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Gain Weight - 20kg In 3 Months

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

"How can I gain weight" - the eternal question for teenage boys, footballers and beginning bodybuilders. Also the question that took me from a skinny 70kg long distance runner to todays weight of over 140kg - more than doubling my lean body weight.

21 years ago I started to ask how do I gain weight in earnest, studying every bit of archaic knowledge, the current state of professional nutrition advice and every bit of hearsay we could get our ears around. In the end we decided to follow these following steps.

In 3 months I gained 20kg of weight, mostly muscle!

We started by listening to everyone we could, reading everythign we could, talking to everyone who was big that we met, going to the pro-bodybuilder seminars - we did everything we could to get big, well almost everything we could....

Early Weight Gain Supplements

The early gain weight supplement market was a money machine, each new product pushed to market found a fanatic group of hardcore purchasers who tried every and anything pushed out the slimy marketers door.

This added to the lack of knowledge at the time regarding diet behaviours lead to some rather questionable products being shipped.

Early Protein Powders 

The original protein powder formulas were little more than dried milk powder and sugar with flavouring, high fat, high simple carbs, and reasonable protein. 

High fat, high sugars - sounds like a Junk food diet and look where that gets people these days.... diabetes, high blood pressure, hormone failure, heart problems, clogged arteries.... the list goes on, none of it healthy.

After that came a rash of ridiculous money grubbing supplemetns based on the slimest threads of pausability.

Herbal Steroids 

Herbal steriods were one that I remember in particular, contained a natural chemical that was the basis for plant cell growth. Unfortunately plant cells and human cells are rather different. These were promoted heavily in the muscle magazines of the late 1980's.

These were toted as completely safe and without side effects, of course they had no side effects, they also had no effects. I remember a couple of training partners at the gym bought these and almost had a punch up over wo was going to have them first, as if a couple of seconds would make a difference, then one fellow ripped the bottle out of his mates hand and running proceeded to throw down a handful of tablets and actually choke himself. A few heavy slaps on the back, partly because he was choking, partly because he tried to run off with the bottle and he was right as rain.

These were followed by a succession of useless new products every 6 months that were to revolutionise the bodybuilding world. Unfortunately for the consumer these were all just marketing gimmicks designed  to part the consumer from his cash.

This went on for years until Creatine Monohydrate hit the scene.

Creatine Monohydrate

First really pushed by Bill Philips who actually spent real money getting real scientific results that supported this new supplement. Personally I gained 5kg weight in the first week that I took Creatine, but then due to my bodyweight it was really only a 3.5% gain that added muscle size and strength.

But this was years after I had put on my initial 20kg in 3 months. 

After that Bill Philips company EAS continued with scientific research and real double blind studies and other accepted forms of substantiating evidence to bring out several new products that also worked, unfortunately the changes these made were rather expensive so I opted to spend the cash on steaks.

Weight Gain Folklore 

The old wives tales did not help much either these ranged from slim threads of credibility to outrageous primal ordeals.

Guiness Beer 

Old advertisements of Guiness beer showed strong men carrying large objects, like contruction workers with big muscles carrying heavy steel beams easily with the caption something like "Guiness Draft a steak in each pint!". This of course referred to the fact that Guiness was (and is) a very heavy dark beer that is calorie dense - in fact the same calories as you would gain from eating a steak, though the size of the steak was never mentioned.

I suggest you try it for a month each diet and see the results yourself. 1 month on a predominantely beer diet and 1 month on a predominantely beef steak diet and see how your body and strength progress.

I am not sure if this series of advertising was the reason for the old wives tale that has us gagging everynight as we tried to put on weight.

Brewers Yeast For Weight Gain

A foul culture that stank and tasted worse. Yet because folklore suggested that Brewers Yeast would make you gain weight we used to add a heaped teaspoon to our protein drinks everynight before bed (I'll get to these in a minute). We then choked down 2 litres of thick disgusting drink before bed. Disgusting.


There was one old time strongman that used to drink a glass of raw blood everyday as a early supplement, I cannot remember his name now but it was sometime in the late 1960's or the 70's judging by what I remember of the quality of the photographs that accompanied the article on him.

This is one we decided to skip and opted for cooking our steak rare instead to get our blood that way. 

Raw Eggs

I think these were popularised by Rocky. Drinking raw eggs is not going to help much over having a nice omlette instead, the additional 24 grams of protein from drinking 4 raw eggs is going to help but not a lot. Putting them in with milk and chocolate flavouring would help with drinking them too.  And drinking too many raw eggs can cause Biotin deficiency.

99% Pure Milk Protein

A local chemist used to manufacture this himself and sell it from his pharmacy in Newcastle, Australia were I grew up. I have no idea as to what sort of protein it was, I guess casein. It was potent stuff, industrial glues are weaker.

Adding 1 tablespoon to 2 litres of home made protein drink it would instantly turn it to the consistancy of a McDonalds Thickshake and if you left it overnight it would set and you would have to eat it with a spoon (if you could handle the taste of the Brewers Yeast)

Dietician Advice

Upon going to see a professional, licensed, Dietician he took down the food I was eating then counted the calories then decided we need to add another 500 calories or so. To do this he added a steak for breakfast, sandwiches rather than biscuits for brunch and a protein drink at night before bed.

Looking back now he did add 1 extra meal, and upgraded two meals, the whole idea of eating 6 times a day back then was completely unheard of in the West, we had been so carefully programmed to have our 3 meals a day (though this continues today).

The steak idea was well founded but to be honest some scrambled eggs would have probably gone done better in the morning and left me a lot happier as my mother used to make me wash the grill before I went to school.

The protein drink was another story altogether, from memory it was something like 4 raw eggs, 1 litre of full cream milk, 300 grams of ice cream, full sugar chocolate flavouring, brewers yeast, the above mentioned 99% milk protein and drink it as quick as possible.

This left a solid brick of fats and sugar in our stomaches before bed. Brilliant. What happens when you eat a greasy pizza and a litre of coke every night before bed? That's right you get fat.

Couple Of Big Guys At The Gym

This is the one we decided to not follow.  These two big guys we met told us to get big take 3 tablets a day of this medicine called Anapolon (which was legal and available at that time), take it for a year and train hard and you will get big. Judging by their size we thought they knew what they were talking about, but they did not look so healthy, in fact one had yellowish eyes and his skin was kind of of colour. 3 months later we did not see them again and we heard one was very sick and the other was in hospital.

All You Can Eat Pizza Nights

Sticking with the more calorie phenomenom Pizza Hut introduced a all you can eat pizza tuesday. All you could eat for $5 (back then). I remember we would all religiously trot on over to Pizza Hut after training. Pizza Hut was full of fat people and 'bulking' bodybuilders with the occassional family thrown into the confusion. 

Gain Weight Conclusion

In the end we did just about everything we could to gain weight, I personally went from 70kg to 90kg and and arm growth from 11.5" to 14".

Now i am guessing I was undereating to start with and being a long distance runner did not help things either.

But the methods we used, though flawed did work, we gained weight. We added protein to 2 meals and added another meal to our diet, we were focused on quality proteins as we saw it though we thought 3 bigger meals a  day was the answer (we now know 6 meals a day is better). We added calories and a simple once a week calorie up cycle or junk day. We sort advice from those we thought who knew, and from professionals.

In a word we studied and trained, modifying our methods as we learned more. You gain weight or success in any field by doing then modifying until you hit on the formula for success that best suits you.

And the best combination that suits me.... this is how I would gain muscle as fast as possible if I had to do it again. 


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