How do I get bigger?!

AHJS

Professional
Over the past 3 months I've been working diligently in the gym trying to get stronger all over my body. I know I've gotten stronger and have seen big benefits on the court as a result of my gym training. However, I still weigh basically the same as when I started 3 months ago!!! I want to gain muscle mass and size but I don't know how. I have a great diet, get lots of sleep, etc. Any thoughts?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Start with a general bodybuilding book on how to increase mass.

I read that you can increase strength significantly by training the nerve control of your muscles. That is what usually happens first. It is probably what you experienced over the past 3 months.

If you do reps at too low a weight, say, you can do over 20 reps, that will not stimulate much muscle growth.

Learn this calculator that relates 'reps to failure' to the '1 rep max' or the most that you can lift for one repetition. This relationship works very well over a range of reps but not say for reps over about 20.
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other7.htm

8 to 12 Reps to Failure
If the weight demands on your muscles continue to increase, then your body will try to adapt by increasing muscle mass. Increasing muscle mass probably includes some exercises with reps to failure. One training method, for example, starts with weight that causes '8 reps to failure'. That is, you lift X pounds until you can do 8 but not 9 reps. Continue exercises until 9 reps to failure begins to occur then becomes easier. Continue to 10..to 11 reps... After 12 reps to failure becomes easier then increase weight so that you once again can only do 8 reps. Your muscle size will increase.

I asked one guy at the gym what he did for his large, well defined biceps. He was curling a 125 lb barbell and I don't remember the other details. Work up with dumbbells. I find hammer curls much more comfortable.

Good news for your future is, I'm not young but my muscle size increases when I do a few sets of heavy dumbbells to failure in a week. Not saying that is an effective amount of exercise for building muscles but it's a plus......
 
Last edited:

Surion

Hall of Fame
Train harder?

Sorry mate, but this topic is just sooo individual.
And three months are absolutely nothing.
Gaining some real muscles takes years.
 

scotus

G.O.A.T.
More calorie intake, less cardio workouts. That would make just about anyone bigger.

Come on, join the rest of America. Almost everyone's doing it.
 
I'll be honest: There was one winter when I gained around 20lbs of lean muscle. I had to eat ridiculously huge junks of food, throughout all the days, seven days a week. I actually "only" trained gym 2-3 times a week, but keeping the body on constant energy surplus was the only way to add muscle. Out of that one winter, I have been training gym many other years, but I haven't ever before or after focused on keeping energy surplus. No surprises, I haven't gained any significant amounts of muscle mass out of that winter.

I'll also be honest: I spent huge junks of time and money to cook and buy all that food, tons more time and money than I had used on being on gym. Eating A LOT (Repeat: A LOT!!) is the only way.
 

boramiNYC

Hall of Fame
Torpan's right. Gotta eat like you never have. And every single day squat ~85% 5x5 as the base. In three month you'll be so much more stronger. Other muscles you can work on in your leisure but keep the core strong and flexible. That means when you squat, go heavy and go deep.
 

shindemac

Hall of Fame
Eat. Sleep. Lift.

I assume you're doing 2 of those. You need calorie surplus plus protein. Muscle is made out of protein, and not cheetos or bread. People who lift, to give you an idea, they eat .5 lb of chicken breast (or whatever) per meal. The more you weigh, the more you need to eat. It gets ridiculous the amount some of these guys need to eat. Plus you need to eat 5 times per day.
 

AHJS

Professional
Basically the trend I'm seeing is that I need to eat more in combination with lots of lifting and sleeping. I now consume about 4000 calories a day with a healthy amount of macros and micros. I eat 4x a day. What should I change with this intake? Also, do you recommend protein powder? Some people swear by it, but others say that the protein is not in a form that your body recognizes and will be able to use.
 

scotus

G.O.A.T.
Nearing 16yrs old.
5'9-5'10
140-145lbs
No clue what my bf% is, but I'd venture to say relatively low.
Some teenagers have a real hard time packing on weight, because their metabolism is so darn fast.

Unless you intend to play football or something, I would just stick to the current diet and lift heavier, so you can be lean and muscular.

Packing on size comes much easier in later years when your metabolism slows. By that time, most people would have the opposite problem of having great difficulties losing weight.

If you really want to gain size, you can keep increasing your calorie intakes. If 4000 Calories don't get it done, go for 5000. If that doesn't work, 6000. It can be done, but there's got to be a purpose for it, though.
 

T1000

Legend
Your diet isn't great if you've lifted for 3 months with the goal of getting bigger and you haven't gained a single pound
 
Basically the trend I'm seeing is that I need to eat more in combination with lots of lifting and sleeping. I now consume about 4000 calories a day with a healthy amount of macros and micros. I eat 4x a day. What should I change with this intake? Also, do you recommend protein powder? Some people swear by it, but others say that the protein is not in a form that your body recognizes and will be able to use.
You absolutely HAVE TO eat something each 2.5-3h. About 3-4 big meals is okay, but you should eat around 15-20g protein and 250-400 calories in the middle, each 2.5h. That will keep your body in anabolic state, so that muscles can keep growing. Let's take an example, around what I used on that one winter:

7AM: 600kcal / 30g protein (breakfast)
9.30AM: 250kcal / 15g protein
12AM: 800kcal / 30g protein (lunch)
2.30PM: 300kcal / 15g protein
5PM: 500kcal / 20g protein (home before gym)
7.30PM: 300kcal / 25g protein (shake on gym)
8.30PM: 1200kcal / 50g protein (after-gym meal)
10.30PM: 200kcal / 15g protein (nuts before sleep)

Totals: 4150 kcal / 200g protein

Eat throughout day, keep body in anabolic state. The only way!
 
...
I thought you said you were going to be honest.
My "winter" meant the gym training period, around late August to early May. I gained body weight from 67kg to 76kg, jeans were of same size at waist, but legs had gained much size and it was hard to find jeans with enough room in butt/thighs. I think the thigh size was around 61-62cm IIRC.
 

shindemac

Hall of Fame
I'd add number 4, but it's not necessary. Be a sloth. You can't play tennis for 2-3 hours a day too. Using online calc, that's another 600 calories/hr so 1200 to 1800 more. That 3-4K calorie is for doing nothing. For active person, you eat 5 to 6K then.

That's what your body is trying to tell you.
 

AHJS

Professional
Your diet isn't great if you've lifted for 3 months with the goal of getting bigger and you haven't gained a single pound
I have to respectfully disagree. I've gained a small amount (like 2-3lbs). My diet is quite good- I have a lot of lean protein and eat quite a bit and eat often.
Breakfast- Eggs, fruit
Snack- Protein bar, fruit
Lunch- Lean protein with a few carbs
Snack- Something light but healthy
Dinner- Protein and carbs
Also, do you advocate the use of protein power?
 

AHJS

Professional
I'd add number 4, but it's not necessary. Be a sloth. You can't play tennis for 2-3 hours a day too. Using online calc, that's another 600 calories/hr so 1200 to 1800 more. That 3-4K calorie is for doing nothing. For active person, you eat 5 to 6K then.

That's what your body is trying to tell you.
I guess I'll have to ramp up the calorie intake then!
 

onehandbh

Legend
Proof is in the pudding.

From 1965 to now, the average U.S. male gained about 1 inch in height and almost 30 lbs.

I'm a little taller than the avg U.S. male but I weigh as much as the avg U.S. female (165 lbs)
 

shindemac

Hall of Fame
I have to respectfully disagree. I've gained a small amount (like 2-3lbs). My diet is quite good- I have a lot of lean protein and eat quite a bit and eat often.
Breakfast- Eggs, fruit
Snack- Protein bar, fruit
Lunch- Lean protein with a few carbs
Snack- Something light but healthy
Dinner- Protein and carbs
Also, do you advocate the use of protein power?
This is exactly as i thought. You have gained a few pounds and you tend to eat very clean.

Every serious lifter eats a 'second dinner'. Plus, all your meals should be as big as dinner.

I'll tell you a secret to gaining weight. Buy a bag a chips!
 

AHJS

Professional
This is exactly as i thought. You have gained a few pounds and you tend to eat very clean.

Every serious lifter eats a 'second dinner'. Plus, all your meals should be as big as dinner.

I'll tell you a secret to gaining weight. Buy a bag a chips!
Yup, I eat a fair amount, but very clean food. Gotta start adding more to each meal I guess
 

Micalzon

Rookie
Raw macadamian nuts...You can fit 2,000 calories of those in your pocket. Snack on them throughout the day - especially on your high activity days.
 
E

eaglesburg

Guest
Raw macadamian nuts...You can fit 2,000 calories of those in your pocket. Snack on them throughout the day - especially on your high activity days.
Yeah, I love all types of nuts. Nutritious and a goo amount of calories.
 

richardc-s

Semi-Pro
Like everyone else has said, eat more!

As most of your diet is 'clean' and healthy, there's no harm in getting some calories in from food which is considered 'bad'. Ice cream, cookies, chips... As long as they're not the core to your diet there is no harm in topping up your calories with them.

Let's face it, it's a lot easier to eat 1000 calories of ice cream than it is something healthy!

I'm currently bulking up and eat around 4000 calories a day. I have a second dinner of peanut butter jelly sandwiches... That's a nice easy way of getting an extra 700 calories! Also if you can get a protein shake then that can help... They often contain a lot of calories.

There's a whole science behind bulking up, but you can't go too far wrong if you eat lots of calories, eat lots of protein, lift heavy things and sleep lots.
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
Some teenagers have a real hard time packing on weight, because their metabolism is so darn fast.

Unless you intend to play football or something, I would just stick to the current diet and lift heavier, so you can be lean and muscular.

Packing on size comes much easier in later years when your metabolism slows. By that time, most people would have the opposite problem of having great difficulties losing weight.
This. Your stats sound about right for a tennis player of your age.

I ran track in high school and in college. Super-high metabolism. Junior/senior year in high school I tried to put on some size at the advice of my coaches. Was on a lifting program, weight gain/protein supplement, high calorie diet, etc. All under guidance from coach. Only gained about 5 lbs and graduated high school at 5'10", 145 lbs. A year later in college, under pretty much the same program, I had filled out and grown another 1.5" and gained 20 lbs. I'm now in my 40's and am still a hair shy of 6' and 165-170 lbs. Sometimes no matter what you do, you may see little change until nature kicks in.
 

Alexrb

Semi-Pro
I have to respectfully disagree. I've gained a small amount (like 2-3lbs). My diet is quite good- I have a lot of lean protein and eat quite a bit and eat often.
Breakfast- Eggs, fruit
Snack- Protein bar, fruit
Lunch- Lean protein with a few carbs
Snack- Something light but healthy
Dinner- Protein and carbs
Also, do you advocate the use of protein power?
I wouldn't. I don't believe we were made to ingest all that crap. Stick with what the other person said about nuts. I was going to recommend peanut and almond butter (just make sure the ingredients say nuts only). Plenty of protein and calorically dense.
 

Turbo-87

Legend
I have to laugh at the people I call "gym pharmacists." Always in the locker room with their little shaker bottles mixing concoctions of this and that padding the wallets of the gym and suppliers.
That money can be better spent simply eating quality foods in the right amounts in my opinion.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Sure you need to eat the right foods but little things can help :

There are two supplements I really like to drink in water when I exercise- BCAA powder and Complex Carb Powder - http://www.amazon.com/NOW-Foods-Carbo-Gain-Pounds/dp/B0013OUNRM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1449266181&sr=8-2&keywords=carb+powder

If you throw this stuff in a large bottle of water and are doing high intensity weight workouts, you will have nice sustained energy. I also drink this mix when I play tennis.

I don't take pre workout or anything like that. I used to and it's just not needed. Especially if you are doing crossfit or something of that nature because it cranks the heart rate up way too much and works against you. I'd avoid that stuff.
 
I have to laugh at the people I call "gym pharmacists." Always in the locker room with their little shaker bottles mixing concoctions of this and that padding the wallets of the gym and suppliers.
That money can be better spent simply eating quality foods in the right amounts in my opinion.
How wrong can one be LOL. It just plain happens that protein powder is THE CHEAPEST way to get protein. Also, it just plain happens that I cannot get refigerator with me to gym. And all scientific facts and my own experiences point out to the importance of getting some energy, carbs and protein within 1h from exercise. As I don't need refigerator to get that early post-exercise energy from powders, and as it's dirty cheap, those are THE LONE REASONS I use protein and maltodextrin powders post gym exercise.

Tell me a cheaper and as easy way to get some energy and at least 20g of protein within 30mins from exercise. I'm more than happy to get an alternative to powders!
 

shindemac

Hall of Fame
How wrong can one be LOL. It just plain happens that protein powder is THE CHEAPEST way to get protein. Also, it just plain happens that I cannot get refigerator with me to gym. And all scientific facts and my own experiences point out to the importance of getting some energy, carbs and protein within 1h from exercise. As I don't need refigerator to get that early post-exercise energy from powders, and as it's dirty cheap, those are THE LONE REASONS I use protein and maltodextrin powders post gym exercise.

Tell me a cheaper and as easy way to get some energy and at least 20g of protein within 30mins from exercise. I'm more than happy to get an alternative to powders!
That's one of the quandaries for lifters - how to find a cheap good source of protein. There isn't one right answer because it's gonna depend on where you live, cost of living, where you shop, if you order food online, etc. For me, personally, one of the cheapest source of protein is buying a 10lb pork roast with bone in. On sale, it's 99c/lb so that's a pretty good bargain. After roasting, I can easily throw some shredded pork in between two slices of bread, and make a quick sandwich. Or I can make more complex things like tacos, burritos, or any type of dinner recipe I would normally use chicken.

I only spend 15 min to prep the pork roast (add spices mainly - salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, etc.), and maybe 20-30 min to shred the pork once it's done. It'll last me a really long time, and I find it's easier than cooking chicken. I think the work is pretty minimal, and I get to eat real food (juicy shredded pork sandwiches, etc.) plus it's cheaper than protein powder. The only thing comparable is roasting an entire bird, but if you can get the pork shoulder on sale, it wins hands down on almost all areas. Plus with the leftover big bone, pork fat, and pork skin, I'll just add some water and let it simmer for a day and everything will render into a delicious and rich bone broth.

Other than that, I'd say eggs used to be one of the cheapest sources of protein, so this was the bread-and-butter for many lifters on forums for years. Easiest is making 3 x-large eggs sunny side up or over easy which gives about 19g of protein.
 

richardc-s

Semi-Pro
You are not going to get big at 16 playing 15 hours and more of tennis. Fact.
Unless you eat 20,000 calories a day!

All joking aside though, playing as much tennis as you do it is going to be very hard to bulk up. You're simply burning so many calories!
 

shindemac

Hall of Fame
Sure you need to eat the right foods but little things can help :

There are two supplements I really like to drink in water when I exercise- BCAA powder and Complex Carb Powder - http://www.amazon.com/NOW-Foods-Carbo-Gain-Pounds/dp/B0013OUNRM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1449266181&sr=8-2&keywords=carb+powder

If you throw this stuff in a large bottle of water and are doing high intensity weight workouts, you will have nice sustained energy. I also drink this mix when I play tennis.

I don't take pre workout or anything like that. I used to and it's just not needed. Especially if you are doing crossfit or something of that nature because it cranks the heart rate up way too much and works against you. I'd avoid that stuff.
I've used protein powder and don't have a problem with it. Depending on which one you buy and other factors, it's comparable in price to other protein sources. Most food seems to be priced around the same anyways based on the cost of the raw ingredients, so it doesn't matter if you eat tofu, eggs, or protein powder. Meat has traditionally been the most expensive to manufacture, so there hasn't been a cheaper way to make meat yet.
 

sammyp99

Rookie
Id say worry less about how much you weigh and focus solely on adding more weight to your exercises. Do deadlifts, squats, bench press, and weighted pull ups. You CAN'T be small and deadlift 400 lbs, bench 275, pull up +90.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
Over the past 3 months I've been working diligently in the gym trying to get stronger all over my body. I know I've gotten stronger and have seen big benefits on the court as a result of my gym training. However, I still weigh basically the same as when I started 3 months ago!!! I want to gain muscle mass and size but I don't know how. I have a great diet, get lots of sleep, etc. Any thoughts?
iF i REMEMBER, CORRECTLY,
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
iF i REMEMBER, you are still a junior and should NOT lifting heavy weights at all. This can damage your growth plates and cost you inches of height.
You should avoid heavy weights.
You should only lift light weights for high reps!!! Something like 15 to 20 reps per set.
I would wait until your age 18-19 or so before lifting heavy weights. Also make sure you get a trainer because bad technique can cost major problems.
I have spoken !!!!
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
I am sure if you stayed home all day and ate several hamburgers along with 4 or 5 milkshakes plus a few pizzas and a 6 pack you would be super big, very soon.
Granted you may have a massive heart attack in 15 years.
 

dlk

Hall of Fame
Over the past 3 months I've been working diligently in the gym trying to get stronger all over my body. I know I've gotten stronger and have seen big benefits on the court as a result of my gym training. However, I still weigh basically the same as when I started 3 months ago!!! I want to gain muscle mass and size but I don't know how. I have a great diet, get lots of sleep, etc. Any thoughts?
Wait til you turn 40:(
 

T1000

Legend
iF i REMEMBER, you are still a junior and should NOT lifting heavy weights at all. This can damage your growth plates and cost you inches of height.
You should avoid heavy weights.
You should only lift light weights for high reps!!! Something like 15 to 20 reps per set.
I would wait until your age 18-19 or so before lifting heavy weights. Also make sure you get a trainer because bad technique can cost major problems.
I have spoken !!!!
Lifting doesn't stunt growth.

I have to respectfully disagree. I've gained a small amount (like 2-3lbs). My diet is quite good- I have a lot of lean protein and eat quite a bit and eat often.
Breakfast- Eggs, fruit
Snack- Protein bar, fruit
Lunch- Lean protein with a few carbs
Snack- Something light but healthy
Dinner- Protein and carbs
Also, do you advocate the use of protein power?
Goal is to get bigger
Getting bigger = eating more cals then you burn
You're not getting bigger
And you come to the conclusion that your diet doesn't suck

Wat

How wrong can one be LOL. It just plain happens that protein powder is THE CHEAPEST way to get protein. Also, it just plain happens that I cannot get refigerator with me to gym. And all scientific facts and my own experiences point out to the importance of getting some energy, carbs and protein within 1h from exercise. As I don't need refigerator to get that early post-exercise energy from powders, and as it's dirty cheap, those are THE LONE REASONS I use protein and maltodextrin powders post gym exercise.

Tell me a cheaper and as easy way to get some energy and at least 20g of protein within 30mins from exercise. I'm more than happy to get an alternative to powders!
You don't need to eat within 30 minutes from exercise. Anabolic window doesn't exist

Id say worry less about how much you weigh and focus solely on adding more weight to your exercises. Do deadlifts, squats, bench press, and weighted pull ups. You CAN'T be small and deadlift 400 lbs, bench 275, pull up +90.
There are plenty of small guys that deadlift well over 400 and bench over 275.
 

Ihatetennis

Hall of Fame
@AHJS

I have found a good addition to getting calories is blend milk with a frozen banana 3 tablespoons of oilive oil(100ml has 800 cal) and a half cup of peanut butter

adjust to taste, but peanut butter and olive oil will give you a ton of calories and a ton of protein

drink this right before bed and right after breakfast

stay away from too much milk throughout the day


I have started my workout program in late september and i have gained 5 pounds in muscle and i have also put on 15 pounds total.

when bulking you will gain fat but only when you gain fat can you turn it into muscle, there is no muscle build without fat

embrace heavy fatty healthy foods

oilive oil peanutbutter and banana shakes will help more than you can imagine
 
Top