I need help gaining weight and putting on muscle

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by breakitbuyit, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. breakitbuyit

    breakitbuyit Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2016
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm around 6'1, 140 lbs which is way too low compared where I think I should be. This is partly due to me running competitively(have won a few league and county championships) and overall not really doing anything related to building muscle.

    For reference, I can do about 30 push-ups max and maybe a couple of pull-ups. I'm only a junior so I have plenty of time in regards to training, but any beginner advice/routines would be appreciated(no gym access though.) Thanks!
     
  2. ElectedTuna

    ElectedTuna Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    5
    Although I'm not an expert, I've had a lot of experience weight training and doing calisthenics. The first thing to note is that gaining muscle is not necessarily synonymous with the amount of pull-ups and push-ups you do. This is a common belief but there are many skinny people who can do a lot of push-ups and other body weight exercises. This might be a long post but it will hopefully help you.

    I was in the same situation as you so let me share my advice. I started out about 5'10 and 120 lbs. I wanted to gain muscle but had no gym access as well so I bought a pull-up bar. I worked out about 3-4 days a week doing different push-up and pull-up routines. I eventually weighed in at 130 lbs but went from 30 max push-ups to 70 and 28 max pull-ups from 5 in the course of about 7 months. As you can see, I packed on a small amount of weight but was able to do a large amount of repetitions. This is because of the amount I ate and the exercises that I did (I'll come back to this). I then got into weight lifting (trying to gain muscle) and ignored calisthenics for the most part for several months. I then weighed in at 153 lbs. (hovering around 10% bf the whole time) and had a 23 max pull-ups and 50 max push-ups. I gained muscle but was able to do less repetitions. Why? It was all about my training and diet.

    I don't know how much you know but I'll try and be as elementary as possible. You don't gain muscle by simply working about, it's mostly DIET. If you eat more calories than you expend, you have a caloric surplus and gain weight. If you eat less, you have a caloric deficit and lose weight. Muscle is complicated, but the amount of it you have is not completely relevant to strength or endurance. I'll come back to diet but I need to discuss training routines first.

    Simply doing push-ups and pull-ups doesn't make you gain much muscle as you can see from my experience, it's a complicated system with many factors but muscle is gained by tension and diet. This is why body weight exercises don't allow you to gain muscle very fast, over time your body becomes accustomed to the weight and it only builds endurance. Weight lifting allows you to increase your tension in the muscle by adding weight to constantly challenge your status quo. Weight lifting can help increase your rep count if you do endurance exercises, but weight lifting for strength or hypertrophy (muscle enlargement training) will help you increase muscle more but not rep count.

    Before I get into your routine, I'll talk about diet. If you decide to weight lift and/or do calisthenics, you need to count your macros. Carbohydrates are your main energy source and are found in wheat products and grains. Protein plays a role in muscle growth. Vitamins help kick start your progress, my weight training teacher explained it in terms of cars. A sports car can't run well without premium gas, vitamins are basically the premium gas in your body if that makes sense and it allows you to perform at your full potential. Fats are important for health in general except avoid trans/saturated fats. Make sure you get enough of each to perform well. If you don't get enough carbs, your body will use protein as an energy source and your muscle growth stagnate.

    Here's what I recommend for your routine, I know you want to build muscle but you also need to increase your rep count for the CFA. Try weightlifting to gain important overall conditioning and also gain muscle. Do calisthenics in your routine to increase rep count and NEVER quit the basics, ignoring these will make your rep count worse. If you don't have gym access, try investing in a home pull-up bar and dumbbells. I would really try to get gym access though. If you do get into weightlifting, try to avoid one type of training. Training for strength can be useful but don't help you with the endurance needed for military training.

    Here's a sample routine of the program I do:
    1.
    Chin-ups (total reps) =
    Chin-up max + 50%
    2a. Front Lat Pulldowns (Wide, overhand):
    2 x Max Reps(20-25 Reps 1st Set, 10-20 2nd Set)
    2b. Standing DB Military Press:
    2 x Max Reps (15-20 Reps 1st Set, 10-15 2nd Set)
    3a.“Rolling” triceps extensions
    – 4x8
    3b. Hammer Curls
    (both arms same time)
    – 4x8
    4. Core Circuit: x2
    A) Toe Touches x20 B) Bicycle x 30 Total C) Side Plank x 30sec each side 5.100 push-ups as fast as possible:

    Anyways, this post is getting long so I'll just link a beginners guide. Also try checking out "barstarzz" or "calisthenics unity" on Youtube, I used their routines and saw lots if improvement in my rep count.

    http://liamrosen.com/fitness.html#part4

    Let me know if you have any questions, I can't answer it all in this post.
     
  3. breakitbuyit

    breakitbuyit Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2016
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, your post and the link you provided were both very helpful. A few questions -

    1) How often would you recommend doing pull-ups push-ups or weights? I'm running 6-7 days a week, but have no idea how often I should also be doing weightlifting or body weight exercises.

    2) To clarify, I don't need to be putting on a ton of muscle in order to increase reps, rather I just need to be doing calisthenics to build strength? (This concept is completely foreign to me, complete beginner.)

    Thanks.
     
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2016
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    38
    Start doing some swimming and work outs in the weight room a few times a week in place of some of the running. Remember you have to eat more calories than you are burning to gain weight as well.
     
  5. blueplate99

    blueplate99 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    11
    I would definitely recommend doing push ups/pull ups/sit ups daily. For me, it helped me go from 30 reps to 50 in about 3 weeks (I'm a girl so that was the max). Doing them daily also helps it become routine and sometimes if I skip a day or two I don't get as many reps as I did normally. Even just doing 50/50/max before bed will help so much
     
  6. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    57
    This is pretty much how I train for my PT tests. I do whatever my current max set in a row is for two sets then a max set (I can never do as many the third set) with about a minute rest in between for both push-ups and sit-ups each morning and night in the month leading up to my test and I have always done well.

    For example, say you can do 30 push-ups in a row and 40 sit-ups. You would do 30 push-ups + 40 sit-ups for the first set, the same for the second set, and then however many you can do till muscle failure the third set. As you get stronger you do more each time.
     
  7. ElectedTuna

    ElectedTuna Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    5
    1) It really depends on your body and the routine you do, I did them 4-5 times a week. Some people can do them every day. Just try a few days a week and keep increasing. As long as you're increasing your rep count then you're not over training. It also helps to sleep a lot and eat right to recover so you don't over train.

    2) Yes, you will initially gain muscle doing calisthenics if you're skinny but you probably won't look huge. If your goal is to increase your rep count, do calisthenics for endurance, repetition is key! I'm not an expert but I'm pretty sure you won't gain more 15 lbs the first year unless you train at your peak, especially since you're running so often. If you do end up weightlifting and eating a large amount of calories to gain muscle, it can actually hinder your rep count since you increase resistance but the amount of weight you'll gain will be minimal and won't make much of a difference.

    I hope this helps!
     
  8. ElectedTuna

    ElectedTuna Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    5
    I have to clarify one last thing. I meant I worked out 4-5 doing body weight exercises, you can usually do these often and won't overwork your body. If you decide to do weights, you have a few options. I'd recommend either a total body workout 3 times a week or doing a 2-way split of upper body one day and lower body the next twice (so you workout 4 times a week). Weights can be taxing on your body and I don't recommend working a body part more than 3 times a week. Find a workout program online if you can get gym access.
     
  9. breakitbuyit

    breakitbuyit Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2016
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Alright, thanks! You (and the others) have been super helpful!
     

Share This Page