Putting on Mass

I got an interesting question over the weekend, and since the person didn’t say I could use their name, I’ll just go ahead and answer it personally and then post a more detailed answer.

The gist of the question was this: how can a 20 year old male put on mass when he’s not been able to gain any weight ?

I know people like that, who wouldn’t seem to gain weight wearing a 75 pound back pack.

But ya know, there are certain characteristics of the healthy human body that are consistent throughout the species, and one of them is the ability to gain weight.

Lean muscle?

Yes, that too– assuming you have the necessary building blocks in place.

Now this fellow explained that he does an hour cardio per day and eats about 3000 calories. He weighs 155 pounds, drinks plenty of water, and eats healthy.

I could say there’s your problem– you’re eating healthy. LOL

Truth be told, if you were to eat junk food for a couple months straight, you certainly would see some weight gain, but then, you wouldn’t be keeping a 3000 calorie diet either.

(… you’d probably be pretty sick, too.)

And that’s obviously not the kinda gain he’s looking for.

But I do think that 3000 calorie number might be part of the issue.

Let’s look at it logically.

To maintain his body weight, his body requires about 2500 calories, at a light overall exertion level throughout the day.

He’s burning at least another 300-600 calories in his cardio training, leaving him with only a very small or even negative calorie surplus.

The math don’t lie, man.

If he wants to gain weight and lean mass, he has to have a reasonable calorie surplus, just as if he wanted to lose weight, he would need a negative one.

If you add a surplus of, say, 1500 calories daily, you could conceivably gain about 2 pounds a week, but that’s not taking into account some other things at work here.

One of them is his high level of cardiac training– his body isn’t working all that hard when he’s doing his cardio, because he’s so heart-fit.

Another is being 20, he’s got his hormones buzzin’, so his metabolism is also going full blast —

And it’s harder to gain muscle on a cardio-only regimen. ( I would say almost impossible )

Now, personally, if I was 20 in that condition, I dunno if I’d change anything– the girls are sure to enjoy his body more the way it is now, despite the impression people have that the hotties like muscle-bounds.

The truth is hotties like MEN who aren’t scared of being MEN.

But, ok…

I don’t wanna spoil the party here, so….

The first thing I would do is ramp up my diet to about 5500 calories a day — at a split of about 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30% fats.

I’d add several supplements, including 10 grams of creatine monohydrate, 200 grams of whey isolates, BCAA’s, HMB, and Glutamine.

I’d change up my workout — at least 45 minutes of weight training 5 times a week– at 12×3@80% 1RM, with 2 minute rest intervals between sets, with 45 minutes of cardio AFTER.

And I would FAST (no food- water and supps/vitamins only) two consecutive days a week.


Well, mebbe so… but shocking the body out of it’s rhythm is what you’d be trying to do, here.

Back in the 90’s, there were … ummm… substances that would do this for ya..

……… but now, it’s Crash and Binge.

Guys that have done this always complain about the same thing— they can never get their metabolism back to where it was.

So, unless you’re as crazy as this sounds, just add some weight training and some food and don’t go for Arnold, if you’re body says Mark Spitz.

Just sayin.



2 thoughts on “Putting on Mass

  1. I’ve got to say I agree with everything except the creatine monohydrate. After being a bodybuilder myself for 10 years during the 80’s and not using any substances like that to gain mass and managing a nutrition store (won’t say which one except it starts with a G and ends with a C) I’m not convinced it does anything other make one gain water weight. So those are my two cents for what they are worth, probably not much. Again like your post. Will be back and explore more. I don’t workout like I used to, honestly miss it a bit. My only problem was back then as big as I was finding clothes was a problem. That’s when I decided enough was enough. Cheers.

    • yes, I admit the shirt thing can be a challenge, and the legs on my boxer shorts cut off the circulation in my thighs, but all in all, just being able to pick up twice the weight others can gives me enough of a rush to keep going.. as long as this old body holds out, anyway. Cheers !!!!

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