I really am kinda lost about this whole thing..

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 08, 2007 7:19 PM GMT
    So, as you can see I'm pretty skinny 123 lbs/ 5'11

    I have an extremely fast metabolism and I just can't seem to gain weight, therefore I dont work out.

    However I would like to gain 10-15 lbs and work out to have some definition. Any suggestions on how to gain the weight and what to do?
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2605

    Sep 08, 2007 8:19 PM GMT
    Supernova18,first of all you need to gain some weight just for your health!I`d say you were extremely skinny for your height.I`d recommend more than 10-15lbs,more like 30lbs to give you health,muscle,and definition!
    First off,you need to workout your basic minimum daily calorie needs.There are plenty of websites that do this.Second you then need to eat more calories per day than this figure,maybe 200 more per day.This way you`ll gain weight.I have a fast metabolism,too,and eat regularly,every three or so hours.Don`t be tempted to miss meals because they`re not convenient.You might like to consider liquid meals if your daily schedule is very busy.
    Lastly,to get more definiton you may need some light cardio exercise,although at your weight you`ve probably got quite a bit as you`re so skinny!Try some light weight training as well.That may help.
    Best wishes,John.
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    Sep 08, 2007 10:26 PM GMT
    I agree with lincsbear, however you need to add a weight training program and I would sugest you NOT do a cardio training regimen...to add weight you must take in more calories than you burn and if you add muscle, you will add weight...so eat A LOT and lift some weights!!!!
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    Sep 09, 2007 4:23 AM GMT
    My cousin (girl) happens to be 32 and weighs 123lbs and her sister just weighed 122lbs when she was pregnant. Invest in going to GNC and finding out what to buy.
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    Sep 09, 2007 5:00 AM GMT
    Supernova18 - what about your genetics? Are Dad or Mom very skinny - what was there development like?

    You're 18. When I was 18, I was 5'8" and 135 lbs. I looked healthy as an 18yr old. You're frame is 3" taller but 12lbs lighter, so you're definitely thin. My parents were not thin and sure enough I put on 2 lbs per year for 15 years. It was all just natural changes in my body as I aged.

    Knowing what your parents went through may help you set your expectations. The skinnier they are the more likely that the food you choose and the eating habits you choose are going to have to be altered from your normal to get different results.



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    Sep 09, 2007 5:58 AM GMT
    - Go read the Zone - it's still one of the best nutrition books out there.
    - Move to a macronutriet ratio of somewhere closer to 33% carbs, 33% fats, 33% protein. Eat meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts. Add oils to your diet, particularly fish oils with EPA and DHA.
    - Get lots of sleep (8 hours/night+);
    - Lift HEAVY weights with GOOD form until physical failure.
    - Do that absolutely consisentely (but with good variety) 3x-5x/week (but watch out for overtraining);
    - That will trigger your internal hormone and testosterone production.
    - Get a trainer if you can afford it who will push you until you learn how to lift heavy and correctly on your own.
    - Depending on your city, look for a CrossFit gym or something that will teach you great form and highly variable training.
    - Learn from some of the great guys on this site. I have seen a lot of good healthy debate and discssion about all of the above points here.
    - Don't listen to people who tell you that you can't do it. Ignore them, eat well, lift heavy, and you'll put it on. Unless you have medical issues preventing your body from adapting.

    I've been a hard-gainer all my life and only when I did all of the above did I get any real results (up 18 pounds of muscle in 3 months after being the same weight my whole life and being told that I was just a "hard-gainer who would never have any muscle definition". I'm now at 160lbs with 10% bodyfat and feel like it's just the beginning.

    GOOD LUCK! Have fun! Fitness and sport are a great way to connect to other cool, like-minded people too!

    (And I agree with mascjockatl who suggested staying away from the cardio - you don't need it for now - maybe add it back in later.)

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    Sep 09, 2007 1:31 PM GMT
    listen to OutdoorAthlete...he is ABSOLUTELY correct...I will only add....if youre not a seasoned weight lifter, dont start out with heavy weight...start out with a weight you can control and maintain proper form, then slowly increase it...I taught myself over the years thru reading fitness magazines, as to what is proper form...I suggest getting some mags or online and follow the form...I used Mens Workout and Exercise for Men Only...the body builder mags like Muscle and Fitness I found to be too hard core...

    Follow the diet as outlined by OutdoorAthlete and you should see gains after about 30 days...but it will take 90 days before you see anything significant. So be patient.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Sep 09, 2007 2:11 PM GMT
    You've got some really good advice for you here
    and if you follow any of it you'll be well on you're way but the mainthing is ....eat

    you've got to keep those cals up so it can be metabolized into muscle
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2605

    Sep 09, 2007 2:39 PM GMT
    I agree with GQjock,the main thing you need at the moment is plenty of calories to support your muscle growth.Without them you`ll not make any muscular development/definition.
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    Sep 09, 2007 8:29 PM GMT
    Well my dad was exactly like me up until age 22-24 then he started to gain weight but both my parents are very healthy, exercise 3-4 times a week and they both have muscle on them...but thanks for all the help!

    I'll definitely have to try this, I'm in college now and I have increased my calorie intake by probably 500-600. I have weighed more in my life (133 lbs and same height) when I was in hawaii but all I did was eat, tan, and sleep.

    I really appreciate the help! I'll definitely be nosing around the forums for some help when I need it!
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    Sep 12, 2007 9:49 PM GMT
    Actually I disagree partly with Outdoor, a hard gainer should not be working out as much as 5 times a week its unnecesary calorie expenditure and the same build could be achieved in a shorter time frame made up of 3 sessions a week sub 30 mins
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    Sep 12, 2007 10:59 PM GMT
    I also disagree with Outdoor. If you read The Zone closely you'll notice that Barry Sears' nutrition plan is not even in 'the zone' himself...

    Bad science.

    Also - it is possible that your hormone levels are inappropriate. Excessive thyroid, low testosterone, other problems. Have your doctor do a full hormone panel on you, and if anything's out of kilter, get a referral to an endocrinologist.

    - J.
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    Sep 13, 2007 5:07 AM GMT
    I actually agree with bfg1 if you're going to do any sort of regular "pick a routine and do the same routine" type of workout - 3 days, short intense workouts to failure would be great.

    My 5 day thinking is skewed from my Crossfit stuff where every single workout is completely different so we can train 5d/week and it's fine because of the crazy amount of variety in type, intensity, and number of muscle groups being recruited.

    Again, for regular workouts, 3 or 4 days is probably better. You build muscle when you're resting, not when you're working out! (You tear it in your workout and your body adapts while resting/sleeping/eating).

    As for PSBigJoey's comments - it's easy to start a dogma debate on various different approaches to food. I was on the Zone, then off on many other systems, and then back on it when, in our gym, we just could not find a better system that provided more reproducible results. But that's with our specific types of workouts.

    Probably the simplest message and one that might be more useful to you Supernova is the one that you're getting from all of us: EAT MORE FOOD. Cut back on carbs (less breads, pastas, sugars), increase the protein mix and good fats (in cold-water fish and olive oil and other sources.) And don't get hung up on which dietary system - I probably misled you with that specific prescriptive comment. PSBigJoey's comments are fair - every system has its supporters and detractors so it's hard to sift signal from noise. You'll have to find the system that works for your body type.

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    Sep 13, 2007 6:33 AM GMT
    No you wont get the carb message from me unless he is massively overweight and even then I would say cut back on portions not carbs.

    Carbs provide the energy to work the muscle. Protein is their to repair and rebuild and therefore the requirement for protein is far lower.

    But its horses for course, if you favour a diet at present that is protein loaded thn stick with it as it will help you maintain momentu rather than a sacrificial diet same gos for carbs. The diffrence the diet approaches make is minimal its all down to the same 2 things keep fat low, and if its weight gain yuo want eat excess if its loss then eat deficit the rest of it is down to a numbers game

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    Sep 14, 2007 9:09 AM GMT
    Have a CMP done at the doctor.

    Test your testosterone, and you thyroid levels, as well as your resting glucose tolerance. If all is well, you see food, and you eat it.
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    Nov 28, 2007 5:47 PM GMT
    Seconding what the others have said (and as a fellow Crossfitter, I completely agree with what Outdoors has to say), I'm going to get very detailed about what worked for me. I saw huge differences when I did three things:

    1. EAT, EAT, EAT. I'm a very experienced lifter a with slavish dedication to the gym and rugby. It was/is not unusual for me to work out 2x, sometimes 3x a day (morning (Crossfit) and lunch (strength training) at the gym every day, then at rugby practice at night 2x a week). So I my high metabolism was due to my high physical demands. I struggled for years to gain muscle until I hired a trainer who dialed in my nutrition and DOUBLED my then normal caloric intake of 2100 to close to 4500 calories a day. (I was 34 yo, 5'7' and then was 165 lbs) I literally was eating every two hours. I thought for sure I'd get fat, but took trusted that my trainer (who had the kind of build I was looking to have) knew what he was doing.

    And guess what? Twelve weeks later I had gained 13 lbs of pure muscle AND my bodyfat had decreased to 15% from 17%. All natural, thanks. By week 20 I had gained at total of 22 lbs of muscle from the time I started with John (my trainer). Folks thought I was on the juice, but I wasn't (never have been). After years of training intensely, my body was primed to grow. I just needed to eat enough so that it could.

    That was two years ago. I'm 36, still 5'7" (damn!), but now 192 lbs, 12.7% body fat, eating 3200 calories a day (maintenance).

    Was it easy to eat that much all the time? Hell, no! But, like my muscles used to be, your muscles are STARVING for fuel. Pretty simple: if they don't get enough food, they don't grow. You lose weight. If they get enough food, they grow. You gain weight. Get your eating dialed in. EATING IS YOUR #1 PRIORITY IF YOU WANT TO GAIN MUSCLE. 80% of building muscle is all about the muscles getting the nutrition they need to repair and grow.

    CAUTION: You need to ramp up you caloric intake slowly, over a couple of weeks. At 5'11, your normal caloric needs are probably around 2400 calories. If you're used to eating 2400 calories and all of a sudden jump up to 4000, it will shock your body, and not in a good way. Add 200-400 calories to what you're eating now each day, until you reach 4000. Then watch what your body does over the next week. If you don't gain weight (i.e half a pound), then add another 500 calories to your daily.

    Also would recommend supplementing with glutamine. You deplete your body's glutamine stores with high-intensity work. Without supplementing glutamine, you slow down your recovery rate, and you can lift as intensely as you did at your previous workout. I recommend Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard Whey protein, which contains a proper dose of glutamine in every serving, as well as the coveted BCAAs.

    2. HIGH INTENSITY, HIGH WEIGHT, 5 -10 REPS, at least 3 sets, focused on COMPOUND movements. High intensity, heavy weight produce a greater hormonal response. You need to shock your body into producing growth hormone at optimal rates when you sleep. High intensity workouts are the only way to do this. Rep ranges of 7-10 tend to promote hypertrophy (bigger muscle) more than strength. But don't worry, you'll still get plenty of strength development. You need to lift as heavy as you can, so aim for at least 5 reps, and go for up to 10 if you can.

    Use the barbell and dumbbells mostly and focus on compound movements (i.e, squats, bench press, pull ups and bent-over rows, Military press). YOU MUST DO SQUATS, free standing squats (no hack squat machine, Smith machine or leg press). Three, intense sets of heavy squats alone will elicit the shock/hormonal response you're looking for. You want to be almost dizzy at the end of each set. Barbells and dumbbells recruit stabilizer muscles, which further shocks your system. Compound movements use more groups of muscle and promote the fastest gains. The bench press, overhead press and pull ups will work your arms plenty, but you can throw in some curls and skull krushers if you want. If you must use a machine (say, if you don't have a trainer or a spotter), try to use the Hammersmith machines. Stay away from the pulley machines if you're trying to gain muscle. They restrict your range of motion too much.

    For your purposes, 3x a week at the gym is enough. You should be adding five pounds to your lifts every time you hit the gym. For example, if you squat 200 on Monday for 3x5-10 and get every rep, you should squat 205 on Wednesday for 3x5-10. If you get all the reps on Wednesday, you should squat 210 on Friday for 3x5-10. Let's say you don't get all of the reps on Friday. Then Monday, dial it back 15lbs (195) 3x5-10 reps and try the progress again. You want to CONSTANTLY test the limits of your abilities every time you hit the gym,to the point of puking. This is what stimulates your body's hormonal response when you sleep at night, as it adapts to the intense physical demands you are placing on it.

    This protocol is laid out in detail in _Starting Strength_ by Mark Ripptoe and Lon Kilgore, considered one of the weight training Bibles. (Where else are you gonna find a book that spends 50 pages just on teach the squat!) Many, many hard gainers have put on mass by following this protocol (and EATING shitloads). Highly recommend getting this book, and his other book, _Practical Programming_. Ripptoe lays out the very protocal my trainer used with me over the past two years, so you can save yourself a few grand if you can't afford a trainer.

    3. SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP. Your body grows when you are at rest. This is when growth hormone is released in its highest concentration. You want to get two good deep sleep cycles in, so (1) go to bed early and at a regular time every night (this includes weekends) and (2) sleep in as dark a room as possible (pitch black, if possible), to promote the deepest sleep cycles possible. Get at least 8 hours. If you're working out as intensely as you need to, you will have no trouble at all sleeping! LOL Make sure you down a protein shake an hour before you go to sleep, so that your body can use those nutrients to build muscle during the night.

    Be patient and dedicated. A half pound gain a week is GREAT progress for a hardgainer. There will be weeks where you don't grow at all (or even lose weight). But those weeks will be balanced out by weeks where you gain 1, 2 or even 3 lbs of muscle. Give your body the 4-6 weeks it needs to adjust to the "new normal" of intense workouts and high caloric intakes. You'll start to see real changes by week 6. People will start to notice those changes by week 8. 10 lbs of muscle may not sound like much, but you will be amazed at what gaining 10 lbs of muscle looks like on your body. It looks like so much more than 10 lbs!

    This approached worked for me, and for all of the other guys my trainer trains. Hopefully there are some useful nuggets here you can apply that will help you out.



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 29, 2007 3:53 AM GMT
    You see food, and YOU EAT IT.

    Also, you are SO UNDERWEIGHT, something else could be going on. Get to a doctor.

    You could be diabetic, have an overactive thyroid, or an eating disorder. Get to a doctor ASAP.