Fitness Diary: The Mental Battle Of Purposely Gaining 10 Pounds

I stepped on the scale yesterday and saw a number I haven’t seen in years. I was up 8 pounds…

Today is a different type of post than I normally share. Normally, I write informational posts on helping you to achieve fitness and nutritional success. While I share my personal stories, I rarely aim to allow them to take center stage. Instead, most often my life is used as a backdrop, a way to relate and move into the “how to’s” of life/fitness.

Today is different. Today, I am using my blog as my dairy because indirectly that is exactly what it is.

I hope that you stick around today, share your opinions and please realize that this is my own personal situation and keep all comments positive, though I know you’re all my friends.

The 10 Pound Challenge

It all started back in January when Dan challenged me to gain 10 pounds. Why would he do such a thing?

Because for years I have pointed to strong, muscular, yet feminine women and said… that’s what I want. I was inspired by their strength and their amazing physiques.

You see, for years I called myself a “hardgainer” one of those people who could easily build strength but not actual muscle/tone. While I wanted this to be true, I knew the real reason I didn’t have muscle to reflect my strength was because I wasn’t trying to.


A Year Ago – Palmetto70 Race

It’s hard for the body to pack on muscle, it takes not only good workouts but also extra calories. For a girl that has watched her caloric intake for years, the idea of purposely eating more was/is a hard thing to take in.

So I didn’t, I continued to eat low calories, run lots and lots of miles and complain that I wasn’t genetically gifted in the “muscle” department.

It was a lie.

To gain muscle I had to eat more, I had to be okay with gaining weight (muscle weight). All the ladies I adored had one thing common… they weighed at least 10 pounds more than me yet clothes size was the same.

So that’s where the challenge came in.

It came right after my running injury and right around the time I decided I wanted to dedicate myself more to kettlebell training.

Weight Gain Hesitation

Of course I was hesitant to accept the challenge. The first month I just brushed it off, no way jose was I going to gain weight.

Yes, I was at a low weight for my height but I liked it that way… I had pride seeing my weight pop up on the scale. And to be honest, secretly I would have been just fine if that weight went down even more, because that’s how women are. The lower the number, the better we feel. And at 5’5 (and a half) weighing 112 probably wasn’t something to be proud of. But I was.

One thing you should know about Dan is he is persistant (very very persistent) and right after the New Year I decided to go for it.


Last weekend

The only peace of mind I had was knowing that if I didn’t like the outcome, I could change. I’ve lost weight before and I could do it again if needed.

Worst case scenario, I would just go back to my old ways of training.

Having A Competitive Mindset


Yesterday – Never thought I would be able to do this!

I’m a competitive woman… there is absolutely no denying this. If I didn’t have Dan giving me this challenge, I probably wouldn’t have stuck to it.

But I don’t like to fail, and I sure as hell didn’t want him to be able to throw it in my face if I gave up.

So that’s the goal that I’ve been chasing. I haven’t shared it until now because it’s taken until now to get my thoughts together and decide how I feel about the whole challenge.

The Mental Side Of Weight Gain

Back to the where we started… as of yesterday I am up 8-pounds. Did I celebrate, throw my fists up with pride knowing that I am just 2 pounds away from my goal?

No. I had a mini pack attack.

I took a deep breath in and did my best to push away negatives thoughts. Isn’t it funny the power that a number on the scale has? That it can bring us up and tear us down so quickly? Why?

My clothes fit the same, my arms are more toned than they have ever been and I am doing things in my workouts that I never imagined. Those are the results I wanted.


So then why was my mind throwing a hissy fit upon seeing a number? That number doesn’t show anything. It doesn’t reveal anything about me.

Fear. It all comes down to fear. Guess what? Screw fear.

Fear, I’m Over You

No Fear At The Gym

For about an hour after seeing the number, my mind went back and forth trying to decide how it felt about this 8-pounds. Then I said screw it… I’m tired of playing it safe. Tired of being afraid of a number. Tired of holding back on what I can achieve. Just tired of being afraid.

Yes, I might be 8 pounds heavier. But I’m 8 pounds stronger, 8-pounds toner, and more importantly 8-pounds healthier. 

I have 2 more pounds to go before this challenge is over. And I am excited to see what the end result is. I know that 2 pounds isn’t a lot physically, but mentally it’s equal to someone that has just 2 pounds left to lose… it’s a big deal.

It’s a big deal that I am excited about. I’m learning more and more about myself and my body. Overcoming old demons and embracing new habits!

What I’m Doing To Gain 10-Pounds


I’ll keep this short and sweet but I also know that some of you might be intrigued to know what I’ve been doing to put the muscle on.

–> Eating more. Not eating more with junk food, but eating larger portions of clean foods. It was hard at first, but not so bad now. Changing my diet helped make this a lot easier. I’m not counting calories.

–> More protein. Again, since going away from my vegan diet this has been a lot easier. Each meal now has a strong protein make up with my staples being eggs; chicken (1-2x/week); fish; and protein powder. Protein pancakes have made a re-appearance!

–> Less running. Last year running was center stage. I made it a goal to run a race every month and succeeded. Most months I was running between 75-100 miles. Since recovering from my foot injury, I’ve kept the miles scaled back. Still running as frequently just not as long. Running breaks down muscle mass, so this was a must for me. Rarely do I run over 7 miles now and after the Palmetto200, I will scale back more while adding more intervals.

–> Lifting heavy. With the proper fuel, my body was ready to add mass! It just needed to be told what kind of mass (fat vs muscle) that is where my training sessions have come into play. I’ve been working diligently with kettlebells and working to move up with my weight. Each training session I go into with my goal on my mind to keep me focused. Dan helps a ton with this too… yes, trainers need trainers!

What’s Next? 

After the 10 pounds, the work isn’t done. It’s close to impossible for anyone to gain JUST muscle mass so I will go into a mini lean out mode. Not much will change except a few tweaks to my nutrition. I’ll keep you in the loop and perhaps do some before and after pictures?

Let’s chat…

Would you have a hard time purposely gaining weight? 

Would you be interested in me giving weekly recaps of my workouts and progress? <– Honestly, if you don’t care then I won’t share. Won’t hurt my feelings!


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