Gaining weight for seniors (?!)
Don't raise that eyebrow! Some of us get leaner with age. Nice to be a flatbelly but getting damned tired of concerned looks and "are you feeling OK?" from friends.
63. 6'1". 175. Athletic ecto. Been lifting for 50 years, but the last 20 have been casual keep fit stuff. Decided to get serious and joined an Old School gym with my son. He looks like a heavyweight between fights so I have my work cut out for me.
In my 20's to early 40's I was respectable on Cleans, Press, Pull-up. Lousy squater (275x5) back then. But at least they were butt to heels and figured that was OK from legs that looked like plier handles. Walked around at 195 but looked heavier cuz most of the weight was north of my belt.
Doing basic SS stuff two days a week (takes that long to recover). My form is better now than it every was thanks to Rip, but the progress is slow and my strength is a shadow of past days (use to Press 165x5 easy, now 115x5 is a shaker). Worse, have not gained a pound in bw in 3 months.
Eat healthy and plenty but don't hit the milk or P-Shakes. Resisting all that milk between meals as it blunts the appetite and probably not great for the ticker.
Any of you guys have any luck getting a few pounds on an old lean frame?
I'm 23, and not qualified to give you advice regarding gaining weight at an older age, but I know enough anatomy/phys (and really - basic chemistry) to tell you that unless you're eating above the amount of calories your burning, you're not going to be gaining weight. I simplify this for my trainees by having them keep a log. Hell, they already keep a training log. Why not a food log? If you're up for it, try keeping a food log for a week. Then post it back on here or if you're feeling frisky on Rip's board, so we can give you some feedback.
Originally Posted by old gripper
Most recently, one of my trainees couldn't understand why one of her injuries wasn't healing. After keeping a log for about a week, low and behold, I find that she eats on average <1200 kcals a day. Not too hard to figure out why he injury wasn't healing; She wasn't eating!
Now, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you're eating about 1200kcals, but generally, it's pretty simple. If you're not gaining weight (lean or otherwise), you're not eating enough to do so.
If you want to gain weight (semi-lean) while becoming stronger I would suggest a carb rotation.
There is a paper about dairy fat and cardiovascular disease that found no relashionship whatsoever between whole milk and CVD. It might have been a review, I don't know but I could dig it up if someone really needs it (or that someone could use their pubmed-fu and search it). Go hit the milk, you can do it right after the meals if it blunts your appetite if you have some between them.
I've also been reading very places that there isn't a correlation between dairy and other healthy fats and cvd.
Eat more and keeping a log is excellent advice. I'm 58 and a life long ectomorph (6 inch wrists ferheavensake): 5/7" and now 148 lbs. I was at 136 when I started SS two months ago so I'm gaining but not enough. I eat a killer shake for breakfast with everything but the kitchen sink in it ie. 2 cups whole milk, 2 scoops whey, tbl. peanut butter, flax meal, spinach, a banana, cup of blueberries, cup of strawberries. I eat something every 2 or 3 hours. I always have a cottage cheese, yogurt, whey, berry mixture late afternoon. I have a cup of milk and scoop of whey before bed.
Lifts are increasing but I'm microloading now.
I've never had trouble gaining weight, quite the opposite. I can't help asking though, since you mentioned that others ask "are you feeling OK?" Are you, and have you checked in with the docs? If so, sorry for putting my oar in waters that are not my business; but hey, at our age (60) it never hurts to be certain. I only mention this because the history you related makes it sound like this is a relatively recent issue for you.
As far as food, if you don't want to chance the milk, maybe more lean meats are the answer like chicken or lean beef. On the other hand, low fat or non fat milk might be the answer. Believe me, I don't want to chance the arteries either since I already take Crestor daily. I'd say some good high fiber bread to boost the total calorie intake would be good because a lot of that stuff is relatively high protein too. Then of course dead lifts and squats will for sure put some more weight on your lower body with the rest of the body along for the ride. I'm guessing that's where the loss is coming from since you mentioned most of your 195 lbs from days of yore was north of the belt.
While I'm not as old (45 going on 46), I've found that to recover well, grow lean mass wo/ too much flab, and feel good, I still have to get down substantially more protein and calories than my already hearty appetite was providing. If you aren't gaining and are concerned with progress, then despite your belief that you eat healthy and heartily, you probably are nowhere near were you should be. During your building stage, don't be afraid to put on a bit of fat. At our ages, the linear progression beginners stage doesn't last that long, so there are limits to how flabby we can get. If you put on a good foundation of muscle during this stage (and later growth blocks), it is not that hard to trim that fat off with a few week recovery block oriented toward conditioning/GPP combined with a stricter, clean diet.
That said, GOMAD is clearly for younger folks than us. I've had good success with a modification of John Mccallum's "grow big" drink strategy. The idea is similar to GOMAD, but Mccallum's mixture of ingredients gave me the idea to tinker with it and come up with something more appropriate for us older kids. Mccallum's drink provided 200g. of protein & something like 3,000 calories. You mixed up a batch, poured it into a jug, put it in the refrigerator, and drank a glass with each meal and between meals. It, like a gallon of whole milk, had way too many calories, too much fat of the wrong type, and too much sugar.
What I do is take a blender and mix the following:
1) 4 scoops of whey protein, a scoop of a protein I'm trying that is basically rice & bean based but has some other good foods in it. These provide about 100g. of protein w/ only a small amount of fat and carbs to hold the calories down.
2) 6 tbs. skim milk powder. Provides another 18 g. of protein, including some slower digesting types, without the volume that can contribute to lower appetite at later meals.
3) As a substitute for some of the fats I have removed, but not all, I mix in several tbs. of dried coconut, 2 tbs. of Udo's DHA oil mixture, and several tbs. of ground flax seed. These, unlike the milk fats, are anti-inflammatory, help provide all the EFAs (I still take a good portion of fish oil), and they provide fiber, minerals, and some anti-oxidants that you wouldn't get in straight milk.
4) 3 tbs. of cocoa powder
5) 2 c. whole milk (I generally add only part in the blender and then add the rest to the bottle I used to store it, and then shake it to mix)
6) 1 banana
That's about 140-145 g. of protein for about 1,300 calories, and provides some other healthy nutrients like fiber that are missing from GOMAD and the "grow big" drink." It has a bit less fat, the balance of fats is more anti-inflammatory and healthier, and it is much lower in sugars than GOMAD and the "grow big" drink. It tastes good, and is not too filling to impact getting plenty of good food at mealtime. It does cost more, but as Dan John has pointed out, one of the advantages we gain in training as we grow older is that we usually have more income and savings to throw at our training needs than teenagers do.
A variation on this drink is to blend frozen blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries rather than cocoa. It has significantly more carbs, but also fiber to reduce their impact, and all the other goodies that the fruit has.
With both, I get usually 4-5 glasses, and drink one between each meal, and one at bed. This is in addition to pre- and post- workout drinks.
Good luck however you go at the problem.
Gaining wt. seniors
Whew! Good stuff guys.
Many valid suggestions for me to kick around. Even back in the day I took in lot's of protein shakes. No reason things should be different now (just slower). Punched in a search under Milk and CVD and got lots of research/charts with the bottom line that the medical types are unable to link heavy milk consumption with CVD. Interesting. Always subscribed to the common opinion that milk was bad for the pipes.
Had a full medical recently, even the treadmill stress test. 16 minutes to get my heart rate to max. No fun at all. Doc was impressed. Suggested I stop wasting his time and go find some bad habits.
You're right about Squats. They're the basis of everything. Always did 'em, always hated 'em. But when you don't you feel like a slacker.
Greetings. I'm the same body type - 6' - was 160# pounds or so a few months back and am now around 175. I was making slow progress, but apparently not eating enough and running too much. Now I'm only 52, but I've been piling weight on the bar since getting off the treadmill and eating more, including milk (2%) with protein powder. The concensus seams to be that you should consume a gram of protein for ever pound of body weight while doing this type of strength training. Anyway, I don't have a weight lifting background, so every week I'm stronger than I've ever been in my life, but in retrospect I wasted a fair bit of effort by not properly fueling my recovery. Good luck!
I'm 48, and am getting stronger/heavier lifting twice/week and doing some martial arts stuff 2-3 other days for skills/conditioning. More than that, and I outrun my recovery capacity. At 5'9", I was an ectomorph once (at #130), but am now a fairly solid #185. Dunno my fat percentage, but I've got my top ab peeking out.
Since you're lifting heavy, you will gain weight if you eat enough to support it - both enough calories, and enough of those calories from protein. It really is that easy ... and that difficult. I think you'll have to just change what you eat a bit, and eat a bit more. the game's really in your own head; I'll bet that you're not eating as much as you think you are.
I recommend real food, not shakes. For me at least, I don't seem to gain any extra muscle from a huge shock of extra calories than from a moderate increase in calories ... even if they're mostly protein and slow-digesting carbs. At this point, I can only grow lean tissue at a certain rate, and more calories just goes into fat.
For me, I've found it most succesful to put together the meal that I'd usually have eaten ... and then add something with protein. For instance, a "good breakfast" for me used to be 2 eggs with OJ and 2 pieces of toast ... this morning's breakfast was 2 eggs with a large slice of ham, one piece of toast, and an orange. Somewhat more calories, a bunch more protein, and somewhat less carbs. I don't do GOMAD, but I will often drink milk with a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack ... that also includes some other protein source (cheese, meat, etc.). I found that was a key thing to keeping progress going when I was trying to lift 3 days/week.
The other thing I've found is that my shoulder work needed more volume to grow and get stronger than my other lifts. Presses are much more productive for me at 5X5 than 3X5, even though my shoulders are pretty weak ... and microloading has been a godsend. I use big industrial washers, that weigh about half a pound each. In contrast, while my squat sets are now up to #315+, alternating 3X5 heavy and 2X5 light days is still getting me weekly #5 PRs, while a brief try at a 5X5 outran my recovery.
Going this route I'm outgrowing the shoulders of my shirts and the legs of my pants, my lifts are progressing, and I'm not getting sloppy fat.