Making gains on lifts but not gaining weight?

I was bulking for a period of 4 months, averaging over 3000 calories a day. At some point I lost motivation and desire to eat a lot, and have now been averaging closer to ~2500 calories a day.

My weight's stabilized around 120 lbs, and am continuing with my programming.

I've noticed that while my body weight has remained static, each week the weights I am doing for each exercise have increased (under the observations of a personal trainer).

If I'm not gaining weight, how are my muscles getting stronger? Is it possible to increase lifts but not gain very much weight? I've noticed I can do feats I couldn't do before, like carry around some of my lighter friends.

Replies

  • ceorpr
    ceorpr Posts: 24 Member
    Not an expert. But a student of chemistry with minor in bio. Sounds simple. Your gaining some muscle and losing some fat for a core balance. Seems ideal. Imagine 1lb of pure lean deli ham in the bag. Now imagine only 4 of these strapped one each to your biceps and chest muscles. Youd look much more muscular but have only 4 lbs of extra weight. If in the process you also lossed 4 lbs of fat youd be stronger but not weigh any more than when you started. True gaining natural muscle over fat is a slow process. Not what those in a hurry want to hear but good progress naturally without chemicals can take up to a year to put on 5 lbs of real true muscle without additional fat. Keep up the great work. Learn about Macros. Its all over YouTube and certainly some foljs here the MyFitnessPal forum can guide you further.
  • MynameisJerryB
    MynameisJerryB Posts: 168 Member
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    These two pics are 4 months apart. In the 1st I weighed 240 and now I'm 215, yet I look bigger in the second pic because I am losing fat and gaining muscle.
  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,842 Member
    yes you can gain strength without gaining much size.
  • ChuckeeCheezit
    ChuckeeCheezit Posts: 11 Member
    you getting noob gains, its natural for a beginner. as to why your not gaining weight, its simple, eat more.
  • auddii
    auddii Posts: 15,357 Member
    What the hell is going on in this thread?

    Anyways, yes, you can make strength gains without mass gains, it's called neuromuscular adaptation: http://www.livestrong.com/article/415559-neuromuscular-adaptations-due-to-strength-training/

    If you want to get bigger, you need to eat at a surplus; you seem to be maintaining at 2500 calories, so you're going to need to increase the calories again if you want to gain mass.
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,147 Member
    I was bulking for a period of 4 months, averaging over 3000 calories a day. At some point I lost motivation and desire to eat a lot, and have now been averaging closer to ~2500 calories a day.

    My weight's stabilized around 120 lbs, and am continuing with my programming.

    I've noticed that while my body weight has remained static, each week the weights I am doing for each exercise have increased (under the observations of a personal trainer).

    If I'm not gaining weight, how are my muscles getting stronger? Is it possible to increase lifts but not gain very much weight? I've noticed I can do feats I couldn't do before, like carry around some of my lighter friends.

    strength gains do not equal mass gains.

    If you are not gaining then eat more food. Add 150 calories a day and see what happens..no gain, increase until you are gaining.
  • Sarauk2sf
    Sarauk2sf Posts: 28,079 Member
    You can gain strength even on a deficit and actually even with some muscle loss in some situations. Strength is primarily neuromuscular adaptation (your body developing its ability to activate muscle fibers by increasing the frequency of neural impulses sent to the brain as well as improving intra- and inter-muscle coordination), and you can increase that relatively quickly when you first start lifting. More muscle helps increase strength however as more muscle = more the impulses have to 'work with'.

  • crin766
    crin766 Posts: 2 Member
    As your form improves you will lift more and with more confidence. Change up your diet, throw in some shakes and get up to 3/3.5k a day and watch the scales go up.im eating 3600 and have to stop myself going over. ...come to mention it im off to the fridge
  • JoshLibby
    JoshLibby Posts: 214 Member
    edited June 2015
    I was bulking for a period of 4 months, averaging over 3000 calories a day. At some point I lost motivation and desire to eat a lot, and have now been averaging closer to ~2500 calories a day.

    My weight's stabilized around 120 lbs, and am continuing with my programming.

    I've noticed that while my body weight has remained static, each week the weights I am doing for each exercise have increased (under the observations of a personal trainer).

    If I'm not gaining weight, how are my muscles getting stronger? Is it possible to increase lifts but not gain very much weight? I've noticed I can do feats I couldn't do before, like carry around some of my lighter friends.

    New people will usually gain muscle and lose fat for 8-10 months after that it gets a little harder, enjoy it my friend. If you're not new and still gaining strength and not muscle give it some time the weight will come. Give a good year to weight training to make a foundation. I recommend lifting for 2 years before "bulking", but you can do what you want.