I have failed many times in the past to try to gain weight. It seemed that no matter how much effort I put into eating or going to the gym I just couldn’t gain any weight. Muscle takes time to build… or so I thought. I decided to travel to Vietnam with the sole goal of gaining weight/muscle using Timothy Ferris’s 4 Hour body experiment.
The book contained a number of sections depending on what your goal is, and since I needed to gain weight, I began following the section titled: “From Geek to Freak”. This section (combined with the fundamentals sections in previous chapters) discusses how to gain huge amounts of muscle within short periods of time.
I was in, even if it meant stuffing myself full of chicken every meal until I felt sick. I wanted to know what it was going to take to gain weight and keep it.
Here are my measurements before I started training:
Note: the dexa scan gave me a total weight of 72.702kg, However my scale gave me a total weight of 69.7kg and I will be using this measurement going forward instead of the dexa scan.
I went from 69.7kg to 74.2kg! Thats a total of 4.5kg (9.9 pounds) gained in just under 11 days! I couldn’t believe it. Every time I got on the scale I would cheer at the extra half a kilo gained. This went on every day – I knew it was working. Then one day (on day 11) I got on the scale and it read 74.2 – amazing.
This continued for another week and although didn’t see the huge gains as I did before I still got up to 78 kilos. After this I stopped tracking my results (discussed below).
How did this happen!?
I suspect that one of the main factors in the weight gain was my lack of exercise. Vietnam is HOT, and my apartment was always warm. I felt tired and sleepy. I also had an infection on my foot at the time and was taking antibiotics. Either the antibiotics made me feel tired or I was experiencing a placebo effect from them because I was just so lazy. My days consisted entirely of: making food, grocery shopping, going to the gym (on gym days), running odd errands, and mostly sleeping.
Although I gained a lot of weight in a short amount of time, it wasn’t worth it. It was beginning to affect me all other areas of my life. I was sleeping so much during the day that I wasnt getting anything accomplished or having any fun. I felt sick at the end of every meal as I forced myself to eat just one more bite.
Here is a picture of an average lunch- and yes, that includes a full litre of milk. I was drinking almost a litre of milk with each meal (three times a day)
In conclusion, trying to gain weight with my metabolism and genetics is difficult. After a month or two I was down to my previous weight. It takes a lot of time and effort to be able to gain weight/muscle and keep it on. Additionally, I had to make a lot of sacrifices in order to be able to make the gains that I did. In the long term this is an unsustainable lifestyle.
After 3 weeks of this lifestyle I was beginning to feel slightly depressed. I wanted to do something else. I was getting so sick of feeling sick, that I decided to quit the experiment and only eat when I was hungry. At week 3, I stopped tracking my results. After two months I was back to my previous weight, and much happier.
Since being in Vietnam I haven’t been to a gym, although I do run every morning. When I get my next gym membership, i’m going to get a sustainable routine to keep the weight on. I can’t wait.