March 30, 2009

My Plan To Pack On Some Pounds

About a week and a half ago, I decided to go on a bulking diet. If you are not sure what that is, it’s basically a diet where you eat more calories than you burn and lift weights in order to gain some weight. I have been in to weightlifting for about 6 years now but have really slacked off over the last year (more like not lifted at all).

I managed to go from 185 all the way down to 168 without even trying. I do eat as healthy as I can and avoid all boxed foods as well as junk food (chips, McDonalds, etc).  The only time I “cheat” and eat less healthy foods is when I go out to eat sometimes. So that might have a lot to do with losing a little weight since it’s hard for me to get a lot of calories in when I am eating nothing but healthy foods.

Anyways, I’ve started to look like starvin’ Marvin from South park so I made the decision to bulk up.

Below you will find a breakdown of what I am doing in the gym as well as what I am eating. I’ve been documenting my weight everyday and once I hit my goal I am going to do a post with before and after pictures to show everyone what is possible. Even with a super shitty gym like I have in my apartment complex…

The Workouts

For workouts, I am doing a 4 day split so that I can hit different muscles on different days. The main reason I chose this breakdown is because it is the same workout I used back in high school to pack on 40 pounds of muscle. Will it work this time around? I’m hoping so…

On each day, I try to do 3 – 4 sets of different lifts and shoot for 4 – 7 reps. I have also started doing the 5 seconds up and 5 seconds down approach to see if it really works.

Here is the lifts I am currently doing:

Sunday: Chest And Triceps

  • Bench Press – The one thing everyone should do for their chest.
  • Chest Dips – These things are killer for your chest.
  • Flyes – Not the best of the lifts but it works if you don’t have many options.
  • Tricep Extensions – One of my favorite exercises.
  • Tricep Dips – Another one that can be done anywhere, especially on the edge of a bench.

Monday: Legs

  • Leg Extensions – My gym does not have a squat rack so I am still figuring out what to do but for now these are going to be the biggest lift of the day.
  • Leg Curls – Another crappy lift but I have to use what I can in the gym.
  • Squats – For now I have been doing unweighted squats again the wall to finish off my legs.
  • Calve Raises – Pretty easy exercise that can be done on the edge of some steps.

Wednesday: Back And Biceps

  • Machine Rows – One of the best things I can do in the gym I have. I prefer deadlifts but I don’t have any free weights to work with.
  • Lateral Pulls – Good for the back and easy to find in most gyms.
  • Chin Ups – My gym is also missing a chin-up bar so I have been finding different things to do then from. Work in progress…
  • Cable Bicep Curls – Without free weights, this is the best alternative I could find. I simply hook the lat pull bar to the bottom cable and curl away.

Thursday: Shoulders And Abs

  • Military Press – A good lift to help build your shoulders.
  • Cable Lateral Raises – I used to do these with dumbbells but I now have to use the cable to do them.
  • Shrugs – For this lift you basically shrug your shoulders only with weights in your hands (in my case a cable).
  • Ab Crunches – I hate them but I do em anyway…

Other than that, I do a little cardio whenever I ride my bike somewhere. I’m trying not to go overboard on cardio since it’s hard for me to gain weight.

The Diet

Believe it or not, the diet is the most important part of all in almost any exercise plan. The old saying that “abs are made in the kitchen” is definitely true. The same thing goes for bulking diets where the goal is to gain weight instead of lose it. Sure, I could eat McDonalds 6 times a day and have no problems gaining weight. But the goal here isn’t to gain 30 pounds of bodyfat.

Which is why I am still sticking to a healthy diet that includes mostly healthy options. I just need to eat more of them to gain weight which is actually harder than you would think. Here is a list of the foods that make up the majority of my diet:


I usually eat two different versions of breakfast. A shake and a real meal. As soon as I wake up I down the shake that consists of

  • Protein Powder
  • Oatmeal (raw)
  • Banana
  • Alive (nutritional shake)
  • Little Bit of Olive Oil
  • Skim milk.

About 2 hours after the shake, I then eat a “real” breakfast that consists of something like:

  • Egg Whites
  • Hashbrowns (Cooked With Olive Oil)
  • Grapefruit
  • Spinach
  • Skim Mlik

Mid Day Meals

The mid day meals are everything I eat between breakfast and my before bed snack. This includes lunch and diner as well. I basically eat a bunch of the following:

  • Chicken Breast
  • Tilapia
  • Eggs (Mostly Whites)
  • Skim Milk (Tons Of It)
  • Brown Rice
  • Mixed Vegetables
  • Fruit (Mostly Bananas)
  • Protein Powder
  • Healthy Fats (Oils, Flax Seed)
  • Red Meat (Once In A Great While)
  • Chocolate (Small Piece Of 99% Cocoa Bar)

And that pretty much makes up my diet. I just mix up what I use for spices on the meat and I can stay pretty content eating chicken all the time. The hardest part is eating enough to gain weight since I sometimes find myself full way before I am done with the meal.

Before Bed Meal

A lot of bodybuilders recommend eating some cottage cheese before bed but that IS NOT going to happen. I’ve tried it in the past only to be sad, disappointed, and ill all at the same time. The stuff is disgusting! So I tend to drink a big glass of milk with a little bit of flax seed to slow down the protein absorption. Sometimes I eat eggs if I am still hungry and want something I can actually chew on.

Stay Tuned For The Results

That concluded my workout and diet plan. So far I have gained about 1 pound since I started so I’m slowly but surely getting there. I will do another breakdown post down the road when I have some evidence that the plan is working (pictures, weights, etc.).

I’m really interested to see what happens since I am used to using free weights for everything. I’m hoping to show that even a crappy old gym can be good enough to pack on some muscle and get in shape.

Update: I now follow the primal blueprint, which has worked really well for me.

49 thoughts on “My Plan To Pack On Some Pounds

  1. Josh

    I like the set up that you’re working with, however, something I learned in College was that muscle begins to atrophy after 3 days of non-use. Training one body part per week can make it harder to get gains as fast as you could if you trained each body part twice per week. If you’re interested, I could send you a few ideas for 4 and 6 day training regimens. Also, the diet looks great, drink the skim milk every meal as well as lots of water (about 2 glasses each sitting). If you want ideas for the diet to I’d be more than happy to share, let me know and good luck!

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Hey Josh, I’d love it if you could give me some 4 and 6 day training regimens. I was looking for something new but got tired of looking so I ended up going with my old split.

      As far as diet goes, I think I got it figured out pretty well. Now I just have to see if I actually start gaining a few pounds…

  2. Adam

    Yeah, Josh is an expert at this sort of stuff. Dude is a gym rat and it shows.

    My own personal tip, don’t expect the same stuff that worked in high school to work now. Your body and metabolism are way different than back then. What I did in college was to do a 30 minute workout but instead of resting I’d alternate muscle groups. So, I’d do a set of shoulder shrugs, then do a set of lunges, back to shoulder shrugs. Repeat that until you do 3 sets of each, then take a break. It worked and it cut down on workout time which kept my motivation up.

  3. how to build muscle mass fast

    Hey, a couple of months back I embarked on the same kind of transformation. So far I’ve managed to get up to 192 lbs from about 150 in under 5 months, building muscle mass isn’t as hard as I was making it all those years.

    My workouts are based mainly on heavy, low rep work and like you, I’m eating a hell of a lot.

    I’ll check back to see your results, Thanks.

    1. Desperation

      Hey guys, I’ve been having a problem in weight gain, I went from 136pounds to 145, den my metobolism sky rocketed, I weny from 145 to 141 in 4days,
      I need help in getting to 150 or 154 in 2months, is this possible, if I don’t get my weight up I kicked of my team, so I guess the motivation part is covered
      If there is a way, email me diet plans @, please guys your help is requierd

  4. True Protein Discount Code

    I noticed you said that your gym didn’t have a squat rack or free weights. You could always use lunges as a substitute for squats. You can also turn unweighted squats/lunges into weighted ones by using a backpack filled with books or other heavy dense objects while squatting/lunging to add some resistance to the movement.

  5. Diet That Works

    Have you tried some of the weight loss drinks too? Like slimfast or ensure? Don’t use them as meal replacements, use them as meal supplements. Adds calories, vitamins, etc, and still healthy.

  6. dreezy33

    When I have been successful in the past in bulking up I have had at least 1 gram of protein for each pound. Also, you have got to do cardio. I was also taking multiple shakes a day until I heard that maakoa. had formulated a new protein that combined 7 different types into one. It is the best one stop protein I have found.

  7. How to Get Muscles | Clement

    Hi there,
    I’m also doing a mass gaining program. Because I’m skinny, I’m using Vince DelMonte’s No Nonsense Muscle Building program cos it’s specifically tailored for “hardgainers” like me. I’ve been on it for 11 weeks now and so far I’ve gained 5 kg. – which is great cos I never had this much success before.
    Glad to see someone who’s also doing a similar progam. 🙂
    Right now I’m doing mostly compound exercises 3x a week. My workout is about an hour long and I weight train 3x a week, plus about 1-2 hours of cardio per week. Our diet is pretty much similar except that my body thrives on a vegetarian diet so I try to minimize my intake of meat and seafood.

  8. A Guide to bulking up

    Hey, your diet looks pretty much spot on although im unsure on numbers, what is the total number of calories for your average daily intake? I cant help but think that you might be a bit on the low side with that diet. It depends aswell on your metabolism though. Will be interested to see your results + pics!

  9. weight gainer

    Have you tried HIIT ? it can help you in getting results faster. It is basically about hitting the body hard enough and then wait till it recovers. The process is followed by many body builders out there..

  10. All Diet Books

    Wow your diet sounds spot on. The only thing I might do is add in some more fish. Fish is high in protein and healthy fats and contains a lot of important vitamins and nutriets to help you bulk up. Good luck! All the diet books out there are so concerned with taking it off, I’m glad to see some great info on packing on a few pounds for us skinny guys. Thanks.

  11. James McLain

    I like your diet and when you eat. You are on the right track with that for sure.

    However for to gain muscle and go from skinny to muscle your bodybuilding exercises that focus on just certain body parts at a time I don’t agree with so much.

    I prefer just hitting the gym a few times a week and doing whole body workouts instead which worked for me anyway.

  12. Betty Winter

    Really great site, full of good advice. Thank you for posting, it might help a lot of people. I’ve spent so much time looking for a good weight loss program, it’s so hard to find… Have you seen this other site about easy healthy diet Easy Healthy Diet


    Very informative article! The part about setting realistic goals is very important many people expect to gain 10 pounds in a month which is really impossible. And when they do it is all water weight.

  14. BulkHogan

    not a bad article. very informative. i find that not all bulk diets are the same depending on the type of muscle fiber and the insulin sensitivity of the individual. i know has some different approaches to bulking up.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *