PDA

View Full Version : IF for mass gains?


Shannon Clark
06-15-2007, 03:16 PM
I'm new to this forum...linked here from another site and it's really great to see a whole section devoted to IF.

I recently started reading about this concept and decided to give it a try. At first I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle the hunger and was eating small amounts of nuts during the fasting period, that seemed to tide hunger over as they didn't affect my blood sugar (I normally have blood sugar issues and tend to do better on a slightly lower carb diet).

As time has gone on though I've been finding it easier to fast and the hunger is not as bad. I usually get one period for an hour or two where I'm feeling it pretty good but then I have my coffee for the day (miracle cure, I swear) and I feel ten times better.

My setup though is slightly different, I work out first thing in the morning so I eat a pre/large post-workout meal, finish that around 10 am and then fast until about 10 pm at night where I have my second large meal.

I am trying to gain weight right now so I'm just curious if anyone has had any results with this set-up for gaining. It seems to be very good for recomping, and even me, I was fairly lean before starting but since starting about 2 weeks ago, and it seems as though my weight has stayed the same but I do look leaner. Also, it appears my maintenance calories may have gone up. I came off a dieting phase eating around 1500 calories per day (I'm 5'6" and 112 pounds....yes wind blows me over :rolleyes: ) but now I'm up around 1900-2000 and still maintaining as far as I can tell.

Also, do you think there is any drawback to fasting every day? Currently I am. On days I don't lift I'll do a longer cardio session so I basically keep the same protocol/calorie level.

Mike ODonnell
06-15-2007, 04:24 PM
Weight gain is all about the total calories in a day....so in principle Yes you can gain weight while also doing IF....HOWEVER...you need to consume major calories during the feeding hours...and if you can handle that volume you will see gains. IF also gain reverse insulin resistance, increase insulin sensitivity and also increase protein utilization...all good things for packing on muscle....I eat only between 1-7pm....but can pack in major calories including about 200g of protein....that's alot. Also depending on your workouts, may want to use some BCAAs and Creatine PWO to take advantage of the window. You will probably need at least 1gr of protein per lb of bodyweight to build more muscle....that said and done, find a good buffet that serves meat....

When it comes down to it...it's an energy equation...you need to consume more energy (through food) than you require by your daily activities....that and protein...lots of it...

Shannon Clark
06-15-2007, 04:31 PM
Thanks for the response. I am fairly talented and pushing down large amounts of foods so that shouldn't be overly bad I don't think.

Right now I'm getting about 230 grams protein, 160 grams carbs and about 35 grams of fat. Most of my protein at this point is coming from cottage cheese as I've never been a huge meat eater. Generally aim for about 100 grams protein per meal, and then 30 before working out.

I'm wondering at this point if it's better for me to add more protein or more carb calories to continue gaining.

Mike ODonnell
06-15-2007, 04:35 PM
Most people here will say dump the carbs and up the healthy fats.....230grams protein is alot for someone your size although I would try to alternate your sources (eggs, meat, fish, etc) ...don't always get them from one place as the amino acids can vary. Real muscle gain is slow....otherwise you are just going the BB route and increasing the volume of the muscle with stored glycogen and water....Nothing wrong with either approach just depends on why you are doing it.....

Fat adds up the calories real quick....(vs carbs)....and make sure you get plenty of Fish Oil as it has a protein sparing and muscle building boost...

Garrett Smith
06-15-2007, 05:09 PM
More fat...fat is good for gaining muscle mass. Make sure it's the right kinds/sources. Get some saturated fat in there.

Allen Yeh
06-15-2007, 06:21 PM
Chris Forbis' workout log has a lot of great information in regards to IF and mass gain.

Chris Forbis
06-15-2007, 07:28 PM
IF and mass gain can go together. As Mike said, total calorie intake needs to be HIGH to gain mass. Sometimes this is difficult to do with IF.

I had good success with 1-3 days of fasting a week while on my mass gain program. Those days I wouldn't eat anything until 12-1pm or so. And then lots of calories.

If you don't feel like you're going to be sick from eating too much food, you aren't eating enough.

And you definitely need to up the fat. I was getting 3000 or so calories of fat a day.

Mike ODonnell
06-15-2007, 09:06 PM
Also is the strategy of only working out 2x a week and dumping all cardio.....you will get more mass....although your performance and endurance may go to crap....you can always get that back later....remember your muscles grow when you are NOT working them out (aka tearing them down)...so work them hard...and then let them recover fully....

Shannon Clark
06-15-2007, 09:30 PM
Thanks again for all the advice.

So what are your thoughts then with adding more fats to the last meal of the day? Right now I'm mostly trying to stick just with carbs/protein.

And Chris did you find you required more calories while doing IF than a standard approach to gain more weight?

There have been a few nights where I've felt insanely full going to bed but as I do it more and more it seems as though my body is growing used to it. At first 1000 calories was a lot but now not such a big deal.

I do want to keep some cardio in there though, I need it (stress relief, etc) so then I just increase calories more I guess... I'll try and keep it to a minimum though. For me cutting cardio is always the hardest part. I'd way rather just add more food.

Chris Forbis
06-16-2007, 05:34 AM
I always find my body handles carbs better on the first meal coming off an IF. So you may find it beneficially to load up on the fat at the end of your feed period.

In general, I think you can get by with a slightly lower total caloric intake to gain weight on IF.

And I forgot to mention it, but Mike addressed it. I think a low activity level was just as important as food intake for my weight gain. I had 3 active days a week. 2 were heavy lifting, the third was short sprints.

My official tally was +21.1 pounds in 12 weeks. Now I'm working on metcon.

Mike ODonnell
06-16-2007, 06:27 AM
My official tally was +21.1 pounds in 12 weeks. Now I'm working on metcon.

Wow....nicely done Chris!! So much for that "hard gainer" label!

Chris Forbis
06-16-2007, 08:02 AM
Yeah, it was like I found the anabolic switch...

Scotty Hagnas
06-16-2007, 11:25 AM
Nice, Chris!

As a "hardgainer" myself, I have found that I can gain pretty easily on IF. I never could on the conventional diets, well not muscle anyway. (I could pack on fat, though)

Shannon-

You'll want to drop the carbs way down if you are doing IF. If your body is relying on carbs and excessive protein for energy (which it almost certainly is), you will catabolize muscle tissue like crazy when you start to fast. One really needs to be on a low carb diet when doing IF to optimize fat burning and nitrogen retention(muscle sparing).

I'd ditch most of the cardio if you are trying to gain mass. If you need it for stress reduction, I'd examine the other areas of your life and try to reduce stressors there first. Combating life stress by adding yet another activity the body perceives as stress will not help on the health and longevity front, nor will it help your body adapt to the stress of heavy lifting. (mass gain) You can easily regain your conditioning level once you are at your desired weight.

Good luck!

Scotty Hagnas
CrossFit Portland

Shannon Clark
06-16-2007, 08:29 PM
I always find my body handles carbs better on the first meal coming off an IF. So you may find it beneficially to load up on the fat at the end of your feed period.

In general, I think you can get by with a slightly lower total caloric intake to gain weight on IF.

And I forgot to mention it, but Mike addressed it. I think a low activity level was just as important as food intake for my weight gain. I had 3 active days a week. 2 were heavy lifting, the third was short sprints.

My official tally was +21.1 pounds in 12 weeks. Now I'm working on metcon.

How much of your 21 pounds was lean though? The issue with fats though, I enter the fast right after my post-workout meal so I would think post workout you wouldn't want to be high in fats...no? And just out of curiosity (sorry probably a dumb question) but what is metcon? I've seen it referred to a few times and am not quite sure.



Nice, Chris!

As a "hardgainer" myself, I have found that I can gain pretty easily on IF. I never could on the conventional diets, well not muscle anyway. (I could pack on fat, though)

Shannon-

You'll want to drop the carbs way down if you are doing IF. If your body is relying on carbs and excessive protein for energy (which it almost certainly is), you will catabolize muscle tissue like crazy when you start to fast. One really needs to be on a low carb diet when doing IF to optimize fat burning and nitrogen retention(muscle sparing).

I'd ditch most of the cardio if you are trying to gain mass. If you need it for stress reduction, I'd examine the other areas of your life and try to reduce stressors there first. Combating life stress by adding yet another activity the body perceives as stress will not help on the health and longevity front, nor will it help your body adapt to the stress of heavy lifting. (mass gain) You can easily regain your conditioning level once you are at your desired weight.

Good luck!

Scotty Hagnas
CrossFit Portland

How come you'd drop muscle mass though on higher carbs/protein but not with fat? I would think if anything the more protein would make it muscle sparing.

I can see the cardio issue though..it's mostly a psychological issue with me I think. How would just straight walking be? still too detrimental?

Chris Forbis
06-17-2007, 06:50 AM
21 pounds wasn't all lean, but if you want to be serious about mass gain you will have to accept a little fat gain. I find it fairly easy to drop the fat afterwards.

Metcon is metabolic conditioning. "Being in shape." Things like Crossfit WODs typically qualify as metcon.

The fuel your body burns during a fast (ideally) is fat. Consuming too many carbs jeopardizes your body's ability to adapt to this fat burning. That's how I see it at least.

Daniel Myers
06-17-2007, 03:02 PM
What's your target weight? If you want to gain 5-10 pounds just to fill out, then that's pretty easy to do by just increasing your intake a little bit. If you want to gain much more, I think you'll have better success by focusing like a laser on mass gain and making it the only goal of your training for a couple of months. The first situation is definitely compatible with IF; the second, maybe not, depending on your personality and eating habits.

I went from 170 to 185 in about 3 months -- without losing my six pack -- by drinking more milk each day and lifting heavy three times a week.

Daniel Myers
06-17-2007, 08:07 PM
I just re-read the initial post, and 5'6" and 112 pounds is pretty dang skinny. If those numbers are right, just forget about anything fancy and start squatting and drinking a gallon of milk per day. The most direct route will be the best.

Shannon Clark
06-17-2007, 10:35 PM
Yah, I'm 5'6" and 112...but I am a girl too, so that makes it a little less worse...only a little. :p

I can see the point with the fat but I was thinking as long as I supplied enough slow digesting protein I may be able to overcome it. I will likely add some fat though since it's going to make getting in the calories easier.

I do want to keep going with IF though, I am really liking it in terms of scheduling and just how I generally feel. If I can get results I likely may stay on it long term. Having to only worry about preparing meals twice a day is so nice.

Daniel Myers
06-18-2007, 06:17 AM
My apologies, Shannon. Obviously, I didn't read that first post closely enough. Super Squats is probably not the program for you. :D

In Ripped, Clarence Bass talks about getting lean first, and then eating just a little more than your maintenance level, so that you gain muscle with the minimal amount of fat. This is a slow way to gain, since you're only going a few hundred calories over maintenance per day, but it's very easy to do, provided you have a good handle on your number of maintenace calories. Like I said, I did it by drinking a little more milk each day, but that won't work for everybody.

Also, in my case, the visual effect of any fat I gained was more than offset by the impact of the extra muscle.

Scotty Hagnas
06-18-2007, 04:56 PM
Hi Shannon-

Additional walks are a great idea, particularly if you can take them outside in the woods or countryside!

From looking at the macronutrient ratios that you posted, you will have a metabolism very efficient at using glucose. The very large protein intake is almost certainly being partly converted to glucose for energy, as well. As you probably know, your glucose stores don't last very long. If they run out, as they would if you begin a fast, your body is used to breaking down protein for it's glucose. It will go right after your muscle tissue to provide this glucose.

If you are eating low carb, your body will become efficient at metabolizing ketones made from the breakdown of fats, and will try to conserve what glucose it has. Low carb diets are muscle sparing. You may need to get your protein intake a bit lower, though - your body may well not make the full conversion to burning ketones, since it can always get some glucose from the excessive protein.

Good luck!

Scotty Hagnas
CrossFit Portland

Shannon Clark
06-18-2007, 05:14 PM
Hi Shannon-

Additional walks are a great idea, particularly if you can take them outside in the woods or countryside!

From looking at the macronutrient ratios that you posted, you will have a metabolism very efficient at using glucose. The very large protein intake is almost certainly being partly converted to glucose for energy, as well. As you probably know, your glucose stores don't last very long. If they run out, as they would if you begin a fast, your body is used to breaking down protein for it's glucose. It will go right after your muscle tissue to provide this glucose.

If you are eating low carb, your body will become efficient at metabolizing ketones made from the breakdown of fats, and will try to conserve what glucose it has. Low carb diets are muscle sparing. You may need to get your protein intake a bit lower, though - your body may well not make the full conversion to burning ketones, since it can always get some glucose from the excessive protein.

Good luck!

Scotty Hagnas
CrossFit Portland


Good to hear the walking is okay, it makes cutting down on cardio easier, just as long as I'm not 'sitting' all day long (work at a desk job at the moment). Aside from lifting I still need to do some sort of movement I find or else I get antsy and just feel lethargic.

That is an interesting point on the protein to glucose. I definitely know a lot of the protein I'm eating will be turning to glucose since I'm far exceeding my requirements. How come though, once the glucose runs out from the carbs the body wouldn't turn to fat stores rather than muscle? Plus, if I was eating in a surplus, shouldn't there be enough stores to last through the fast (and I am only fasting about 11-12 hours per day, so not totally a full on IF set-up).

I am going to reduce my carbs today though, cut out one of the bowls of oatmeal I normally eat before bed. Would it be okay to keep protein around 200 grams (100/meal) or is that still too high? (based on a 2000 calorie diet). Carbs would then be around 100 grams or so and the rest will be fat. Then as I need to add more calories I'll add in more fat to this. The protein I am eating though is very slow digesting (lots of cottage cheese) so maybe that will help things?

Scotty Hagnas
06-19-2007, 10:36 AM
Your protein intake still is quite high. At 2000k/day, 200g of Pro is 40% of your total calories - regular intakes above 35% can be toxic. On infrequent occasions, 200g might be fine, but I certainly wouldn't eat that much on a regular basis.

As a comparison, I am a 175lb male. I eat, on average 120g of protein per day. I vary my intake, though some days eating 70g, and others as high as 190g. I gained ~15 lbs this last year with this intake. More protein consumed doesn't necessarily equate to more muscle - it just makes you more efficient at breaking it down for energy.

Your body will burn some fat during the fast, of course. However, your metabolism is based on glucose. Until it is forced to utilize ketones for a period of time and adapts, it will go after glucose however it can.

Mike ODonnell
06-19-2007, 12:56 PM
Scotty is right....it's not about the amount of protein...but how well you body assimilates it....things like IF, less cardio and all that can help with more protein utilization....most people don't get enough (min 0.8g/lean body mass for an active person). Things like BCAA supplementation pre and PWO can also increase muscle growth. I found taking in anywhere from 100-200g/protein in a 6 hour window (IF) was enough to gain muscle, burn fat.....as most importantly you do not want to lose muscle....which really is only a factor with overtraining, low calorie diets and low protein intakes.