The week before my daughter was born, I weighed 102kgs. My goal was to fill out the 100kgs weightclass and I was happy with my size. Mini Al’s birth wasn’t straightforward and she and Mrs Al ended up staying in hospital for almost a week afterwards. At the end of that week I had lost 5kgs in bodyweight and it stayed off for a good month or two afterwards despite my best efforts to get it back on. I really wanted to get bigger as I knew it would help my lifts and training but it seemed no matter what I did, I stayed at 97kgs. Around this time I remembered this story I had read:
The guy who is telling Dave how to gain weight was JM Blakely. JM was a bench only lifter who competed before modern shirts, benched over 700 and was famous for manipulated his bodyweight (and being a bit mental). There is a load of info and articles from him that I found during my research here:
One part that stuck out to me was that initially JM struggled to gain weight as well but he had a friend who was a nutritionist working with obese people. I’ll paraphrase here; he basically told JM that he saw people every day who were gaining weight, many of them when they were already over 300lbs, and they weren’t even trying! Now he had my interest. JM gives a few rules for gaining weight:
- Always have food with you. Even if you eat a chocolate bar, that is preferable to not eating.
- Do not ingest any liquids that don’t have calories in. Coca cola, chocolate milk and energy drinks were the order of the day (Mini was young remember so no sleep!)
- You have to maintain the strength that you gain when you slowly come back down in weight afterwards. You won’t keep it all but if you return to your original weight and you are stronger, you have done it right.
Armed with this information I embarked on a journey of dietary excess. I ate everything and anything. To begin with it was hard but soon my stomach stretched and it became easier to get the food in. I also learned tricks that helped. Things like olive oil in my protein shakes, learning foods that I could eat a lot of without ever feeling full (crisps for example) and not trying to be “healthy”. Finally I was gaining weight again. To give you an idea here is what a typical day’s food would look like at that time:
75grams whey in water with a large slug of olive oil
Some kind of breakfast cereal (normally a kids one) or porridge with milk
Crisps and some fruit
Lunch would be half a large Nandos chicken with chips or Burger King
Another large protein shake and whatever else I fancied around 5:30, typically a large sandwich or some chocolate
Dinner was whatever Mrs Al cooked
Remember throughout the day I am drinking full fat Coke or semi skimmed milk (there was loads of it at work that I could take for free). Not a bad little calorie count there.
I got back up over 100kgs quite quickly and then the gains slowed somewhat but I was fine with this. It was always going to be a slow process for me. By the time I competed at the end of the year (4 months on the diet) my typical morning weight was 104-105kgs. I pushed on through Christmas and my birthday and reached my peak at the end of January 2012; I was 108kgs and pretty fat but I was also stronger. In January 2011 I totalled 530kgs @ 88.75kgs bodyweight. In December I totalled 607.5kgs @ just under 103kgs. The biggest improvement was my squat where I gained almost 50kgs (100lbs) and squatted my first ever 227.5kgs (500lbs) in belt and wrist wraps.
Here’s a video of that meet:
Not lean by any means but I had definitely put on some muscle compared to my meet before:
All of this came at a price though. I had no aerobic capacity, a large flight of stairs had me out of breath, I struggled to complete a decent training session in less than 2 hours and I was snoring like a beast. I felt uncomfortable, unfit and a little unwell. It was time for phase 2 – The diet. That will be the next instalment.