When the entire world treats packing on some pounds like the apocalypse, it can seem downright insane to want to GAIN weight. Yet, for some of us, we want nothing more than to add some meat to our frames.
Fear not my thin friends, today the scales shall tip in your favor. Learn what you need to leave skinny behind and accrue healthy, lean, sexy weight.
When Others Go Right, Go Left
Fat and Skinny are like two towns at the ends of a straight road, with Sexy sitting smack in the middle. Geography teaches us that if the persons in Obee-city (yes I just made that pun) are heading East to Gains Metropolis, you better be heading West out of Sticksville.
In less geocentric terms, to gain weight means you’ll have to do the exact OPPOSITE of commonplace weight-loss advice.
Which means that two rules that apply to almost everyone else do not apply to you:
- Eat Less
- Do Lots of Cardio
Hopefully you’re like me and hate cardio, so breaking rule #2 won’t be a challenge.
This brings us to your 2-step process to gain weight:
Step 1: Eat More Calories, You Must
For all the FMA Brotherhood fans out there, you know about equivalent exchange. You can’t get something from nothing, hence you can’t put on weight if you’re not getting in your calories.
So Eat Up.
Now I hear you. You’re notorious for heaping your plate high with food, and you have a “monstrous” appetite. How could you possibly eat more?
The good news is you can increase the amount of calories you eat without changing the volume of the food you’re eating. For example, you can choose to swap out the low-fat/low-calorie versions of your milk or yogurts with the original. Alternatively, you can add condiments like mayonnaise or olive oil to your sandwiches and salads, which slaps on an extra 100 calories per tablespoon. Peanut Butter lovers can spread this calorie-rich deliciousness on things like apples and crackers for another 100 calories per tablespoon.
Asides from adding calorie-rich spreads, you can rack up the calories using healthy fats (think nuts, seeds and avocados). Since a gram of fat has double the calories of carbs or protein, fats become one of your best friends in adding on some pounds. You can also opt for less lean cuts of meat so you can get the added fat (and thus calories) plus that much-needed protein.
Additionally, you want to keep a food journal. If you’re not into books, there are a ton of apps like MyFitnessPal that can be used to help track your calorie intake.
The reason a food journal is ultra important is because, despite your “monstrous” appetite, you simply aren’t eating enough calories to gain weight.
Yeah you could be piling up your plate to the ceiling with food, but if you’re only eating a third of it, it doesn’t count. The food journal will show you how much you currently eat. Then, once you’ve set a target amount of calories to eat, it will show you the days you’ve missed your goals.
You may be tempted to try and eat your calories in junk (which is extremely easy). However, that’s making a deal with Satan himself. You’ll gain the weight, but you’ll also gain the malnutrition, exhaustion and health complications that come with too much KFC.
If you need to put a calorie spike in your day, choose a protein shake or similar supplement. That way you’ll get your calories with a healthy sprinkling of protein, perfect for building muscle and that dynamite physique.
Step 2: Lift, You Must
Whether you choose to do bodyweight or elevate iron off the floor, intense cardio is public enemy no. 1.
It’s not that cardio is bad (although give me dumbbells over running any day). It’s just that the majority of cardio training deals with burning calories WITHOUT building any mass. While lifting will encourage your body to turn what you eat into muscle, cardio will simply torch away your calorie intake.
Lifting makes you stronger. There’s also that.
Here’s the deal. You can absolutely put on weight without doing any exercise. HOWEVER, if you don’t want to end up 10 pounds heavier and think, “Man, I really wish I looked sexy instead of fatter,” make training your amigo.
(To the women reading this, remember the golden rule. Weights won’t make you bulky, they make you sexy)
The most popular way to train when gaining weight is to lift heavy with these compound exercises: deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, rows, bench press and overhead press. If you don’t have access to weights however, calisthenics (bodyweight) can get the job done too.
If you need, here’s a quick reference list of all the suitable workouts on FitNate:
- Beginner’s Fitness Checklist: filled with all the steps you need to level up into the Fit Life.
- Get Hot Like Summer Workout Plan: This powerful dumbbell-based workout will whip your summer body into shape.
- Dear Ladies, It’s Time To Work Your Upper Body: a female-oriented bodyweight plan to give you a balanced physique
Final Step: Commit
It’s far harder to gain weight than to lose it. You have to do the reverse of what almost everyone else is trying to do, and mentally this is a huge challenge.
You will have to commit to the grind, which means consistently eating more than you currently do (about 250 to 500 calories more). It takes time to gain weight healthily, so don’t expect to gain 10 pounds in one month. That’s just begging to be disappointed. Gains of 1 to 4 lbs a month are closer to the mark.
Most importantly, don’t stop eating because you see some fat coming along with the muscle. That’s a normal part of the process, and coupled with proper training, you’ll come out looking better than ever. If the fat ever gets too much for your comfort, review your food log and make some tweaks. Swapping out some fats or carbs for protein should do the trick.
I know you can do it. Shoot me an email with how these steps worked for you or, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I read every email.
In the coming weeks, I’ll release a free workout plan fully detailing how to move from absolute newbie into living the fit life. If you’re ready to reap the benefits of gains (becoming harder, better, faster, stronger), click here and you’ll get access to the workout once I release it, plus other exclusive fitness content.
Because it’s your workout, I also want your input. If you would like a bodyweight workout or a free weight workout (barbells & dumbbells), shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your choice.