While millions of people across the globe are trying to lose weight, and billions of dollars are spent on advertising to target these people, the underweight, or skinny, people are often forgotten. Gaining weight when your metabolism is running on overdrive can be as tough, and sometimes tougher, than losing weight.
So, what do you do if you really want to add some size and shape to your body? How do you pack on mass that will make you stand out in a crowd. Here are 10 tips to help you gain weight, build muscle and help you achieve those goals.
Tips to Gain Weight
1. More calories in – It is simple science. If you ingest more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.
2. Burn less calories – Back to the basics again. If you are very active, you might consider slowing down a bit and allowing some of those calories to be used for muscle repair and growth.
3. Quality in = Quality out - If you eat good solid protein and complex carbohydrate foods, with some healthy fats thrown in, your body will have the fuel and repair supplies needed to function properly and grow.
4. Junk in = Junk out – The inverse of the above relationship holds true also. If you spend all your calories on simple sugars and saturated fats, you will gain more fat than muscle.
5. Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) – The science behind gaining weight is a simple formula of eating more calories than you burn in a day. Figure out your caloric expenditure each day (your basal metabolic rate + any extra calories you burn through activities during the day) and then eat an extra 500 to 1000 calories per day.
6. Growth requires stimulation - Muscles don’t grow without reason. They require a stimulus to create new growth. That stimulus is muscle damage caused by an overload on the muscle. The muscle will then repair the damage, and add a few extra fibers, with a little extra size, to make sure the same damage is not experienced the next time they are exposed to that same load.
7. Progressive Overload leads to progressive growth – Once the body adapts to a particular load, the muscles no longer have to grow and adapt. Adding a little extra weight each time the muscles adapt keeps them growing and getting stronger.
8. Short and sweet can’t be beat – Short, intense workouts are best for developing mass because the workouts are intense enough to stimulate muscular growth, but not long enough to burn up all those extra calories and nutrients needed for the growth process.
9. Rest is where the work is done – By the body, that is. During the workout the stimulation occurs for muscular growth, but it is during the rest periods that the actual repair and growth occur. Training too often, and not allowing adequate rest, can lead to a condition called overtraining in which the muscle tissue is actually broken down and repair can’t occur so muscle mass is lost and injuries commonly occur.
10. The basics are where it’s at - Basic, compound exercises, such as the bench press, squats, dead lifts, power cleans, and military presses, are great exercises for packing on pounds of solid mass. They allow heavy weights to be lifted and pull many muscle groups into the fold due to their compound nature. They are the foundation of any solid weight training program.
These ten tips will get you started down the road to mass and muscle building success. Don’t forget, quality weight gain is lean mass gain. Fat gains do little for overall aesthetics, and can be detrimental to overall health. Train hard, eat well, and rest adequately and you will find a new you staring back in the mirror. For more information on gaining weight, check out some of the best foods to gain weight.