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. Gain weight build muscle

    Nice, I like your morning shake. Instead of using olive oil in my shakes I use Flax Seed Oil. At first I hated the taste but now I’m used to it and it’s not so bad. I’ll be checking back here often, this is a cool blog.

  2. Strength Report

    Been a long time, hope everything is going well. Let us know how your progress is coming. I would recommend that you add heavy squats and deadlifts into the plan if you haven’t already. This is what took me from 170 to over 220 lbs. These two movements are known to add mass fairly quickly.

    Just be safe, and make sure the nutrition supports it, which it seems that you have a good diet plan 😉

  3. mike dewan

    I like the plan you have set-up here and i use a similar plan with some of my clients (I’m a personal trainer). The routine you have set-up will work as long as its stuck to very well.
    The main expertise i have is in the muscle gain dieting that people go through. Make sure you are eating at least 5/6 meals a day to keep your body in the anabolic (tissue building) stage, obviously with the right food groups but from what you have listed your on the right track. The other main thing is to keep a food diary and make sure your caloric intake is much higher than expenditure, to ensure weight gain.

  4. Adam Nessler

    Really great article on weight gain and putting on muscle. I love how you broke everything down on each step on what to do.I like the way you added dieting in with exercise that is a complete combination. You must do both. I also like how to get big biceps and just putting on bulk.

  5. Fat Loss Coach

    Great plan, putting on muscle mass can be really fun when you understand how to gain and loss muscle and why and how to workout to grow bigger, but eating more than you burn eat day is the key to getting bigger, but just by lifting weights again your appetite will go up and you will eat more naturally so you don’t over-eat and just get fat, that’s when you have to hit the cardio!

  6. Shyaan

    A really fantastic article especially I like the diet plan you have done. Beginners usually rush into weight training without proper food intake which even leads to 0 or adverse results.You can check out this other site which focuses on a complete system on how to grow muscle fast which is a bit different but a good start for beginners:Build muscle fast. Overall, a quite informative post !

  7. Jason

    I really enjoyed this article. Its always nice to follow along with someone that is actually going through the process and to see how it turns out. Gaining weight can be very hard for some people, myself included. Looking forward to seeing some more weight gain tips in the future articles.

  8. The Secret To Your Weight Loss

    This is a very good diet to follow if one plans to gain weight and muscle at the same time. It’s healthy and won’t put your health in danger while packing in the pounds. Exercise and diet are the important things to keep in mind to reach the goal of being healthy!

  9. Morten

    Hey man! Great intel on the bulking! I’ve bulked before, but that was four years ago, and now I’ve dozed off like you did, and I’m hardly ever at the gym anymore. The consequence is that I’m getting thinner. And I’m not losing fat, I’m losing muscles. So I’æve decided to try bulking again, and then motivate myself to get onto a fulltime training program once more.

    My question for you will be this: How many calories are you eating per day? And if you could be so kind; how much calories per meal?

    Thanks a lot man, look forward to hearing from you.

    Morten from Norway


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