You need to strength train.
Wanted to add - I have around 19% body fat as measured by calipers and hydrostatic. I have a six-pack, and when I flex muscles are popping out everywhere (unflexed, I look firm but have some subcutaneous fat so I don't look 'hard'. You don't have to have a super-low body fat percentage to look pretty buff, even if you're a girl. It depends more on distribution.
You need to strength train.
strength training & lots of nut butter
Big L: Lifting very heavy things is of course important to gaining muscle. But I basically just maximize my nutrition, both my macronutrient ratio which is mostly protein and fat, and of coruse micronutrients. Micronutrients are extremely important for gaining muscle, as to build muscle effectly the body must be working to its optimal capacity. Vitamin A is needed to synthesize proteins, vitamin e proetects vitamin A, Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen, zinc and potaassium are needed for tissues. Everything effects everything else and a deficiency in any one nutrient will be detrimental to your efforts. The mantra "eat eat eat eat, stuff yourself! protein protein protein!" is only the half truth. WHAT a person eats is just as important.
Also antioxidants and minimizing inflammation are important too. When the body has less to heal and repair, it has the greater ability to build.
Cheers. It took me about 2 weeks to gain those 5 pounds and I really slacked off. I'll post some pictures when I hit 140.
Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.
Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!
There is no way to put on muscle without also putting on some body fat, which many people don't seem to understand
This is not true. I have no problems building muscle while losing fat.
The "Seven Deadly Sins"
• Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . • Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . .• Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
• Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . • Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . • Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
• Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)
I should have said: there is no way to gain WEIGHT without gaining some as fat. Because that is what I meant.
You can definitely fine-tune your body comp to a large extent with diet and exercise as I have seen first hand in people on this board, and in myself (5 months primal=sixpack with no exercise).
However I've read studies about deliberate weight gain, and every person monitered put on some of the weight as muscle, some as fat, whether it was internal or external. But like I said above, none of them were eating primal, and until we study people who do we don't know what's possible, for sure.
@Allbeef Patty -
You're right, I need to focus on nutritionally dense foods if I hope to increase my daily caloric intake. I'm not too keen on fruit salad, but perhaps a whole-milk plain yogurt with coconut milk, blueberries, nuts, and honey would do the trick. Sounds delicious at any rate.
Thanks for the reply, and the link to Mark's blog entry on this topic. I just read it, and it gave me some good ideas.
My doctor specifically mentioned that I could use a little more body fat. Perhaps he just said that because he knew it would be easier to put on fat than muscle? Not sure.
I appreciate your post. The only thing I would say in response is that I'm not really interested in putting on a "lot" of muscle mass, nor do I care that much about doing it quickly. Your advice sounds like it's tailored to someone who wants to get into strength-training hardcore, and get results as quickly as possible. I'm not sure if I'm quite there yet, but I do appreciate your thoughts.
I'm glad you've come to accept that you're destined to stay skinny. For the most part I've made peace with that as well. I'm willing to give it an honest shot to see if I can gain a modest amount of muscle (and fat if need be), but like you, I think if I'm healthy that's what matters most.
You don't say!
Nut butter, got it. My wife just brought home a jar of cashew butter -- will that do the trick?
I hear 'ya on the quality vs quantity of food issue. I'm not ready to dive into massive calorie consumption just yet, I don't think...but it's encouraging to hear that someone who did that was able to gain some muscle fairly quickly. I must admit, 5 pounds in 2 weeks sounds too good to be true. I'm going to have to assume that a good portion of that increase was due to fat and water. That makes it a lot more believable.
My emphasis is on eating well and slowly gaining muscle mass. I'm not in a big hurry, and to me personally, I don't feel it's worth it to gorge on food to the point of discomfort, and lift very heavy things in an attempt to gain as much as I can as fast as I can. I'm not knocking anyone else who choses to do that, but I don't think that's for me. I do recognize that I will have to get more calories (esp protein) and do progressively more strength training in order to put on muscle though.
Does anybody beside me wonder if TBL's doctor is nuts? Confusing correlates with causality? Just because the average 6' guy is so many pounds doesn't mean you should be. Maybe your the outlier who is 'normal for you' at a lower weight.
Geesh. Don't risk some metabolic syndrome by driving up insulin levels so you can add body fat. That is the wrong approach.
I think 8% BF is fine. I'd love 8% BF!!!! Some peeps are just meant by god to be skinny. You are graced.
The main thing I think - are your blood tests are OK? (See Mark's list of recommended blood tests) Endocrine system working OK?
Now - adding some muscle to protect yourself from age related sarcopenia - I think that is 'da bomb'
IMHO: stay primal, and get a 2nd opinion, and don't worry so much about BF calipers and BMI. My $0.02.
Tarlach, my roommate has no trouble building muscle and losing fat either...
..But he is 290 pounds and just got started into strength training 2 months ago. He has the energy already to build muscle and doesn't really need to eat a surplus. Many untrained individuals regardless of how much they are eating will gain some muscle, but it will slow down fast unless they start eating bigger or they are already big%fat.
At over 6' and around 150 pounds, the gains will slow down fast and you won't get much bigger or stronger without eating enough to recover from workouts and gain weight.
If you are a skinny guy for your height and you want to build a decent structure with muscle and strength, you really do need to gain weight and by gaining weight you will gain fat as well. You won't get "fat" if you are training right.
OP, I can see the point of taking your time on things, but wouldn't it be better to get to a strength and size point in 5 months doing the right things instead of taking 5 years to get to the same point? Time is valuable. Strength is valuable.
If I want to gain significant amounts of weight in a short time I have to eat in excess of 3500 calories per day (as a 100-lb woman with a 23" waist, this requires literally stuffing myself). Overeating causes physical discomfort, digestive disturbances, and getting overheated and sweaty as my body tries to literally 'burn off' excess calories. I've done this, I've gained weight, and I've lost it again when I stopped going to those lengths. How can this be more healthy for my body than trying to achieve a slight caloric excess each day and hopefully putting on a little weight each year as I age?
And stregnth is valuable, but bulk isn't the only factor in strength. I can outperform women who outweigh me by 30-80 lbs (admittedly most of them aren't in great shape; but then, neither am I, I've been practically sedentary for months now).
Anyway I think hardgainers are a different breed than the majority on this board, and having to go to such extreme lengths to achieve the same results that come with a reasonable diet and exercise plan to people with different metabolisms shouldn't be our goal, if we are truly focusing on our health.