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View Full Version : Ideal weight gain for lean-ish bulk? (quick question)



RCatta
12-06-2014, 07:47 AM
Hey, sorry if this is a stupid question. I even remember reading about this at some point but I can't for the life of me remember.

Anyway, I started training in September at 147.71 lbs. Three months later (roughly 14 weeks) I'm at 163 lbs. So that's about 16 lbs in 14 weeks. Please keep in mind that I also started taking Creatine in September, so a few of pounds may result from there.

Can this be considered a lean-ish bulk? Clothes I wear are usually fit and starting to feel tighter due to gains. This is my first "real" bulk so I'm trying not to overdo it.

Also is it normal to actually be gaining weight on ~2100 calories considering my bw? My daily macros are:
P: 170
C: 195
F: 54
Total: 2,112

I mean I used to eat ~ 1300-1400 in college due to ..well, college. But after graduation and getting a job I can afford a good diet. Was my metabolism forced to adapt to those values?

Mrpb
12-06-2014, 07:50 AM
At this stage the amount of muscle you can gain per month is about 2 pounds. If you want to lean bulk, that's how fast I would bulk.

RCatta
12-06-2014, 08:00 AM
But considering my stats is it normal to be gaining weight on a diet like that?

Mrpb
12-06-2014, 08:07 AM
But considering my stats is it normal to be gaining weight on a diet like that?

It's rather surprising that a 160 pound man would gain weight on 2100 calories.

Are you quite inactive?

Are you sure you count everything? (oil, sauces, drinks etc.)

PS. Your fat intake is too low. Fat should be at least 0.45 gram per lb, as a minimum. Higher is allowed.

RCatta
12-06-2014, 08:16 AM
It's rather surprising that a 160 pound man would gain weight on 2100 calories.

Are you quite inactive?

Are you sure you count everything? (oil, sauces, drinks etc.)

PS. Your fat intake is too low. Fat should be at least 0.45 gram per lb, as a minimum. Higher is allowed.


I know, right? my only explanation is 3 years of starvation mode must've somehow affected my metabolism.

I am somewhat inactive. I work in IT so that's 8-9 hours / day of desk hugging. Gym 4 times / week, football 2 times / week. Aside from quite a bit of walking around the city to get to different destinations, that sums up my physical activity.

I don't cook in oil, count the sauces and drink only water + milk for the protein shake & cereal, which I count.

I am aware of the low fat intake. Some people say 60 grams is okay for my stats. Might bump it up a bit.

Mrpb
12-06-2014, 08:26 AM
I know, right? my only explanation is 3 years of starvation mode must've somehow affected my metabolism.

That explains it very well. No problem though, just keep gaining 2 pounds per month. Eat whatever amount necessary. Your metabolism will readapt.



I am aware of the low fat intake. Some people say 60 grams is okay for my stats. Might bump it up a bit.

Even 120 gram fat would be fine. Eating fat doesn't make you fat, eating too many calories can.

RCatta
12-06-2014, 08:32 AM
A'right. Thank you. Poverty reps for being helpful :).

JerryB
12-06-2014, 08:42 AM
There is no idea rate of muscle gain. lean bulk is bs.

sonnydfrizzy
12-06-2014, 08:59 AM
There is no idea rate of muscle gain. lean bulk is bs.

I am sort of finding this out and have to agree.. A lot of lean bulks are wheel spinning. I think there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to weight gain per month but there are not enough well done studies on trained individuals gaining weight at 2 pounds versus 4 pounds a month. I think at 2 pounds a month you just gain less muscle and less fat. People eating at maintenance gain LBM and lose fat over an extended period of time. There are so many variables that go into it that a study really cannot fully solidify how much one can gain in terms of muscle mass.

EjnarKolinkar
12-06-2014, 09:07 AM
I am sort of finding this out and have to agree.. A lot of lean bulks are wheel spinning. I think there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to weight gain per month but there are not enough well done studies on trained individuals gaining weight at 2 pounds versus 4 pounds a month. I think at 2 pounds a month you just gain less muscle and less fat. People eating at maintenance gain LBM and lose fat over an extended period of time. There are so many variables that go into it that a study really cannot fully solidify how much one can gain in terms of muscle mass.

How many average people have the stones to gain 50 pounds in a year?

25 is a stretch for most.



OP dont forget to discout a bit your lowest weight if when measuring it you werent eating much chasing a low scale number.

Im also good for 8 pounds with the addituon of creatine. Others gain very little.

Dont get too worked up on this, look to eat well, progress lifts. Dont go overboard trying togain fast or gain slow.

Its imperfect, and the less experience you have the more imperfect it will be.


Resist the urge to change everything too often, if your in a surplus and lifts are progressing be a little patient with changes. That way you have a better idea whats really going on, and will know more as things progress.

Former300lber
12-06-2014, 09:30 AM
1lb a week to insure gains are being made, any less and you risk spinning your wheels and wasting a week. Fat is easy to lose, muscle is hard to attain, don't cut your self short because you're afraid of gaining a bit of pudge.

Mrpb
12-06-2014, 09:42 AM
"1 lb/week? What protocol is that except the 'get fat' protocol?"

Lyle McDonald.

http://forums.lylemcdonald.com/showthread.php?t=18135

CrayJay
12-06-2014, 09:52 AM
1lb a week to insure gains are being made, any less and you risk spinning your wheels and wasting a week. Fat is easy to lose, muscle is hard to attain, don't cut your self short because you're afraid of gaining a bit of pudge.

I disagree here, a rate of 52 lbs/year is not conducive to one's health or their fitness aspirations (assuming they are aesthetic based).

OP, read EjnarKolinkar's signature from post #10: that addresses your concern quite nicely. I believe you have bulked at too great of a rate thus far; at least if you are seeking optimal outcomes time-wise.

RCatta
12-06-2014, 10:13 AM
So should I try to gain say..0.5 - 0.7 / week?

Fitness aspirations are aesthetic based indeed.

Mrpb
12-06-2014, 10:22 AM
So should I try to gain say..0.5 - 0.7 / week?

Fitness aspirations are aesthetic based indeed.

That could work. Make sure to make progress on a well balanced routine.

Personally I wouldn't gain more than 2 pounds per month to minimise fat gains.

ZMan45
12-06-2014, 10:44 AM
At this stage the amount of muscle you can gain per month is about 2 pounds. If you want to lean bulk, that's how fast I would bulk.That's assuming gains are 100% lean, which they won't be. It would be more like 1:1 split.

You can only accrue so much muscle at a time, but pretty much unlimited fat. I think using the range of 0.5-1.0 lb gain per week makes more sense than pinning down hard numbers.

SwolenBro
12-06-2014, 10:48 AM
Half a pound a week is more than enough for most people.

Unless you're an 18 year old and as skinny as a beanpole (5% bodyfat with no muscle whatsoever) then you could get away with gaining a pound a week easy to get full muscle gain and get to a normal weight.

Mrpb
12-06-2014, 10:57 AM
That's assuming gains are 100% lean, which they won't be.

I'm not making either assumption.



It would be more like 1:1 split.

Nor that one. There are even studies showing advanced lifters dropping fat and gaining muscle on a surplus. Not that that I would strive for that.

As said, for a body builder with aesthetic aspirations I see nothing good coming from gaining more than 2 pounds per month.

Edit: unless we're talking about an underweight beginner.

MichielN
12-06-2014, 11:13 AM
1lb a week to insure gains are being made, any less and you risk spinning your wheels and wasting a week. Fat is easy to lose, muscle is hard to attain, don't cut your self short because you're afraid of gaining a bit of pudge.

if you're a beginner/early intermediate i feel this is indeed the way to go

ZMan45
12-06-2014, 11:42 AM
IMO I wouldn't want to shortchange gains because of fear of fat gain. 99% here aren't stepping on stage anytime soon. Arguably losing 6-8 lbs of fat in a month is easier to do than gaining 2lbs of muscle.

Former300lber
12-06-2014, 11:45 AM
"1 lb/week? What protocol is that except the 'get fat' protocol?"

Lyle McDonald.

http://forums.lylemcdonald.com/showthread.php?t=18135

It's not the get fat protocol, It's the "Insuring gains protocol" This is OP's first bulk, did you read that part in the OP? or no? you are not a geneticist, you don't know the limits OP is at, how much mass his body is going to put on, etc.. so pls go.

Tyler31622
12-06-2014, 11:50 AM
It's not the get fat protocol, It's the "Insuring gains protocol" This is OP's first bulk, did you read that part in the OP? or no? you are not a geneticist, you don't know the limits OP is at, how much mass his body is going to put on, etc.. so pls go.



This exactly ^^^^ too many people worried about getting a bit chubby, it's called bodybuilding, you want to provide your self with a buffer OP. Worry about the fat later, 1 lb a week, while insuring your lifting is in order, and your gaining size.

Eat, lift, rest and repeat. More calories often leads to more strength gains which Is always a bonus.

mtb4life95
12-06-2014, 12:57 PM
if you want to eat more then just move more. i used to wonder why i would gain weight at 2400 caloires. then i realized it's because i sit on my ass all day long when not training, use cars for transportation, and do zero cardio. started walking >10k steps a day and doing a little bit of cardio every week and now i can maintain around 2.8k-3k calories. people really underestimate the power of voluntarily increasing activity levels.

EjnarKolinkar
12-06-2014, 01:25 PM
So should I try to gain say..0.5 - 0.7 / week?

Fitness aspirations are aesthetic based indeed.

You should try to keep your training progression going. Adding weight or reps every week depending on program.

You should eat in a surplus to promote growth and strength. Scales don't show .7 pounds gain week in week out. You have to set a calorie target and eat up to it consistently. Over time you will need to adjust that target, up or down.

Whether you target .5, .7, or 1 pound a week is less important than your training and your progress over time. Pick one, run with it, adjust as you see fit.


For myself in your shoes, I would run a 500 cal a day surplus for 8 weeks, see where I was, and scale back or up depending on progress. Rinse repeat in 3-5 week increments.

Felipon
12-06-2014, 04:34 PM
If you can only gain 2 pounds of muscle a month, then shouldn't you aim for more than 2 pounds of weight gain?

I mean if your gaining only 2 pounds then 100% of it won't be muscle as some of it will be fat, then won't gaining say 3-4 pounds ensure that your gaining atleast 2 pounds of muscle.

Former300lber
12-06-2014, 04:39 PM
If you can only gain 2 pounds of muscle a month, then shouldn't you aim for more than 2 pounds of weight gain?

I mean if your gaining only 2 pounds then 100% of it won't be muscle as some of it will be fat, then won't gaining say 3-4 pounds ensure that your gaining atleast 2 pounds of muscle.


People also forget that weight gain is also in the form of water, fat, and muscle tissue, 1lb a week for a beginner is the perfect number. After years of training, he / she will realize that the gains come slower, and will have a better understanding of there bodies by then, and will tune there diet as such.

Mrpb
12-06-2014, 10:38 PM
then won't gaining say 3-4 pounds ensure that your gaining at least 2 pounds of muscle.

No it doesn't. That's the problem. Some people may gain 60% muscle on 3 pounds per month, some 30%.

There are so many factors that influence it: genes, age, hormones, lifting program, experience, sleep, stress etc.

People really need to try and experiment with how many calories they can make consistent progress.

The surplus needed to maximise the rate of muscle gain is smaller than many people believe. The problem with a small surplus though is that your food and body weight tracking needs to be top notch.


The problem for the bulking aspect is that no research has been done that really shows how many Calories are needed to stimulate an increase in body weight (i.e. only LBM). Therefore, recommendations are difficult to make. I did some calculations a while ago for a class that I teach and the theoretical expected increase in caloric consumption that was needed to increase muscle mass was approximately 200 Calories per day for a " 150 lb. beginner" who has the fastest rate of muscle gain. This number would be significantly less (< 50%) if the person had a few years of training under their belt when the rate of muscle protein synthesis diminishes. Any specific recommendations that can be given would be far less than the margin of error of any method of Calorie counting.

I will also throw in another qualifier in regards to my recommendation in that I don't think someone should aim for large increases in body weight during this time unless they have a significant reason for it (such as an offensive lineman increasing his body weight because larger objects are more difficult to move and are more functionally advantageous to a certain degree). If you get to a point where you are 5 to 10 ponds heavier you would probably want to begin to maintain that weight as you slowly wait for your body composition to improve.

boo99
12-06-2014, 11:36 PM
No it doesn't. That's the problem. Some people may gain 60% muscle on 3 pounds per month, some 30%.

There are so many factors that influence it: genes, age, hormones, lifting program, experience, sleep, stress etc.

People really need to try and experiment with how many calories they can make consistent progress.

The surplus needed to maximise the rate of muscle gain is smaller than many people believe. The problem with a small surplus though is that your food and body weight tracking needs to be top notch.

True. This here. The smaller surplus requires way more strict attention, though this should be true for any tracking regardless of surplus/deficit size but I've screwed up bulks in the past with small surpluses before by not being top notch with my tracking etc.