Gaining muscle for hunting?

ajbailey21

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I am 5’ 10” and at the end of last year was 158-160. Consistency and calorie intake were real keys for me. I started drinking whole milk at mealtimes to stuff in the extra calories and that’s helped a lot.

Any idea how many calories you are consuming? What do your workouts look like?


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ajbailey21

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Yeah, that’s super hard to do cleanly…i have to really work to eat that much, ha. I guess that milk really helps. Did that help you put on muscle or just fat/bulk?

How hard are you working out?


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I haven’t seen anyone post yet who’s truly skinny like me

I’m 5’11” and 158 lbs. always been very thin. I started ‘lifting’ about a month ago, 3-4 days a week, with dumbbells and kettle bells at home, full body, high reps, low weight. I’ve put on a couple pounds I think, hard to tell as weight varies by day. My goal is to get to 165, but it’s going to be pretty tough for my build I think. Unless I got a trainer and ate a lot of clean calories? I’m learning though…

For cardio, I either run, row, or mountain bike (e bike though ) 2-3 days a week. Closer to hunting season I’ll ruck with my pack more.

So training 6 days, rest 1 day.

I started tracking my diet about a month ago and I struggle to get 150 grams of protein consistently, but I try. I average around 2,200-2,400 calories.

Open to any input from folks who have had similar experience?


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I can relate. I'm 5'11, was 163lbs 4 weeks ago (have been 155-160 for 10 years probably). Now I'm about 171lbs due to eating a caloric surplus and working through the Starting Strength program. I did something similar in college with excellent results, and I'm even more driven now.

I have realized my weakness continues to be strength, so I am specifically training to boost that - knowing everything else will be caught back up later once I improve my strength baseline. So compared to you, I'm working with higher weight and lower reps. Only 3 days/wk lifting for me, with a soccer game and hike/run/mtb rides mixed in periodically.

4 weeks ago, I couldn't even squat 225 to full depth. On Friday I knocked out 3 sets of 5 at 240. I will add 5lbs tomorrow.
Deadlifting over 300lbs now too. Both are very relevant to hunting.

Since my goals are very specifically to get stronger (amd looking it would be nice too!!), I am training  with specific goals and metrics to keep me accountable.

Have you considered any other specific goals aside from body weight?
 

ajbailey21

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I can relate. I'm 5'11, was 163lbs 4 weeks ago (have been 155-160 for 10 years probably). Now I'm about 171lbs due to eating a caloric surplus and working through the Starting Strength program. I did something similar in college with excellent results, and I'm even more driven now.

I have realized my weakness continues to be strength, so I am specifically training to boost that - knowing everything else will be caught back up later once I improve my strength baseline. So compared to you, I'm working with higher weight and lower reps. Only 3 days/wk lifting for me, with a soccer game and hike/run/mtb rides mixed in periodically.

4 weeks ago, I couldn't even squat 225 to full depth. On Friday I knocked out 3 sets of 5 at 240. I will add 5lbs tomorrow.
Deadlifting over 300lbs now too. Both are very relevant to hunting.

Since my goals are very specifically to get stronger (amd looking it would be nice too!!), I am training  with specific goals and metrics to keep me accountable.

Have you considered any other specific goals aside from body weight?

This is great, thank you. Few questions and comments

You said caloric surplus, how many calories roughly?

What is Starting Strength? That’s some serious progress in four weeks!

I really don’t have an interest in lifting ‘heavy’. My goal is simply to be generally fit to be able to do the things I want to without injury. Those things are to run, hike, hunt out west a week a year, mtb, play with kids, and be generally active! I had shoulder surgery last year, and I’m 36 now, I can tell a difference with age and want to maintain a certain level of fitness for the long haul. I want a good balance of cardio and strength, increase my VO2 max, etc.


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This is great, thank you. Few questions and comments

You said caloric surplus, how many calories roughly?

What is Starting Strength? That’s some serious progress in four weeks!

I really don’t have an interest in lifting ‘heavy’. My goal is simply to be generally fit to be able to do the things I want to without injury. Those things are to run, hike, hunt out west a week a year, mtb, play with kids, and be generally active! I had shoulder surgery last year, and I’m 36 now, I can tell a difference with age and want to maintain a certain level of fitness for the long haul. I want a good balance of cardio and strength, increase my VO2 max, etc.


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I have been meaning to track better, but probably 3000-3500. Ive always been a pretty big eater for my size, and I still have to intentionally put enough food down. I am definitely increasing body fat in the mean time, but I already know how to take care of that!

Starting Strength is a book and program that emphasizes the big compound barbell lifts (squat, press, bench, deadlift, power clean). It's worth reading into and might provide some good insight no matter how you're training.

I'm 33, and also never cared to lift heavy at all. But this is an effort for me to improve my weakest link, so whatever it takes. Form is the most important part of preventing injury. I had a couple issues earlier this year as I was generally starting to lift again that set me back. Otherwise, the novice linear progression is very predictable so injuries are unlikely with proper form (some may call boring...but it gets results).
 

Gseith

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How often do you work out? And for how long? Sounds like our home workout setups are identical.

Also, any idea how many calories you are eating? I also doing protein and creatine, but only for about last month…


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I started out by working out 4 days a week and 1 day of cardio. Cardio was running or biking.
Now I just work out when I feel like it through the week and I track the minutes on the garmin app through my watch. I track the minutes. I’m a big on using my my watch to track my workouts. I always shoot for 100 vigorous minutes and 100 moderate minutes a week. My cardio has switched to hiit workouts with a kettlebell.
I eat around 2000-2500 calories a day and drink two protein shakes a day.
 
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I do the trap bar/hex bar variation. I’m not saying it’s the best, but I believe it’s probably best for me.
I haven’t seen anything that conclusively says the trap bar is less of a lift, you’re already on the right path if you’re doing them.
This could be true, but I believe you would have to put on quite a bit of mass and Natural Joe Average is unlikely to be capable of it.
I’m talking straight meathead. I have a few in my crew who are absolute silverbacks but can’t figure out why they gas out after a few miles.
But, for example, take a man 6’0” who weighs 175 and build him up to 200.
I would call that an ideal weight range for a 6’0 man.

Really, the metric to use is when muscle mass decreases mobility or performance for a given endeavor, you are officially counterproductive.
 

madtinker

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Any idea how many calories you are consuming? What do your workouts look like?


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I’m not sure really. I eat a protein breakfast of eggs and turkey, then I try to make my snacks things like nuts or meat and cheese during the day. I eat leftovers for lunch and whatever my wife cooks for dinner, but I try to emphasize protein where I can, especially if I am cooking, but veggies and whole grains are necessary as well. We cook from scratch so I was already doing pretty well most of the time. I’ll drink a protein shake from whole milk, protein powder, PB fit, and home-made Greek yoghurt after a workout.

I’m pretty sure my weight gains are muscle; my shorts don’t fit across my shoulders but my stomach is as flat as it’s ever been.

Workouts are roughly:
Mondays: inverted pushups, pull-ups, weighted leg raises, three sets to failure
Tuesday: 3-mile run or 17 minutes of kettlebells (goblet squats, lunges, jerks, swings)
Wednesday: regular pushups, pull-ups, weighted leg raises, 3 sets to failure
Thursday: ruck or kettlebells
Friday: repeat monday
Saturday: long ruck
Sunday: trail run
 

Dking

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I’m naturally a thin guy. In the last 6 months or so I’ve started doing some simple strength training. Have definitely gained strength, muscle mass, and weight.

I’m wondering if others who have done that have noticed any changes, positive or negative, for backcountry hunting. Strength in the legs, back, and shoulders seems like an obvious benefit, especially during the pack out. but I wonder if muscle elsewhere is superfluous mass in the mountains. This all assumes that one maintains their cardio fitness, of course.

I didn’t notice much this season, but I also didn’t push myself that hard this year.

Share your experience.
I would definitely lift weights. More legs/back and less chest/triceps.
 

BBob

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I haven’t seen anyone post yet who’s truly skinny like me
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5’9” (barely) 150 ish here 🤪 If I lift a lot and not much else I’ve been a bit over 160 but with cycling and time in the mountains I’m best at 150 ish. I love my deadlifts the most, probably because I’m good at them. Squats second and I hate bench presses. I have never been a good bench presser no matter how hard I train. Genetically poor pec’s and thin chest I suppose.

Food intake is tough for me as well. It’s hard for me to process the amount of food I need to intake to maintain. I assume it’s my thin build and why my gut can handle only so much quantity of food a at one time.
 
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Gseith

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This is great, thank you. Few questions and comments

You said caloric surplus, how many calories roughly?

What is Starting Strength? That’s some serious progress in four weeks!

I really don’t have an interest in lifting ‘heavy’. My goal is simply to be generally fit to be able to do the things I want to without injury. Those things are to run, hike, hunt out west a week a year, mtb, play with kids, and be generally active! I had shoulder surgery last year, and I’m 36 now, I can tell a difference with age and want to maintain a certain level of fitness for the long haul. I want a good balance of cardio and strength, increase my VO2 max, etc.


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I don’t think I do any heavy lifting. I didn’t want to commit to a gym or having a ton of weights around the house. I have a pair of 55lb, 25lb, and 15lb dumbbells. I also have a 50lb, 35lb, 30lb, and 25lb kettlebell.
I’m always shooting for 8-12 reps. If things gets easy focus on the slower ecentric movements. Also focus on form.
Look up different routines to switch things up. I’ve been using the kettlebells for everything lately except for chest workouts.
I’m 39 and I started for the same reason as you. For personal health improvement and so I my body won’t slow me down while hurting.
 

madtinker

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Not sure if it’s mentioned elsewhere in this thread, but the book “convict conditioning” has some good exercise progressions for lifting heavy without heavy lifting.
 

Poser

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I’m talking straight meathead. I have a few in my crew who are absolute silverbacks but can’t figure out why they gas out after a few miles.

I don't think that most anyone would claim that dedicated hypertrophy (aka "body building", "beach muscles", bro splits" etc) is going to be the best route for athletic performance in general or mountain fitness in particular. Guys that are training for pure size vs. strength are carrying a lot of water and nitrogen in those muscle fibers. Strength training is going to produce more dense muscle fibers (though the muscles will still get bigger) vs. pure bulk, aesthetics, muscle group separation etc. Training compound movements strengthens fundamental movement patterns vs. accessories in partial rep range and machines where individual muscles are targeted. Some folks might say gym bro training is for "all show and no go" and that may or may not be a fair assessment. End of the day, you're still going to have to be able to move well and efficiently in the mountains by training specifically for that. And you're going to need a lot of grit to excel at it.
 
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I don't think that most anyone would claim that dedicated hypertrophy (aka "body building", "beach muscles", bro splits" etc) is going to be the best route for athletic performance in general or mountain fitness in particular. Guys that are training for pure size vs. strength are carrying a lot of water and nitrogen in those muscle fibers.
Agreed. The guys I know still get paid to break things and blow stuff up, and to their credit, they still maintain an excellent level of anaerobic capacity. Aerobic conditions + significant elevation increase + sustained output is just not what the beefcake approach excels at.

I think last year when we compared calorie counts at the end of the first three days of our elk hunt, I was averaging 1k/per day less than they were, plus their water intake was much higher to keep leg cramps down.
End of the day, you're still going to have to be able to move well and efficiently in the mountains by training specifically for that.
100%, Mark Twight wrote some good papers, along with others, on the benefits to sport specificity in a training program. The only real focus has been mobility, core strength, and functional strength in the last few years and it is a night and day difference in performance.
 
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