I have trained a variety of sports such as soccer, swimming, skiing -- and later in the university got interested in weight-lifting. I do 6 months' fat-burning training such as marathon etc (summer) and 6 months' mass-fat-muscle-increasing training (winter). My mass doubles during the weight-lifting session. I just do what feels good: I try to train as symmetric muscle groups as possible and not overdo any muscle. My age is 25 currently, height about 175cm. The last cycle my mass increased from 70kg to 100kg so 30/70, 43% increase in mass.

My goal is just to maintain a healthy fitness profile, I am feeling far better when decided to invest in training. Now I would like to understand its planning.

Is it normal that mass doubles 6 months for a healthy man from marathon training to weight training? Is there any suggestions for this kind of training schedule for the mass?


  • heavy soccer training, 65kg (2007)

  • stop heavy soccer training, 55kg (2008)

  • university, little training, 70kg (2010-2012)

  • university, running, swimming, bicycling etc 65-70kg (summer 2012)

  • weight lifting: biceps, abs, hamstrings, flexor digitorum communis, 100kg (winter 2012-2013)

  • marathon running, trekking, canoeing, packrafting, travelling: 74 kg (2013 summer + december)

  • weight lifting (pectoralis major, trapezius, deltoids, triceps), 82kg-->(est. 120kg) 2014

  • 1
    Are you proposing that you're going to cycle each year between lifting and marathoning? I also don't see where you doubled your mass--the closest is a near-doubling over five years. I also am unclear on the question: are you just asking how common this is, or do you have a specific question about implementing your plan? Jan 31 '14 at 13:53
  • As Dave points out, you only increased your mass 17 kg, from a starting point of 65 kg. That's slightly more than a 25% increase, hardly "doubling" your mass.
    – JohnP
    Jan 31 '14 at 14:36
  • @JohnP doubling is exaggeration but 30kg in 70kg is still a lot, 43% more mass. Yes I do training in 6month's cycles: I grow muscles at the same time as I grow fat. I go down next 6 months where the fat goes down fast but most muscle stay. Now I am gaining mass far faster than last time I did the cycle. Now when I started again, I gained 7kg/day and requiring long-long sleep like 15 hours with the most intensive training days and muscles growing larger again, water and liquids going back to muscles. Because of rapid increase in my weight, I have tennis/skiing/rest/climbing/etc recovery days
    – hhh
    Jan 31 '14 at 20:06
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    We can debate the actual percentage, but you're having swings of ~ 40-60 lbs (18-25kg) twice a year. That in itself is not really healthy, there are a lot of health problems that can come with large weight gain/loss cycles like that.
    – JohnP
    Jan 31 '14 at 20:19
  • 2
    You might be way overeating during your strength training. I highly doubt you are going to hit 120kg while staying lean unless you resort to steroids. Be more moderate in your food and you won't hit such wild swings in mass. Jan 31 '14 at 20:47

I'm going to restructure your question a little bit to help you understand what's going on:

Is it normal for mass to increase substantially going from marathon training to a hypertrophy based resistance training?

The short answer is: yes. The longer answer has to do with the specific adaptations your body is going through in response to the training. Ignoring all cardiovascular changes (and there are many in this category), the primary difference from a body composition standpoint is:

  • Endurance based training develops type I muscle fibers (AKA slow twitch).
  • Hypertrophy based resistance training develops type II muscle fibers, primarily type II-B (AKA fast twitch).
  • It is not uncommon to add fat mass while intentionally bulking.

There are several differences between slow and fast twich muscle fibers. Much of those differences have to do with the energy systems they are designed for. Slow twitch muscle is optimized to work from the aerobic metabolic pathways. They fire more slowly and use oxygen and ATP to fuel work. Fast twitch muscle is optimized to work from anaerobic metabolic pathways. They fire quickly to produce force and use glycogen and ATP (with lactic acid byproducts), or the phosphogen system (using creatine phosphate to replenish energy).

Additionally there are two primary types of hypertrophy:

  • Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy--energy support systems (glycogen reserves)
  • Myofibrilar hypertrophy--muscle contractile protein pairs

As you perform hypertrophy based resistance training (typically emphasizing sarcoplasmic hypertrophy), your body makes adaptations to increase the potential energy your muscles can store, and then fills those energy reserves. All of this increases your mass. Resistance training is also more anabolic than catabolic. Essentially it's telling your body to get bigger and stronger for short bursts.

As you perform endurance based training, your body makes opposite adaptations. Since endurance uses the oxygen based energy systems, it no longer needs the same glycogen reserves in the sarcoplasm. Additionally, since the body wants to be efficient for the job at hand it needs to reduce mass. Your type II muscle loses its sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, and starts getting converted to type I muscle which takes up less mass. Endurance training is more catabolic than anabolic. Essentially it's telling your body to get lighter move longer distances.

Assuming your body fat stays the same year round, you will still have more mass after extended hypertrophy based resistance training than extended endurance based training.

  • Sarcoplasm contains myofibrils, myofibrils contain sarcomeres. Sarcomeres are the basic unit of muscles like a spring -- are sarcomeres the so-called "muscle fibers"? So are there different types of sarcomeres? Do they change their form to typeI and typeII? ATP is a molecule (an intracellular unit of energy transfer), en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenosine_triphosphate, not to be confused with ATPase en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Na%2B/K%2B-ATPase -- just thinking aloud your writing +1.
    – hhh
    Feb 1 '14 at 0:55
  • One question missing: when you start a bulking-weight-lifting cycle, how much should your mass be allowed to swing from the mass-burning-marathon cycle? How to know which swings are healthy? I have noticed that I am able to kill pain/dizziness by bulking after weight-lifting, a problem that a lot of my skinny friends are worried about. I acknowledge that if I am trying to increase muscle mass, then the healthy way is to increase muscles mass and increase the extra resources such as fat, protein etc so not getting injured. I think that sounds logical but how to know when bulking is too much?
    – hhh
    Feb 1 '14 at 1:08
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    This is a case where I think Wikipedia is a bit off. Sarcomeres and Sarcoplasm contain energy reserves, including ATP and glycogen stores. They tend to take up more space, so bodybuilders tend to emphasize that type of hypertrophy. Myofibrils contain Actin/Myosin protein pairs that perform contraction--i.e. the ability to generate more force. At least this is what I've read from various books. Admittedly none of those books are biology texts. Feb 17 '14 at 13:14
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    As to bulking, your body is in the optimal muscle making hormonal profile between 10-15% body fat. If you start at or below 10% and keep bulking at a slow and steady pace until you hit 15%, you are in a very good position to remove the fat while keeping just about all your muscle. Don't go overboard and eat the world just because you're bulking. Stick with good foods, just more of them. A good pace for increasing mass would be 3/4 of a pound a week. You can't realistically put on more muscle than that naturally. Feb 17 '14 at 13:18

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