My Big Problem: Gaining Weight

After getting sick a couple of weeks ago I have been having a heck of a time trying to gain the weight back.  

This morning when I hopped on the scale, I weighed an abysmal 155lbs.  I haven't been under 160 since high school and have been getting comments left and right from friends and clients who have said that I look "unhealthy".  After looking in the mirror and noticing that my general energy levels are down, I definitely feel unhealthy.

As a teenager I had a lot of trouble gaining weight.  I have skinny-hardgainer genetics as it turns out, and so it's much easier for me to take weight off than it is to put weight on.

At the same time, I'm at a point in my life when putting good quality weight on (read: MUSCLE) is supposed to be a little more difficult than it would be if I were some "testosterony" teenage boy who can just look at a weight stack and eat McDonalds and put on 15lbs of lean mass.

I know what you're probably thinking….

"Who does this guy think he is telling us that he has trouble putting weight on when 99% of the world is trying to take it off?"

Yes I know, it's a "good" problem to have.  

Is it insensitive of me to complain that I can't keep weight on to save my life?  Maybe.

Or that taking even a week off training forces my body to eat itself alive?

I know that some of you out there can sympathize with my situation.

So, as I start my quest to put on some muscle again after a week of the flu, I really need to make sure that I can stay consistent with my workouts.

Over the at least the next 6 weeks I'll be using my buddy, Geoff Neupert's Kettlebell Muscle Program.  I've gone through the program thoroughly and am really excited about the progress that I'll make with it.

=>You can check out Geoff Neupert's Kettlebell Muscle Program HERE

Geoff's program is a 3-Day per week Double KB program (all the exercises involved require the use of double KBs).  I've been able to practice a lot of the moves a few weeks before I got sick.

In addition to KB Muscle, I want to really work on practicing my Get-Ups, so I'll be using Get-Ups as warm-up before each workout.

I'll also be adding in some thick grip chin-ups and some pistols on Days 1 and 3 of the program.

I'm also contemplating adding in an additional day of some power cleans & deadlifting only because I miss using the barbell, but I'll wait it out and let my body adapt to training again for the first few weeks.

With it being the holidays, it shouldn't be too difficult to eat (seeing as both my family and my wife's family have a tendency to really overdo it on the holiday food front).  My only issue is that I don't want to feel like crap and I usually do after I eat junk.

Over the past few weeks before getting sick I wasn't eating very many grains and was eating a lot of fat.  That will change.  I think the calorically dense characteristics of a good spaghetti dinner will prove to really help out with my weight gaining quest.  I think I'll just make sure that I eat a meal like that on a training day and within the 1-2 hour "workout window". 

I've adopted a new habit of eating some vegetables and hummus as soon as I get home in the afternoon, so that should really help with some healthy calorie consumption.

I've also been using 1/2 can of coconut milk for my daily shakes (and sometimes have been adding 1/2 an avocado), so that's a lot of calories from healthy fats.

If you're interested, you can follow my progress on my Tumblr blog which I'll use to post all my workouts and nutrition schedule/journal.  I just downloaded the iPhone app for Tumblr, so it'll be a lot easier for me to post on-the-go and get some progress photos up of how I'm doing and maybe even what I'm eating (thank you Tim Ferriss for the idea).

=>Follow my Workout Journal and Muscle Gaining Progress on Tumblr

You can check out my old "Before" picture there and my measurements.  That picture was taken about a week before I got sick and was on my way to 175.

My goal is to get back up to 175lbs but still maintain a 31" waist (or to maintain visible abs).

I'll post a new "before" picture with some measurements later this week.

Chris Lopez, RKC


  • Reply December 20, 2010


    Hey Chris,
    Good to hear that you are fighting back from your battle with the flu.
    This post got my attention. I am a hardgainer like you, so I have the same “problem” you do. It is very difficult to pack on weight of any kind. And even moreso now that I’m a vegan.
    I have added your Tumblr blog to my RSS reader, I am definitely looking forward to updates on your situation here.


  • Reply December 21, 2010

    Joe Testa

    Hey Chris

    I’m just like you with the “skinny-hardgainer” genetics.

    I lost 10 lbs recently following a super high intensity workout program. This on a frame that could ill afford to lose it. I was eating high calorie foods just to keep from losing more.

    I just got into kettlebell training about 2 weeks ago, so I’m very interested in following your progress.

    Much Success


  • Reply December 21, 2010


    That’s a very realistic goal you’ve got, there. Building muscle takes time, unlike visible fat loss, which can be achieved in about 12 weeks or so. I’m guessing it could take you up to a year to gain that much amount of lean mass. Will you consider Martin Berkhan’s leangains approach? I hear you’re big on fasting

  • Reply December 27, 2010

    Simon Young

    Hey Chris,

    Glad to hear you’re on the road to recovery.

    I totally hear you re: genetic hardgainer. I’ve been wrestling this “problem” for the last 20+ years.
    I’d be very interested with your thoughts on Geoff Neupert’s plan, especially as low rep / high weight training seems to have been the way for myself & my ectomorph clients, tied in with the most important aspect; nutrition.

    For us, it’s a battle won with the knife & fork. I’m currently working with Cassandra Forsythe ( on my nutrition, as my training, 6 boot camps per day, personal training, etc have had me going in reverse!

    Keep up the outstanding work; you’re an inspiration to all us busy guys out there 🙂

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