I am an officer candidate ... assigned to an infantry unit. My long-term goal is to move ... to a harder job requiring special selection.
I currently run and work out regularly; however, as always I have a hard time actually gaining mass. After almost 5 years I have recently reached my personal goal of 150 lbs and have set a new goal for 165 lbs. I wish for the majority of this weight to be in my upper body. I know it is hard to believe that I gain weight that slowly, but I am of that rare body type that is a of thin frame. I can run forever and push weights but gain no mass. I get ripped and toned but do not gain mass easily. I have been told this is due to the fact that I run too much. However, as my future job and possibly my life and those of my men will depend on my ability to move me and what ever I am carrying quickly, I cannot sacrifice my runs.
The formula for gaining size is simple: train to failure, eat more, a lot more. Making the formula work isn't easy for some.
However, we aren't interested in size for the sake of size. Who cares how big a guy is if he looks like Tarzan but plays like Jane. We are interested in actual capacity. We don't eat or train to increase size. We eat and train to increase power-to-weight ratio.
Your problem is not unique. Are you sure extra size will make it easier to do the job you have now? Or to pass whichever selection you attempt? If certain, then gain it. If not certain, then start a different line of inquiry because size is not always the answer.
From the site:
The power-to-weight ratio is important to the sports requiring locomotion; the cyclist that generates 400 watts of power with a 145-pound frame is more efficient than the cyclist that creates the same force with a 180-pound body. The 200-meter runner who can deadlift 3x bodyweight runs faster than the sprinter who can only deadlift 2x bodyweight. The runner's size/weight does not determine the one-rep max instead it is the neurological pathways and ability to recruit a greater percentage of existing muscle that are decisive factors. Because of this an athlete may develop the ability to generate incredible power without significant size or weight increase ?????? by simply making the appropriate neurological pathways more efficient.
Relative strength can also determine how individuals integrate into a team. In the military context, every soldier wants to be strong and in an effort to become strong many get big as well. So how does the 230-pound guy integrate into the team? He's strong enough to hump heavy loads all day or carry a casualty. But what if he gets shot or sprains an ankle and his teammates have to carry him, and his gear? This same issue affects mountain climbers and backcountry skiers who often operate in remote areas and must be 100% self-sufficient, fire fighters, SWAT cops, etc. To be sure, fitness is an individual concept but each individual's fitness, size and speed can make the team more capable and flexible or less so.
So size matters, but bigger is not necessarily better, nor is bigger always stronger.