All good things must come to an end. Thankfully, that goes for the bad things too. My *cough*month*cough* long journey through the GOMAD diet came to an end a couple weeks ago, cut slightly shorter than anticipated by some invisible evil that wormed it’s way into my ecosystem. No matter, 28ish days of GOMAD were plenty for me, and I think it was a good indicator of how my body, and possibly yours, reacts to the diet.
Just a quick recap, the GOMAD diet involves drinking an entire gallon of whole milk each and every day, while eating your normal food at the usual quantities as well. The most common suggestion is to do this for one month, which I did (mostly).
The point? To gain weight. There are a lot of guys out there, and I used to be one of them, that are skinny as hell and would drown a bushel of kittens to just to gain and retain 10 pounds.
For this wrap-up, I’ll break it down for you into an easy to read and understand pro-con format, and then break out into some free styling on each point as well.
|Gained 14 lbs.
||…I went from 6% body fat to 9.9%
|Absolutely stronger the first couple weeks
||…Felt very, very tired and lethargic the last week and a half or so of the diet
|LDL cholesterol dropped
||…HDL dropped as well, though not as drastically, and triglyceride levels increased
The Weight Gain
This is the one and only reason that a person puts them self through the GOMAD diet, so I’m happy to inform you, that you will indeed gain weight. In fact, I’ve read reports of some people gaining as much as a pound per day. I was skeptical of this at first, but judging from my massive weight gain in the first 2 weeks (15 pounds), I now tend to believe it.
Now the quality of that weight might not be what you’re looking for. When somebody says: man, I’m skinny, I sure would like to gain some weight, I think it’s very seldom that they’d like to put on more than half that weight in pure lard, which is basically what I did. I started off at 174lbs @ 6% body fat, and ended up at 188lbs @ 9.9% body fat. If you do the math, that’s a gain of over 8lbs of fat.
I’m happy to say that somehow my body is hiding it well. I really should’ve done an “after” picture, but I’ll just tell you that I really don’t look all that much different than before. There’s some slight definition lost, but not nearly the transformation that I would’ve expected from gaining that much weight.
So was the rest of the weight muscle? I’m sure it wasn’t. There was some muscle gained, but also a good bit of water weight was probably put on. Let’s be honest people, without the help of some serious ‘roids, you’re not going to put on 30lbs of muscle in 30 days. Real, hard earned muscle, is going to take months and months of strategic lifting and eating.
So bottom line, if you’re trying to “bulk up”, then GOMAD will definitely give you the weight. If you’re thinking this will turn you into Arnold circa Conan The Barbarian overnight, then I’d suggest you go with some dude in your gym locker room sticking a needle in your butt instead.*
How I felt
If you read the updates throughout, you’ll see that for the first half of the diet or so, I felt pretty good. I was gaining weight like crazy and, other than feeling like I was going to pop, felt fairly energetic, motivated, and ready to rage on some weights. My workouts were good, and I felt stronger; I’m assuming from the wealth of calories that I had at my disposal.
Second half of the month didn’t go so well. I stopped gaining weight, my workouts weren’t as good, I felt unmotivated, and my energy was low throughout the entire day. My doctor said my body may have started reacting negatively to all the milk, but who can really say. Maybe I was just depressed. Or maybe I was depressed, but the reason behind that was all the milk in my diet. I’m a firm believer that what you eat has a huge impact on the way you feel, not only physically, but emotionally as well.
Will I die 10 years earlier as a result?
While there are many, many different chemicals and processes in the body that may have been effected (affected? I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND WHICH ONE TO USE) by my dietary choices, there were three big ones that I, and my doctor, were concerned with:
LDL Cholesterol – “bad” cholesterol
Triglycerides – fat in the bloodstream
HDL Cholesterol – “good” cholesterol. You probably didn’t even know this existed.
I’d recommend doing some quick research online for a more medically relevant description of these elements, but for those of you who don’t really care, let me just say that having high levels of the top two is bad (particularly the LDL, as I understand it) and a high level of the HDL is good.
Considering all the saturated fat that is in a gallon of whole milk, a spike in my LDL and triglycerides wouldn’t have been all that surprising. However, the results of my blood test were quite surprising: While my Triglyceride levels rose, and my HDL dropped a little, my LDL dropped significantly. Below are the results:
Pre-GOMAD levels Post-GOMAD levels
LDL 108 mg/dL 70 mg/dL
Triglycerides 71 mg/dL 85 mg/dL
HDL 66 mg/dL 50 mg/dL
There are more statistics on this printout regarding my blood work, including calcium and Vitamin D levels (those shot up, not too surprisingly) and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t even understand (what the hell is “Bilirubin”? MS Word doesn’t even think it’s a word) so I may post PDFs at a later date of both results so you can draw your own conclusions from all the numbers.
Bottom line from the blood results though, and my doctor concurred with this, is that the GOMAD diet did not have any clearly visible negative long-term health affects (there’s that damn word again. Figured I’d use the other one so I’d at least get it right once)
Did you guys know that they had words in Maxim too!? Neither did I, but a lower sex drive opens your eyes to a whole new world…
I feel a little weird writing about this, but again, I want to be 100% honest about the whole experience. Pretty sure this falls in line with that whole “might’ve just been depressed” theory. I guess it was nice to not have it on the brain for a little while but, come on, I’m a dude… It scared the crap out of me. Happy to say it’s back to “normal” levels, whatever that means. It came back pretty quickly after I went off the diet.
I’m not saying this will happen to you, in fact other people have complained of having an overactive sex drive when on the diet. Though, dudes like to brag about their sex drive (as well as everything else), so they could just be lying. This is the friggin’ Internet, so we can all just talk about how huge all of our physical attributes are and how much testosterone is coursing through our veins… as we play World of Warcraft in our parents basement and tell our mom to stop asking us when we’re going to get a girlfriend.**
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Having put myself through all this, my suggestions for you if you’re considering trying GOMAD is:
- Ease into it
I would recommend starting with a half gallon or so the first few days, and work up to the full gallon.
- Don’t overdo it.
Yes, you’ll obviously have to push yourself to drink that much milk and eat that much food if you’re really going to see results, but listen to your body. If you’re just having a hard time forcing all the calories in, then suck it up. But if you stop gaining weight, you feel like crap, and start thinking more about who would win in a fight between Batman and a declawed Wolverine*** than the girl next door, then you might want to back off. The only reason I didn’t was because I was writing this damned article series. If it weren’t for this, I would’ve quit after week 3 when my weight gain hit a plateau.
- Plan your consumption
Until it becomes habit to drink milk constantly, you may want to set an alarm on your phone to alert you every hour or so as a reminder to drink. Just pretend it’s an all day power-hour of milk drinking and your phone is hazing the crap out of you. He says drink, and you do it pledge, or you will be blackballed.
….Well… There you have it folks. I’m glad I gave it a shot, but I’m even happier that it’s over with. Back to “normal” eating habits for me, which are relatively healthy, and much more affordable and socially acceptable.
Would I recommend you try this diet to gain weight? I’m not sure I’d recommend it under normal circumstances, but if you’re really having a tough time gaining weight, it might be a good last resort. As always, just listen to your body, as I tend not to do.
As a final CYA, you should consult a doctor or something before starting any crazy-ass diet. There I said it.
If you have any questions that I left unanswered in this article, or throughout the articles series, please feel free to leave a question in the comments section, or shoot me an email at email@example.com. I’ll be more than happy to share.
* – This is not a real recommendation. Don’t do this.
** – Not a personal example, thank God.
*** – Batman.