Cannot Gain Mass


I am 25, and have a very low body fat percentage. I was at 6% now I might even be below that.

I train with resistance, weights, machines and workout regular doing this kind of training regimen around 5 days a week.

I also do Tae Kwon Do, a super aerobic training I'm sure your aware of and occasionally run a mile or two, not regularly though.

That being said, here my question:  My body is fat low I'm in great shape and feel good. However I use to be 175 after I stopped playing collegiate rugby, then I was a solid high 185 or more.

Now I weight 167 in the morning and 164 or even 162 at night due to my training regimen.

I practice Tae Kwon Do 4 times a week, and I can't seem to gain body mass let alone keep the mass I have I'm slowly getting smaller and smaller even though I do a balance mix.

It's not my diet's fault totally. I definitely could take in more calories however I eat 4 solid meals a day and get a great deal of protein, carbs fiber, and vitamins what can I do to gain mass?

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken


Your Goals Should Dictate your Training Program

You need to prioritize your training program. You cannot gain mass because you burn more calories than you consume, period.

What is most important to you?  Do you want to be a Tae Kwon Do champion?  Bodybuilder? or just look good on the beach?

Most people's body fat is not naturally at 6% even with a large amount of training. You are most likely blessed with a very high metabolism.

Your natural high metabolism along with all your weight training and Tae Kwon Do aerobic training will require an extremely high amount of calories.

If gaining mass is the most important goal you should adjust your training program to gain muscle mass by decreasing the amount of cardio training you do.

If decreasing your Tae Kwon Do and any other cardio is not an option you have to increase your caloric intake.

Increasing your caloric intake is easy for some, difficult for others. Here are a couple ideas.

Extra Carbohydrates from Maltodextrinmaltodextrin

Maltodextrin is a tasteless complex carbohydrate which is used in many meal replacements and other products as a filler carbohydrate. It is high energy and made immediately for your body to use rapidly. It is available in powders in stores for cheap as well as online.

You can add maltodextrin to your post-workout recovery or drinking water to increase your caloric intake as well as frequency of fueling your muscles with energy.

Maltodextrin is added to Iditarod sled dogs water to give them enough fuel to mush across the snowy tundra and it will help athletes keep their energy levels up as well as maintain a caloric surplus for people who want to gain muscle mass.

Increase your Dietary Fat Intakemuscle milk gain mass

Fat is more calorically dense than protein and carbohydrates and has twice the calories. You can maintain the caloric surplus needed to gain mass easier if your diet has about 30% of its calories as fat.

Remember all fats are not created equal. You should avoid high amounts of saturated animal fats. Stick to primarily unsaturated fats.

Muscle Milk is a great supplement for people of low body fat percentages who want to gain mass. Muscle milk contains healthy fats and Medium Chained Triglycerides (MCTs) which are most likely burned as energy rather than stored as body fat.

Improve Meal Timing

In order to not only get a high caloric diet but improved energy levels and muscle building properties timing is important. There should be no long gaps in between your meals/snacks. It is a good idea to eat every 2-3 hours at the most.

If you are looking to gain 20 pounds of muscle to get back to your old weight you are going to need to pay attention to timing of your meals.

Eat right after your wake up with a large meal high in complex carbohydrates. Throughout the day you should follow your calorically dense diet with a balance of protein, carbs and fat.

Make sure you eat before bedtime. Cottage cheese which contains casein the slow digesting protein is the best thing to eat. If you hate it, get used to it. It may even be beneficial to wake yourself up in the middle of the night to take in some calories.

Again, everything depends on how important gaining mass is in relation to the rest of your goals.

More Muscle Building Info

Back to Ask the Personal Trainer Home Page

blog comments powered by Disqus