Attempting to gain weight

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Two-Fry
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Attempting to gain weight

Postby Two-Fry » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:05 pm UTC

Hi. 14 year old skinny boy here. I am right now eating a truly ridiculous amount (6 cubic inches of cheese, half a gallon of soup, and assorted fruits and vegetables most days), and only maintaining a weight of around 115 pounds. I take Haganah (Martial art, Very intense cardio) classes twice a week and do a variety of bodyweight exercises at home. How can I gain weight?

Edit: BTW, I'm vegetarian. No fish or meat whatsoever, but dairy and eggs are fine.
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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Jacque » Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:55 pm UTC

Lots of protein (eggs, whey perhaps), and weight training. But don't expect much at 14 years old.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby just-mark » Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:51 pm UTC

Unless you're unhealthily skinny then, as Jacque said, don't worry about it too much at 14. When I was that age I was rather skinny as well (couldn't give you any numbers though). Without really changing anything eventually I just started to fill out a bit and now (at 21) I'm pretty much average weight and still do roughly the same exercise I did then (playing football & training, plenty of walks for the sake of walking, etc).

If you're in doubt then I'd suggest talking to a professional, your doctor or PE/Games teacher at school should be able to give good advice on what's healthy for your age (both food & exercise wise).
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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby shocklocks » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:26 pm UTC

Your age + alot of cardio is going to make it pretty damn imposssible to pack on weight. That being said fruits,veges and soup deffinitely arn't the most calorie dense foods.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

The ancient secret of 'underweight' athletes for three thousand years: eggs. Lots of eggs. It's like cheese, except with actual protein in it. Plus, mixing it with a bit of mayo to make egg salad adds more calories, and with your level of activity, even that amount of fat shouldn't put a dent in your health, especially if all the protein is going towards muscle development.

For specifically gaining muscle MASS, you need to start looking into high-resistance, low-rep compound exercises, particularly one-armed pushups, pullups, and pistols.

That said, you're fourteen. The odds are good you simply can not gain much mass right now.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby u38cg » Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:00 pm UTC

What he said. When I was fourteen, I could eat enough food for twelve people (I was at boarding school and being a bit of a loner sat at a table by myself, but it was served out on per-table catering trays) in one sitting, eating three meals a day, and "borrowing" four pints of milk from the kitchen and topping it off with a chocolate bar. Where those calories went, I'll never know.

It is pretty natural to be a freaky shape at 14 and to fill out later, annoying as it is.
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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Mauersegler » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:06 pm UTC

I wouldn't recommend weight training with iron at that young age, but Jajapeno's advice on high tension bodyweight exercises is spot on. As your body hasn't finished growing yet you should be careful with using heavy actual weights (as in Barbells, Dumbells, Kettlebells, etc.). You may want to check out Pavel Tsatsouline's books "The Naked Warrior" to get you started in the area of BWE. Available through Amazon and other (*wink*) sources.

I was a very skinny kid too and no matter how much I ate, I never gained weight. My BMI was between 16 and 18 up until I was about 20 years old and like you I have tried to gain weight to be more competetive in sports, but to no avail, at least back then. I'm 24 now and have a BMI of 21 (I know, BMI doesn't say much, but it's less confusing than writing imperial and metric values for height and weight ;-) ). I've been a vegan for about a year now by the way, vegetarian for 4 years.

Remember: We're not all the same and consequently some of us just can't reach the physique of a Dwight Howard. But even if you're wiry you can still be able of amazing physical feats.
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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Jorpho » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

I have heard suggestions that making an effort to actually walk more slowly while going about one's daily activities can do something to lower one's metabolism, but that is probably an insignificant contributing factor relative to an age of 14.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby jtw » Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:40 pm UTC

eat/drink shots of olive oil.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby spudtheimpaler » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:47 pm UTC

Mauersegler wrote:I wouldn't recommend weight training with iron at that young age


Apparently this is a misconception. The comments and supporting article also just happen to be in the topic Getting fit tips for 14 year olds.
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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby mobikwa » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:25 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:It's like cheese, except with actual protein in it.

What is this pseudo protein that is in cheese and how is it different from the protein in eggs?
Here I was under the impression that both milk and eggs were complete proteins with all of the essential amino acids.

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:For specifically gaining muscle MASS, you need to start looking into high-resistance, low-rep compound exercises, particularly one-armed pushups, pullups, and pistols.


Sweet Jesus! these lifts are for VERY experienced lifters who are able to do them after years of training. Except for the pistols, those are intermediate lifts Id say.


Anyway, to answer your question about gaining weight. The answer is milk, lots and lots of milk. Why do baby animals and humans drink milk? Because they are growing, just like you want to. Milk has a huge amount of protein, carbs, and fat. It's a very good way to get nutrients.
Drink whole milk, as much of it as you can.
1) It is VERY easy to consume. Most kids can down a ton daily with cereal, pop tars, ice cream, protein drinks, etc, and for a skinny kid who is growing vertically as well as horizontally ( yeah puberty!), this is a VERY easy way to ensure you get your calories.
2) Protein, yeah protein...tons of high quality protein. Whole milk will have a nearly ideal macronutrient profile for a growing kid as well.
3) It is rich in calcium, vitamin A, B-12, D, potassium, phosphorus, niacin, and riboflavin.
4) Calorie for calorie it is one of the cheapest ways you're gonna get fed on a budget. T-bone steaks and fast food are gonna quickly drain your wallet.

-taken from http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/ ... and_Cardio

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:45 pm UTC

mobikwa wrote:
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:It's like cheese, except with actual protein in it.

What is this pseudo protein that is in cheese and how is it different from the protein in eggs?
Here I was under the impression that both milk and eggs were complete proteins with all of the essential amino acids.

Cheese is only something like 8% protein, and has a lot more fat and sugar than protein. You'd need to eat a LOT of cheese to get enough protein to balance out how much fat you're taking in. Skim milk has a lot better fat/sugar/protein ration, and egg whites have one of the best ratios out there. If you throw in the egg yolks, there's a lot of fat, but also a ridiculous amount of nutrition, so an active person would have no problems handling the excess of calories.

And yes, those are advanced lifts, which is why the book is focused on what exercises you need to do to be ABLE to do them.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Nath » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:49 pm UTC

mobikwa wrote:
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:For specifically gaining muscle MASS, you need to start looking into high-resistance, low-rep compound exercises, particularly one-armed pushups, pullups, and pistols.


Sweet Jesus! these lifts are for VERY experienced lifters who are able to do them after years of training. Except for the pistols, those are intermediate lifts Id say.

Depends on the body type. Assuming the 'one-armed' only applied to the pushups, pistols are the hardest of the three exercises for me.

In any case, while these are great exercises, they don't really strike me as the mass-building type. It's hard to scale them up in small increments, so you are rarely working with the optimal amount of weight.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby mobikwa » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:38 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Cheese is only something like 8% protein, and has a lot more fat and sugar than protein. You'd need to eat a LOT of cheese to get enough protein to balance out how much fat you're taking in. Skim milk has a lot better fat/sugar/protein ration, and egg whites have one of the best ratios out there. If you throw in the egg yolks, there's a lot of fat, but also a ridiculous amount of nutrition, so an active person would have no problems handling the excess of calories.

And yes, those are advanced lifts, which is why the book is focused on what exercises you need to do to be ABLE to do them.


You can't just eat protein and expect to gain weight. You need protein carbs and fats, a ratio of *about* 40%/30%/30% pro/carb/fat is optimal.

Which book did you mean? The Naked Warrior?

Nath wrote:Depends on the body type. Assuming the 'one-armed' only applied to the pushups, pistols are the hardest of the three exercises for me.

In any case, while these are great exercises, they don't really strike me as the mass-building type. It's hard to scale them up in small increments, so you are rarely working with the optimal amount of weight.


I assumed one-armed went for both since pistols are one-legged and it made more sense to me to have all of them be of the one-something variety.

But I agree, not the best for mass building. The kinds of people who can do one arm pullups are normally really skinny, sure they are strong, but not much muscle on them.

For mass building stick to the 5 basic lifts; squat, deadlift, bench press, press, and powerclean

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:43 pm UTC

mobikwa wrote:
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Cheese is only something like 8% protein, and has a lot more fat and sugar than protein.


You can't just eat protein and expect to gain weight. You need protein carbs and fats, a ratio of *about* 40%/30%/30% pro/carb/fat is optimal.

I know. That's what I was saying. Cheese is something like 25%/35%/40%, which is quite far from optimal if you're eating it for protein. It's good WITH stuff, but by no means is "eat cheese!" good advice for health unless you're an Olympian.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby mobikwa » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:20 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:I know. That's what I was saying. Cheese is something like 25%/35%/40%, which is quite far from optimal if you're eating it for protein. It's good WITH stuff, but by no means is "eat cheese!" good advice for health unless you're an Olympian.


Gotcha. Now I agree with you.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Hobgoblin » Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:14 pm UTC

As a group of infamously anonymous fitsters I know on the internet would say "OATZ N' SQUATZ!"

They mean this slightly literally, but it is also a [very] condensed idea of what you want to try to do.


Eat high protein foods (this is going to be a challenge for you, being vegetarian), and do lots of exercise. Even if it is just cardio, your body will put that protein to good use. You're a growing boy, and your body needs protein like a mofo to grow, and if you plan on gaining weight, it needs more.

I suggest eating 2 eggs a day, any way you like them, and investing in whey protein powder.
http://smarttrainingonline.net/protein.html
That should explain whey protein powder pretty well. Just drink a protein shake before your Haganah session, and you'll be on your way to putting on some muscle. You'll probably drop some fat, and get a little taller too. Basically all good stuff.

Unrelated- are you Jewish? I was just looking on wikipedia what Haganah is, and your interesting diet kind of triggered this question.
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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby notallama » Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:27 am UTC

rda is 0.8g protein/kg body mass.
so, like ~10% of calories.

40% seems really high.
now, i can see a body builder needing more than your average person, but they also eat more total food. so if you're increasing total calories and percentage of calories, isn't that a ridiculous amount of protein?
do you have a source claiming that that amount of protein isn't dangerous? or that it's good?

also, you can get hemp protein powder too. it's ~50% protein and tastes like delicious rope.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Nath » Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:35 am UTC

My impression is that the 0.8g/kg recommendation is for a sedentary person to avoid a deficiency. An active, muscular person needs considerably more, particularly when trying to add muscle.

But yeah, people do seem to go overboard. 40% of a 3000 calorie diet is what, 300g of protein? As far as I know, eating extra protein is rarely harmful to healthy people, but that seems like a lot for someone who isn't a giant.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Swivelguy » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:07 pm UTC

Which is more important to you, Two-Fry: getting bigger, or being a vegetarian?
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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby mobikwa » Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:14 pm UTC

notallama wrote:rda is 0.8g protein/kg body mass.
so, like ~10% of calories.

40% seems really high.
now, i can see a body builder needing more than your average person, but they also eat more total food. so if you're increasing total calories and percentage of calories, isn't that a ridiculous amount of protein?
do you have a source claiming that that amount of protein isn't dangerous? or that it's good?

also, you can get hemp protein powder too. it's ~50% protein and tastes like delicious rope.


http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/berardi80.htm
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/layne38.htm

with cool references at the end of the articles.
You say that a bodybuilder needs more than a normal person but look at it this way, what is a bodybuilder trying to accomplish? Gain muscle. What is Two-Fry trying to accomplish? Gain muscle. Same thing. Now a bodybuilder will be consuming a hell of a lot more food than a 14 year old kid but they are both trying to get bigger muscles while minimizing bigger bellies.

My resting metabolic rate after factoring in my job is about 2700-2800 calories, If I consume 10% of those calories from protein Ill have 275 calories from protein, no? 4 calories per gram of protein gives me about 69 grams of protein. Lets see what I can eat in a day to get that amount of protein.
1 cup of 2% milk - 8 g
1.5 cups of cheerios - 5 g
2 tbsp of peanut butter - 8 g
2 slices of whole wheat bread - 6 g
180 calories of chicken breast - 39 g
1 cup of broccoli - 4 g
And there is my 69 g of protein for the day and that comes to 845 calories
So I guess in order to get the rest of my calories for the day I should eat... straight sugar (carbs) and drink vegetable oil (fats)

My point is you will never be able to only eat 10% of your daily calories as protein, it will ALWAYS be more than that.


Nath wrote:My impression is that the 0.8g/kg recommendation is for a sedentary person to avoid a deficiency. An active, muscular person needs considerably more, particularly when trying to add muscle.

But yeah, people do seem to go overboard. 40% of a 3000 calorie diet is what, 300g of protein? As far as I know, eating extra protein is rarely harmful to healthy people, but that seems like a lot for someone who isn't a giant.


40% is a number to shoot for, as is 1.5 g per lb of bodyweight. In my case 40% would be 450 g of protein while 1.5g/lb would be 300 g but only 27% of my daily calories. I personally don't count calories or grams of protein, I just eat till I'm full then eat some more.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Two-Fry » Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:59 am UTC

Status report: Been eating at least 2, sometimes 3 eggs a day for the past 2 weeks, I'm up to 123ish pounds, with no noticeable gains in either muscle or fat.

Hobgoblin wrote:As a group of infamously anonymous fitsters I know on the internet would say "OATZ N' SQUATZ!"

They mean this slightly literally, but it is also a [very] condensed idea of what you want to try to do.


Eat high protein foods (this is going to be a challenge for you, being vegetarian), and do lots of exercise. Even if it is just cardio, your body will put that protein to good use. You're a growing boy, and your body needs protein like a mofo to grow, and if you plan on gaining weight, it needs more.

I suggest eating 2 eggs a day, any way you like them, and investing in whey protein powder.
http://smarttrainingonline.net/protein.html
That should explain whey protein powder pretty well. Just drink a protein shake before your Haganah session, and you'll be on your way to putting on some muscle. You'll probably drop some fat, and get a little taller too. Basically all good stuff.

Unrelated- are you Jewish? I was just looking on wikipedia what Haganah is, and your interesting diet kind of triggered this question.

Not that hagnah, silly. This Haganah. (Do not click on that link unless you like the page refreshing every 3 seconds. Made me almost smash my monitor.) (If you're looking for practical information, haganah is very closely related to Krav Maga, which has much more information on the interwebz.)
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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby shocklocks » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:12 am UTC

40% sounds about right for someone wanting to lose weight. 25-30% at the most would be a better number for someone looking to gain weight.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Victoria Maddison » Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:56 pm UTC

notallama wrote:do you have a source claiming that [40% of calories from] protein isn't dangerous?

The upper limit on the body's ability to digest protein is high enough that it can be ignored. It's unlikely anyone would get close to this limit anyway because protein rich foods are comparatively quite expensive.

Two-Fry wrote:weight of around 115 pounds

Two-Fry wrote:I'm up to 123ish pounds, with no noticeable gains in either muscle or fat.

If you did gain 8 lbs in 2 weeks then you would have put on a sizable chunk of fat. In which case I would suggest dialing down the calories while keeping the protein levels constant. Males generally don't appear visibly fat until their body fat percentage rises above around 15%, and muscle doesn't show unless it's added in significant quantities such as 10+ lbs. Weight gain of around 0.5-1 lb/week is near the limit for beginner muscle growth.

shocklocks wrote:40% sounds about right for someone wanting to lose weight. 25-30% at the most would be a better number for someone looking to gain weight.

I have a different method which may be of interest. In my opinion it's best to set protein levels per unit body weight taking into consideration the individual's activity level and whether they're trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight. Although protein requirements and caloric intake are related it's more logical to think in terms of the purpose for which you're consuming that protein, which is to repair/protect/build muscle tissue. Similarly it's useful to think of carbohydrate requirements in this way, in contrast to fat levels which are considered last and modulated up/down to achieve the desired result.

For example, take an 80 kg weight lifter consuming 3500 kcal (maintenance). Assuming a protein requirement of 2.2 g/kg (1 g/lb) and an estimated carbohydrate requirement of 300g to support the individual's training and lifestyle we get the following:

Fat loss (3000 kcal/day, 500 kcal deficit, 1 lb/wk loss)
Protein ........... 176g, 704 kcal, 23% calories
Carbohydrate ... 275g, 1100 kcal, 37% calories
Fat ................ 133g, 1196 kcal, 40% calories

Maintenance (3500 kcal/day)
Protein ........... 176g, 704 kcal, 20% calories
Carbohydrate ... 300g, 1200 kcal, 34% calories
Fat ................ 177g, 1596 kcal, 46% calories

Muscle gain (4000 kcal/day, 500 kcal excess, 0.5-1 lb/wk gain)
Protein ........... 176g, 704 kcal, 18% calories
Carbohydrate ... 300g, 1200 kcal, 30% calories
Fat ................ 233g, 2096 kcal, 52% calories

So as you can see the macro nutrient breakdown by percentage calories can vary a fair bit. If rapid unsustainable weight loss was desired then the protein levels could be bumped to 1.25-1.5 g/lb, carbohydrate reduced by perhaps 30%, and fat cut right down, giving a larger deficit like so:

Rapid unsustainable weigh loss (1840 kcal/day, 1660 kcal deficit, 3 lb/wk loss)
Protein ........... 220g, 880 kcal, 48% calories
Carbohydrate ... 150g, 600 kcal, 33% calories
Fat ................ 40g, 360 kcal, 20% calories

and so on, you get the picture, ok enough thread derailing from me.

Edit: changed the carbohydrate figures to reflect an average active lifter.
Edit: missed a bit.
Last edited by Victoria Maddison on Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:21 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Two-Fry » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:11 pm UTC

Victoria Maddison wrote:
Two-Fry wrote:weight of around 115 pounds

Two-Fry wrote:I'm up to 123ish pounds, with no noticeable gains in either muscle or fat.

If you did gain 8 lbs in 2 weeks then you would have put on a sizable chunk of fat. In which case I would suggest dialing down the calories while keeping the protein levels constant. Males generally don't appear visibly fat until their body fat percentage rises above around 15%, and muscle doesn't show unless it's added in significant quantities such as 10+ lbs. Weight gain of around 0.5-1 lb/week is near the limit for beginner muscle growth.

Would probably make sense that I've gained a bit of fat, as I was sick for one of the 2 weeks and therefore did absolutely no cardio. Also, the 123 was measured after eating, and I think the 115 was on an empty stomach, so that's probably part of it.
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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Jorpho » Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:16 pm UTC

Two-Fry wrote:Also, the 123 was measured after eating, and I think the 115 was on an empty stomach, so that's probably part of it.
If you really want to monitor your weight, you should weigh yourself in the morning after getting out of bed - and only then.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby mobikwa » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:49 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Two-Fry wrote:Also, the 123 was measured after eating, and I think the 115 was on an empty stomach, so that's probably part of it.
If you really want to monitor your weight, you should weigh yourself in the morning after getting out of bed - and only then.


Doesn't have to be when you first wake up, just make sure to keep all of your weigh-ins consistent. And weight can fluctuate about 4 or 5 lbs throughout the day based on hydration and food intake and other less mentionable things.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby VPeric » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:16 pm UTC

Victoria Maddison wrote:I have a different method which may be of interest.


Sounds very interesting, but: how am I supposed to estimate the amount of carbohydrates needed?

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Victoria Maddison » Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:57 am UTC

VPeric wrote:Sounds very interesting, but: how am I supposed to estimate the amount of carbohydrates needed?

It's a matter of taking into account the individual's activity level and body weight to arrive at an approximate figure that represents their muscle and liver glycogen depletion each day[1].

The average person requires a minimum of 100-120g carbohydrate (50g if ketosis is desired) to fuel their brain. This is the base. On top of which is added enough to satisfy the activity requirements of the individual, which are approximately 1-2 g/kg for the average lifter and 4-5 g/kg for someone doing high intensity cardio like the OP. Make an educated guess where your activity level lies in between these ranges. If you do any form of extreme training like the cyclists in threads past that go through 10,000 kcal/day then you understand your body and know what it requires already. As mentioned before if dieting some portion of the calories cut can come from carbohydrate if desired.

Some examples:
An 80kg lifter on a ketogenic diet: 50g + 100g -> about 150g carbohydrate
An 80kg lifter that doesn't do much else: 120g + 150g -> about 275g carbohydrate
An 80kg martial artist that spars heavily: 120g + 320g -> about 450g

I'll update my previous post to use a more average level of carbohydrate for the example lifter, 350g was a quick estimate based off my activity level (which is high).

[1]The liver holds about 75g of glycogen and muscle tissue is approximately 0.7% glycogen, so the human body holds a max of around 300-450g at any one time for a 60-100kg individual, in case you were wondering.

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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby Two-Fry » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:41 am UTC

Victoria Maddison wrote:Numbers. And words to.

That sounds like it might work, but I don't really like crunching numbers with my diet. I like to just wake up, look at the fridge, and eat whatever I feel like. So something like "Eat more eggs" would probably work a lot better for me.
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Re: Attempting to gain weight

Postby spudtheimpaler » Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:17 am UTC

Two-Fry wrote:
Victoria Maddison wrote:Numbers. And words to.

That sounds like it might work, but I don't really like crunching numbers with my diet. I like to just wake up, look at the fridge, and eat whatever I feel like. So something like "Eat more eggs" would probably work a lot better for me.

Yeah, but sadly sometimes if you want something, even as meagre and simple as changing the shape of your body, you have to put a little bit of work in. Sorry about that.
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