Huel and Initial Basic Hypertrophy

I started Huel with the intention of doing a mass-gaining program of some sort. Initially, I was going to go with 5x5 but I was glad to find James’ Huel Guide to Gaining Weight, and I decided to go with his Initial Basic Hypertrophy plan for 12 weeks. I’ve been doing mostly bodyweight exercises (pushups, pullups, dips, backpack squats) since January at home, with little focus on my diet except for getting enough fresh fruit and veg, and low GI carbs, and some protein.

I’m 5 weeks in, so nearly halfway. Here is the plan I set out at the beginning. Note that my maintenance is 2850 cals per day.

The Plan

  • Initial Basic Hypertrophy for 12 weeks (18 April - 10 July)
  • 3350 calories a day with 5 Huel meals, 1 food meal
  • Goal: Bulk with roughly even split of muscle and fat gain
  • Looong-Term Goal: 90kg at 10-12% body fat

The Results

Start:         81.7kg, 19.7% BF (65.6kg muscle, 16.1kg fat)
After 1 Week:  82.8kg, 20.5% BF (65.8kg muscle, 17.0kg fat)
After 2 Weeks: 83.9kg, 21.3% BF (66.0kg muscle, 17.9kg fat)
After 3 Weeks: 85.1kg, 22.2% BF (66.2kg muscle, 18.9kg fat)
After 4 Weeks: 84.0kg, 21.4% BF (66.0kg muscle, 18.0kg fat)
After 5 Weeks: 83.8kg, 21.1% BF (66.1kg muscle, 17.7kg fat)

Some Notes

Week 4 was a monstrous work period where the diet went out the window and nothing went as planned. I lost 1.1kg of weight. Week 5 (this past week) I had a stag-do out in the wilderness that meant we basically didn’t eat for most of the day. Oddly enough, gained a small bit of muscle and lost a tiny bit of fat. Must have been the axe-throwing.

In the other 3 weeks out of 5, I put on 0.2kg of muscle and 0.9kg of fat. Certainly not _un_happy with that, but I’ve dropped the caloric intake slightly and will keep dropping it as long I’m not losing weight. Hopefully the fat will come down to 0.2kg per week as well.

So overall, in 5 weeks I’ve gained 0.5kg of muscle and gained 1.6kg of fat, using this program. Since January then, I’ve gained 1.0kg of muscle and actually lost 0.1kg of fat, which is great.

I do have a couple of questions so far, and I would be ecstatic if @JamesCollier could offer his opinion on them. :grin:

(1) Is a 2.5kg increase per week on the big lifts (squat, deadlift, bench) enough? I understand this isn’t a strength-gaining program so I’ve been going for the minimum increase.

(2) As mentioned, 0.2kg of muscle and 0.9kg of fat appears to be a good week for me. Is this a pretty normal rate of weight-gain?

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Hi - good to hear all’s going well. People expect too much too soon and it’s good to be realistic with your goals.

  1. I think that’s phenominal - I wish my lifts went up that much!

  2. It’s a great gain muscle wise. Do you want to gain the fat, though?

Thanks for the quick response!

  1. Okay wow, glad to hear that! Maybe I’m just seeing beginner’s luck. I’ve had some difficulty with bench press: last week I struggled with 37.5kg, though I did squeak through with 3 x 8. I’ll see what happens tomorrow at 40kg. Squats are at a similar level of exertion right now. This isn’t happening at all with EZ Curls or Shoulder Press… they’re going up real slow.

  2. Oh good, muscle-wise I thought that was alright. For the fat – not really happy no! An even split of 0.2kg each I’d be perfectly happy with. I have been slowly cutting down and I’m on 3200 cals now. I’ve had some meet-ups where alcohol was around and I probably didn’t count cals as well as I could have. The longer I try to stick to a certain eating plan the more the phrase “life is one long list of extenuating circumstances” makes perfect sense to me.

  1. we all have strong and weak points

  2. Yes, I was going to suggest cutting down a bit on the cals

keep us posted :slight_smile:

1 Like

I have such issues with the shoulder press. I main steady increases on everything except this, so it’s nice to hear I’m not the only one!

You’re definitely not the only one mate! I’ve been stuck on the same weight on shoulder press for about 3 weeks now. Every time I go 2.5kg higher, I regret that decision after about 4 reps. :joy: