Have you been trying really hard to gain weight? Have you been trying to guzzle down all the food you can find and sweating it out in the gym? Yet, you are still skinny! Guess what… You’re not working hard enough. You need to work harder… Actually, instead of working harder, you need to work smarter. 🙂 However it’s not your fault. Unlike with weight loss, there simply is not enough information out there for people trying to gain weight. The information that is out there is hard to find.
I was there as well, a thin kid and all I wanted to be is bigger and stronger. I had to search everywhere and try to piece the information from different places together. This helped me gain weight and bulk up, but unfortunately the journey was not as smooth as it could have been. So that’s why I decided to start this blog, so that you don’t have to go searching all over for the information that you need and instead get it right here. This way you can apply the tips right away and start gaining weight as fast as possible.
So what should you do to gain weight and bulk up? Here are three basic tips that you should think about:
1) You aren’t eating enough!
If you aren’t gaining weight, then you simply aren’t eating enough. You might think you are, guzzling down all kinds of food, but trust me… you aren’t. So the number one thing you need to do is up your food intake. Without that you will never grow. Food provides the basic nutrients your body needs to grow. If you aren’t fueling your body with things like proteins, carbohydrates and fats, then there is no way it can create more muscle and get bigger. Even if you are training hard at the gym, food is the basic requirement. It’s the key for you getting bigger.
Sometimes people struggling to gain weight have the impression that they are eating tons of food, but the reality is different. They just have the perception of eating a lot of food, but in reality they aren’t. It might be good to track the amount of food you eat per day for a week and then see how many calories per day that is. Then you can calculate the amount of calories you need just to maintain your body weight (your maintenance calories) and compare the two numbers.
Surprisingly the number of calories you actually eat will most likely be at or below the maintenance calories number. In order to gain weight, you need to eat above your maintenance level! So take your maintenance calories and add 500 to 1000 more calories to that number. That’s how many calories you should be eating to gain weight. Start off slowly, first week adding maybe 250 more calories per day and then slowly adding more and more calories. Experiment a bit and see how your body responds. That way you will find out the ideal number of calories that you should be eating in order to get a good bulk.
Some people can gain a good amount of weight just by eating 250 calories per day above the maintenance level, while for others the number may be 500 calories above maintenance or more. In the process you will inevitably gain fat as well, but don’t worry, you can get rid of that fat later in a cutting phase. However in order to get the cleanest bulk possible, try to eat healthy. Also remember to drink plenty of water.
2) Do shorter, more intense workouts composed of a few heavy compound exercises
Training is also a big part of gaining weight and bulking up. If you want a nice, lean bulk, then you need to train hard. However don’t do the latest “greatest” routine you find in that glossy bodybuilding magazine full of smiling buff dudes with biceps the size of a baby elephant. You won’t see the type of results you want with that. The routines you see in those magazines are not designed for the skinny guys. Unless you are extremely genetically gifted, you probably won’t see the type of growth that you are looking for. Those routines are designed for guys who are already big. They consist of tons of isolation exercises to isolate all the different muscles.
For you it’s a waste of effort to do isolation exercises. Instead your routine should consist of heavy compound (multi-joint) exercises that recruit several muscles at once (including the tiny stabilizer muscles). That means things like the bench press, squat and deadlift. Don’t go on the machines just yet, but instead focus on free weights.
The key to growth here is what is called progressive overload. That means lifting heavier and heavier weights. If you are going for size, then your rep range should be somewhere in the 6-12 reps per set range, with 8-10 reps being ideal. This will maximize sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
Resting is very important. Most people don’t realize it, but you don’t grow muscle and get stronger when you are exercising, but in fact when you are resting! During exercise you create tiny tears in the muscle fibers. It is during your rest period when these muscle fibers are repaired. The nutrients you get from eating are used in order to repair the muscle fibers and make them bigger and stronger.
With rest, we are talking about time away from training, but also sleeping. It is during sleep that the body regenerates and growth hormone levels are the highest. This means that you should leave at least 48 hours between training of the same muscle group and get 8 to 9 hours of good deep sleep during the night. This will ensure that your muscles are growing and you are getting bigger, stronger and gaining weight.