Understanding Huge

TAGS: get huge, gain massive size, iron game, bodybuilding, athlete, strength, powerlifting, strength training, Nutrition

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So you want to get huge? How bad do you want to get huge? I'll admit that I'm not an expert on nutrition or weight loss. I can tell you how to eat better, and weight loss has never been a problem for me, but if you're interested in that, I still recommend that you talk to someone else. On the other hand, if you really want to get huge, I'm the guy you want to talk to!

If you want to have to turn sideways to get through some doors, I'm your guy. If you want to have trouble getting in or out of most standard cars, again, I'm your guy. If you want to have to buy two seats on an airplane to be just somewhat comfortable, I'm your guy. If you want everyone to look at you when you walk into any restaurant, yep, I'm your guy. If you want to see the bouncers at the bars look like their puppy just got kicked when you walk in, I'm your guy! If you want to have to use the handicap stall in public places, I'm your guy.

My normal body weight before competing in powerlifting was about 220–260 pounds, and for the APF nationals in Detroit, I hit my highest ever at 397 pounds. Granted, I wasn't a shredded, clean shaven, rippling bodybuilder. I looked more like a grizzly bear, but I was big, solid and immensely strong. I regularly carried around 385 pounds of body weight and did that for many years. I did this with pretty clean blood work and pretty good physicals from my doctor. Of course, he did always say that he would like it if I dropped some weight, but he knew it wasn't going to happen. I challenged him to find another man at my weight who was as healthy as I was.

It isn't easy getting huge. For some reason, many people seem to think that it was easy for huge guys to get huge and that it's just hard for them to get huge. I get asked a lot how I got so big and that is immediately followed by excuses as to why that person isn't big. Things like, "I just can't gain weight," "I have poor genetics," "I eat all the time" and so one. Blah, blah, blah!

Just like anyone can get stronger if he wants to, anyone can gain weight if he really wants it. How big or how strong all depends on how far he's willing to take it. Yes, there are some genetic limitations, but very few people ever even come close to those limits. It's like people think that I was born huge or something. It's like they think you just eat a little more and bam! You're huge! It isn't that way at all. It's a bitch getting huge. I'm currently dropping weight, and getting under 300 pounds is a piece of cake compared to getting over 300 pounds.

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Just the other day, I was asked to help a friend of a friend because he's so skinny and he wants to get big (that's actually what inspired this article). This conversation occurred via text message and even had a picture attached. This young man definitely needed to gain some size because he was a rail. Right off the bat, my answer was lift heavy weights and eat as much as you possibly can. He claimed, like they all do, that he eats a lot. I gave my usual response to this question, which is, "Make me a list of what you usually eat." I got back something about eating healthy, eating three meals a day, not having as many healthy snacks and something about lots of salads and kale. Yes, my head was about to explode when I read that. Kale? WTF is kale? Even though I don't know what it is, I'm sure it's green and probably leafy. What I do know about kale is that you'll never get huge eating it. Three meals a day? Three meals a day is standard, normal practice and you aren't going to get huge eating normally!

It also turns out that this guy loves to run and it sounded like distances. You know what, you'll never be huge if you can run 20 f*%^ing miles. Maybe this kid just wants to get a little bigger, and I can understand that, but it's still pretty simple. If you aren't getting bigger eating what you're eating, you need to eat more or at least eat things that have a higher caloric density (I think I heard a nutritionist say that once). If you want to run like a deer every day but still want to get bigger, you need even more calories to make up for the expelled energy from your running. You'll also never get huge if you run that much. Another annoying thing is people seem to want to get huge and stay shredded. This is very difficult and, to me, a waste of time. Get huge even if it adds a little chunk and then lean out later once you have a solid base of thick muscle. I've seen many professional bodybuilders get huge this way. In the off-season, they put on the pounds and are chubbier. Then they shred down later for a show but are heavier with more solid muscle. Getting huge is like getting a passing grade in high school. You don't have to do all that great on the tests as long as you do the work (homework).

I know that there will be some nutritionist out there who will disagree with me, and there will probably be some bodybuilders out there who will disagree with me as well. I don't really care because I know what it took for me to get huge, and I know that I wouldn't have been able to get huge by eating healthy while trying to stay lean. In addition, I've helped many people pack on pounds and pounds of muscle. In my opinion, my way is also a faster way to gain lots of strength and get huge. It isn't easy and you'll probably end up hating eating. You'll get sick of chewing and you'll get sick of the routine. The foods you used to love will become tasteless and bland. Food will lose almost all enjoyment and become a chore. Like almost everything in life, the stuff that's really worth having is a ton of work and isn't easy.

So my first and most important piece of advice is start looking at food as calories. You'll need to consume massive amounts of calories and doing that really isn't as fun as it sounds. For example, two cups of tossed salad with some veggies is around 100 calories. Add half a cup of grilled chicken breast for another 60 calories. That's a big salad for only 160 calories. Now, you could just eat a Snickers® bar, which has 250 calories, and that's just the regular size. The Snickers® 2 to Go is 440 calories. On a side note, what happened to the king sized package with one, huge bar? If I wanted two, I would just buy two. I want a huge king sized one!

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Grilled chicken breast has about 187 calories in 4 oz. Most chicken breast is between 8 oz and 10 oz, so we'll say 380 calories. In the same amount of 90 percent lean ground beef, there are 519 calories. In the same amount of 80 percent lean ground beef, there are 693 calories. You can eat the same amount of food and get 380 calories or 693 calories. I can go on and on for days with these type of examples, but basically the food that is the least healthy for you has the best volume/mass to calorie ratio. As Dr. Nick says, “Rub your food on a piece of paper, and if it becomes clear, that's your window to weight gain!”

You could stuff you face with salad and chicken breast all day and it would be hard to get in massive amounts of calories. On the other hand, hanging out with Little Debbie, Mrs. Freshley and the fine characters of Hostess can make getting your calories in much easier. If you really want to get huge, you'll be consuming so many calories that doing it with healthy food is extremely difficult and a huge pain in the ass. Even with junk food, I dreaded eating. It was simply a chore without any enjoyment at all. For getting huge, less is more!

My second piece of advice is that condiments are your friends. Other than mustard, condiments have good calorie counts, and the majority of us never really use just what they say is a serving. For example, ketchup has 20 calories in one packet. I can honestly say that I've never put just one packet on anything. It would be easy to add an extra 100 calories to even a small thing of fries. Mayonnaise is a mother lode of calories. There are 86 calories in one packet! I was once advised to get sausage biscuits for breakfast and put a packet of mayo on each bite that I took. Barbecue sauce is a good one, too. It has around 80 calories per 2 tablespoons, depending on brand and flavor. I'm also a big fan of hot sauces to at least change up the flavors of things, but as for calories, most of them are pretty low. If it makes it easier to get down, I'm all for it.

My third mass building tip is that weight gainers and protein drinks are a great way to add calories to your diet. I'm well know for living on Muscle Milk and Monster Milk. At one point, I was so sick of eating that I was doing 4–6 drinks a day, most of which were doubled in servings. These are also a way to keep up your calorie schedule when things are busy. It's pretty easy to slam down a drink and get back to your business. When I first started out in powerlifting, money was tight and I basically bought the cheapest whey protein I could afford in the largest amounts. It got the job done, but taste, higher calories and quality were definitely lacking. When money is tight, you have to do what you have to do. I've been drinking Monster Milk and Muscle Milk now for years because I think that they're the best out there, and they have a ton of amazing flavors. I went through containers every month when I was competing at my strongest. Again, flavor doesn't matter except when it makes it easier to get down.

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MORE 5 Quick and Easy Ways to Add Calories


I learned my fourth piece of advice early on and it easily helped me get over 300 pounds. Again, this advice isn't the healthiest thing you can do, but being huge isn't really all that healthy anyway and neither is lifting insane amounts of weights that could crush most mortal men. You have to eat some kind of candy or candy bar every two hours that you're awake. It can be a chocolate bar, peanut butter cups, M&Ms, Reese's Pieces or something else. I can't tell you for sure exactly why this works, but it does. It may be just the added calories, but I always understood it as keeping the blood sugar high, which makes it easier to make weight changes. Either way, I've seen this work so many times.

Liquids are also a great was to easily increase calories. For me, I know that it's easy to pound down a 16-oz soda and that is somewhere around 200 calories. Liquids high in calories are great because they're quick to get down, easy to carry with you and you can stop to get some just about anywhere. So for those people who claim that they just don't have time, there isn't any excuse when it comes to liquid calories. Of course, soda is my favorite, but milk, juices, sweet tea and energy drinks all contain a good amount of calories.

Like I said, this isn't the most healthy diet, but being a super heavy weight or lifting insane amounts of weight isn't the healthiest thing to do either. Most doctors freak out when I say that my eyes bleed from the pressure and I projectile blood out of my nose under the stress of huge weights. You only live once, and you can always get healthy when you get older, in my opinion. I ate like this because it was easier for me to get stronger as I got bigger, and I didn't have the genetics to stay lean while getting insanely strong. However, I did always get regular checkups, which included blood work, and I also had a line that I wasn't willing to cross. Yes, my blood pressure was elevated but nothing beyond what I thought was excessive, and I used to challenge my doctor to find someone else that heavy with blood pressure less than mine. There were also ups and down in my blood work but, again, nothing too crazy. All in all, I was still fairly healthy during this period and I attributed that to the intense training, which helped utilize most of those calories I was shoving down my throat.

When it comes to getting huge, I think every person has a limit. For me, there was a point of no more return in strength. The only way to find this point though is to get there. As I mentioned earlier, in Detroit, I tipped the scale at 397 pounds. I felt like complete shit, and my strength seemed to plateau there. I felt as if my body was telling me something and I actually listened.

I started to clean up my diet just a bit, and I dropped back down to about 380–385. That was the weight that I felt good at and my strength seemed to keep going up. For me, getting huge was a byproduct of strength and I made sure to remember that. There isn't any sense in getting huge if your strength doesn't match up with the size. This is something to remember when and if you try this diet.

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I've always tried to keep things simple, and I never bothered to get scientific about nutrition. I really don't think that it's all that complicated unless you're trying to stay as lean as possible with maximum muscle size like a bodybuilder. In that case, it's a whole different story.

For this diet, all you need is a little common sense. If you feel like you're putting on more fat than you want, cut back on the calories by cutting back on the junk food. If you're putting on lots of size but not getting stronger, you need to think about cutting back on the calories or reevaluate how hard your training is because it may not be enough.

It really is simple math—calories in versus calories out. The only real numbers that I paid attention to were grams of protein. There are lots of different theories on this, but I always stuck to 2 grams per pound of body weight if you want to put on mass. Consume just 1 gram to maintain muscle mass. The real simplicity of this diet is that if you want to drop weight or lean out, just do the opposite of what you're doing. It's all pretty simple. All it takes is hard work and dedication.

I'll end this article with a story about my brother, who is about my height but was always skinny and under 200 pounds the majority of his life even though he ate a lot. Years back, he trained with my team for a while. Of course, putting on size to help get stronger was a big part of his training, and being my brother, he did work very hard. He put on almost 40 pounds in a matter of about six months and the great majority of that was muscle. He was a typical hard gainer for size, but the difference was that he was dedicated.

He always drank a Muscle Milk before bed and made up a second one with ice in it, which he put next to his bed. At some point during the night, he always woke up, slammed it and then went back to sleep. Working as a carpenter didn't really leave much time to eat on a regular schedule, but he made up for that whenever he could. On squat nights, he came to the gym with three ultimate cheeseburgers (double patties and cheese) and proceeded to down them in about five minutes. Other than work, I often saw him with some sort of food in his hand. He didn't lift with us much longer than that and lost much of this weight quickly. I think it was an addiction to extreme sports that became more important, and most of those aren't done by huge guys.

The point is that if you want it bad enough, you'll do what it takes. I don't buy it when people say that they just can't gain weight. Yes, it's easier for some people, but it can still be done if you have the heart and determination to do it. If you really want it, you always find a way.

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