Muscle mass & body fat question

Right, I’m looking to build a bigger, more muscular physique. I’ve been cursed with a small, skinny frame so I’m trying to add bulk and put on as much lean muscle mass as I can. Thing is, I’ve run into a problem.

On the one hand I know I have to eat more calories than I expend and that a high quantity of that must be protein.

On the other with all this protein comes fat which conspires to cover the six pack I’m working on with blubber.

The only reason (and I stress the only reason) why I’m going to all this trouble is to look good naked. As such I don’t want to lose my six pack. However, I’ve been told that the only way I’m going to increase my muscle mass elsewhere on my body is to eat lots and the natural consequence of eating lots will be the eradication of my six pack.

Is there a way I can modify my diet to keep the six pack and still eat enough to put on muscle mass fast?

You gain fat if you ingest more calories than you expend. If you’re working out and building muscles, you will also gain fat if and only if you take in more calories than needed. Once you have gained muscles, you become more metabolically active as muscles use a lot of calories in their metabolism. In addition, you don’t have to eat any fat to get protein, as all the essential amino acids can be procured through vegetables and fruits.

In January 2002, I was 5’6", 198#, 24% body fat. As of Friday, I am 187#, 20% - I weigh in once a month. This may not seem like a huge drop in body fat, but it’s good progress. I’ve dropped 10 pounds, but I’m freakin’ massive now.

I weightlift three times a week: M,W, and F, with Monday being a “push” day, Wednesday being a “pull” day, and Friday being my “legs” day. If you want details, e-mail me and I’ll let you know.

After work every day (around 4:PM), I hit either the elliptical or stairmaster for 50 to 60 minutes - straight. This is where I figure in my calorie burning for the day.

Diet? I try to keep my calories around 1800 a day, total fat comsumption (sat & unsat) at 25g or lower, and total carbs under 150. This is more of a long-term diet, but what the hell.

And even more important: No beer on the weeknights!.

But that’s what I do. I don’t think you’ll put on any muscle in a week, but after three months, you should notice something. My entire thing is that “I’m getting fast and agile for hockey.” I keep that in mind every day at the gym, and it keeps me going.

I am not a dietician or therapist. This is just what I do. YMMV.

Like everyone else said, workout and don’t consume more calories than you expend. That’ll let you build muscle and stay lean.

But according to this website:

You have to eat a lot of calories in order to see any real effects. I’ve seen this view supported by a few other sites. For a rough idea of what I look like I look how the guy who wrote the above webpage looked like before he started his new regime, only white with glasses.

Most of the information you can find on the web, or in muscle mags, is pure bullshit. Be careful.

That said, it is true that you have to eat more calories than usual to support muscle gain. But it’s nowhere near as high as pretty much anyone would have you believe. A pound of fat has 3500 calories, and fat has 9 calories per gram. Protein has 4 calories per gram, so a pound of lean mass (which is pretty much all protein) should have about 1550 calories. You need to eat that much for every pound of lean mass you want to add.

I don’t know offhand exactly what a reasonable rate for adding lean mass is, but I’d be very impressed by somebody who could add a pound per week. barbitu8 will undoubtedly have more precise numbers. To add a pound per week, you need to consume an extra 1550 calories in that week, you need to eat an extra 220 calories per day. That’s over and above the amount that you need to fuel your body.

And keep in mind that the 220 calories figure was derived using an artificially high rate of muscle growth. So the real number is probably much less than that.

Do bear in mind that these are rough, back-of-the-envelope calculations, designed only to show rough numbers.

Thanks for the vote of confidence and compliment, but I’m afraid I don’t.

Nonetheless, would you agree that a pound of lean mass per week is unrealistically high?

Purely anecdotal evidence, but when I went to university I met a guy who was your classic 5’4" small guy. Within a short while he’d bulked out more than I could believe possible. Now, he was very focussed, but after every gym trip he ate a bowl of pasta (with little on it - maybe a small amount of butter/low fat sauce).

I would have thought so but this study makes me believe it might be possible.
They show an average 28% increase in muscle size over a 10 week period for a group who combined aerobic and weight training.
Keep in mind that the rate of growth is usually much faster for beginners and this study used untrained males.

I also have a small naturally lean frame. I’m 5’6" and at my best, I weight 155lb and was working out with 350 on the squat/deadlift and benching 245, that’s with about 10% body fat.

When I had been at that point for a while, I tried eating more protein but noticed I was putting on more bodyfat without getting much stronger or bigger.

Gomez, like others have said, you only need to eat at least as much as your are expending. I averaged around 2200 - 2500 calories but I was also doing about 2.5 hours of martial arts in addition to 2 hour weightlifting workouts. Don’t get your research from muscle mags and related web sites. They have an agenda and want you to believe you must add protein shakes and pill to your diet. I hardly ever use that stuff unless I miss a meal.

There’s all sorts of diets and plans that DO WORK! Stick with straightforward plans though - generally esoteric ones require complete commitment. For instance, it’s perfectly fine to eat 6000 calories a day if you are a professional distance runner or biker. You just need to figure out what goes in and what comes out.

As you’ve noticed, body mass and numbers (mile run, bench press) is not nearly as important as how much energy you have (how long you can play your game) and how good you look. A 200 lb lightly active man actaully looks SMALLER than a 160 lb muscular man.

5’10" 200# 15% body fat

As Tripler pointed out, alternate body parts worked, and lift before you do cardio.

As to diet, it is my understanding that carbs are burned for immediate energy needs but are also more readily converted to fat than is protein. I limit my intake of carbohydrates and instead eat fish, chicken, egg whites, and vegetables (limiting the amount of starchy ones - pototoes, corn, etc.). Add to that, drinking plenty of water.

What do you think veggies are if not carbs?

All excess calories, from whatever source, are stored as fat. Carbs is the main fuel for energy, not just for immediate energy. When you exercise aerobically (i.e., with oxygen available), your main fuel are carbs, but some fat is also used. If you exercise anerobically (i.e., w/o oxygen, or sprinting), you can burn only carbs since fat requires oxygen. Nonetheless, carbs remain the main source even in aerobic exercise. The immediate energy needs for the first few seconds of a sprint comes neither from carbs or fats but from a creatinine pathway.

I know that veggies are carbs. I meant that I limit my intake of starchy veggies (as I mentioned) and increase the amount of others.