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Question about genetics and gaining weight.

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  • Question about genetics and gaining weight.

    Hello all,

    This will be quite a long post so I would like to warn all the stressed people in advance.

    I have a few questions about genetics and gaining weight, but first a bit of background information...

    Both my parents were extremely slim around my age (30). My mothers weight was ca 106 lbs and my father ca 121. My starting weight, 6 weeks ago, was 119 lbs. As an experiment (partly motivated by a 30 years crisis) I've decided to gain 14 lbs. 6 Months ago I started with a body weight program only for about 2 months, and after 2 months I actually lost a few pounds!! (But added muscle definition) Of course that was very demotivating and I stopped training.

    So 6 weeks ago I started doing the following based on what I have been reading here and on other web sites:

    2 times per week: Squats (with 44 lbs of weight which consisted of a lot of books in an old suitcase).
    2 times per week: 20 lbs dumbbell exercises (pretty much a pullup for every arm).
    1 to 2 times per week: Weighted situps with ca 7 lbs of weight.

    So that was change nr 1, going from pure body weight to weights.

    Change nr 2:

    After each session, I started to eat some low fat quark with milk and cream (for better taste) which would equal about 20 g of protein.
    Additionally, I focus on eating more meat and less potatoes whenever I can, and I drink milk instead of water at least 3 times per week. In fact, my colleagues look weird at me, because there is so much meat and so little potatoes on my lunch plate.

    Compared with my normal diet, this is a lot more protein than I am used to.

    Now for the results.

    In 6 weeks, I've gained 7 lbs of weight, and based on a hard look in the mirror, it doesn't seem to be fat. I can see that my muscles are a lot more defined, but now the weight gain seems to have slowed down. =(

    So my questions are:

    1. What would you add to my program above to make it more effective?
    2. Since both my parents where skinny hard gainers, does that mean I am also one?
    3. What is reasonable to expect in terms of weight gain? After the initial "extreme" gain, will the weight gain slow down? This might affect my motivation, so how do you keep your motivation high?
    4. Let's assume for a second that I manage to keep my motivation high and eventually reach my goal of 133 lbs, can I then stop training with weights and revert back to body weight only, or will I lose the muscle I built up?

    Thank you very much for reading this long post, and I hope that some of you might be able to point me in the right direction. =)

    Best regards,

  • #2
    1. More weight or more difficult exercises. More food.
    2. Maybe? Mostly hardgainers are either not lifting heavy enough or not eating big enough. Did your parents every actually try to gain mass? How do you know they are hardgainers? Physical size has a lot to do with nutrition while growing up. Your parents may have just received less-than-adequate nutrition while they were growing up, for whatever reason.
    3. I don't know, it depends on how tall you are, how much you eat, and how big you lift. Yes, it will slow down. Set other goals besides a number on the scale. Pistol squats, 1-arm pushups, and 1-arm pullups are a good start. How tall are you?
    4. Muscle takes a long time to lose, but yes, if you don't stimulate your muscles, they will waste away. Set other goals besides a number on the scale.

    Bodyweight can give you what you want too, quite probably better than the equipment you are using. You are not lifting enough weight. A sandbag can be made cheaply and is very effective. A man should be looking to squat at least 1.5-2 times his own bodyweight. 50 lbs of books in a suitcase is not going to do it for you.

    A strength-based bodyweight program (Al Kavadlo, Convict Conditioning, Building the Gymnastic Body, You Are Your Own Gym, etc) will help you out here as well. Combining one of these programs with the weights that you have may be useful.

    Mostly, it seems you need a strength program, you don't know what one is, and you are trying to make one up. Other people have done the work for you, there is no reason for you to make up a program. I don't care what it is, but find a strength program, start at the beginning, and follow it step by step. There's someone that even has a Sandbag Fitness program that posts on the forums here. Follow a program.

    For example: Situps are a pretty useless exercise, and 7 pounds is nowhere near enough weight to stimulate the muscle that you want. They don't build actual strength or muscles, except for the little useless pretty ones on top.

    "Pretty much a pullup for each arm" is not the same as a pullup, which actually requires you to move your body through space, stabilizing yourself with some really intense abdominal action.

    Finally, as I said earlier, find goals that are not based on the scale, something you want to do. Staring at the scale is not good for people losing weight, nor is it good for people trying to gain weight. Train for getting stronger. Eat healthily and sleep well for proper recovery. This will build muscle. Building muscle will make you weigh more. Some people want to do things, some people are motivated by numbers they can lift, or speeds they can run, or obstacles they can overcome. You have to find what motivates you- what do you want to do that you can't now, or could do better if you were stronger?


    • #3
      If you aren't comfortable with bodyweight, I'd strongly suggest the first workout listed here (5x5.) Four or five exercises three days a week. Make sure you are eating enough and you can't help but gain weight.

      I'm actually trying to lose weight and finding this routine a good way to do it so long as I keep a calories deficit and mix in some light cardio and sprinting on my off days. If you make sure to eat enough I'm positive you will gain weight and build a strong core base of muscle.
      Primal since August 2012. CW: 317.


      • #4
        Hello jfreaksho and bostonwolf and thank you very much for your feedback and advice.

        @jfreaksho: To answer your questions:
        2. My parents were both physically active and probably ate healthier 40 years ago than we do today. As for gaining weight, the only physical activity they did was swimming, football and icehockey. So, no, neither of them actively tried to gain weight by lifting in their youth, and after approximately 35-40 the weight caught up with them, and today they are both average weight.

        3. Sorry, forgot about my length! I'm 5" 10.

        I also like the fact that you are focusing on the underlying motivation, and that is actually a problem for me! =) I am perfectly happy with most aspects of my life except my weight, and that is why the nr is the goal. In terms of skills, speed, endurance or how much I can lift, I don't have anything I'd like to achieve. Instead my goals are more career oriented. As for health, I feel perfectly fine as well, so it is a tricky one! In fact, physical exercise is something I loath, and it is a challenge for me. That is also why I tend to start with gritted teeth, and after a few months I stop. =(

        My "strength" is probably a high level of general exercise (stairs and walking way above average). But of course, those activities won't build any muscle.

        So my current attempt is truly something which is only motivated by the scale, and I'll try to endure until I reach my goal, and then it will be very interesting to see how much muscle I lose once I stop my program.

        To be frank, eating more than what I feel like and lifting more is not pleasant and something I enjoy, so I'm forcring myself to go through this. =/

        @bostonwolf: Thank you very much, I'll check out 5x5 to see if it is possible to adapt to "at home" training (no gym for me I'm afraid).

        But those thoughts aside, I'm pretty amazed at how fast I increased in weight in the beginnig, so if the weight gain rate doesn't slow down too much, I'm certain I will manage to keep it up for another month or two. =)

        Best regards,