View Full Version : Trying to gain

02-19-2003, 09:19 PM
Hello everyone.

I have just started lifting again after about a 10 year layoff. I am lifting 3 days a week doing squats, bench presses, military presses, lat pulldowns, and bicep curls. I've been lifting for 2 weeks and have seen 0 gain in weight but I have noticed some strength gains. I know I should not get too impatient but I consume 3500 calories per day and about 220-260 grams of protien per day as well as 350 - 400 grams of carbs. I weigh 164 pounds and want to get to around 180 by the end of the year.

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Added info: I take in a 40 gram whey protien shake post workout along with 5 g creatine and 5 g glutamine in 8 oz of grape juice.

Thanks in advance

02-19-2003, 10:13 PM
Simple answer but not easy.

You need to eat more. Easy calculation if you are not gaining then you are not ingesting enough calories.

You may want to recheck your actual calories. If what you posted is correct then you are taking in approx 1000 calories in fat. If it is good fat then this is good. But unusual if you are like most people.

If you find your fat intake is not this high you may want to add some extra virgin olive oil and/or natural peanut butter to your diet.

To gain weight add 500 calories per day and wait 2 weeks if still no gain add another 500 calories until you are gaining 1 - 2 lbs a week.

You are currently eating 3500 so you need to take in 4000 a day.

02-19-2003, 10:14 PM
Don't worry too much about not gaining weight. It might be because you're burning fat and replacing it with solid muscle.
Don't rely too much on your scale. Rather go by how you look in the mirror! If you 're looking leaner and the love handles seems to melt slowly away, you're on the right track! And remember you've only been lifting for 2 weeks, so give your body a chance to adapt and grow.
And if in a few weeks you don't see any difference at all, you might want to up your calories again and maybe add some good fats (remember each gr is 9 calories - so it's easy to add some calories by supplying you diet with some fat)

Don't give up too fast! Just keep on lifting and experimenting with your diet till you find something that works for you
Good luck! and keep us posted with the results

02-19-2003, 10:34 PM
First of all congrats on gettin' back in the gym, that is by far the biggest obstacle you will face. It has only been 2 weeks, relax you will see gains soon. :D The front page of this site has a ton of great info (as do the other members). All the exercises you have listed are great, but I would make sure to add some others. For example you don't have any tricep exercises listed, I would add some close grip pushdowns or close grip bench to balance out your arm workouts (remember 2/3 of your arm size is triceps). Deadlifts are a great exercise fo developing the entire back and much like squats the effort required will boost your hormone levels... give them a try as long as you have someone to show you the correct form. If you have any specific questions ask away, someone on this board has probably already tried it and will be more than happy to share the results. You'll be amazed at your progress once you put in a little time, just stick with it and keep us posted on your progress.

02-20-2003, 12:55 AM
I thought that you wern't meant to take creatine with fruit juice or anything acidic? Doesn't it degrade it before it is absorbed or something?

02-20-2003, 05:12 AM
Eat, eat, eat !!!
Make sure yer eating right tho..
And it will take time to get yer body working for you instead of against you..
In time, give it time..
And stay in the gym and get back to basic compound movements for starters..
Let us know how it goes !!!!

Good luck !


02-20-2003, 05:18 AM
Belle is right kill the fruit juice. Very high in fructose and spikes the insulin. Replace with water. I use the chewable glutamine.

Hey and welcome here! Be patient and stick to it. It will take about 4-6 weeks to notice a big difference. Make sure to take good before picts with body measurements and keep a food and training log. this will help you stay motivated as you start to see the changes in the tale of the tape. Typically I weight once a week, measure once a month, and take progress Pictures every two months.

02-20-2003, 05:36 AM
It was my understanding that grape juice is not very acidic and I use the juice for the sugars. If there is a better way I am eager to listen.

I make every effort to keep my fat intake to good fats as much as possible, almonds, peanut butter, olive oils, etc. To be honest I have been keeping a food journal and have attempted to keep as good records as I can but I am sure I miss some things. Also I have not been keeping track of fat grams because I have reduced my fats over the last two months, so I figure the fats will take care of themselves.

Before I started lifting I lost approximately 25 lbs by changing my diet and lots of cardio on tthe treadmill. By the best estimates I am at a 14-17 % bodyfat level and I have reduced my cardio to about 1 1/2 to 2 hours per week.

Thanks again.

02-20-2003, 07:55 AM
Creatine in Grape Juice is usually the way to go. Of all the juices, Grape Juice contains the most dextrose (high GI). The insulin spike you get with a high GI simple carb is what you are looking for to drive Creatine in. In the loading phase and on non-workout days I take Creatine with Grape Juice and then 20 min later I take another shot of Grape Juice to produce another insulin spike. On maintenance workout days I add Creatine to my post workout shake with contains about 40 grams of pure dextrose (corn sugar).

As previously posted, recheck your calories as well as your % or carb/protein/fat. You should be getting 1.5 to 2gms of protein per LBM. Give each change in diet at least a couple of weeks to adapt, then make changes if needed.

As far as training goes, the first 4-6 weeks should be conditioning. Light weight, moderate to high reps, nothing to failure, concentrate on perfect form.

You have only been working out for 2 weeks, so just hang in there. Give it a good 12 weeks to see some MAJOR changes.

Patience and hard work, bro.

02-20-2003, 08:36 AM
You DO want an insulin spike after your workout, this causes carbs, protein and vitamins to be shuttled into your freshly worked muscles.

You are doing it exactly right with your creatine. Grape juice is not too acidic.

02-20-2003, 08:37 AM
Originally posted by Phatman1179
Belle is right kill the fruit juice. Very high in fructose and spikes the insulin. Replace with water. I use the chewable glutamine.

Hey and welcome here! Be patient and stick to it. It will take about 4-6 weeks to notice a big difference. Make sure to take good before picts with body measurements and keep a food and training log. this will help you stay motivated as you start to see the changes in the tale of the tape. Typically I weight once a week, measure once a month, and take progress Pictures every two months.

Curious why you say you do not want an insulin spike after your workout?

02-20-2003, 08:51 AM
I am with Crowler. A insulin spike post workout is a good thing and does exactly what he says. It is the best time to take care of the protien and the simple carbs (say like 0.5 grams per body weight) and get them into the muscles. Like within a hour of your workout.

02-20-2003, 09:05 AM
You don't need those supplements. Especially since you just started lifting again. Establish a baseline, get your body moving in the right direction, and later if you want to experiment try them (although I personally think both creatine and glutamine are WORTHLESS).

The reason I say they are worthless is because I like to eat a lot of (lean) red meat. That's where creatine comes from in the first place! If you are eating enough whole food you have no need for it. Besides, IMO, any gains (both in strength and weight) from creatine are almost wholly lost upon cessation of use.

Glutamine is nothing more than a NONESSENTIAL amino acid. That means that your body is capable of making its own supply; it is controlled by glutamine synthetase, which takes Nitrogen-rich molecules into the cell for production of glutamine. So if you keep your nitrogen balance positive (by ingesting enough protein) there is no use for the extra glutamine!

Don't give your money away to the supplement companies!

I'll also agree with Crowler- that post-workout carbup and protein intake is critical.

02-20-2003, 09:18 AM
Yep your right I should of qualitfied that. I am currently Dieting and I researched this question for my post workout. Here are some experts whom I highly respect and thier reasoning:

(I don't remember where I got this quote sorry)
The body always replaces muscle glycogen first and liver glycogen second after a workout. But, in the case of fructose (and possibly sucrose), the body replenishes liver glycogen stores first, then muscle cells and fat cells second. So, what I think Bill was trying to say, was that you don't get a complete/effecient compensation with fructose only (or supercompensation, which is what you want). On another note, including fruit with a high fat meal increases your fat storing capabilities. In regards to grape juice, I believe its high in glucose

Cy Willson

"Processed fruit juice is worthless in my opinion. Before I would have said to use it as a post workout source of carbs but with Surge, that isn't necessary and is less efficient. Also, with whole fruit, you get so much more. The fiber, more phytochemicals (way more), more nutrients, period. Not to mention the compounds that are unique to certain fruits and those that we aren't even aware of yet. Plus, it's more filling. Fruit juice is an easy way to over-consume calories and increase body fat. Now remember, I'm talking about fruit juice concentrate. The processing is what reduces the amount of these special phytochemicals and other compounds that we aren't aware of yet. If you're going to consume juice, then you should make it yourself"

John M Berardi

When talking of fruits and fructose, it is important to clarify one point. Fructose is a component of fruit but there are certainly other sugars as well in fruit. Get a nutrition text and find out which fruits have what levels of each sugar. Fructose has a very low glycemic index so a fruit high in this sugar would also have a low GI. Most fruits have different GIs because they have different proportions of dextrose, glucose, fructose, etc. You get the point. Now, fructose itself isnt evil when consumed in moderation in the diet. If fructose makes up the main portion of your diet, however, you could have problems due to increased LDL, decreased HDL, etc. The reason for this is that fructose has a very unconventional way of being metabolically processed. Because of its structure, it cant be metabolized like glucose. Instead it has to go through extensive processing in the liver. This is why Bill recommended another sugar for postworkout glycogen resynthesis. You see, fructose is slow to get into the blood (low GI) AND when it finally gets there, it doesnt even go directly to muscle but instead goes to the liver. So, postworkout nutrition should not include alot of fructose. Personally I eat some very high GI carbs with a small amount of fruit for the post workout. Probably 80grams to 10grams of nonfructose-fructose. Not for any other reason than I really like eating frozen blueberries and strawberries in my cereal and cottage cheese. For the remainder of the day, though, moderate fructose consumption is fine. Fruits taste good and are very good for you!

If I'm wrong thanks for helping me correct my miss conception....

02-20-2003, 09:33 AM
Cy Willson

If you're going to consume juice, then you should make it yourself"

John M Berardi

Fruits taste good and are very good for you!

Whole foods are the key!

02-20-2003, 10:15 AM
Thanks everyone,

This has been very informative. I only take in one 8 oz glass of juce a day, which is post workout with the creatine and glutamine. Post workout is also when I take in my whey protien. The rest of the day is devoted to whole foods with an occasional protien bar. The info has been great and I look forward to getting to know you all.

02-20-2003, 10:16 AM
Oops, my statement about Grape Juice being high in dextrose is wrong. It is the juice that is highest in FRUCTOSE.

Here's part of a bb.com article about Creatine by Big Cat that I find very informative:

Creatine is a naturally occuring compound that is present in the body. Under the right circumstances the body can manufacture it and small amounts are taken in through food, mainly from red meat and fish. To understand what creatine does you have to know a little bit of physiology. All energy in the body comes from a source called Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP). All things we regard as energy sources (like glucose) can be regarded as currencies, but before you can spend it you need to exchange it to the accepted currency which is ATP. When potential energy is created by burning ATP, this leaves waste products, namely one separate phosphate ion and ADP (Adenosine Di-Phosphate). Both are regarded as such and excreted by the body. When the compound creatine monohydrate is introduced into the system it forms creatine phosphate (or phospho-creatine) by binding with a phosphor-ion. This new substance has the capability of binding this ion to left-over ADP and regenerate ATP. New ATP, new energy. This enables faster recovery, longer and better training sessions and this should translate into new muscle growth. This is extremely important in lifting, because muscle growth is mainly an anaerobic occasion. That means you need enough energy to complete your set without resorting to the Krebs-cycle (which enables us to do long, strenuous efforts). This does not go for leg muscles, because they contain larger amounts of oxidative fibers.

But that's not all. Creatine has the ability to absorb water into its target cells. This logically makes the cells bigger, and so your muscles appear bigger, though its not actual growth. This special side-effect has the benefit of being good motivation (nothing gets you going like watching yourself grow) and naturally getting that little extra in a pre-contest phase. (A judge can't tell the difference between real muscle and water within the cells). This leads to a little dehydration whilst starting a new cycle of creatine, but as long as you drink enough this should not form a problem. What will form a problem is that creatine is not easily absorbed by the cells. This problem is partly solved by introducing a loading phase, but even then you risk using only half your creatine. Many new forms of creatine have tried to address this problem, but which one works?

Why taking it with juice is not the answer:

The first users of creatine realized early on that insulin was needed to create an environment capable of pushing creatine into the muscle. It makes sense, because all nutrients, especially the all important protein, need insulin to have optimal effect. Taking your protein with a simple sugar created an insulin spike making it more efficient, and that was the plan with creatine. So they decided to take it with juice. The juice of choice was grape because it contained the most fructose, the sugar present in all fruit juices. Fructose was a good choice because it was moderately glycemic (glycemic index refers to the ability of a sugar to form glucose and ultimately glycogen, the prime storage of energy in the body) and easy to mix with the creatine. Unfortunately fructose doesn't cause a long enough insulin-spike to remain anabolic until the time the creatine becomes available to the muscle (roughly 20-30 minutes after intake). On top of that they consumed large amounts of juice, and all that free fructose easily transformed to fat storage. Not exactly what they were hoping for.
Why added dextrose is not the answer:

Another good step in the right direction. Dextrose is higher glycemic and causes longer and higher insulin spikes than say fructose or sucrose. It's the highest glycemic natural sugar. Even at that, the largest part of the insulin boost will be gone by the time the creatine reaches the muscle. Dextrose makes the creatine more expensive because pharmaceutical-grade dextrose isn't cheap and you need a lot of it. It's better than the effervescent, but with no more cost-effectiveness to speak of. So all of you that have been taken in by the Cell-Tech wrap, think again. It is better than creatine, but at all the extra cost. And no matter what anyone says you can't make creatine 880 percent more effective. Considering what you already use now, the most you can perfect creatine is 350 percent. If it ever becomes cheaper, it may be of use. Bodybuilding.com's discount is a step in the right direction. If only Muscletech would make the wholesale price cheaper and they would have a winning product on their hands.

What is effective?

Well, the answer is quite obvious and a lot cheaper. Either I'm the smartest man in the world (and I doubt it) or somebody is keeping the obvious under wraps. Isn't it plain to the eye that you need to create an insulin spike when the creatine reaches the muscle? Well, I did the research myself on a total of 25 subjects, 10 taking creatine with grape juice, 8 taking it with OJ and extra OJ at 20,30 and 40 minutes after ingestion, and the last 7 taking it with milk and drinking OJ at 20, 30 and 40 minutes after ingestion. The result was overwhelming. The second and third group gained 92 and 83 percent more muscle mass over a period of 8 weeks. I opted for OJ because not everyone is a big fan of grape juice, but I would guess using the same amounts of grape juice would create greater insulin spikes and be more effective. Using dextrose could be amazingly effective, but who can afford to take 3 times 20 grams of dextrose? No in light of advising cost-effective supplements, so you can afford to stack more efficiently, advising that would be unethical.

Recently some people have told me about concerns of creatine turning to creatinine faster in OJ because of the citric acid. I doubt that citric acid could have a greater effect than stomach acids , but if it is indeed a concern for some, just observe the one obvious rule I hinted at before: whatever you dissolve it in , don't leave it sitting. Drink it. The longer it sits the more it goes to waste.

Creatine and the diet

Unlike prohormones and other specialty supplements, creatine remains effective while on a diet without impairing your goals to cut fat. Creatine contains absolutely 0 calories. On the contrary, creatine may in fact help to shed water, act as a diuretic. For those of you trying to get lean to go cruising for chicks this summer can use creatine all the way through, but for those of you thinking of entering a competition, here's a little trick a lot of pros have picked up over the year: Stop all creatine use 8 weeks out and commence a new loading phase 5 days prior to the contest. The creatine loading effect will shed more excess water than the best diuretic, and some of that water will be absorbed into the muscle anew, creating a fuller, thicker look while on stage. It's worth a shot, and I'm convinced you'll be pleased with the results.

How should I use creatine?

The most frequently asked question about creatine is whether or not to load. It's not nescessary, but I don't see why you wouldn't. You could potentially up the gains by 30 percent and will start seeing results much sooner. By over-saturating the area surrounding the muscle the body's need for homeostasis will try to equalize the normal ratio of things and increase the amount within the muscle. So loading is beneficial.

How should you load? Well the official recommendation is 0.08 grams per pound of bodyweight and nothing further, but let's be honest here, most of us who've used it have fared better with the 20-25 grams in a loading phase, either in two evenly spaced doses or 3 doses. I usually suggest 3x7 for 5 days. Do you have to load for 5 days? No. You could get as much out of 4 or 6 days, 3 is cutting it short and 7 or more is pissing away money, because at that point you're no longer absorbing more than 7-10 grams. After that most people say to use 5 grams per day. I just hinted at the fact that you can still absorb 7-10 grams when you take it correctly, so I'd say 10 grams is a better choice. You'd absorb at least 7 and the extra helps to maintain the homeostasis effect I told you about. Two doses of 5 grams makes the most sense, and taking them at the most anabolic of moments makes even more sense. Take one dose in the morning when your body is starved and takes in anything it gets and take one dose immediately after training, when the muscle is pulling all its resources together to recuperate the damages. Taking it in more doses will only wear down the receptors faster and shortchange your gains.

Of course, the last of the frequently asked questions is how long to take it. Well, it's safe to use it continually for years, but you should really cycle. Receptors tend to downgrade and become less effective with time. Giving them a rest makes sense. Some say to cycle on for 6 weeks, others for 8, but then I hear these things about people who stop after six weeks, while they were still gaining. That's stupidity. Don't stop as long as you are gaining. After that, take a good 4 weeks off, maybe a bit longer if you are older, to give the receptors a chance to upgrade again. That's basically creatine in a nutshell. Large nut, but still.

02-20-2003, 10:18 AM
The link to the full Big Cat article is:


02-20-2003, 12:59 PM
Curious why you say you do not want an insulin spike after your workout?

Well I am more concerned with the creatine being taken with fruit juice and because it has a certain acidic quality to it, it destroying the creatine before it can even be of benefit. Then again, the stomach produces acid, so I guess it is going to get some bashing with that?

I'm gonna eat breakfast and then have a look around and get back to this thread...

02-20-2003, 01:05 PM
No expert, but it seems like drinking TKE MonsterFood has to put quality weight on a person. At 1000+ calories per shake no way it couldn't.

02-20-2003, 01:11 PM
If your taking in enough protein in the way of food, then why would you need to supplement with creatine? Since as Nuclear says it is manufactured by your own body from protein, then as long as your feeding in the right amounts of protein for your LBM surely the creatine levels should be ok?

I guess though that on those occasions that we are at the gym and fatiguing muscles we put our bodies through a lot more in that hour than at any time, and at those times in working out for an hour, the muscles deplete quite quickly of the stuff, so supplementation at that time only ON TOP OF eating the right amount of protein is going to bring you back from what is a catabolic state quicker. Simply eating protein in the way of meat after a workout would probably take too long to digest and benefit us immediately. That's why I take a shake within 15 minutes of it and my glutamine, and I would take creatine right there too if I started to use it.

I mean I used to think I did not need glutamine under the mistaken belief that if I was eating right everything else would be ok, but glutamine is yet another nutrient that depletes rapidly in the muscle as above... So I use it pre and post workout. As of yet I have not used creatine, but I was thinking of using it later.

02-20-2003, 01:18 PM
That most nutrients are absorbed in the small bowel --intestine. It takes some half an hour for anything you put in your mouth to hit the small bowel. I know this because of my sons med's. he takes them orally, but if he is vomiting we have been instructed to dose him double or triple. So if we do this and he throws it up within half an hour of being given it orally (symptom of adrenal crisis) then we have to attempt the dose again because it can take half an hour for it to reach the small intestine where it is absorbed.

If he throws it back again we have to give him an intramuscular injection and take him to hospital to be given electrolytes and his meds by drip as he can go into shock if this is not done quickly enough.

I am therefore assuming that creatine or any supplement that we put in our mouths is the same? So eating a meal with protein, it would take longer for that in the stomach because the stomach had to break it down, whereas as in a drink it will move through much more quickly and be absorbed more readily?

02-20-2003, 01:45 PM
One of the points in Big Cat's article was the fact that the insulin spike that you get while taking Creatine with a high or even moderate GI carb was not quite timed with the point at which Creatine reached the muscle. So he recommends spiking your insulin 20,30,40 mins after taking Creatine to coincide with the time the Creatine would be available at the muscle. That's why I drink a second shot of Grape Juice some 20 minutes after taking Creatine. But I only do this when I take Creatine at any other time other than post-workout. Anything that you take in that hour after intense training, will be sucked up completely by your body.

02-20-2003, 04:26 PM
Food travels down the oesophagus at a rate of approximately 3 to 4 centimetres per second (1 to 2 inches), and the entire process takes about 5 to 6 seconds. In the stomach, food tends to hang around for a little longer and this depends on a variety of factors including the amount of food you have consumed, how much fat it contains, and also the acidity of the stomach. However, all food should have left the stomach within 2 to 4 hours.

In the small intestine, digestion continues and absorption occurs. From here on, the time to defecation will vary depending on the time it takes to adequately digest and absorb in the small intestine. This will usually take 5 to 6 hours. The "food then enters the colon for further digestion and water reabsorption before defecation. The time from itís entering the colon to defecation is about 12 to 24 hours.

Thus, the time for food to travel from one end to the other probably ranges from about 20 to 30 hours. Although I havenít had the time to look further into the rest of your question, I hazard a guess that it is unlikely that meat will hang around for a week given that the gastrointestinal tract is very effective in breaking it down with various enzymes and acidity of the stomach. Foods high in protein and fats probably would probably take a little longer to pass through than if it were carbohydrate.


Hope this helps!

I think you right Mel...and if you have protein in a shake it is more than likely going to be absorbed faster than eating a "solid" containing protein...i.e. meat because whey protein in a shake is already in liquid form, whereas meat needs to be taking longer to be reduced to pulp or the same consistency. In fact 2-4 hours as pointed out above. Me thinks by that time your body may not have received the amount it needed and started canabalizing muscle if you wait for meat to do it's job after a workrout. ;)

02-23-2003, 04:46 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by MagicMel
[B]Oops, my statement about Grape Juice being high in dextrose is wrong. It is the juice that is highest in FRUCTOSE.

MM you were right the 1st time grape juice= dextrose .
I thought this to be correct and verified it at drugstore.com Dextrose is used in hospitals to treat hypOglycemia . it is fed intraveniously when required .
I think it may have been a misprint in Big Cat's article . If not He was wrong .

02-23-2003, 05:33 PM
Grape juice like any other juice also has ascorbic acid besides dextrose though. I was wondering about that. I read that it should be taken with luke warm water or a mild fruit juice. I always take any supplements with water, as it has a better chance of reaching the stomach unaltered by any other chemical before I can benefit from it.

Does it taste vile or something? Just wondering...

02-23-2003, 05:46 PM
Grape has ascorbic acid but it is a much milder juice than a citrus and the dextrose does help with creatine absobtion .
Creatine has no taste unlike many other supplements it is a bit gritty some brands more than others . Prolab seems to be the best I have tried so far .
Someone had a good idea about letting it reach the small intestine before drinking the juice and getting the insulin spike . I think that is a good idea and I started doing it friday . I take it with water and then 20 min. later take the juice hard to know if it is working but it makes sense to me.
I also bought some dextrose sugar but haven't used it yet .