse.
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Old 05-12-11, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by meangreen View Post
Wismer, Are you a veggitarian?

It doesn't matter so much if you are. I do want to suggest consuming more protien as well, but after you work out (bike a while or lift weights) that way the protien will be transfered into mucles and not fat. When you work out you rip the lining of your muscles, if you consume protien after a workout you flush the mucles with amino acids. The amino acids repair (in a sense, don't jump on me about semantics) the torn muscles and build more muscle in the area. Muscle ways more than fat btw...

Anyway, you can have a smoothy with whey protien in it after one of your commuting rides.

You should also talk to your Dr. about hypotyroidism (or is it hyper... - whichever means overactive thyroid).
that would be hyperthyroidism, i was thinking something along the same lines but couldn't grasp it at the time. my brother-in-law has it and it causes more problems than just a faster metabolism, but one symptom is that he just can't seem to gain weight. on the other hand, my sister-in-law has hypothyroidism and can't seem to lose weight, despite a healthy diet and 3 trips to the gym a week.

but hyperthyroidism is something you should definitely consider if you haven't already talked with your doctor about it. google it and see if you have any of the other symptoms. depending on your financial/insurance situation (some plans cover it, some don't), you might want to see a doctor to have a full physical done. i did this a few years ago after a doctor diagnosed me with hypertension, but after getting the physical, blood work revealed a vitamin D deficiency, which can cause hypertension. i get sun regularly but for some reason still wasn't getting enough vitamin D, so after i started taking vitamins, my blood pressure went back to normal.
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Old 05-12-11, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by travelmama View Post
Try swimming. Being in the water seems to bring on an appetite of a horse.
for some reason, swimming always makes me hungry for a chili dog... i've never had a craving for anything else after a swim, just chili dogs. not sure how to explain that.
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Old 05-13-11, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by rmr1923 View Post
that would be hyperthyroidism, i was thinking something along the same lines but couldn't grasp it at the time. my brother-in-law has it and it causes more problems than just a faster metabolism, but one symptom is that he just can't seem to gain weight. on the other hand, my sister-in-law has hypothyroidism and can't seem to lose weight, despite a healthy diet and 3 trips to the gym a week.

but hyperthyroidism is something you should definitely consider if you haven't already talked with your doctor about it. google it and see if you have any of the other symptoms. depending on your financial/insurance situation (some plans cover it, some don't), you might want to see a doctor to have a full physical done. i did this a few years ago after a doctor diagnosed me with hypertension, but after getting the physical, blood work revealed a vitamin D deficiency, which can cause hypertension. i get sun regularly but for some reason still wasn't getting enough vitamin D, so after i started taking vitamins, my blood pressure went back to normal.
I had a full physical done about a year ago in that never came up in conversation. Nothing seemed unusual and I don't think I have any of those symptoms regarding hypothyroidism.

In regards to my low weight, it has always been this way. Besides commuting, I'm a sedentary person and at times can be forgetful to the point that I forget to eat a meal (I also take prescription adderall, which decreases appetite as a side effect).

I'll try to give those shakes a try. Those exercises afterwards...oh man, its gonna get ROUGH.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 05-23-11, 09:12 PM
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Calories and strength training. How many calories? Depends on what you're after, and how much weight you want to gain. Also consider that your body might just want to be that weight. It happens. I have a friend who eats and lifts, eats and lifts, and never gains more than a pound or so. I, on the other hand, packed on about 12 lbs over the course of a year, between lifting and eating between 5-6k calories a day.

2000 calories a day isn't enough. Not if you're doing any kind of training. Also, why do you want to gain weight? If it's looks, I wouldn't worry about. Be strong and fit for your body type, and rock that with pride. As a 230-lb sprinter, I can tell you that weight ain't all it's cracked up to be, like when you're going uphill, for example.
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Old 05-23-11, 09:14 PM
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Turn 45.
In the meantime, this is a *cycling* site, so enjoy your low weight while you can.
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Old 05-27-11, 02:53 PM
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wismer, try gaining muscle and not fat.
I recommend whey protein isolate.
Only buy natural stuff, there were articles about high mercury in some brands.
I purchase mine from: https://www.bestofwheyprotein.com
It is unflavored, which means its chemical free and you can mix it with anything you like.
It is also gluten and lactose free.
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Old 05-27-11, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bikesrus View Post
wismer, try gaining muscle and not fat.
I recommend whey protein isolate.
Only buy natural stuff, there were articles about high mercury in some brands.
I purchase mine from: https://www.bestofwheyprotein.com
It is unflavored, which means its chemical free and you can mix it with anything you like.
It is also gluten and lactose free.
hey thanks for the link. i've had trouble finding whey protein that sits well with my irritable digestive system. how long does a 2 lb jar usually last you?
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Old 05-27-11, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by wismer View Post
I am 27 years old, 6'7" and I weigh 170 lbs. I am not fit (as you can tell). Over the years I have off and on tried to gain a measurable amount of weight but every gain I have made quickly gets burned back to my average. My appetite is not considerable but I do my best to eat healthily. Recently I started commuting to work, 5 days a week over a 5 mile distance. It roughly takes me 30 minutes to get there and 20 minutes to get back home (a large hill accounts for the time difference).

The commute itself does not exhaust me and I can handle the climb without stopping but I am somewhat concerned that this exercise might actually make me lose weight. In order to compensate, I forgo the usual bowl of cheerios and milk for a bowl of whole yogurt and granola and try to have a clif bar or two right after or before my commute.

Question is: What should I do in addition to help me gain more weight responsibly? What sort of extra exercises?
I gained 20 pounds when I started a longer commute and fueling with enough calories. That simple. But I'm 51 - when I was your age I had a similar quandary. No matter what I ate or tried, I couldn't gain weight. The only thing that eventually worked was working out with free weights at least an hour daily, adding on muscle. The max you can do for 8-10 reps, standard kind of routines.

With a fast metabolism don't even worry about diet, beyond high protein and lots of carbohydrates.

YMMV.
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Old 05-28-11, 10:35 PM
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These days there are more training plans than you can shake a stick at.

Most of them work, depends on what you want.

You can do a typical beginners bodybuilding routine.

With the right diet, you'll add muscle.

There is an old fashioned body building trick for hard gainers
that has been given a hi tech update.

Dried beef blood.
https://proteinfactory.com/shop/produ...2&cat=1&page=3

You don't need a lot, and this new stuff doesn't taste bad.

Have a protein shake before you head out for your bike commute.
10% plasma 90% TriFX
https://proteinfactory.com/shop/produ...5&cat=1&page=3

Have someone show you how to do the exercises correctly.
You also might want to read this....
https://www.amazon.com/Insiders-Tell-...6643652&sr=1-3

It has a goofy title, but terrific descriptions of technique and exercises to avoid.

Most of the time, hardgainers aren't following the rule book.
Follow a sensible beginner's program. Eat enough. Get plenty of rest.

Your body wants the big meal of the day to be breakfast.
If you want something quick, 10 oz skim milk, banana, and other fruit (trader Joes has frozen mango pouches)
an ounce of protein powder, and either a nut butter (peanut,sunflower) or somewhere between a tsp and a tbsp of hemp oil.

I'd also suggest a New Chapter Mens One Daily, an Omega 3, and a 1,000 vitamin D cap.

You don't want to go for more than a few hours without some protein, you are always in
anabolism or catabolism. The idea is to spend as much time as possible in a natural anabolic state.
You'll need to read up on it.

Last edited by late; 05-29-11 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 05-30-11, 02:25 PM
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Over the years I have off and on tried to gain a measurable amount of weight but every gain I have made quickly gets burned back to my average.
This has been my situation for my entire adult life (56 y.o. guy), the pound or 2 I manage to gain during sedentary periods vanishes the minute I'm active again. Your metabolism sounds similar. My weight has remained within the same 10 lb. range the whole time, and has only visited the ends of that range under unusual life situations. I agree with others that your goal should be gaining muscle mass, not fat; your body will drive you to eat the amount of calories it needs. It sounds like the medical consultations you've had so far haven't come up with any reason for concern, so keep an active, healthy lifestyle and you'll be fine.

Last edited by rnorris; 05-30-11 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 05-30-11, 03:15 PM
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Eggs will build muscle mass.

Also, I had your problem once, but I now weigh 280 pounds. I eat at least two pounds of potatoes everyday. Load up on butter. Eat meat, and everything else on your plate.

Don't forget gravy, or some kind of sauce, to help it go down.

I eat hardly any sugar.
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Old 06-13-11, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rmr1923 View Post
hey thanks for the link. i've had trouble finding whey protein that sits well with my irritable digestive system. how long does a 2 lb jar usually last you?
officially it says 41 servings per container. It takes me about a month since i take it once a day.
This is the purest protein i found (gluten free, lactose free, fat free, carb free). it is also NSF certified for sport which is good if you care about what you take.
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Old 06-14-11, 11:30 PM
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I wanted to gain weight when I was younger but finally gave up that dream years ago. Some of us just can't do it no matter what we eat. As long as you are in good health, and eating a balanced diet with the proper amount of calories, (or more, like I usually do ) there is no reason to gain weight.
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Old 06-18-11, 12:16 PM
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Same issue. I am 30, male, 143 pounds and 5'11. I have a fast metabolism. I have been experimenting with whey protein shakes over the last three months, but I've seen very little improvement, a couple pounds here and there. I am planning on doing a cross country trip soon so I'm trying to bulk up. I eat alot of nuts to supplement my regular protein intake.
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Old 06-21-11, 01:53 PM
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I am giving this whey stuff a go, started using it late last week. No idea when to expect any improvement and it's hard to say if that alone has been making the uphill climb every morning easier or not. It has, as I rely less and less on shifting gears but that could just be because of the physical training I am putting myself through by commuting 4-5 times a week. I've noticed that the Clif bars and the whey/water mix drinks compliment each other - the sugar in the clif bars make the whey stuff tolerable and the water washes down the clif bar.
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Old 06-22-11, 04:06 AM
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dude you are lucky! I have to watch everything I eat. If you want to gain weight though the bike is the wrong place to do it. You need to be in the weight room and packing protein.
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Old 06-22-11, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by wismer View Post
I am 27 years old, 6'7" and I weigh 170 lbs. I am not fit (as you can tell). Over the years I have off and on tried to gain a measurable amount of weight but every gain I have made quickly gets burned back to my average. My appetite is not considerable but I do my best to eat healthily. Recently I started commuting to work, 5 days a week over a 5 mile distance. It roughly takes me 30 minutes to get there and 20 minutes to get back home (a large hill accounts for the time difference).
Despite your weight you are still in the "normal" category for BMI. You are otherwise healthy and don't have any outstanding medical issues. Don't worry about your weight, worry about your fitness.

Personally I would get your body fat percentage checked and work towards building a little muscle mass and ignore the scale. Biking is good for your heart, but you want to add some strength training to the mix in oder to build some additional muscle. Do a little research to make sure you are getting well above the required minimums in terms of macro ( protein, fat ) and micro ( vitamins, minerals ) nutrients and enjoy yourself.
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