PT on the Net Research

Healthy Weight Gain


I have a client who wishes to gain weight and bulk up. He has a high heart rate and suffers from tremors in his right arm and hand. His diet consists of nourishment drinks and protein weight gain drinks alongside a normal healthy diet. I suggested he have his thyroid gland checked out. Do you have any suggestions?


There is a lot you can recommend or even do with your client, but some of it may be outside of your scope of practice. Here are my recommendations, in no particular order:

  1. The foundation of life is food, good quality food. Without it, the body will not function or heal properly, and dysfunctions will arise. My first recommendation would be to either educate your client about food quality or refer him out to a holistic nutritionist, CHEK NLC practitioner or someone else in the field that can accomplish this.
    Most protein shakes and so called health drinks are mostly sugar, also filled with synthetic vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are a huge stress to the body. This has a large impact on the gut, causing inflammation as well as creating an insulin and cortisol spike and then crash. The pancreas and adrenal glands take the body for a roller coaster ride each day. So if he is experiencing highs and lows, fatigue or GI discomfort, this is most likely the source. There is a lot more to this, but to make a long story short, I would recommend:
    • Eating organic foods.
    • Staying away from sugars, flour, table salt, gluten containing grains and pasteurized milk.
    • If he can’t pronounce an ingredient, don’t eat it.
    • If he wants to eat something and it has a shelf life, don’t eat it.
    • If it was not here 10,000 years ago, don’t eat it.
    • Drink half his body weight in ounces of water per day.
    • Stay away from microwaves.
    Anytime someone is trying to put more energy into the body’s bank account, it takes life and energy. Non foods such as protein drinks, bars, boxed foods, etc. take more energy away than they give. It takes life to give life!
  2. When trying to gain weight, the most important thing in regards to exercise is the variables in the program design. You want to make sure you take your client through the stability, strength and power paradigm in order to facilitate his success. I don’t know much about your client, but in a general sense, most strength and weight gaining programs with have intensities of 75 percent or more, reps between eight and 12 and faster tempos (maybe at 101, etc). (Learn more about this by reading anything by Charles Poliquin.)
  3. Anytime the body is under stress and it is releasing catabolic hormones such as insulin and cortisol, the body is going to be broken down. Make sure your client is getting enough rest on his off days and not over training when he is working out. Also, make sure he is getting enough sleep to repair and regenerate as well as working on adapting stress relief principles into his day to reduce his stress levels.
  4. In regards to lab tests, there are a lot of functional medicine practitioners out there he can use. Most are out of pocket, but the results are impeccable. If he does not want to pay out of pocket, I would recommend getting a gut test and/or adrenal stress test. This will tell you exactly what is going on in order for someone to treat it. There are so many other labs I would recommend, and this recommendation is in the future if he is not getting results from the above. The reason I mention an adrenal test and not thyroid is because there is a lot of research by Lee, Simpson and Peate proving that anytime the adrenals are under a state of stress, the body’s master regulator of metabolism (thyroid) will slow down in order to protect the body. This is not always the case, but you see most people with thyroid issues as the byproduct of an adrenal issue, estrogen dominance issue and so forth.
  5. Supplement recommendations: adrenal support herbs (through herb pharm or bio-health diagnostics), 4000mg of Cod Liver Oil each day (natural anti-inflammatory), eating balanced organic meals throughout the day and DHEA and pregnenolone only if he is tested and his levels indicate he needs them.

Good luck!