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Weight Gain

stew smith

I receive this question often from young men and women in their teens and early twenty's. I remember when I was in my teens, gaining weight was difficult, but it can be done with a proper diet and resistance training program.
Weight gain is something that isn't easy to do and you probably know this already. People who cannot gain weight usually have a high metabolism, which makes gaining so hard. The key to weight gain is to do everything BIG. You have to eat big, lift big, in order to get big. This is your new motto! A lot of people think weightlifting is the key to gaining weight. It is an extremely important part, BUT, the other thing that is just as important is your food intake.

In fact, I have seen people gain weight by eating more calories and only doing calisthenics. I have also experienced weight gain and weight maintenance while training for marathons by adding MANY more calories and a basic weight training routine. So it is not the cardio that kills you muscle - it is the lack of refueling your muscles AFTER you workout. This requires you to eat both larger portions of protein and complex carbohydrate rich foods. See sample weight gain plan at the link - FREE Weight Gain Tips

So, to put it as simply as possible, there are 5 simple steps to how to gain weight:

1) Count how many calories you eat in a normal day. Don't change anything, just eat like you normally would and count how many calories you consumed. This is extremely important, so try to be as exact as possible. Also, weigh yourself. If you are not gaining weight or losing weight, this number is your baseline caloric intake with exercise.

2) Starting the day after you counted calories, eat 500 calories MORE than you normally do. So, pretend that the day you counted calories you counted 2000 as your baseline. For the rest of the week, you would now eat 2500 calories a day. Instead of eating 3 big meals a day or eating all day all the time, spread those calories out over 5-6 smaller meals. Eat one meal every 2 and a half to 3 hours. To get big, you have to eat big! Remember that. Adding more peanuts, almonds, even milkshakes will help you add great protein and healthy fats (in the nuts) and many calories with little effort.

3) Weightlifting! Get in the gym and lift! This is another important step to how to gain weight, so make sure you are doing it correctly. But if you do not have weights, go with a TRX, pullups, dips as they are together the HEAVY exercises in the calisthenics world. Adding bodyweight squats or holding dumbbells in your hands while squatting / lunging is an easy way to add weight to your resistance muscle building routine. See ideas at MJDB

4) At the end of the week, weigh yourself. You'll notice you are gaining just after one week! Now, don't expect to see a 10lb increase. Gaining anymore than 1 or 2 pounds a week is unhealthy and means you are putting on way too much fat or water weight. So look for 1 or 2 pound gains at the end of the week. You can be gaining 5-8 pounds a month! So be patient.

5) Here is an important one. At some point, you will stop seeing weight gain. At this point, you will have to eat even more. So, when you stop gaining for at least 2 weeks, it means it is time to start eating an extra 250 calories a day. Every time you see you haven't gained weight for at least 2 weeks, add an extra 250 calories. UNTIL you have reached your goal. NOW, even more important KEEP WORKING OUT! Do not just eat to get big. Work out to get big too!!!

More tips for how to gain weight (extremely important!)

Stay away from too much fat! Even though weight gain is your goal, you don't want to be getting all your calories from fatty foods, thus gaining fat. Get rid of the chips and candy. No more fast food, nothing fried. Stick to high protein and high carb / low fat foods like tuna fish (and other seafood), chicken breast, turkey, ham, lean meats, fruits and fresh vegetables.

WATER! Drink water! Drink around a gallon a day, more if you can. Yes, that is a lot of water, but it is water that will allow you to gain weight. Just make sure you sip it through the day and not consume quarts during meals. That will take up space in your stomach. Below is a list of foods you want to eat to gain weight:

Foods that will assist with weight gain:
Whole or 2% milk Milkshakes
Salad dressing Mayonnaise
Cheese Burgers
Raisin Bran Cereal Oatmeal
Crackers Croissant
Peanut butter and jelly Club sandwiches
Bagel Cream based soup
Prime rib Steak
Ice Cream Chicken
Ham Steak Fish
Peanuts / Almonds etc Beans, Peas
Potatoes Carrots
Bananas Protein drinks

Eat these and add additional helpings if you are trying to boost your caloric intake to 2500-3000 cals per day in order to gain weight - even more if you are very active with your workouts.
Feel free to contact meat if you have any questions. Also, read the Article Archive Guide for answers to Army, Navy, Air Force Special Forces, scoring better on the PFT, losing weight and many other issues with fitness in the military.

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