Getting too skinny - Want more muscle

  • Summer is almost over and I'm ready to really focus again on a new challenge (Have completed 2 and a half so far back to back).  I'm struggling with my goals this time which is causing a lack of motivation on my part.  (It's true - If you don't have a goal, you will fail).

    I'm kind of in a conundrum.  My friends and family say I have lost TOO MUCH weight and have trimmed down too far.  Granted I've lost over 30lbs and went from a waist size 36 to a comfortable 32.  I saw an acquaintance the other day I hadn't seen in months.  He asked why the weight loss?  Was I sick?  Fact of the matter is, I've never felt better in my life!  I really really really like the BFL way of life.  This summer, I fell off the wagon for the most part (vacation, etc) but have maintained and actually lost more weight because of summer activities outside. 

    HERE'S WHERE I NEED SOME HELP:

    Try as I may, I cannot seem to gain muscle mass.  I get some definition but can't seem to bulk up at all.  I am in no way a nutritionist or fitness expert.  I read the BFL book, committed to it and follow it rigorously.  Consequently, I've had success at losing weight and trimming down to about 13% body fat.  I just look too skinny. 

    How should I modify the BFL program to put on some more muscleI need specifics.  (point me to a workout plan like BFL)  I don't understand what more weight / less reps means.  I'm one of those people who need to see a workout chart (like BFL) so I can follow it.  Does anyone have any resources they can point me to?  I must say, I don't want to leave the BFL program - I've had too much success with it.  I'm not looking to become Charles Atlas (I'm almost 50 years old for goodness sakes).  It's just that if I'm going to continue this program, I have to have goals.  So, why not pack on a few overall inches of muscle instead of fat weight so people will stop looking concerned?

    PS: Not adverse to supplements like Creatine but heard all they really do is put on water weight...

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Red

  • Hi, I also am trying to build muscle and have done a lot of checking on other programs, I found this one, it is like the BFL, except more geared to getting big. Check it out and see what you think.

    http://ast-ss.com/maxot.php


  • That's a great comment RedDawg,  On my first  BFL Challenge (C1) last year, about mid challenge I had a former supervisor that asked my current supervisor if I was ill because I had lost so much weight when they saw me again., So I can relate to that question being asked due to your weight loss due to correct eating and working out. Fun, isn't it to hear that?

  • Reddawg,

    Congrats on losing the 30lbs! I was in the same positiopn as you. Friends and family thought I was too skinny. Not that it mattered to me what other people thought. People who are not in shape and dream of losing weight often say things like that. What mattered was I was not where I wanted to be. I too wanted more mass. Now I am rambling a bit. The thing is in order to gain mass you have to keep your body in a caloric surplus. Eat more than you are burning. It is very easy to over do it (I sure did) after eating strict BFL and keeping the body in a caloric defict in order to loose the weight. I would suggest slowly adding more food to your daily nutrition plan and really focusing on exhausting your muscles in the gym. Pushing through the burn and the pain and squeezing out every last bit of strength until you reach total failure. Force those muscles to grow!

    Am I making any sense?

    If you look at pro bodybuilders they have off season weights and competitive weights. The are often 30 lbs (or more!) apart. Why? Caloric surplus to put on muscle and gain mass then lean out (often a 12 week time frame before competition) to be ripped and cut. This is a fine process and takes dedication and knowing your body. You already know how to lean out. no problem there. Try eating more and watch your body closely. Just be sure to eat good food and not crap. I ate a lot of junk with the excuse I was trying to gain mass so it was okay. It wasn't. I had to lean out again and start over. So far it is going well. I am bigger and stronger than I have ever been.

    hope this helps

    Orrin

  • Congrats on your success with BFL!  My suggestion would be to up your daily calories by about 300-500, but make sure they are good, clean calories. I had a hard time donig this, so I bought some cytocarb to add to my protein shakes.  On the workout part, I would say, only do cardio 1 or 2 days per week and keep it low impact, so you are not burning too much.  I would try to do a split routine (Example:  M-lower body, T-back & abs, W-shoulders & tris, TH-chest & bis).  You will only be working each body part one day a week, but you will lift to failure and really work the muscles.  I wanted to "bulk up" a bit and this is similar to what my trainer had me do.  Best of luck to you.

    "The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday!"

  • EAT MORE, especially protein. MUCH MORE......... I have had the same problem all of my life.... I am eating WAY MORE than the BFL program and lifting heavier/harder etc and building more muscle quicker than I ever had..... am also doing less HIIT... walking is great for just burning fat and letting one build muscle

    check out www.bodybuilding.com for some ideas and check out some of the skinny dudes who are now bulked up

    I went out walking through the city center, it happened just the other day. Sometimes Sydney Harbor in the winter, blows a little luck my way.

  • This website was pointed out to me on this forum a couple of weeks back. www.leangains.com . I have done alot of reading here and while I don't feel that the entire program is geared toward health and the long term I have found alot of useful info here and he has the science and studies to back it up. I personally don't think any one book or program has all the answers, especially given the fact that we all have a unique genetic makeup and need to tailor our programs as individuals.  Alot of info and very interesting reading. Just one man's opinion.

  • I would also call the folks at the EAS-800 number and let them advise you on the nutritional differences between supplements for losing fat and gaining muscle because they are different.  That doesn't obligate you to buy anything, but it will sure give you piece of mind in knowing you are getting the proper fuels.

    Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right ~ Henry Ford

    Michelle Simpson ~2009 Body-for-LIFE Champion 46+ Catagory

  • To all,

    Thanks so much for the encouragement and the great ideas!  Orrin, I hear you on "I'll eat extra since I'm trying to bulk up...but not eating clean".  I not only started showing flab again but felt worse!  I'm back to clean.

    BDMom, adding the 300-500 calories is intriguing.  I think that's an amount I'm willing to "give in" on to see what happens.  Of course it will be clean foods.  I say "give in" because I'm jealous of the weight I've lost and know how hard it was to lose.  I don't want to give anything back! lol.

    I'm currently looking at all the web sites recommended.  These are perfect for what I'm looking for.

    Anybody got any ideas about Creatine?  The stuff I've read leans me to believe it just puts on water weight.  Thoughts?

    Thanks again.  As always, I'm reluctant to move away from the BFL "standard" routine but realize I might have to change it up in order to reach my new goals...

    Red

  • Hello RedDawg, I am currently using an EAS creatine that I got on line and it does seem to help. As far as water retention due to the creatine while it is true that you have to drink more water with the creatine I think that the water retention problem is more closely related to your sodium intake (like the salt levels in diet drinks neglate weight loss due to their sodium content for example). My BMI had dropped still since using the creatine and body fat has also dropped on schedule so if there is a lot of water gain, I really haven't seen it. EAS uses creatine in many of it's products while maintaining a lower sodium level to negate the water encouragment.  Creatine, according to what I have read works best on a 6 months on minimum of one month off cycle of usage, which is what I have done this time and I am getting better muscle mass than the last challenge based on that. (This is my C2).

  • Hello RedDawg, I am currently using an EAS creatine that I got on line and it does seem to help. As far as water retention due to the creatine while it is true that you have to drink more water with the creatine I think that the water retention problem is more closely related to your sodium intake (like the salt levels in diet drinks negate weight loss due to their sodium content for example). My BMI had dropped still since using the creatine and body fat has also dropped on schedule so if there is a lot of water gain, I really haven't seen it. EAS uses creatine in many of it's products while maintaining a lower sodium level to negate the water encouragement.  Creatine, according to what I have read works best on a 6 months on minimum of one month off cycle of usage, which is what I have done this time and I am getting better muscle mass than the last challenge based on that. (This is my C2).

  • RedDawg,

    Sorry for the late response, but this post fascinates me, for I have encountered the exact same situation.  Isn't it amazing that the natural assumption about someone who has gotten as fit as you are is that you must be sick?   I'm sure your friends and family are well-intentioned, but perhaps you're in the best position to decide what is right for you.  I would recommend you bulk up only if that is something you want to do.

    Since my family and friends were concerned, I decided to bring this up with my doctor at my last physical.  Once I related what I was doing on BFL, she recommended I continue the program, and she said she wished she could have all her patients talk to me.  I am also trying to add a bit more muscle, but frankly, there are things more important than that.  Perhaps you could compare your basic stats (Body Fat %, LDL, Glucose, etc) with some of these folks, or perhaps invite them to go on a mile or two run with you?  I found that such an invitation gets a rather timid response from my friends and family (other than my two teenage sons, who are happy to run along at any time!).  I was amazed to see that Bill Phillips addressed a very similar question in the original BFL text by recommending an extra serving of carbs twice per day (it's in the Q&A section of the book).

    Jacium

    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.

    Jacium

  • I experienced that same skinny look and I still needed to lose body fat. After 4 successful BFL challenges and a significant weight loss my body was looking much better but I wanted more muscle to round things out a bit.

    Being a 48 year old female I knew it was possible but really didn't have a clue how because fat loss had been my only focus up to that point so I started doing some research. I finally decided on Tom Venuto's The Body Fat Solution and it was a great resource. His eating and cardio are basically the same as BFL so I did not change that part of my program but his weight trainig was different. After one round I put on a noticible amount of muscle in my shoulders and arms, my husband was impressed...hahaha. I also ate more for the first time and didn't gain an ounce on the scale so I knew I was headed in the right direction and the pictures really captured the changes.

    After two rounds of Tom's weight workout I switched to P90X and just started a second round this week. My body has changed so much, the muscle coming through is unbelievable and I no long have that skinny guant look. I can even see the beginning of my six pack peaking through.  I think to accomplish putting on muscle you have to eat enough, lift heavy while doing less reps, and you have to change things up every so often. Even Bill said the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing expecting a different result.  

    Best wishes,

    Kim

  • RedDawg: Great post. I just started a new challenge yesterday (Sept. 19) and my goal is put on some lean muscle mass also. I'll share what I'm going to do for the next 12 weeks. I will follow BFL but with a couple minor tweaks. My rep range for weight training will be 12-10-8-6-6-6. This is to lift heavier weight with fewer reps. Also at the end of each weight workout (3 times a week) along with a protein shake I will also consume a sugary post workout drink of gatorade/dextrose/glutamine and creatine. I have read many articles on the importance of post workout drinks and this is what they recommend. This sugary drink will put the body back into an anabolic state very quickly so muscle building can begin. Everything else will be BFL. I guess only time will tell if this works for me. All the best to you in your quest for building muscle.

    fit4life "The dream must be bigger than the pain"

  • KMsBFL & fit4life -

    I think you guys are on the money for doing fewer reps, and eating an increased amount of protein.  The book I use for dumbbell training also has reduced nos. of reps.  I'll check Arnold's Bodybuilding encyclopedia and see what it says, as well.  I think you can do essentially the same thing by moving to Whole Body Workouts, working out the 5 UB and 4 LB muscle groups in one session, but doing 3 x 12 sets at higher weight.  One thing I've learned in the past is there is still a need to do the first 12 at a slightly lower weight, to get the muscle primed (Bill talks about this in the book).

    Thanks!

    Jacium

    p.s. KIM - Bill emphasized that only through proper weight training can a human go beyond losing body fat  to actually re-shaping their body.  He describes a "pear" shaped body becoming smaller as the fat is lost, but unless weight training is incorporated, shape-wise it will be just a smaller pear!

    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.

    Jacium