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I think I've hit a wall in my quest to gain weight/build muscle

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  • I think I've hit a wall in my quest to gain weight/build muscle

    I've been paleo since May 2012 but in October 2012 I decided to finally start lifting weights. I'm 5'8" and the most I ever weighed pre-paleo was 155 pounds. When I started lifting weights in October, I weighed 140 pounds. I've steadily gained weight since that time. About 2 weeks ago, I weighed 160 pounds. During this time frame (Oct-Mar), I ate around 2600 calories a day.

    Within the past month, I started using whey protein and upped my calories to around 2800 a day. I've been going to the gym pretty consistently 3 days a week (lifting according to a modified version of StrongLifts) but it seems like I've hit a wall. Weighing myself each morning the past 2 weeks, my weight has fluctuated between 158-161 pounds.

    Is the obvious answer here to simply eat more? Or is there only so much weight I can gain? Again, I've been thin my whole life and even with a diet of junk food and soda I only maxed out at 155 pounds.
    Yes, the real Dirk.

  • #2
    Originally posted by dirk41 View Post
    Is the obvious answer here to simply eat more?
    Yes.

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    • #3
      Yeah, you should start with upping the calories slowly until you are gaining weight consistently.

      Also, you might want to reset on your training program if you're not making progress in the gym.

      Jake
      My nutrition/fitness/critical thinking blog:

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      • #4
        Why are you trying to gain weight? Why can't you be happy the way you are? Maybe your body's trying to tell you it's happy at its current weight even though you aren't happy with it.

        (former anorexic speaking, I remember all too well lamenting "I can't get to my goal of 125" when what I really needed was to love myself at 130)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 2ndChance View Post
          Why are you trying to gain weight? Why can't you be happy the way you are? Maybe your body's trying to tell you it's happy at its current weight even though you aren't happy with it.

          (former anorexic speaking, I remember all too well lamenting "I can't get to my goal of 125" when what I really needed was to love myself at 130)
          That's an excuse for not achieving your training goals. We're not talking body image issues here, we're talking about performance. If your body is not performing at the level you want, changes are required. In this case the changes are in the form of more calories.

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          • #6
            A wall may indicate you are approaching your max, and so you are slowing down. The closer you approach your physical maximum, the slower your gains are going to be. I've been stuck at about 165 for months because I don't have the time to eat and lift like I would need to keep gaining, though I was at 145 only about 18 months ago.

            Muscle Gain Calculator - Scooby's Home Workouts
            HS:Maximum Size Calculator
            The WeighTrainer - Maximum Muscular Bodyweight and Measurements Calculator

            Those will give you some indications on how much you should expect to weigh, but I don't know how accurate any of them are, and there is quite a bit of difference. One says I could weigh up to 207, others max me out at 190 or so at a 10% bodyfat.

            I'd keep trying to get stronger, and your body will build the muscle as it needs it, assuming you feed it properly.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jfreaksho View Post
              A wall may indicate you are approaching your max, and so you are slowing down. The closer you approach your physical maximum, the slower your gains are going to be. I've been stuck at about 165 for months because I don't have the time to eat and lift like I would need to keep gaining, though I was at 145 only about 18 months ago.
              Unless this guy's lifts are quite high and he has low body fat, I don't think 5'8" at 160lb is going to be his maximum. For example, if his body fat is 10%, and he squats 380lb, deadlifts 440lb, and benches 280lb, maybe. If, on the other hand, his body fat is 20%, he squats 170lb, deadlifts 200lb, and benches 125lb, probably not.

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              • #8
                I suppose I don't have a goal weight in mind; I just want to see how far I can go.

                Once I get a tape measure I'll have to try out those calculators.
                Yes, the real Dirk.

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                • #9
                  the calories slowly until you are gaining weight consistently.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by quikky View Post
                    Unless this guy's lifts are quite high and he has low body fat, I don't think 5'8" at 160lb is going to be his maximum. For example, if his body fat is 10%, and he squats 380lb, deadlifts 440lb, and benches 280lb, maybe. If, on the other hand, his body fat is 20%, he squats 170lb, deadlifts 200lb, and benches 125lb, probably not.
                    No, 160 is likely not all that near to his maximum, but he's not likely to get the newbie gains for much longer, if at all. He's been eating primally while lifting, and went from 140 to 160. I don't think that was 20 pounds of fat. 140 at 5'8" is going to be pretty low bodyfat. If he's at all like me, those first 20 pounds went on pretty easy, but now he may be at the point where it is going to take some focused effort in both eating and lifting in order to add more muscle mass. The gains are likely to slow, that was my point. The closer he gets to his max, the slower those gains will be.

                    If he's already done one lifting program for 6 months or more, he can maybe think about tweaking it, or move on to a different program, depending on his age and his current stats.
                    Last edited by jfreaksho; 03-31-2013, 08:18 PM.

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