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Monday, February 13, 2012

Expectations in Gaining Mass

Today I want to talk about expectations. What is realistic and what is just fantasy. There are weight training programs and equipment out there that make outrageous guarantees claiming to gain 20-50lbs of muscle in an insanely short time like 12 weeks. There is also some insane before and after pictures of people doing different programs. While in reality one can only expect to put on 5-30lbs at most of Lean Body Mass(LBM) in a year. Now there are many different factors that go into how much LBM someone can gain, but mainly genetics, age and lifting experience.

So what is there to believe first let’s look at some different claims and before and after pictures.
Here we have three pictures I’ve found on the internet with a simple Google search. Now granted all of these results could very well be from their respected programs. I'm just analyzing them as to what could be a possibility.

So we have Picture one. This picture is probably legit, but here's the thing, all that was done is a drop in body fat %(BF%). He dropped his body fat below to probably under 10% and just finished working and is flexing this makes it magically look like in 4 weeks he put on a ton of muscle when in reality his lean body mass (LBM) probably stayed about the same as he really doesn’t look much bigger.

Now Picture 2 and 3 both from the same website both claiming 20 plus pounds of muscle both not so true. The first picture there is definitely some muscle gain but not much so in that short amount of time we have an example of newbie results. Now for the dramatic transformation flex and use natural light which gives more shadows making someone look more ripped. The second picture claimed even more gains and from the look didn’t gain much at all main difference is the lighting and probably a pump from just working out. Putting lighting almost directly over head brings more shadows and makes someone look more ripped and with that I leave you this viral video from the past week or so.

Now a lot of people have already saw this video and it just shows don’t always believe what you see from those ads.

The next two transformations are legit and both impressive, but I’m going to break them down and help make them understandable as at first glance they’re pretty unbelievable.

Taylor Lautner bulking up for the twilight series.

First I want to say the kid worked his butt off and kudos to him. Secondly yes I have seen the movies and not by choice, all of my girlfriends friends were away at college when they were released, so I was the lucky guy that got drug to the theater which from the looks I wasn't the only one. Now back to the topic some people have been in disbelief of him gaining 30lbs from Twilight to New Moon. Personally I’m a believer and here’s why.

Fact 1 is age he was literally a kid when Twilight ended, 16 years old. Many16 year old males haven’t reached their full height and if you look back at the first Twilight to New Moon Lautner had definitely gotten taller my guess is he was somewhere around 5’8”-5”8.5”(possibly shorter) during twilight by comparing him to other cast members and some Google searches. More recently when compared and searched he’s listed at 5’10”(again possibly shorter). In growing 2 inches he would naturally gain weight. Fact 1 to remember.

Fact 2 Lautner has been interviewed as saying he began his training for New Moon the day shooting ended for Twilight, which was May 2, 2008. Filming for New Moon began in late March 2009. This gives him 46-47 weeks to put on weight. According to the Gaining Weight for Ranger School gaining mass and controlling for fat gain can be done and gaining 1-2lbs a week would keep BF% in check. By this he could have gained 46lbs in that amount of time. Again keeping his weight gain feasible.

Fact 3 Lautner had a personal trainer, nutritionist and every other resource a movie star would have at his disposal. With that he could easily push the limits as to what is possible physically.

Fact 4 While Lautner gained 30lbs the reality is it wasn’t all muscle. BF% is BF% From the looks of the before and after pictures his BF% was relatively the same possibly a hint more after his weight gain (the lighting helps). If he was 140lbs before and 170lbs after, I would guess he was somewhere around 8-9% BF. Gaining weight and keeping BF% the same would mean a gain of fat within the weight gain. This would mean he gained 25.9-27.6lbs of lean body mass.

Bringing it Together-Lets Review Fact 1-Age and Height growth Fact 2-46 weeks of training Fact 3-Maximum assistance with his goals Fact 4- His 30lbs wasn’t all muscle rough estimate of 25.9-27.6lbs of LBM. Also I would assume from his prior weight and muscle mass he had done almost no weight training.

Looking at all of the facts together shows a clear picture teenagers naturally put on muscle just from puberty natural growth, he had the “noob” effect of just starting lifting weights. With knowing you can gain at least a pound a week without putting on too much fat and having a personal trainer train him for 42 weeks there is no doubt in my mind he could have put on 30lbs when looking at all the factors.

Christian Bale going from the Machinist to Batman Begins

Now this one is the grand daddy of all weight gains in my opinion. How on earth did Christian Bale go from 121lbs at his lowest while filming the Machinist to Being Batman. Honestly this is the easiest explanation of it all. Muscle memory. It’s been claimed that he gained over 100lbs from one roll to the other and again I can believe it.  Bale was in similar shape as Batman Begins in the movie prior to the machinist approximately weighting 185lbs.

Regaining muscle back to a prior mass gain is much easier than building new muscle, losing weight in such a way as he did for the machinist is easily gained back. This is one of the reasons people who crash diet never maintain the results they want. Bale reportedly got up to 230lbs but was actually too fat and Nolan requested he drop his BF% before shooting Batman Begins. So Bale's Batman physique actually comes down to muscle memory, nutrition and a personal trainer. 50 cent has also been seen doing similar things once he was done filming his movie which he dropped a ton of weight. He seemingly bulked back up in what seemed to be a shorter time than Bale.

My Own Personal Gains Broken Down
Now anyone reading this that has read my other post will know I’ve put on 24lbs in 3 1/2 months. And it’s true it was all natural and it did happen. I put on 24lbs in about 15 weeks and keep my BF% about the same. Using the same methods of analysis that I did for the other gains above here are some facts. My BF% was somewhere between 8-10% let’s just say 9%. 9% would put my lean body mass at around 161.98lbs on May 10th before I went into surgery. My starting weight in January was 154lbs @ 9% would give me a LBM of 140.14lbs. That is a gain of 21.84lbs of LBM. Seems like a crazy amount in that time, but if you factor in muscle memory which In years prior I had weighed up to 168lbs with a BF% around 7% which puts my lean body mass at 156.24lbs. This shows I gained 5.74lbs of LBM during that time of training which is still a good amount. At that rate it would be equivalent to gaining 19.90lbs of LBM a year which is a very substantial amount for a "noob". Other factors to include are I was 19 years old still young and had never weight trained seriously for two years consistently, which can be suggested as the “noob” time frame. With keeping that in mind it is reasonable for me to gain that amount of weight I also have the stretch marks to prove it. I'm currently at 174lbs at around 10% BF. This puts my current LBM at around 156.6lbs, so I've actually lost LBM.

Now what does this mean for my future? I’m going to be 23 this year, so chances are any natural muscle growth brought on by my natural growth have long already passed as I’ve been 5’10" since my junior year of high school at 16. I still haven’t trained consistently for 2 years. I really haven’t seen any major gains more of maintaining what I already have had the last 2 years because my workouts have been so inconsistent with school, injuries and everything else life has thrown at me. I would estimate that I could possibly gain anywhere from 15-20lbs of LBM in one year. Which If I gained 20lbs on LBM at my current BF% on top of my highest total LBM I could weigh as much as 202.2lbs @ around 10% BF (a gain of almost 30lbs). That would be my maximum possible total gains. I would need great nutrition, sleep and workouts for a whole year to see that type of gains and even then I may not be able to. 20lbs is my guess as to what is just the absolute best results I could achieve realistically and naturally at my age and experience in one year’s time. With that I said some people are lucky with great genetics could possibly gain even more.

So my current goals are as such to weigh 185lbs @ the same BF% (around 10%) by May 12, 2012. That is about 11lbs in 13 weeks and very attainable as we have seen by my analysis. The Next two weeks I’ll look to drop my BF% to about 7% which would put me at about 180lbs and a LBM of 167.4lbs. This would be an additional of 4.52lbs to my last highest LBM which was prior to surgery. If every comes together I should be able to exceed my goal and reach between 185-190lbs, which would put my LBM between 167.4-171. That would put best case scenario by Memorial Day I would weigh about 183lbs @ 7% BF.


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