In this post we are going to talk about gaining weight.
I thought the big hype nowadays is on losing weight. Who on earth want’s to gain weight? Well, if you are reading this, chances are you are one of the many people who are actually struggling with gaining weight.
3 Simple Ways to Gain More Weight Smartly
In fact, by gaining weight I actually mean gaining lean mass, or build muscle.
You don’t want to just get fat, but you want to put on lean muscle mass. So if you want to learn what you should do and what you shouldn’t do in order to gain muscle mass, read on to find out.
My Own Story
Me personally I totally understand the so called “hard gainers” because I’ve been there. I’ve been a skinny dude throughout the entire high school and most past of the college.
So if it seems like no matter what you do in the kitchen or in the gym, you can’t make the scale go up one pound, I know that feeling.
I first started working out when I was in college and my bodyweight was around 140-150 pounds at 6 feet tall. So I was pretty skinny and I never thought I could get to about 200 pounds (what I am weighing today) while still being pretty lean.
Anyway my point is that I’ve been there and I know how you can get out of that.
The Easy (and Stupid) Way
The easiest way to put on more weight would be to just eat exactly as you are eating now and just add a medium sized pizza, every single day. If you do that you will gain weight and you will probably going to gain it pretty quickly.
If pizza isn’t exactly your thing you can just drink a 1,000 kcal weight gainer shake, or a gallon of milk, or a few bags of pop tarts every day. Any of those things will work too.
Now there is a problem with all of those strategies though. After a month or two of doing that you are definitely going to have gain weight but you probably not going to be happy with how your body is changing.
And the reason for this is depending on what you are doing at the gym (assuming you are going to the gym), you may or may not end up stronger or muscular after all this overeating, but you are definitely going to end up fatter. Probably a lot fatter.
That’s why your goal shouldn’t really be just to gain weight. You need to reframe this to gaining as much muscle and as little fat as possible. And achieving that takes a different approach than just “eat big”.
The Smart Way
Alright, so in order to get bigger, but also leaner you have to follow just four simple steps.
- First and foremost you have to eat just slightly more calories than you burn
- East a high protein and high carb diet
- Do a lot of heavy compound weightlifting
If you can follow and implement the steps above correctly you will be able to gain weight while improving your body’s composition. This approach will be much more likely to get you close to the type of body you are hoping to achieve.
Alright, now let’s go into a little bit of detail on each of these four steps and see how you can implement them into your own lifestyle.
Step 1. Eat Slightly More
Weight gain and weight loss is just as simple as calories in versus calories out. If you are not eating enough calories you are not going to gain weight. And that is the only reason some people are not putting on any weight.
Their appetite is just not up to it. The problem is that when your natural appetite is really low you actually feel like you are eating a lot of food, but in reality you don’t.
I’ve actually worked with clients who had this issue and they were estimating that they are eating 3,000 to 4,000 calories, but when I asked them to actually track everything they are eating, they found out they take in only about 2,000 kcal a day.
So when you appetite is really low, even though you don’t eat that much food, it actually feels that you are eating a lot.
Building muscle happens when you are in a caloric surplus. Your body will need just a tiny bit of extra energy to start building muscle effectively.
Now, once people find out that they actually under eat they start going overboard with the amount of calories they take in, which is not optimal for recomposing your body.
They think that if slightly overeating is good for muscle building, then eating a lot more will be even more beneficial, right?
Well, not really.
As per the research and studies conducted so far, it has been scientifically proven that you will build muscle at the maximum possible rate and minimize fat gain when you are eating just 10-15% more calories than you are burning.
So if you do the math, for most guys this is just 200-400 kcal over your maintenance level. If you put that into food, it can be just an extra sandwich or just a tall glass of milk. That’s it! That’s all you need to eat in order to put your body in a slight caloric surplus and start changing the way you look.
If you eat much more than that, your muscles will simply not be able to keep up the growth rate with the amount of food you are eating. Therefore, all the extra calories will be stored as body fat.
In the sweet spot of 10-15% caloric surplus, the average Joe is able to build muscle and fat as about the same rate, so if you are doing that you pretty much got it right.
So stay away from “dirty bulking” and opt-in for “lean bulking”.
Let’s move on to step number 2!
Step 2. High Protein, High Carb
You probably know already that there is so much importance given to protein in the fitness world. And the reason for that is that it supports muscle growth. There are a ton of studies which support that, so there is no gimmick there.
The amino acids from the protein are the building blocks of our muscles, so it makes perfect sense to eat plenty of it. If you don’t, you will always struggle to build muscle.
Apparently, the optimal amount of protein you need to eat in order to build muscle efficiently is around 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. So if you are 150 pounds you will need to eat 150 grams of protein each day. This should represent about 30-40% of your caloric intake, on average.
Now, when it comes to carbs there is a whole debate. You rarely see anyone recommending eating a lot of carbs. As you probably know there is a big hype nowadays around low carb diets.
In fact, low carb diets are not effective at all if you are into fitness or weightlifting or any other sport or physical activity for that matter. Low carb diets are good for people that are overweight and sedentary, but for active, healthy people they are pretty bad.
Eating carbs will actually help you build muscle faster.
Carbs will increase the amount of glycogen in your muscles. As you may know, glycogen is the fuel our muscles use in the gym when we work out. More glycogen means better workouts and better workouts will result in more muscle development.
Another way in which a high carb diet helps is by keeping insulin level higher which will lower the muscle breakdown rate, keeping your body in an anabolic state for longer periods of time.
So, if you want to build muscle as quick as possible while gaining little fat you need to eat enough protein and enough carbs while keeping your total caloric intake just 10-15% above your maintenance level.
Step 3. Lift Heavy
Let me just start by telling you that if you don’t get the first two steps right, step number 3 isn’t really going to matter that much. Proper dieting is extremely important! So make sure your diet is in check and only then move on to step number 3.
What you do or what you don’t do in the gym will greatly affect your results.
The best types of workouts for people who do not use steroids are those who focus on compound exercises such as bench press, military press, squats and deadlifts. All of these exercises should definitely be on your workout plan.
The reason why compound exercises are superior to isolation exercises is because they allow you the progressively overload your muscles more effectively. You are able to increase the tension level in your muscles over time much more effectively.
This is the primary driver of muscle growth and while there are several different ways to do it the most effective one is to just get stronger. That’s why the strongest people at your gym are also some of the biggest. So if you want to build a great physique you need to start lifting heavy weight and increase your whole body strength.
That is pretty much it. These are the only 3 things you need to do to consistently and effectively gain weight and to make sure that a lot of that weight is muscle, not fat.
Here’s a quick recap of the 3 smart ways to gain more weight:
- Eat slightly more
- High protein, high carb
- Lift heavy