Hardgainer's Clean Bulking Log

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    Hardgainer's Clean Bulking Log


    Starting this log to track my progress and maintain motivation. It'll probably do a better job of keeping me accountable if I deviate from my goal.

    Here are my stats:

    Age 35
    Height 5'7"
    Weight 155
    Current Goal is a clean bulk to add 10 lbs.

    Been working out off and on most of my life. Don't have a mentor/coach for guidance, but have learned tons since I found this site not too long ago. A few weeks back, I began tracking my macros and realized that my diet has been holding me back all this time. I calculated my caloric maint level, but something doesn't seem right. Although the mirror tells me I am fuller, the scale shows that I am still not gaining weight. I've slowly added the calories to where I am close to 4,000 cals a day.

    Cal Maint Level = about 2,400 according to the Harris Benedict Formula

    Current Macros (avg for the most recent week)
    Calories = 4,000
    Carbs = 380g (40%)
    Protein = 270g (30%)
    Fats = 120g (30%)

    All calories come from natural foods (lean meats/complex carbs/good fats). Only add a whey protein powder for Pre/Post workout. Will most likely begin adding basic supps in the future. And I kill the weights. Only other thing I can improve is my sleep. But with work and 2 kids, that's hit or miss. Since increasing the calories, I have felt more muscle fullness so I'm on the right track, just afraid to gain too much weight too fast if it hits me all at once.

    So my question is: at 4,000 calories does it make sense to continue adding, or is there a delay where the body says WTF! and then starts growing?

    I'll be updating weekly. Any tips/critiques are welcome. Thanks

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    So one day after I start my log some douchebag rear ends me on my way to work. Miss two meals and about a 1/4 gallon of water. I'll have to play catch up the rest of the day.
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    Subbed for the avi pic.

    Don't worry about missing meal. If you start worrying about that you'll end up driving yourself crazy. Just worry about what it's at by the end of the day
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    Re: Hardgainer's Clean Bulking Log


    Quote Originally Posted by peter01 View Post
    So one day after I start my log some douchebag rear ends me on my way to work. Miss two meals and about a 1/4 gallon of water. I'll have to play catch up the rest of the day.

    Meal timing doesn't mean anything, don't stress out. I regularly go a full day with no food and maintain >200lb
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    Thanks guys. I caught up and reached my macro targets even after missing a meal and snack earlier in the day. Fortunately, yesterday was a rest day. It would have been to hectic trying to squeeze in the workout and the meals.

    On a side note...I'm going to bed later than usual because of the time I take prepping meals for the next day. I'm only getting about 6 hrs of sleep in. How do you guys cut down the meal prep time?
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    Cook one huge meal for the whole day. It's really not that hard to hit your cals. Don't worry so much about macro ratios when bulking either or eating 6-8 times a day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean1332 View Post
    Subbed for the avi pic.

    Don't worry about missing meal. If you start worrying about that you'll end up driving yourself crazy. Just worry about what it's at by the end of the day
    Yeah, I here ya about the going crazy. I gotta relax a bit. It's only been a few weeks and I find myself stressing out over my cals. I'm making my targets, but it's a bitch getting the 4,000 cals in on the no-red meat days.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean1332 View Post
    Cook one huge meal for the whole day. It's really not that hard to hit your cals. Don't worry so much about macro ratios when bulking either or eating 6-8 times a day.
    Sounds good. I don't have a problem eating the same thing for a couple days. I'll try that tonight.
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    I dont eat quite that much, but I will be in 6 weeks time. Except I eat alot more carbs and alot less fats than u do. I roughly stay around 12% dietary fats and about 5-10% MCT oil, which stimulates fat burn, GH and releases a good deal of heat in the body. Maybe u could drop 40 - 50g fat and replace with equivalent amount in carbs...I bet you'd grow then! You need a steady low level flow of insulin for optimal anabolic activity. Plus, carbs are 10 times less likely to be stored in fat cells as actual dietary fat (that shouldnt surprise you). Stick with healthy carbs though. Avoid the simple sugars and you'll be well on ur way. Also, consider BCAA's...about 20g per day.
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    Fueled - I'm not too concerned about the fat intake right now. I'm trying to get my calories where I can get them. I'm scheduled to step on the scale again on Sunday and if no weight has been gained, I'll up the calories by 250. The increase will come from carbs since I do agree that I'm getting enough protein and fat. If I have gained, then I'll shift around my macros a bit.

    I have not considered the BCAA's. Last time I looked at them was many, many years ago when most of the supps were money down the drain. I remember that was back when Vanadyl Sulfate was a "must have". I'll read up and see what brands are recommended.

    On a positive note, I am appearing fuller. So that's a plus! Looking forward to Sunday.

    Thanks for your advice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter01 View Post
    Fueled - I'm not too concerned about the fat intake right now. I'm trying to get my calories where I can get them. I'm scheduled to step on the scale again on Sunday and if no weight has been gained, I'll up the calories by 250. The increase will come from carbs since I do agree that I'm getting enough protein and fat. If I have gained, then I'll shift around my macros a bit.

    I have not considered the BCAA's. Last time I looked at them was many, many years ago when most of the supps were money down the drain. I remember that was back when Vanadyl Sulfate was a "must have". I'll read up and see what brands are recommended.

    On a positive note, I am appearing fuller. So that's a plus! Looking forward to Sunday.

    Thanks for your advice.

    The suggestion for more carbs less fats was based around speeding up the metabolism. Your body seems similar to mine ~ very fast metabolism. For me, the more carbs I eat, the more carbs I burn and the more hungry I get. Cardio also helps my appetite, moreso than weight-lifting.

    As for BCAA's, they are essential amino acids, and they help spare muscle tissue during training and aid in muscle growth during the recovery phase. They need to be taken preferrably at every meal and before/after training for best results.
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    Weekly Update:

    Weight - 157
    Gain - 2lbs

    Summary - Increased cals to 4,000 each day with the exception of Saturday and Sunday. I may have come close on Saturday, but was unable to track my diet. Sunday was a disaster. But I fully expected it as it was my daughter's b-day party.

    Observations - I know it's only 2 lbs, but I did not seem to gain the weight proportionately over the week even though my diet has been consistent. It almost seemed like the weight was gained over the weekend, which is when my meals went to crap. Strength has increased a bit. Upper body seems fuller. Lower body not so much.

    Plan is to maintain caloric level at 4,000. Will leave macros as is for now.

    To do List:
    1) Buy a body fat caliper
    2) Look for ways to increase sleep (following Sean's advice to cook in bulk)
    3) Look into basic supps. Will look into BCAA and Creatine.
    4) Improve lower body routine. I neglected legs for a very long time and would like to bring them up.
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    Weekly Update:

    Weight - 160
    Gain - 3lbs

    Summary - Cals remained at 4,000 each day with the exception of the weekend (again). I may have come close on Saturday, but was unable to track my diet. I know I missed my cals on Sunday, but at least I still ate quality foods.

    Observations - Same observation as last week. I did not seem to gain the weight proportionately over the week even though my diet has been consistent. It almost seemed like the weight was gained over the weekend. Not sure what's going on there.

    Plan is to maintain caloric level at 4,000. Will leave macros as is for now.

    I see my avi was taken down. No more natural T-boost I guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter01 View Post
    Weekly Update:

    Weight - 160
    Gain - 3lbs

    Summary - Cals remained at 4,000 each day with the exception of the weekend (again). I may have come close on Saturday, but was unable to track my diet. I know I missed my cals on Sunday, but at least I still ate quality foods.

    Observations - Same observation as last week. I did not seem to gain the weight proportionately over the week even though my diet has been consistent. It almost seemed like the weight was gained over the weekend. Not sure what's going on there.

    Plan is to maintain caloric level at 4,000. Will leave macros as is for now.

    I see my avi was taken down. No more natural T-boost I guess.

    Good progress nonetheless! A few questions so I can be informed during your weight gain cycle.

    1) what type of training are you doing on the weekends?

    2) How much cardio and what type are you performing (if any) throughout the week?
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    I'm happy with the progress. But I am starting to think that my weight is still highly dependent upon what I ate the day before. Unfortunatley, I feel that I am always carrying around a small grocery cart inside my belly at all times. So can't accurately get a weigh in...

    I don't do any cardio. Since I'm an ecto, I can't really say I ever have. Maybe once in a while when I have a bad conscience about heart health. I've started learning about HIIT and will likely incorporate it to some degree at a later date.

    Training consists of 1 day on/1 day off (includes weekends as well). Workouts are in the evenings after work and last between 45 - 60 minutes. All compound movements. I've laid out my routine below (off teh top of my head). Feel free to critique.

    Day 1: Chest/Back (all exercises are 4 sets between 6-10 reps each)
    Bench Press
    Bent over Barbell Rows
    Incline bench Press (about 30 degree incline)
    Barbell Shrugs
    Weighted Pushups on Rings (elevated) - 3 sets only
    Inverted Rows (elevated) - 3 sets only
    Ab Crunches (if time permits)

    Day 2: off

    Day 3: Legs (all exercises are 4 sets between 6-10 reps each except calf raises which are 8-15)
    Squat (past parrallel but not exactly ATG - I use a milk crate as a guide)
    Calf Raise
    Deadlift
    Variation of the sissy squat
    Goblet Squats (added recently)

    Day 4: off

    Day 5: Shoulders/Arms (all exercises are 4 sets between 6-10 reps each)
    Barbell Shoulder Press (alternate between Behind the Neck or Military)
    Weighted Chins (close grip)
    Weighted Dips
    Barbell Curl
    Close Grip Bench Press
    Ab Crunches

    Day 6: off

    Day 7: Legs (all exercises are 4 sets between 6-10 reps each except calf raises which are 8-15)
    Wide Stance Squat (past parrallel but not exactly ATG - I use a milk crate as a guide)
    Calf Raises
    Romanian Deadlift
    Lunge
    Lying Leg Curls (hams)

    Day 8: off

    Day 9: repeat Day 1 and so on

    Thanks again. Your insight is appreciated.
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    I might be all alone on this one but I do believe brief spurts of high-intensity cardio a few times a week help with recovery, especially with leg routines. I'm also a firm believer of stretch in between sets, as it really does get the blood flowing and increases my pumps while training and in the case for my legs it literally reduces all DOMS to almost nothing.

    Keep doing what you are doing and it'll come around. Stopped gaining weight? Add 200 calories/day for another week and see if lbs increase. Usually, you'll have to keep doing this to manufacture new muscle. Remember, it takes alot more calories to manufacture a lb of muscle than to maintain a lb ofmuscle.
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    Update - not a full week, but wanted to record my weight before the weekend. I am still at 160. So we'll see what happens by Sunday. I'll try to keep diet consistent throughout.

    Was able to avoid a missed workout on Wednesday. It was a leg day and did not want to skip it since my legs are lagging my upper body. I was able to get it done and earned the bonus of having a protein and carb soaked restaurant meal afterwards (reason I would have missed the workout). Wife was pissed because we were late meeting her family. But it was worth it haha.

    For some reason I was feeling out of it yesterday. Only got in about 3,000 calories. I'll consider it an "off" day. Although eating has gotten easier, it still takes a lot of time away from everything else. Especially when it feels like you are eating all....day....long.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    I might be all alone on this one but I do believe brief spurts of high-intensity cardio a few times a week help with recovery, especially with leg routines. I'm also a firm believer of stretch in between sets, as it really does get the blood flowing and increases my pumps while training and in the case for my legs it literally reduces all DOMS to almost nothing.

    Keep doing what you are doing and it'll come around. Stopped gaining weight? Add 200 calories/day for another week and see if lbs increase. Usually, you'll have to keep doing this to manufacture new muscle. Remember, it takes alot more calories to manufacture a lb of muscle than to maintain a lb ofmuscle.
    Yeah I need to start adding HIIT to my routine. I'm getting a bit of belly fat and while I fully expected it, did not expect it to come so soon. As I said earlier, I've never dieted so I would have to learn as I go. Adding HIIT, as I've read, would keep things at bay a bit.

    You were reading my mind regarding the stretching. I've noticed that I've been a lot tighter since I started lifting harder. Particularly with legs. I felt real tight doing squats on wednesday. Lower back was pumped (and not in a good way). I went lower than usual, so I'm thinking I was using my back more because my legs were not stretched properly. I had to wait a few minutes after squatting to resume the workout.
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter01 View Post
    Yeah I need to start adding HIIT to my routine. I'm getting a bit of belly fat and while I fully expected it, did not expect it to come so soon. As I said earlier, I've never dieted so I would have to learn as I go. Adding HIIT, as I've read, would keep things at bay a bit.

    You were reading my mind regarding the stretching. I've noticed that I've been a lot tighter since I started lifting harder. Particularly with legs. I felt real tight doing squats on wednesday. Lower back was pumped (and not in a good way). I went lower than usual, so I'm thinking I was using my back more because my legs were not stretched properly. I had to wait a few minutes after squatting to resume the workout.
    I have the exact same problem with barbell squats. So, I make an effort to wear the belt tight, roll the bar further down my back and do my best to focus entirely on flexing my abs through the whole movement. It's pathetic. My legs are good for 375lbs deep but my lower back is only good for about 325lbs deep (1RM) with the current form I use.

    However, as of last week I have focused on quad development so I am moving towards front squats and narrow stance leg presses/hack squats. I need bigger quads as my hams and glutes are far more developed due to tons of deep back squats over the past 6 months.

    And btw, I would eat like you normally do and add a cheat meal out at a restaurant or something for the next few days to add additional calories with ease. This will recharge your metabolism and get you eating more again. I feel ya on the eating problem though. It almost feels like you have an eating disorder. I'm right about the same exact weight, and in order to pack on weight I have to eat 3200-3400 calories per day. And thats only good til about 165lbs or so then I have to charge up again close to 4000 calories. To be 180lbs at my weight means 4800-5000 calories per day..geeze.
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    Didn't have time to update today. Weighed in this morning at 161 lbs. One lb gain this week. Very happy as my original goal was 1 lb per week to mitigate fat gain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    I feel ya on the eating problem though. It almost feels like you have an eating disorder. I'm right about the same exact weight, and in order to pack on weight I have to eat 3200-3400 calories per day. And thats only good til about 165lbs or so then I have to charge up again close to 4000 calories. To be 180lbs at my weight means 4800-5000 calories per day..geeze.
    Eating disorder! lol

    Yeah people at work think I have an obsession with food. I probably do by now. I have a couple of 15 minute breaks aside from my lunch. I gorge a full meal in each of those 15 minutes. The other day a lady was watching me eat. She had this look on her face like she had never seen anything like it. Pure shock. I would have slowed down but I only had a few more minutes to finish it off.

    5000 cals huh? damn
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter01 View Post
    Didn't have time to update today. Weighed in this morning at 161 lbs. One lb gain this week. Very happy as my original goal was 1 lb per week to mitigate fat gain.
    Full update:

    Weight - 161
    Gain - 1lbs

    Summary - Cals remained at 4,000 each day (including the weekend). Workouts stayed the same. Slowly getting stronger on lifts across the board and feel more energy throughout the workout. Legs are getting stronger, which is great.

    Observations - I kept diet and exercise consistent throughout the week to see why I only seem to gain on the weekends. Only change, diet-wise, was that I did not have at least a full gallon of water on Saturday. The only thing I can think of is that sleep quality is better on the weekends. I get a full 8 hrs vs 5-6 hrs on the weekdays.

    Plan is to maintain caloric level at 4,000. Will leave macros as is for now. Must try to improve sleep...
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter01 View Post
    So one day after I start my log some douchebag rear ends me on my way to work. Miss two meals and about a 1/4 gallon of water. I'll have to play catch up the rest of the day.
    Damn unlucky man... I've had that happen too when my bike chains broke and I walked 5 miles to work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boson3 View Post
    Damn unlucky man... I've had that happen too when my bike chains broke and I walked 5 miles to work.
    It was actually a huge pain in the ass. Fortunately, I've been so busy with everything else that I haven't made a big stink about it. They fixed my truck....the wrong way. Truck ran like **** and when I took it back they didn't want to claim responsibility. Said something like it couldn't have been the accident. I wanted to choke slam those mothers. Ended up taking it to the dealer on my own dime and that's when they pointed out all the Chinese aftermarket crap they used. Then they acknowledged the issue, but refused to replace all the parts with factory parts. Only wanted to replace the problem parts. They ended up using factory parts, but I have no way of knowing to what extent. Already have the truck back and it runs good as new...at least for now. I keep my cars for 10+ years. I know something will pop up a couple years from now.

    Regarding the bike....try doing that on a cruiser. Went out for a ride by myself a few years ago. Bike stopped running about 15 miles into it. Thought it was a bad battery. Had to leave my bike somewhere in order to go home and get my tools. So had to push it 5 miles or so until I got to a shopping center with decent traffic. Pushing a 750 lb bike for 5 miles is a bitch!!! And remember, I'm a small guy, no 200 pounder here.

    Was dealing with that the whole day and well into the night. Turned out it was just out of gas (no fuel gauge). Sold it not too long ago. Spent more time and money keeping it running than enjoying it...
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter01 View Post
    Must try to improve sleep...
    Update:

    I've been playing with my daily routine a bit over the last few months in order to squeeze some more sleep time each night. I've let my beard grow, have breakfast on the way to work, cooking my meals in bulk, etc etc...

    But this week I decided to make a more drastic change. I've never been a morning person so have always lifted in the evenings after work. The few times that I've tried the morning bit, it has only lasted a few weeks. But this time I'm 100% committed.

    Today was Day 1. Leg day. Great day to start. (not really). Woke up at 5am, had some oatmeal, raisins, and coffee. Expected to hit the weights light, but decided to make it worthwhile. So I made it a regular workout. I actually pulled a bit more on my deads, which was nice.

    Goal is to be in bed and asleep by 10:30 the latest. This would equate to 6.5 hrs of sleep on workout days but a full 8.0 hrs on rest days. Right now I only get 6 hrs of sleep each night.

    I will definitely need a sleep supp since wifey does not go to sleep at that time and makes a hell of a lot of noise. Used a sleeping pill last night, but don't want to rely on those long term.

    I'll be perusing the forums for reputable sleep supps. In the meantime, I welcome any suggestions.
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    Did a quick weigh in today seeing that we are heading into the weekend.

    Scale read 159.5

    1.5 lb loss.

    I weighed myself 3 times. Not sure what's going on. Definitely feel the workouts are hard. Macros are being met. Only variables are that I've put in some long hours this week at work and I had one workout in the AM before work.

    Hopefully it's a blip. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a bit disappointed. If it stays the same by Sunday, calories will be increased.
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    Since i lost weight i went ahead and increased cals to 4200 yesterday.

    Weighed in this morning at 159.0

    Loss of 0.5 lbs

    Had another AM workout yesterday, so it seems like that boosts my metabolism for the rest of the day. I'm also crapping a whole lot more than i was the first month and a half of my bulk. Not sure why the sudden change.

    Plan for the week:
    - continue AM workouts
    - increase cals to 4200 on rest days
    - increase cals to 4400 on lift days

    Current macros are about 50% carbs 30% pro 20% fats

    It will be a struggle for me getting all that in before 9:30pm. I just ordered a sleep supp that will work better on an empty stomach.
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    Correction.

    Current macros are about 50% carbs 20% pro 30% fats.
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    Strength training might be your answer.
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    Fueled - my workouts have always been based on increasing weights / reps. When I plateau, I change things up a bit (exercises, rep tempo, rep range, etc). So I'm not just doing the same routine day in and day out. Having said that, I am willing to give a more structured program a try. I am looking into Wendler's 5-3-1 program since it is easier to follow and I can easily transition to it.

    I know strength and size go hand in hand, but my question is should I follow a strength program, when my main goal is hypertrophy? I've noticed better results when I keep my reps between 6 and 10.
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