I am underweight. “171 cm tall with 53 kg weight” resides in the “malnourished and please eat more” section in physiotherapy’s dictionary. And for every doctor’s visit I am met with advice “eat a lot more”, which then going into an endless loop throughout the history of my encounter with any physician. This “eat a lot more” needs to take a new form of rigorous regiment, and this is my plan to embark into such adventure, towards better fitness.

And how do I suggest myself to do that? I don’t know, but I can try.

let’s discuss about calories first

… and before we talk about calories, here is a concept we need to digest: total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), a.k.a energy balance. TDEE is defined as the average amount of calories we burn each day. TDEE is calculated as amount of energy required for basal metabolic rate (BMR) plus physical activities we complete every day. So first, we need to know our TDEE. How? There are a lot of ways to do this, and I suggest this website as starting point.

To increase muscle mass (a.k.a bulking up), a rough estimation of 500 calories above TDEE required. Right now I am rated around 1900 calories, so to increase muscle mass, I need to consume roughly 2400 calories/day. Bear in mind that this is rough estimation.

So now I need to get the calories roughly 2400 calories/day. Is this achievable? Yes. Is it hard? It depends. This wiki on Reddit r/gainit subreddit provides good starting points for beginners. Start simple and cheap. Oatmeal, milk, bread, and peanut spread are cheap sources for calories. The way I do it is early in the morning, I will go for around 600 - 1000 calories, usually with the help of a plate of rice. Then the rest of the day would be smidgen bit easier to keep up with the demand.

There are several shortcuts for this, namely, protein shakes and creatine intake. I don’t know any better about these two, however.

calories alone won’t do much

… because the body needs to know that all those calories demand attention, and discipline too. This requires a training regiment famously known as resistance training. With resistance training, what we are doing is that we tell the muscles in our body “hey man, I am going to torture you, so go big or go home”. Through this training regiment (I shouldn’t say regiment though, because it sounds a bit scary), muscles are going to learn that they need to increase their mass to become stronger (and eventually, bulkier and toned). If I have more time, probably in the future I will provide biochemistry point of view on this particular aspect (spoiler alert: glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathway).

I am not an expert with this resistance training (I am still learning though). YouTube and Google are helpful, so go scout for information there.

estimating the progress

I am going to eat like a pig, like, eating 24 hours/day. This is for calories consumption.

I am a data-driven person, hence I am interested with the data I could gather throughout the course of attempting to bulk up. If I am designing a full-fledged data analysis on this, I would be interested to track:

  1. Weight, measured each morning and before sleeping.
  2. Estimated calories consumed, time-course data.
  3. Time spent on exercise.
  4. Money spent on food.

I don’t know how these data would look like, but I am giving it a try. Maybe 4 - 8 months from now I will report my progress here.

Gaining weight sounds fun. Data analytics too.