Gain Weight To Gain Muscle

Original image courtesy of Mark’s Daily Apple

The other day after class, Jonathan Elliot and I were chatting about an issue that is mostly unique to men in the gym:  How can you gain weight in order to gain muscle?  While many folks struggle with keeping their body fat percentage down, others find it very difficult to increase theirs.  (Lucky ducks… 😉 )

I referred Jon to a great article I had recently read from Mark’s Daily Apple, entitled “How to Gain Weight and Build Muscle” . This article provides some great suggestions in regards to the types of lifts you should be doing on a weekly basis to build muscle mass, and some guidelines on the frequency of which you should be doing them.  In addition to Mark’s thoughts on how to build that elusive mass, he also speaks out on which Primal foods “hard gainers” can eat in order to increase their weight and therefore optimize muscle gain.

As a follow up to my own post the other day about getting enough protein, Jon took a look at the original article from Mark’s Daily Apple and then drafted up a blurb to share with us.  In his years pursuing his Kinesiology Degree, Jon has learned a thing on two on this topic.  Take a look at what he has to say…

“To add onto the past topic of “Protein: How Much Is Enough?“, I would like to concentrate on how to get enough calories for your activity level.  Whether they are trying to gain or lose weight, many people are not eating the right amount of food.  This can cause you to plateau at both gaining AND losing weight!

“What?? I’m eating too little to lose weight,” you ask?  Right.  It sounds a little contradictory, so bear with me for a little bit here while we work it out.  When you are eating too little it puts your body into a stressed state.  In this state, your metabolism slows to a crawl in order to ensure you have enough energy stores to maintain necessary functions.  Any food you eat at this point is basically stored, at which point your energy levels plummet.  While you may think you are crushing WODs and working hard to slim down, in actuality you are staying the same and potentially gaining a few pounds!

So, how do we know how much to eat?  There are some nifty scientific formulas out there designed to help us out.  And to give you all an example, we will plug in my own stats:

First, we need to figure out our “Basal Metabolic rate”.  Go ahead and take your body weight in pounds and convert it into kilograms by dividing it by 2.2

eg. 145/2.2= 65.9kg

After this step, we have to turn our weight into calories (kcal).  Males, you should multiply your weight by 1kcal. Women need to multiply their weight by 0.9kcal.

eg. 65.9 * 1kcal = 65.9kcal

Then, multiply this number by 24 (because there are 24 hours in a day)

65.9kg * 24 = 1,581kcal

If I were to lay on the couch all day and not move I would need to eat 1,581kcal in order for my body to maintain my weight.

Next we use the “Harris Benedict formula” to account for our activity level.

Sedentary (no/little activity): calorie intake= BMR * 1.2

Light activity ( 1-3 days/week) Calorie intake = BMR * 1.375

Moderate activity (3-5 days/week) caloric intake = 1.55

Very active (6-7 days/week) caloric intake = BMR * 1.725

Firebreather (2 workouts/day) Caloric intake = BMR * 1.9

Personally, I WOD about 4 times per week, so I fall into the moderate activity category.

eg. 1,581kcal * 1.55 = 2450kcal!!!!

I need to eat 2,450kcal/day just to maintain my weight.  Now, if my goal was to lose weight I would subtract about 500kcal from that number.  I would also account for rest days in there by running through the formula again, but using the sedentary number. T his would put me on track to lose about a pound per week.

Since my goal is to GAIN weight, I am going to do the opposite.

eg. 2,450kcal + 500 = 2,950kcal/day.

Now, you need to diligently record your portions for the day on a site like so you can see how you stack up.

Good luck, and happy eating!”

Today’s Workout

Buy-in: 3 rds:  4 inchworms, 8 jumping ring dips, 8 double crunch

WOD:  ZG1 Competitor

I believe this was one of the WODs from the very first Zone Games in June of 2010… or at least is very similar to it!  It’s an interval-based WOD so attack it strongly, knowing you will get recovery time after each bout.

4 rounds, each for individual time of:

•Row 300m

•12 sumo deadlift high pulls (65/95)

•6 barhop burpees

•Clock is set on a 5 minute rotation, the faster you go, the more rest you get!

•Scoring is combined time of your slowest and fastest intervals.

Zone 3:  Scale bar weight to 55/75

Zone 2:  Scale bar weight as needed

Zone 1:  Scale WOD as needed

GAMESPREP: If you’re needing a bit more of a push, scale up to 6 rounds.  Only do this if you can maintain your pace through each interval (i.e. you are within 20sec of your best time)

Cash-Out: FTL Stretch


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