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Elliot Royce 12-15-2006 09:30 AM

Confused on Mass Gain
 
I read the PM on mass and found it very interesting. I'm just confused about how to apply it.

I had come to CF from a more traditional weightlifting background, and following hip surgery. At this point, I'm pretty well recovered from the surgery and am trying to chart out my fitness and nutrition path for the next year or two. Right now, I'm 225lbs and around 8%BF and have been following initially the Zone and more recently Paleo. Exercise includes ice hockey (2x week), boxing training (1x week), and O lift training with a coach (now around 1x every 2 weeks). I've been vacillating on the WODs, sometimes doing them and sometimes substituting O lifting. I am inflexible and have imbalances (and frequent injuries) and pretty lackluster performance on the WODs. My goals for 2007 are to take my fitness to the next level (at least hit average on the WODs), boost my game in hockey, and continue to build strength and some mass (something like 10-20lbs of muscle).

On Paleo, I've been shedding some fat but maintaining my base weight. It seems like body composition is improving. On the other hand, I'm wondering whether I'm taking in enough calories to benefit maximally from the training I'm doing. Like you say in PM, I tend to eat until I see fat appear around my abs and then get scared and cut back. Is it possible to build mass while taking one's BF down to 5-6%?

My thinking is that I should probably just stick to the WODs for now until I get more flexibility, endurance, and balance, even though your mass gain program sounds tempting. If I do stick to the WODs (and hockey/boxing), what should my caloric intake look like? According to FitDay, I generally burn around 3500 calories per day with no exercise and around 4000 calories with exercise.

If I wanted to gain 1lb every 2 weeks using CF, what should I be eating? And is there some way to minimize the fat? You might say that gaining weight on CF is hard but I think I have a lot of unrealized potential since my pullups and squats are so poor.



Thanks for the advice.

Robb Wolf 12-15-2006 05:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elliot Royce (Post 1986)
I read the PM on mass and found it very interesting. I'm just confused about how to apply it.

I had come to CF from a more traditional weightlifting background, and following hip surgery. At this point, I'm pretty well recovered from the surgery and am trying to chart out my fitness and nutrition path for the next year or two. Right now, I'm 225lbs and around 8%BF and have been following initially the Zone and more recently Paleo. Exercise includes ice hockey (2x week), boxing training (1x week), and O lift training with a coach (now around 1x every 2 weeks). I've been vacillating on the WODs, sometimes doing them and sometimes substituting O lifting. I am inflexible and have imbalances (and frequent injuries) and pretty lackluster performance on the WODs. My goals for 2007 are to take my fitness to the next level (at least hit average on the WODs), boost my game in hockey, and continue to build strength and some mass (something like 10-20lbs of muscle).

On Paleo, I've been shedding some fat but maintaining my base weight. It seems like body composition is improving. On the other hand, I'm wondering whether I'm taking in enough calories to benefit maximally from the training I'm doing. Like you say in PM, I tend to eat until I see fat appear around my abs and then get scared and cut back. Is it possible to build mass while taking one's BF down to 5-6%?

My thinking is that I should probably just stick to the WODs for now until I get more flexibility, endurance, and balance, even though your mass gain program sounds tempting. If I do stick to the WODs (and hockey/boxing), what should my caloric intake look like? According to FitDay, I generally burn around 3500 calories per day with no exercise and around 4000 calories with exercise.

If I wanted to gain 1lb every 2 weeks using CF, what should I be eating? And is there some way to minimize the fat? You might say that gaining weight on CF is hard but I think I have a lot of unrealized potential since my pull-ups and squats are so poor.



Thanks for the advice.

Elliot-

I would take some time and deal with injuries and flexibility issues. Buy a foam roller and some tennis balls and start looking for the scar tissue and adhesions that are likely present. Get lean, strong and healthy. Use the CF WOD's to drive tissue remodeling via growth hormone release...perhaps tinker with a little intermittent fasting 1-2 days per week to shore up insulin sensitivity. Hammer your pull-ups. Do this for a month or two and see where you are health wise. Once all the preperatory work is done (GPP anybody?) you will be set to go after the mass gain plan, nutrition and all.

That's my thoughts! Let me know what you think.

Elliot Royce 12-15-2006 05:38 PM

I think it IS probably best to stick with the WODs and remedial work for now. I use the foam rollers and do stretching every time I work out but I would probably rank at 99% percentile in terms of inflexibility. The good news is that a dislocation is unlikely; the bad news is that the Tin Man is a yoga superstar compared to me. I've ordered Magnificent Mobility based on the review posted here. But you know, it ain't going to be a month of remedial work, more like several years! I am planning to throw in one ME day per week to get some growth and I do have the O lift training.

I'm still not sure, though, about the nutrition front. Should I continue to allow a calorie deficit and lean up more or will that slow down the muscle growth that would otherwise result from doing the CF stuff that I'm not used to - pullups, squats, etc. ?

Basically my legs, chest and arms have no fat -- you just see veins lying on the surface. Around the waist I have a little fat. Calipers measured me at around 6.% BF two months ago, although I think it's probably more like 8%. I'm just thinking that if I continue to run a calorie deficit it's going to slow down muscle growth. Or is that a fallacy?
Today, for instance, I had around 300 grams of protein on the Paleo diet but still ran a calorie deficit.

Mike ODonnell 12-15-2006 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elliot Royce (Post 1986)
Exercise includes ice hockey (2x week), boxing training (1x week), and O lift training with a coach (now around 1x every 2 weeks). I've been vacillating on the WODs, sometimes doing them and sometimes substituting O lifting. I am inflexible and have imbalances (and frequent injuries) and pretty lackluster performance on the WODs. My goals for 2007 are to take my fitness to the next level (at least hit average on the WODs), boost my game in hockey, and continue to build strength and some mass (something like 10-20lbs of muscle).

If I wanted to gain 1lb every 2 weeks using CF, what should I be eating? And is there some way to minimize the fat? You might say that gaining weight on CF is hard but I think I have a lot of unrealized potential since my pullups and squats are so poor.

I know Rob's suggestion is right on....after all you are only as strong as your weakest link...so if you decrease your weak links, your strength and power can only go up.

Of course gaining weight is a matter of increasing muscle size and the ability to hold muscle glycogen. You are doing a ton of stuff....so you probably need a ton of calories just to break even! I know one hockey game is like 1000cal for me I need to replenish...and my glycogen stores are empty, takes me days to recover fully. With the Oly stuff (not my area of expertise) but I believe it is more ATP than glycolitic if your reps are 1-3 range. For that you could be on a higher fat diet and see great improvements (as Rob can reference this more). CF metcons (depending on what weights are being used) are that mix of oxidative and glycolitic....so you can use fat and muscle glycogen as fuels there.

So, in my humble opinion here's some things to try...of course only you know your body and recovery...so play around and see what happens:

1) You need calories at that schedule. You can start at a Zone approach or at like 1g/lb protein of body weight. Try the 3-5x fat...count the calories, see where you are...and then see how you perform, recover, and gain/lose weight.

2) Try PWO carb/protein loading. I personally like carbs after a tough glycogen depleting workout (rep ranges 6-10, metcons, hockey) for quicker recovery. It can be the typical PWO drink or just a meal in complex carbs and protein only (no fat). Again see how you respond and feel as your insulin sensitivity is specific to you.

3) Fat....fat...fat. Learn to love it. If you are getting 1-1.5g/protein per lb of body weight, that is probably enough. Any more can just get burned up or not even used for muscle repair. Get enough carbs for glycogen replenishment during the day (and that could be different on hockey days vs Oly days). Then use healthy fats for all the other calories. As long as you are getting the amino acids for the muscles, glycogen replenishment, and burning the rest of your metabolic needs from fat calories, then your body doesnt have to break down muscle and use that glycogen and muscle for energy. Hence weight gain.

4)....I'm getting lost in my own thoughts....but keep track of everything and adjust levels...see what happens. Where are you gaining, losing, how are your workouts, are you recovering...etc.

5) Try carb timing. On my training days I try to get 75% of my carbs PWO in the form of complex and some simple carbs. I toy around too see how my body responds...blood sugar drops in the hours after, fat addition on the waist, etc. The rest of the day is more Protein+Veg+Fat. Maybe some Fruit in the AM too. Every day is different, but I usually see good results. Too many carbs at the wrong time just goes right to my waist as I know I have insulin resistance issues...but the PWO timeframe of 1-2hours seems to work well for me in maintaining leanness.


Hope some of this helps....I am rambling probably. Will have to re-read this to see if I made sense...and Rob or others please feel free to add or correct anything I say here. I like to use myself to test things out...see how my body responds....thats all I can do. BTW I was down to 172lbs when I was doing only Crossfit last summer and I didnt like that feeling. Now I have dropped the Metcons to once a week (or go mountain biking or hockey) and have increased to more strength based workouts 3x a week. Now I am back up to 190lbs and about 10% BF. Trying to get to 200+ and 7-8% in the next 12 weeks and I think that is realistic for me.

Mark Joseph Limbaga 12-15-2006 06:13 PM

The fact you're already making changes in body composition is a good sign. Now, if you're not packing in as much mass as you wish, that only means you have to eat more.

This may sound stupid to some, but eating a pound of peanuts would probably be a good thing to do.

Peanuts are natures weight gainers as they are calorie dense, high in healthy fat and protein, so they're a better choice any day than buying these surag-rich expensive weight gainers in the supplement store.

Elliot Royce 12-17-2006 12:50 PM

Thanks for the great advice. What I'm planning to do is continue with the paleo, introduce some short fasts (I tend to not do too well without food but maybe it's psychological), and supplement with carbs as required. Reading some posts here and at CF, it seems like running a paleo diet with some compromises to modern patterns of exercise is ok. By compromise, I mean some carbs during a longish workout or game (Cytomax for instance) followed by PWO protein/carb shake. What I have been largely avoiding are the gratuitous bad carbs that otherwise sneak in during the day as well as most dairy.

I have a feeling that if I stick to Paleo and dial in the carbs/protein supplements as required, it should be possible to gain some mass while leaning out. Anyone disagree? It also makes me feel pretty good -- somehow I'm rarely hungry with the Paleo intake.

Another way of thinking about this is Paleo for the basal and lifestyle metabolic burn (some deficit, maybe 500 cal per day) and combining it with carb/protein supplementation for the exercise component (replace calories burned in exercise with supplementation, taking care to maximize the benefit through the right timing).

Mike ODonnell 12-17-2006 02:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elliot Royce (Post 2079)
Another way of thinking about this is Paleo for the basal and lifestyle metabolic burn (some deficit, maybe 500 cal per day) and combining it with carb/protein supplementation for the exercise component (replace calories burned in exercise with supplementation, taking care to maximize the benefit through the right timing).

I'm pretty sure that is the plan that is also laid out in the "Paleo for Athletes" book by Cordain. So probably the best way to go.


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