I have had a number of people ask me about how they can actually gain weight. These are people who usually want to get in better shape and put on some muscle or quality weight as I refer to it. Sometimes, they are clinically underweight and actually need to gain weight to be healthy.
Regardless of the reason you want to gain weight, there’s no difference in the methodology I would recommend. The only difference would be if you were having problems keeping weight on because you are dealing with a chronic health issue or the treatment of this disorder. This discussion does not include this specific group.
There are two different things you need to consider if you want to gain quality weight:
- The emphasis should be upon gaining lean tissue and not excess body fat.
- There needs to be a mechanism in place which will allow you to maintain this new lean tissue on your body. In order to accomplish this task, you have to kick start your anabolic drive. Most folks who find it hard to gain weight and have a “fast metabolism” are catabolic. In other words, their physiology does not allow any anabolic activities like the addition of new muscle or bone to develop.
To kick-start your anabolic drive, here are the steps I’d recommend:
1. Consume high-protein meals (30-40 grams) every three hours. Combine this with moderate amounts of starchy carbohydrates like oatmeal, brown rice, legumes, sweet potato, quinoa or buckwheat. I recommend getting protein from fish, poultry, turkey, lean red meat, eggs, whey protein, and Greek yogurt.
If you cannot get in all of your meals in each day, try consuming whey isolate powder in a shake with two percent milk and a banana. Begin with one scoop of whey protein isolate and then after a few weeks, go to two scoops. You can also eat as many vegetables as you can. It’s also no problem to eat whole fruit.
2. Take a high-potency vitamin/mineral combination daily with food. This will give your body the nutrients it needs to maintain a high level of physical performance. You should also take high potency omega-3 fish oil capsule three times per day with food. The recommended dosage is 1,000 mg three times per day to improve insulin sensitivity and decrease the inflammatory response.
Hydration is equally important so I recommend drinking approximately two litres of pure, spring water daily.
3. Perform resistance training exercises at least four to five times per week. At the beginning, start with three sessions per week and your routine should consist of a 10-minute warm up (walking, cycling, etc.) followed by a resistance circuit involving six to eight stations.
Each station should target a different muscle or body part and 10-12 repetitions should be performed at each station. Follow each circuit with five minutes of stretching. After two weeks, increase to two circuits and then three. In right weeks, try using a five-day body part routine with each day targeting a different body part (chest, arms, shoulders, back, legs).
Perform three to four different exercises per body part with three to four sets each, aiming for eight to twelve repetitions. Do not rest fully between sets and try to go to muscular failure on each set.
4. Do not perform much cardiovascular activity only what is done for the warm up and cool down portions of your work out. Get at least nine hours of sleep per night.
Give this some time as your body will have to develop and adapt a new physiology based upon the anabolic drive.