Adding on to Simplefit and eating right?
March 14, 2012 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Adding dumbbells and ab work to Simplefit for muscle gains? Basic diet guidelines to see some gains?

I'm super skinny after losing a fair amount of weight (that I didn't really have to lose) from running and the South American Parasite diet. (I drank the water.) I'm still in the healthy range, but I'd like to gain a little weight and gain it as muscle. I'd like to be more fit overall all and look a little less "scrawny."

I have a pull-up bar, some cheapie dumbbell handles and weights, and some time. I was thinking I could add a few dumbbell exercises to the Simplefit workout along with 30 minutes of ab work to make for a nice exhausting before bed workout. Should I do this? What should I add?

As for diet: I run 9-12 miles a week and generally keep active. In order to see any gains I need a lot of calories. I'm still not sure what those calories should consist of though. I've been eating pretty much all the veggies, fruit, chicken, milk, soymilk, cottage cheese, oatmeal, brown rice, sardines, tuna, and protein powder that I can consume when I have time. Often this works out to be two or three protein shakes a day. A protein shake consisting of a serving of veggies (cup or two of spinach, kale, or carrots), a scoop of protein powder (stevia sweetened whey powder), a serving of fruit (an apple or banana), a serving of oatmeal (1/3 cup old fashioned oats), and a cup of milk (cow of soy). If I'm really hurting for calories I've been chucking a can of white kidney beans in there. Meals are usually something like a bigass spinach salad with a can of tuna and an apple washed down with a glass of milk and slice of whole wheat toast. Is this a good direction to take my diet?

tl;dr: Can I/Should I add dumbbells to Simplefit to see some upper and lower body muscle gains? If so, what?
I know I need to take in a lot of calories to see gains, but what kind?
posted by piedmont to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Get thee over to the folks on Reddit; specifically their "Fitness" sub-reddit.
They are a wealth of information on calories, diet, etc.. Here's the link:

Read the FAQ on the right hand side; look at the entries, the questions being asked, use the search function and restrict your search to r/fitness.

tl;dr - Yes. SimpleFit is a great little program. I'd also recommend Max Capacity Training:
posted by THAT William Mize at 12:19 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Almost forgot: Simplefit.
Also, if there's a better bodyweight/dumbell workout schedule you can provide, please do! I'm willing to devote about an hour a day to this, in addition to my running time.
Not looking to get all beefcake, but I'm ready to stop pretending I don't care what I look like naked.
posted by piedmont at 12:20 PM on March 14, 2012

1) "In order to see any gains I need a lot of calories."
2) "Meals are usually something like a bigass spinach salad with a can of tuna and an apple washed down with a glass of milk and slice of whole wheat toast."

1 ≠ 2

Spinach (like other non-starchy vegetables) has virtually no calories. Can of tuna in water, about 200 (more if it's in oil). The apple, bread, and milk are about 100 calories each. That meal could be as little as 500 calories; it needs to be at least double that.

If you are having trouble eating enough, you can't simply ADD food, you will have to swap out non-calorie dense foods for calorie dense foods. (Essentially, you want to do the OPPOSITE of the Volumetrics diet.) I don't see much processed carbs or fat in your diet; cut the kale and add some donuts and you'll start to gain.

Obviously you don't want to just eat junk, but once you have a decent amount of protein and some fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you don't have to worry about the nutritional quality of the extra calories. For example, swap out a bit of the veggies for ice cream in your protein shakes. More here.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:37 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've been calculating my caloric intake at over 3,000 a day, give or take around 500. If I'm hurting, I've been making it up with 1,000 calorie bean shakes. Surprisingly tasty, if a bit beany. I'm kind of curious about how many of these I can get away with adding.
posted by piedmont at 12:48 PM on March 14, 2012

3000 to specifically gain weight ain't much. (I was sitting at about 3500-4000 daily and dropping 2 lb/wk when I really got crazy doing a short tri every day of the week for a while).

Try some nutrition bars (such as Clif); they've got protein and relatively quality calories. If you're not allergic, peanuts. Mountain climbers swear on peanut-butter-and-salami rollups.
posted by notsnot at 1:44 PM on March 14, 2012

Start adding in avacado and nuts in large amounts, they have a lot of calories and are healthy. It's easy to add 300 calories just by snacking on some nuts in between meals.

The best way to gain muscle is to do what bodybuilders do: Lift heavy weights. If you focused on doing weight lifting twice a week for each area of your body (you need time to recover if you want your muscles to grow), and made sure you were lifting heavy enough so that you could only do about 3 sets of 10 reps, that should help you to put on some muscle before too long. Lifting lighter weights will help to condition your muscles and will give you some growth, but it will take longer and won't be quite as visible.

One tip I was told by a friend who is a physical trainer and body builder: If you want to actually look better, focus on your shoulder muscles, followed by your back. A lot of people work their arms and chest, which look great when you flex, but your shoulders define your outline when just standing around, and your back gives you your posture (as well as some outline once you develop the muscles on the outside of your back). If you can get your shoulders bigger, you will automatically start to look more muscular, even with very little gains to the rest of your body (although I am not suggesting that you ignore everything else).
posted by markblasco at 2:02 PM on March 14, 2012

If there's a gym nearby you can afford that has barbells, squat racks and weight platforms, you might want to check out "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore. You'll gain muscle faster and more effectively with squats, deadlifts, bench press, press and power cleans than you will with dumb bells and body weight exercises. Don't be afraid -- the book explains how to do them properly in painstaking detail. It really isn't scary, I've been doing it for several months.

Even if you don't think "Starting Strength" is for you, as for diet -- eat a lot. One common thing that skinny guys who want to get big do is they will drink an entirely gallon of whole milk EVERY DAY. It's called 'GOMAD.' As long as you don't mind putting on a little fat as well (which you can easily lose later), it's EXTREMELY effective at putting on weight. Some people put on 20-30 or more lbs in a month doing GOMAD. And don't worry -- saturated fat is not the evil that the health community makes it out to be.
posted by imagineerit at 4:27 PM on March 14, 2012

Read Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook - good source of info about sports nutrition in general and it has exactly what you're after - there is a chapter on gaining weight healthily and building muscle.
posted by coffee_monster at 1:31 AM on March 15, 2012

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