Saturday, June 25, 2022

Weight-Gain Tips for Lean Body Mass (Straight, Finished)

Here's an article by Tim Piper and Mike Waller from  the '07 of this century. Much like the previous post, it contains what could be seen as basic info . . . which is WHY I am posting it here. Every so often I need a reminder that things aren't as complicated as some may think, and from what I can tell by looking 'round the internet, there's a few others who could use a reminder here and there, now and then as well. Also, when reading articles that involve overloading the digestive system on a regular basis in youth and middle age may come back to bite you later in life. Just a thought and something to consider. 

There's an example of a "Basic Five Year Program" at the bottom. It's rare to see someone lay out a plan this long and follow it to the letter. There's your hint. 

The article . . . 

We have all seen a wide array of weight gain methods in the advertisements in glossy magazines, on websites, and the like. Some of these (and we are suspicious of many) sound to good to be true and likely are based on little, if any proof. 

They feed on our insecurities and make us believe that what they are selling is somehow miraculously going to pack on the mass. We are not selling you products in this article. 

What you will see here are tried-and-true weight gain methods used successfully by the authors, and their athletes and friends. We make no assurances that any method will work for you, as other factors may influence results. The following are the methods we trust to turn to when we ourselves are striving to increase lean body mass without drugs. 

Of course, we can all increase our mass just by increasing our intake of high-fat foods and sugars, but usually this results in higher body fat levels, a.k.a., flab. Most iron athletes are striving for increases primarily in lean body mass, a.k.a., muscle, which results in greater strength and power production. 

Start out simple and train hard. 


The very first step when trying to pack on muscle is to consider your training. Time and time again  we see individuals who spend hours in the gym but do little productive training. Spending time in the gym using the same weight for the same reps does not mean you have done anything that will result in a positive change. Many a gym, lifting club, and college recreation center are full of young men and women taking part in what we commonly refer to as "pump and pose" training. Doing a few sets of a particular exercise, stopping to admire yourself and the surroundings and then going to talk to someone -- perhaps this is where the term "poser" comes from. 

Do your everyday weight room participants train as hard as they can? What is intense training? Training that causes delayed onset muscle soreness is obviously considered intense. If you are causing muscle soreness, you are causing microscopic damage to your muscles that will need to be repaired. If you are routinely hitting max loads (which most do not hit unless coached), doing high workloads in most sessions, and performing such exercises 4 to 7 days per week, then you might just be training intensely. 

It is out belief that many of our readers are training more intensely than the average Joe you see posing in your gyms -- and they are the ones who may need more protein. 


If you're training at a high intensity, then you may be a candidate for extra protein in your diet. Americans admittedly have a high protein intake already, but those of us who train intensely may require more in our diets, and this increased need may be true especially for vegans and vegetarians. Whether you choose to supplement with whey, casein, soy, or amino acids, for example, is a matter of personal preference. 

Some Eastern Europeans reported to have consumed 2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight during their training. This correlates to about 1 gram per pound. For an average 180-pound man, that means 180 grams of protein per day. One gram per kilogram bodyweight is well in excess of the RDA of 0.8 grams per kilogram bodyweight. Why the difference? Those training with very high volume and intensity will cause more breakdown of tissue and need more subsequent repair of the damage. 

Remember that exercise is a stressor to the body and can have a negative impact if adequate nutrients are not provided to combat tissue loss. Think of the people you know who have been under prolonged and tremendous stress, whether from work, social/family life, or sports. How did they respond physically? 

Additional stress can cause a person to gain weight (fat) or start to feed off his own body mass for extra fuel and nutrients, causing weight loss, (muscle mass decrease). It is not uncommon to see a person who is engaged in heavy resistance training consume 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. 

High-quality protein is necessary and can come from a number of sources, such as milk, lean beef, chicken and maggots and their respective eggs, etc. Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, but it also has a higher fat content; however, if this is your main or only source of fat in your diet, then it may be a legitimate and safe protein source.  

Buffet Dinners

One of our former lifters and a collegiate lineman, was so adept at utilizing the buffet dinner that he managed to pack on over 70 pounds of mass in his years of training and competing. he had every buffet within a 30-mile radius mapped out and knew who served what for what price on what  days. He had a plan to pack on mass and save money at the same time. Granted, eating out at restaurants is not usually the cheapest route to follow; but if you have ever seen a 250 pound lineman eat you will understand that this very well may be his best option.

He even had figured out the order of food to eat at every buffed he patronized. The line-up was based on the simple concept of getting the most for your money. He would eat the most expensive, calorie-packed foods first, and he would eat massive amounts of them at each sitting.

While this will admittedly pack on unwanted body fat at an alarming rate for some, it met his needs for packing on the most weight possible in the shortest time with the least cost. We really do not recommend this method because of the potential health risks to the cardiovascular system, BUT we must admit that it does help increase bodyweight. 

One of the most basic and easiest ways to pack on more calories is to eat a large meal and then after you feel full, drink some extra calories. Of course you should choose useful calories and not alcohol -- alcohol will do nothing to increase your lean body mass. Eating a good calorie-packed meal leaves you feeling as though you couldn't eat another bite. In many cases you probably couldn't. The one thing often overlooked is that you can always pour more liquid into the stomach and it will accommodate it quite well.  

Yes, you will be feeling full, but you will add extra calories to each meal this way. One method that was followed years ago by legendary powerlifting coach Roger Gedney was to simply mix all remaining food in a blender and then drink it down. This concoction was often less than appealing and is not favored by many who tried it. We usually just use milk or protein shakes instead. 


Creatine is one of the most thoroughly researched supplements on the market. It is still a legal aid and not classified as a drug or banned substance by any known organization. However, NCAA rules state that it cannot be provided to athletes by the respective university or college. Nonetheless, it is a training aid that allows you to perform more work in each training session with less rest required. Simply put, you can push yourself harder for longer periods before you fatigue. This capability, coupled with the fact that it has been shown to increase lean body mass over time, has made creatine supplementation one of the most popular weight gain strategies to date. 

The creatine loading program I recommend is outlined below: 

Loading Phase, lasting 7 days, .3 g/kg

Maintenance Phase, lasting 21-30 days, .03 g/kg of bodyweight.

With this method you may very well see large jumps in bodyweight in the very first week; some have seen 7-pound jumps in just 3-4 days. This will plateau and then likely drop somewhat, so don't be upset if you lose a little of the weight by weeks 3 or 4. The key is to remember that you are able to train more intensely for longer periods of time, and the increased hard work will in turn result in long-lasting lean body mass gains.

If you do not wish to go through this loading phase, you can also follow the commonly recommended method of simply taking 5 grams per day every day to 1 to 2 months. Regardless of method chosen, we always go off creatine altogether for several months just in case there are side effects that have not yet been discovered. As of now researchers have found none, but we just like to stay on the safe side. 

Liverwurst Sandwiches

Thank Steve Jeck for this one. After reviewing his stone lifting video, you will note that Mr. Jeck instructs you to stop the tape, make yourself a liverwurst sandwich, go get a quart of milk, and then come back to watch the rest of the video. It might be an acquired taste but it will add calories at a quick rate. 

If you look at the calories in liverwurst, you will be shocked to find out that each 1/4 cup size slice contains around 180 calories, of which 75-80% come from fat, and thus are not considered to be all that healthy. That being said, if your only objective is to pack on bodyweight, then this may be another shortcut you've been looking for. When training to lift the Inzer Stone, Tim Piper found liverwurst sandwiches to be a very effective way to add body mass. Fat is necessary for the production of hormones, so liverwurst could be the source of this macronutrient -- just avoid consuming additional high-fat foods in other forms. 

50 Pounds in Five Years 

Eric Cazalet and Kalib Keeran did not believe it possible for one of your authors (Tim Piper) to gain 50 pounds over a 5-year span -- likely due to the fact that they had watched numerous weight gain attempts go unrealized. Coming from a family with a reputation for being tall but not overly muscular, Tim had spent years of training trying to pack on muscle mass. After much trial and error and a lot of reading and research, a plan was put in place.

Always up for a challenge and defiant of those two doubters, Tim accepted the challenge, and a completion date was set. 

A summary of the program follows: 


1) General preparation training for two years to get ready for the more intense years of training to come. 

2) SUPER SQUATS 20-rep squat program, at least 4 cycles, each about 6 week long - 

Press Behind Neck, 3 x 12
Heavy Breathing Squat, 1 x 20
superset with light breathing pullover, 1 x 20
Bench Press, 3 x 12
Bentover Row, 3 x 15
Stiff Legged Deadlift, 1 x 15
Light Breathing Pullover, 1 x 20. 

3) Some squat action , e.g,. overhead, front, back, Zercher, one-legged . . . to pack on as much hip, thigh, and back muscle as possible, 1 year of 5 times a week. 

4) High volume of Olympic lifts. 

5) Highland Games training each Tuesday and Thursday for last 3 years for the spring-summer-fall seasons.

6) Routine competition in weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, and Highland games to help maintain intensity of workouts.

7) High utilization of "alternative training methods," e.g., heavy drags, vehicle pushes/pulls, sandbag training, used in last 3 years. 

8) Emphasis on stone lifting and training with various odd objects used in last 3 years.

Major Diet Changes

 - one gallon of milk each day for each of the 4 breathing squat cycles.

 - large quantities of milk consumed throughout the 5 years. 

 - creatine loading year for 1 week per year and maintenance dosage for 3 weeks prior; the rest of the year was without creatine.

 - 3 meals per day, double helpings at most meals.

  - liverwurst sandwiches protein shakes (often after full meals), and buffet dinners whenever possible.

 - ice cream every night just before bed (a guilty pleasure!)

With a 33-pound increase in lean body mass over the course of just under 5 years, the average rate of lean body mass gain was 6.6 pounds per year. This is actually faster than was expected for a trained, lifetime drug-free adult male. The training was intense, but the challenge was met. The only wager was a buffet dinner, which by the way, neither of the losing parties has yet to honor! 

These few ideas are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes drug-free weight gain methods.

Enjoy Your Lifting! 


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