With the obesity rate in America these days most people are focused on losing weight, and we tend to forget about the “hard gainers” out there. Some folks might think these people are lucky that they don’t have to worry about gaining weight.
Not me, I know how they feel. I wish I had someone to give me tips how to gain weight when I was a teenager. I was one of those skinny guys that could not gain weight to save my life. And at that time we didn’t have the internet to search for the answers.
For some people gaining weight can be just as frustrating as it is for people trying to lose weight. Just as with trying to lose weight, you have to be consistent in order to gain weight.
It’s really all boils down to the amount of calories you take in versus the amount of calories you burn. You must be in a calorie surplus in order to gain weight.
Hard gainers don’t have to worry (as much) about the type of calories taken in as those trying to burn fat or lose weight. Here are some helpful tips to help hard gainers gain weight.
1 Eat Enough Calories
In order to eat enough calories you need to know where to start. To do this use the BMR calculator on this post. Once you find you Basal Metabolic Rate (the amount of energy expended or calories burned while at rest), add about 500 calories per day to the result for a weeks time.
Check your weight before and after to see how much you have gained (1 to 1.5 pounds per week is ideal). Putting on weight to quickly will result in more fat and less muscle.
If after a week you have not gained any weight add another 200 calories for the next week, likewise, if you have gained more than 1.5 pounds cut back the calories the next week.
2 Forget About Cardio
Cardio is no good for gaining weight, it burns way too many calories (calories that you are working hard to consume) and does nothing for building muscle mass. .
If you feel like you need some sort of cardiovascular exercise try doing some HIIT (more about HIIT) instead. HIIT burns fat and also helps promote lean muscle mass, but it will also burn calories.
3 Incorporate Weight Training
Weight training is essential to building muscle, without it, the weight you will gain will be mostly fat. The couch potato that sits and watches TV all day while eating, will not build muscle no matter what he eats.
When doing weight training concentrate on compound lifts such as squats, dead lifts, bench press, and barbell rows. But really any type of lift will help. Make sure to use a weight heavy enough so that you can only do 8 to 12 reps (the optimal rep range for building muscle).
Give yourself enough time between sets to rest, too short of a rest period will keep your heart rate up and will burn more calories. Usually 1 to 2 minutes between sets is enough for most people.
4 Get More Sleep
While sleeping, you burn less calories than when your awake. Also, sleep helps your muscles to repair and recover from your workouts. This is the time when muscles are built.
Try going to bed sooner at night or sleep in a bit in the mornings if you can. If not, try and take a nap in the afternoon when possible. Getting enough good quality rest is important not only for muscle recovery, but also your overall health.
Any extra physical activity other than your workouts will require extra calories to support weight gain. Therefore, try to minimize any unnecessary extra activity.
5 Eat The Right Foods
Being a hard gainer it may be difficult especially at first to eat the required amount of calories to promote weight gain. Stick to the healthy foods that are high in protein, healthy fats, and good carbohydrates that are low in sugar. Don’t try to replace good healthy food with ice cream and potato chips. If you do, it will affect the kind of weight you will gain.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself every once in a while, just don’t go overboard with it. Make it a reward at the end of the week for sticking to you workout.
Use protein bars or shakes to help meet your calorie requirements throughout the week. There are some good weight gainer protein powders out there that are high in calories to help.
Don’t forget about eating fats. One gram of fat contains 9 calories where one gram of protein or carbohydrates only contain 4 calories. Just be sure you are eating good quality fats from sources such as avocados, fish, and olive oil to name a few.
6 Be Patient And Consistent
Nothing in life worth while comes easy. Weight gain and weight loss both require a great deal of work, along with patience and consistency.
Professional athletes, Doctors, CEO’s, or any other successful person all had to consistently work hard and patiently to become a success in their fields.
Weight gain is no different, it can’t be done overnight, in a week or even a month. It will take time to get the results that you are looking for. But, if you stick with it and work at it, over time you will see results.