How I Gained 45 lbs In 6 Months Without Counting Calories

In a country where obesity is our most dangerous health hazard, there seems to be a lot of people who have a hard time putting on weight. Sure, boys may brag about their plans to bulk up into HeMen, but after a few weeks of bland rice they quit without a gain to be seen. It’s a tragic tale. I’m pretty sure Disney will never make a movie about it either. It’s just all around sad.

How often do you see that little ad on the side of your computer screen claiming that it has one little trick to help you put on 20 pounds of muscle? Doesn’t that sound appealing? Almost like it’s too good to be true? That’s because it is, which is why I won’t be making in claims like this in my post. Real gains do not come from life hacks or supplements – so don’t waste your time.

 In 150 short words we’ve already decided that A) unlike the rest of the country you probably have a hard time getting huge, and B) hacks and supplements do not produce the results they proclaim. So what is the solution to becoming the Hulk and not Bruce Banner? Come on in and let me tell you a story.

It was January 1st 2014, and I had only a couple of months to prepare for what would become a long grueling powerlifting season. My 6 foot 2 inch frame was holding onto a solid 220 pounds, but I needed to get down to at least 198. HOLD ON – don’t panic, this is still a story about bulking. By the time our first competition had arrived I was able to drop down to my goal weight with about 9% bodyfat. My diet was high fat, high protein, and miserably low carbohydrate. I’m talking less than 30 grams per day low. I consumed so few carbs that pickles tasted like candy. It’s the kind of thing that gives fast food franchises nightmares. By the end of my carb fasting I had dropped to 198 at about 7% bodyfat. After a successful season I decided that it was time to fluff back up.
Me at 198

Me at 245 (far right)

It was July. The sun boiled the asphalt, and it was nearly impossible to keep on weight. I spent most of my day on my feet, and my down time was consumed by lifting weights and eating. I was eager to be huge, but I had to take a strategic approach. By the time January 1st 2015 had reared it’s ugly head again I was 245 pounds at 15% bodyfat. In a short 6 months I had put on 25 pounds of lean mass, and 47 pounds of total mass. And the best part of it all, I never counted one calorie.

Now, you tell me – Is this something you’d like to do?

Of course it is. So let’s get down to the juicy details of how I did it. The first step is by preparing your body for the gains. You can’t expect to see the results that I did without actually doing what I did. This means that you need to eliminate carbs from your life – at least for a while. It may take a minimum of 14 days with less than 30 grams of carbs per day (this is the average length of time it takes to enter ketosis). You will see a drop in weight during this time period, which is fine. Your goal at this moment is not to get huge, it’s to become sensitive. No, I’m not asking you to cry when you watch the Notebook. When you omit carbohydrates from your life your body will become insulin sensitive. So when you reintroduce carbs the insulin will have a greater impact on you muscles.

You should adopt the philosophy of looking to the future; it will help. During this time period your training should revolve around a mix of volume, high intensity, and dynamic exercises. For example:
Diet – Very low carb
Exercise – speed squats
Diet – Very low carb
Exercise – Heavy Bench
Diet – Very low carb
Exercise – Volume Deadlift
Diet – Very low carb
Exercise – Olympic Lifting/ Body Building
Diet – Very low carb
Exercise – Sprint/sled/conditioning/body building/canoeing/underwaterbasketweaving

You would follow a split like this for a couple of weeks, rotating speed, heavy, and volume lifts between the compounds (squat, bench, dead). This is a conjugate method hybrid that I used. No, you don’t have to do this exactly, but the variety in the movements allowed me to obtain a high volume of work without overtraining. Not to mention that I got pretty strong.

After you get your body into ketosis and are insulin sensitive, you get to pile on the carbs. Don’t get excited yet though. The carbs that you will be filling your gut with are not the most appetizing.
  1. White/Brown Rice
  2. Russet/sweet potatoes
  3. Ezekiel Bread

When you go to eat your rice, measure it out dry first. 1 cup dry can become 2 or more once it’s cooked. The challenge is to consume all of the rice – no matter how pukey you get. I could eat 2 pounds of fried potatoes easy, but eating 2 cups of cooked rice every day for 6 months was awful. That’s when I began using over-eating techniques:
  1. Watch the food or travel channel
  2. After each meal consume excess amounts of water until you feel overfilled (this will expand your stomach)
  3. Find some combination of food with rice or potatoes that you love. (Fried rice is good)

Bulking is a challenge mentally more than physically. Suck it up buttercup. During this refeeding period you should put weight on extremely fast. Up to 3 pounds per week. During this time period you should also drink copious amounts of water (1-2 gallons per day). By the end of the first week you will hate food. Your new muscles have become a curse – they will beg for more food.

Remember how I said that I didn’t count calories? It’s true, but I did measure a lot of my food (primarily rice and potatoes). If I went more than 14 days without gaining weight I would add another .5 lbs of potatoes or .5 cup of rice to my diet each day. By the time I was 245 I would consume 2.5 lbs of potatoes and 3 cups of rice each day.

Don’t fret though, there is a silver lining. After my weight gain slowed to 1 pound per week I began having feast nights. What is a feast night? You may be wondering. It’s the most glorious thing during your journey of boring baked potatoes and bland white rice. Twice a week I would have pizza, ice cream, or some other junk food splurge at the end of the day. So my feast day would look like this:
Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Toast
Chicken, Rice, Eggs, Veggies
Protein shake, Milk, Oats, honey
Beef, Rice, potatoes
1 gallon of icecream/1 pizza

For the most part, my gluttony was extremely clean, but on those feast nights – O BOY – I was in paradise. That extreme splurge of calories after a hard workout helped me keep the gains coming. Don’t expect it to be easy though. By the end, I could barely put down a quart of icecream without wanting to quit; this takes serious commitment and dedication.

As I approached 245, I hit a plateau at 239. Something about that weight was just impossible for me to get past. After 3 weeks of no change, I decided to reevaluate my plans. I scratched my brain, but I couldn’t figure out what I needed to do. So I went back to the basics. During my no-lift days I would consume less than 30 grams of carbs. Like a switch flicking a on a light bulb, my weight started going way back up.

I know that is a lot of information, but give me credit, I just condensed 6 months of tinkering into 1300 words. You try and do that. If you’re not into bulking, don’t sweat it. My next post will tell you how I got down to 227 in 6 weeks and lost 6% body fat. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.