Gaining weight is often a misunderstood concept in bodybuilding circles, with the majority of newcomers assuming ‘weight gain’ simply means adding pounds onto the scale. The truth is, gaining high-quality weight means adding lean muscle tissue with as little fat as possible, a feat that is often easier said than done. Many assume that in order to add pounds of muscle you have to add pounds of fat as well, but with careful attention to your diet and workouts designed to add muscle, it can be accomplished.
Gaining weight comes down to one simple principle: Calories in must be greater than calories out.
This takes into account everything you’ve eaten throughout the day and every ounce of energy you’ve expended, including your workouts. If you have a surplus of calories on a consistent basis, you will gain weight. The trick to gaining muscle without fat is keeping your caloric surplus at no more than five-hundred calories per day, which will give you the energy needed to build muscle without an excess of calories that are stored as fat.
Let’s take a look at five simple steps you can take to maximize lean muscle growth while limiting excess body fat accumulation.
5 Steps: How to Gain Weight
Weight-Gaining Step #1 – Keep your workouts intense
Those extra calories need a job to perform or they will simply go towards fatty accumulation. Lean muscle tissue can only be built if there is adequate stimulation inside the gym. This means following a bodybuilding-friendly lifting regimen that will help you grow. Six to ten repetitions per set, fighting hard to finish each set, will ensure you are lifting hard enough to build muscle.
Weight-Gaining Step #2 – Limit the amount of cardio performed
Cardiovascular exercise is important in maintaining a lean physique and a healthy heart. However, if adding slabs of lean beef to your body is your goal, keep your cardiovascular exercise to a maximum of two to three sessions per week, lasting no more than fifteen minutes per session. This strategy will give you the benefits without burning too much energy.
Weight-Gaining Step #3 – Complex carbohydrates are your friend
One of the most important steps in eating to gain quality weight is to eat high-quality carbohydrates. These types of carbs help provide the fuel your body needs to power-through tough workouts, the fuel your body needs to repair and rebuild your muscle tissue, and the lasting fuel you will need to stave off junk-food cravings. When you stick to high quality sources of carbohydrates such as oatmeal, yams, sweet potatoes, and other whole-grain sources, your body keeps it’s anabolic hormones in check and it’s fat-storing hormones at bay. Those who attempt to gain weight by eating anything and everything they want often end up gaining more fat than muscle, a direct result of the low-quality sources of carbohydrates that alter the optimal anabolic environment.
Weight-Gaining Step #4 – Supplement with a quality protein product
Most of us don’t realize just how much food it takes to achieve a daily caloric surplus; it is often more than the average person can consume. For this reason, it is important to consume two to three high-quality protein shakes everyday in-between meals, which supplies you with the quality protein and calories you need to grow. Some people naturally have a very high metabolism; if you are already very lean and struggling to gain weight then you’re probably in this category. This is the right time to take your supplementation a step further and consume a weight-gaining shake. These shakes are loaded with high-quality carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, important for the hard-gainer who is struggling to gain weight on diet and protein supplementation alone.
Not all protein and weight-gaining supplements are created equal, so be sure to do your homework and get some product reviews before finding the right one for you.
Weight-Gaining Step #5 – Lean cuts of red meat provide quality calories
Red meat is a great weight-gaining tool because it is loaded with protein, contains more fat than chicken and turkey, and is rick in vitamins like zinc and iron, which help give you the power and strength needed to lift your hardest in the gym. Stick to lean cuts of beef such as Eye of Round and Flank steaks, which provide you with the benefits of red meat without the excess of fat found in the majority of cuts. On top of choosing lean cuts, be sure to remove any visible fat before cooking, as this will limit the amount of artery-clogging fat you consume.
Red meat doesn’t need to be consumed on a daily basis, but it does have its place within a solid weight-gaining strategy.
These five steps will give you a huge advantage on your journey to gaining weight.
There is no single ‘Super-food’, no ‘super supplement’, and no ‘magic bullet’ to gaining solid muscular weight. The biggest secret is perhaps knowing what it takes to achieve the goal; consistency. It takes a smart bodybuilding routine combined with a solid weight-gaining eating plan, executed regularly and consistently over a period of weeks, months, and years. As with anything else in life, putting the plan into action and sticking to it over the long haul will help you achieve the results you are looking for.