Tuesday, February 3, 2009

GOMAD (Gallon of Milk a Day)

(roughly 5 days worth of milk - Costco does have its benefits)

As part of SS, Mark Rippetoe recommends drinking one gallon of milk a day on top of a solid diet. "heavier is eventually necessary if stronger is to occur" The milk aids in increasing the amount of calories consumed in a day. There are other ways of gaining weight but as a student I opted GOMAD. "Milk works because it is easy, it is available, it doesn't need any preparation, and it has all the components necessary for growing mamals." (Mark Rippetoe, 2nd ed. Starting Strength) There is more to it but that is the simple version.

Ben actually emailed Robb Wolf about this (check out his blog on the right hand side...he is truly an expert on nutrition for athletes) and he gave it the green light to try for 2 months. I trust Robb more than any medical doctor or someone who has a PhD in nutrition.

Sill not conviced? Here is what Rip said to someone asking about GOMAD, "
It is because over thirty years of direct observation has demonstrated to me that when trainees drink one gallon of milk added to their regular diet and train in a progressive linear fashion, they gain significant muscular bodyweight, and those that do not drink their milk, even in the presence of progressive linear training, fail to do this. They also fail to continue progressive linear training for the same length of time, because this is facilitated by the steady weight gain. I understand that you're asking me if I have controlled for other factors such as failure to do the program correctly, and the answer is yes, of course I have, because I am not a complete idiot. Those that will not do the program are not being considered when I make these remarks, because that would be too ****ing obvious a hole in my analysis. The difference in the milk drinkers is that THEY GET BIGGER THAN THE ONES WHO WON'T DRINK THE ****ING MILK. Please tell me that you understand this now."


  1. Sean,

    You guys get your milk in bags! I read that the other day, but thought bags was Canadian slang for juggs (or bottle or cartons, etc), but not actual bags. How do you store the bags? Do they ever pop? Also, 2%, vs whole?

    Your Rip reference is great, especially that you refernced him. What is your starting weight?

    It is awesome you and Steve are committing to the GOMAD. Please blog about that too (weight gains, side effects, feelings in the gym). I personally learn more from people I know actual experience that reading about this stuff on any board.

  2. Pat,
    We through the bag in a plastic pouring jug. I have never had a bag bust on me ...they are pretty tough. We do have cartons and jugs here but they are not as common as bags.

    I could not find any whole milk...it is hard to come by. I will look harder next time I buy milk...which will be soon.

    I will log my weight gains, as well as pictures of myself. It was hard finding a really good personal account of GOMAD on the boards. Maybe I will make on available after I am done.

  3. I know Rip is all about whole, but 2% is probably a fine sub, I think 2% has 5gm fat/8oz vs 7gms in the whole.

    Looking forward to reading about your milk consumption.

  4. Sean,
    "I trust Robb more than any medical doctor or someone who has a PhD in nutrition." Thats a bold statement.

    "formerly a research biochemist" he does know a lot about nutrition and has worked with The girl that wrote the paleo book.
    I didn't see robs post on gomad on his site, maybe it would be more informative.... but on The premise that you will make a gain but it isn't good for you long term why not just do steroids? or any other overnight diet.

    I'm actually shocked that Rob would stand behind it. Especially since paleo says "no dairy" It doesn't make a lot of sense that he can't agree with himself on his own nutritional advice.

    on the statement that the ones that drink the milk get bigger than the ones who wont drink the milk. I know that they do. I would be willing to bet if you matched the protein count of the milk with any other source for example eggs you will gain (4L of milk =136g pro/day)
    you could have 22 large eggs/day and get the same result.
    eggs have a higher rate of absorption than milk
    I'm only discouraging this because I have done it and dealt with the consequences... I did a simpler version of this when I was 20yrs old. I took 4 protein shakes (aprox 35-40g PRO/ea) a day each with a cup of 2% milk in addition to my regular meals. The only other supplement I was having was a multi-vitamin. The result was that I gained 18lbs in 6wks. I was bigger than I had ever been, I was stronger than I had ever been. upon the end of the 6wks I was forced to run on army pt for a course and I went from always being in the front of the pack to dragging in the middle. I felt like a led ball was attached to my legs when running. Although I did recover, I removed 10lbs of the crap weight gained to regain my speed. an overall gain 8lbs at week 12. I would never try to gain crap weight like that ever again or recommend it to anyone...

    Homogenized Milk: Most cow’s milk is homogenized, a process that prevents the formation of a cream layer from forming. In reduced-fat forms of milk (such as skim, 1%. 2% and 3.25%) the fatty cream is removed before the homogenization process. In Canada, a carton that says Homo Milk refers to 3.25% milk. In the U.S., this milk is called whole milk, but in Canada, “whole milk” refers to milk that has not been homogenized and will separate if left for a period of time.

    If your going to do it, do it right! Homo...lol

  5. Dave,

    I don't think it is that bold of a statement to say I trust Robb's opinion, he has worked with tonnes of athletes and I am sure he has experienced a lot of cases in which GOMAD was used. He is very knowledgeable in the subject of nutrition and athletic performance.

    I appreciate your input and personal story. I have read a lot of personal stories about GOMAD and SS on the main page comments, the message board and Rip's forum. There have been an overwhelmingly amount of positive feedback.

    I already said I am willing to deal with the drop in performance in other areas. I am looking to improve strength and mass before returning to CrossFit WODs. SS and GOMAD is a safe and proven method of doing so, unlike steroids and other fad diets.

    I plan on switching to Homo milk if I can find it at costco.

  6. I know that regardless what I, or anyone says you will do this... I can only offer the information I have available to me and my personal experience with this type of weight gain. I think a good reason to gomad would be that you have run out of gains (so you actually need the further size to push the weight) I don't think thats a problem. Actually I know thats not a problem.
    Although it is a fact that the larger your mass is, the easier it is to move weight, it will always be harder to move your bodyweight.
    I don't question strength gains, I do question mass.
    I think you can easily do SS and just increase blocks and fat and get the same mass/strength result. (dave told me that in PM that there is an article on zone mass gain)written by your fearless leader.

    Dave at the gym did gomad and said it reeked havoc on his digestive system, but he did gain mass and strength... so I guess it passes your test.

    I think a softer approach would be to match the gomad protein count and have milk based protein shakes aprox 4 a day... better absorption rate and less liquid volume. Should also keep your stools regular.

    you are correct for 6wks or a short time period it is relatively safe, meaning you shouldn't suffer long term effects from it or you will recover from the effects that it does have.
    Gomad will give you aprox 3x your daily calcium intake. Calcium from milk has a higher absorption rate than most foods.
    RDA is 800mg, Gomad 2500mg
    a simple example:
    with higher calcium intake you can get calcium deposits in your skin, bring on the kidney stones and constipation.
    The stones are more long term. we will see with the other I guess.

    happy milk drinking ;)

  7. When I e-mailed Robb about the GOMAD topic it was because of a comment made by Anthony Bainbridge on Robb's blog sounding as if Robb was doing GOMAD or something of that sort. What you have to realize about milk in Canada is that it is totally different from the milk you can get in the US. It is illegal to sell "Whole Milk" for human consumption here in Canada, where as some states in the US it is totally fine to get it right from the cow.

    I'm not doing GOMAD even after Robb told me to give it a shot because I know personally me and milk don't get along well enough to slam 3 bags of it a day. If anyone was to do it I would advise gradually increasing your milk consumption over time. You can't go from 2-4 glasses of milk a day to throwing back 3 bags of it and expect your body not to go WTF?

    There is no question that after the processing milk is nothing but another food science creation. People are very clueless on the subject, I particularly like it when people choose the skim milk thinking its "healthy", with no clue that all the vitamins in milk are fat soluble so without the fat they won't be digesting them very well.

    If your going to do GOMAD you should also supplement some magnesium without a doubt, too much calcium will lead to a magnesium deficiency (which interesting enough has the same effects of a calcium deficiency). Also get some enzymes to aid in digestion of all that flippin milk (lactase and amylase i believe).

    Bottom line the body is a complicated matter, drinking a gallon of milk from a grain fed cow that then goes through proccessing isn't healthy long term or really at all. If Robb is or has done GOMAD I can bet the cow was grass fed and it came straight from the source. If you do GOMAD and SS you will definitely get bigger and stronger. It may not hurt you if consumed only short term ,but it is definitely not healthy by any means.

  8. Well, I guess this should be interesting then. I will log my weekly weight and take pictures. Any problems I have or feelings that are anything but good I will post.

    I emailed Rob regarding this discussion, I hope he has time to get back to me. I am interested in what he will say.

  9. Is it safe? for the most part (short term), I think we can all agree - yes! Most people can drink a glass of milk and not have any bad side effects. However, I think that once you start drink a gallon a day some people might not be able to process all that lactose hence the troubles with digestion (the enzymes will help considerable). Others will surely be able to take the load. I agree with Ben that you should probably take some Magnesium (and maybe some zinc) with all that milk. I think the whole point of the GOMAD and the reason why you don't use other sources of protein, carbs and fat is that GOMAD is CHEAP!!! The bottom line is that other sources just plain cost more. GOMAD is good in that it is a cost effective way to get more macro-nutrients into your body. Would eating 16oz of chicken, 8 apples and 96 almonds (~16 blocks at 2xfat = GOMAD)be a better alternative? Hells ya it would, but it would be way more expensive! In order to eat a 16 block zone meal 7 days a week it costs me around ~$50(-60) where as GOMAD for a week is ~$25 that means that GOMAD is 1/2 the price for equivalent macronutrient content. As a student if you can save $100 a month you pick that option. Increasing your Zone block by 2 or 3 is a great alternative to mass increase however this will take a much longer time to gain the same amount of muscle mass as you don't have the same amount of reserves to supply the growth. If you are a small scrawny kid like Sean it is very hard to put on mass because he's blessed with a crazy high metabolism (He uses all his carbs and some of his protein for energy). By injecting this crazy excess of energy and protein his body will be overwhelmed and can finally start using the protein to build muscle and wont have use it for energy. I have a relatively slow metabolism and if I have excess carbs I gain fat like I'm about to hibernate so GOMAD isn't right for me. However, if I was a skinny little twig I would be suckling the cows teat until I was HUGE! Once he goes off the GOMAD his high metabolism and a good zone diet at 1xfat will melt away the excess pounds of fat and leave him a BEAST! Just my two cents!

  10. haha Murph your hilarious....I sense some jealously???

    How was your trip? How are the Italian women treating you?

  11. Haha. Great post Murph! You are right about the cost difference between GOMAD vs. increase in blocks in your zone diet. Another point in support of GOMAD is that the prep time is how long it takes you to pour the milk from the bag into your glass. Meat, fruit, veggies etc. generally have to be preparred and take up more space in your backpack if you are on campus all day.

  12. Also forgot to mention:


    Loren Cordain is not a girl, but a middle aged skinny man lol


    Again It cannot be stressed enough that what we know as milk is NOT milk at all. Milk from a cow is milk, "milk" in a bag was milk, but then it was boiled and shot through a small hose which killed all the bacteria (good and bad) destroyed the enzymes that are needed for digestion, and broke up all the fat molecules to a different state all together. What your left with is so far from the original state that genetically the make-up is totally different. In the USA they can get "whole milk" straight from the cow in some states, here in canada we cannot. But you can buy whole milk here at some farmer's markets, they sell it as "dog food" so they can by past legal issues. So if you can get to a decent farmer's market on the weekend you will possibly find some real milk, and you will certainly find some good produce and some kick ass HUGE eggs as well! Trails end is a good place and the western fair has a market every saturday if im not mistaken.

    I'm not against the GOMAD if done properly and with progression, the results will vary from person to person. But I am against this white shit they call "milk" that comes in bags and cartons. I love milk just as much as the next guy but the risk isn't worth it if its not whole milk..the good stuff. Just becuase you can't feel anything from it doesn't mean nothing is happening inside. Why is milk not Paleo? Well because in nature animals aren't lactating year round, so if you could get your hands on milk it would only be for a couple months of the year. And I would like to see you run in there and toss a calf out of the way to get some of that stuff lol Probably not happening. Also they only recently discovered when humans actually starting producing lactase in the body to digest milk, why? Becuase it is a new food that was not introduced into the diet very long ago. Very long being hundreds of years, but thats a second in evolutionary life time. We are still adapting to milk, thats why some people are lactose-intolerant.

  13. My son Jack is on an all milk diet and he is a 17lb beast. So Sean keep at it.

  14. Murph, your math is wrong but your point is the same. GOMAD is in addition to what you normally eat. So it would be 25$ for the milk PLUS the cost of food. If you ate zone proportions, it would be your normal zone amount of food PLUS the cost of 16x + 2xfat. REALLY EXPENSIVE

  15. Interesting article, added his blog to Favorites