You’ve decided to kick your sporting level a notch or two higher and need a little more weight behind you (a little more oomph), or want to look better and feel more confident by stacking on some lean muscle.
So you’re now wondering exactly how to gain weight?
Well, rest assured, absolutely anyone can pile on the pounds if they wish. All they have to do is stuff themselves with high calorific foods until ready to burst. (Yeah, those really nice foods like cakes and chocolate and pancakes.) As long as they are consuming more calories than they are burning off, they’ll sure put on the weight!
That’s the easy way. The lazy way. But it’s a bad way and not the way YOU are going to do it!
The real difficulty though is in keeping those extra pounds lean! Pure muscle, not flab. Or at least near to it as possible.
Hopefully, instead of wondering how to gain weight, you’ll now be asking yourself . . . how do I gain lean weight? That is, the right kind of weight.
How to Gain Weight and Keep Off the Flab
To gain lean body weight, you have to combine an increased calorific diet with an appropriate training plan. Notice the word combine.
The diet and training go hand in hand. If you don’t increase your calories, you won’t put on weight. And if you do increase your calories but don’t exercise, you’ll just turn fat. Yuck.
But we need to look at each aspect in turn. You’ll have to eat the right types of food (that is, not those really nice foods like cakes and chocolate and pancakes) and do the right kinds of exercise.
How to Gain Weight through Calorie Consumption
So now you know that you have to increase your calories to gain weight. But how much do you have to eat? And what do you have to eat?
Let’s take the first question . . .
You and I have a minimum energy requirement just to survive, that’s the cost of running our bodies. This is our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), and depends on many factors, such as gender, age, weight, etc.
On top of this survival requirement, we require energy to get us through our day to day activities, and exercise if we do any.
If we eat less that the total amount of calories we consume for any given day, then we’ll lose weight by burning into our own stores of energy. That is fat (and to a lesser extend muscle). On the flip side, if we consumer more calories than needed for survival and daily activities, then we’ll gain weight. (I needn’t explain what happens if we consume exactly what we burn!)
There are estimators that suggest your average daily calorific requirement. Generally, the accepted target for maintaining a healthy diet is around 2000 calories for women and 2500 for men. However, when you start keeping a food diary you’ll be able to estimate your own daily requirement, which takes account of your exercise and activity level.
To gain weight, it is best to increase your food consumption by 200 and 500 calories each day. Any more than this and you’ll just be become fat! Even if you ate exactly the right foods and trained perfectly, you’ll still become fat as there’s a limit to muscle gains you can make.
So start at 200 calories for a week or two. If you’re slowly gaining weight, fantastic! Slow and steady is what you’re aiming for.
If you’re barely budging, up it to 300 calories for another week or two. And so on.
Be meticulous with your calorie tracking, and you’ll have no problem cracking this weight gain thing.
Now what about what to eat? You now know how to gain weight, but eating the right foods will determine whether your gains are lean . . . or fatty.
This is where some fanatics can over kill the subject. Don’t sweat it! Keep it simple. Basically, try and consume those extra calories in the form or fish, lean meats and dairy products that are high in protein and low in fat.
You’ll probably take on board a few extra calories in carbohydrates, but that’s fine as you’ll need these for your exercise.
Chicken or turkey breast, all fish, eggs, milk, are great sources of protein for making up those extra calories. The fats in the fish are mostly good fats, so don’t worry about that.
This should satisfy the first part of the equation of how to gain weight.
What About Weight Gain Supplements?
There are numerous sports supplements out there, each promising miracles. Don’t believe the hype. YOU still have to put in all the hard work!
Having said that, a good supplement could really help with your weight gains. These are engineered with a specific proportion of amino acids – the building blocks of proteins – that make up your muscle.
Basically you’ll take these supplements between meals to increase your overall protein and calorie intake. This can be easier than trying to stuff half a dozen eggs and four pints of milk down your neck!
There are proteins, proteins with carbohydrates, protein and creatine mixtures, and hundreds of other combinations. It can be daunting.
But again, don’t sweat it! Keep it simple. A good protein powder without the bells and whistles is just fine. Don’t buy the super cheap stuff. And don’t buy the super expensive stuff either. Go for something mid-range.
How to Gain Weight Through Exercise
This is the fun part. Resistance training! You’ve got to start lifting heavier weights (or start lifting weights if you don’t already). For a greater look into weight gain through exercise see this article.
There are a few rules you should follow for maximum results. And again, keep it simple.
Train only 3 days per week – no more than 4!2-3 sets per body part
Exercise the large muscle groups2-3 minutes rest between sets
No more than 60 minute per session
Have 4 rest days – no less than 3!
Did you read the list carefully? If you did, you’ll have noticed that the first and last points boil down to exactly the same. I’ve done this on purpose, as this point is crucial if you want to put on lean weight.
You have to give you’re muscle time to recuperate. Time to grow. If you train every day, with heavy weights, you just won’t give your muscles time to adapt and grow. And you’ll soon suffer burnout.
Follow the eating and training advice above, and you’ll be hitting you’re weight gain targets before you know it.
Hopefully, I’ve now answered your question, how to gain weight?.