How to Gain Weight and Increase Strength

How to Gain Weight and Increase Strength

Getting bigger and adding lean muscle mass need not be complicated. Follow these tips to gain weight quickly, and easily.

Schools almost out and summer’s right around the corner. Time to get your training program and nutrition in check. If you’re here at 1R you’ve, in all likelihood, already picked up a plan and have your training in check. But gaining weight the right way isn’t just about how you train, but also about what you eat, and when you eat it. To help with that part, these tips provide you with the guidelines needed to put on an extra 10-15 pounds before fall.

Eat Breakfast

I can’t stress to you how important it is to break the fast your body has been on while sleeping. It’s the most important meal of the day, as skipping it will leave you short of energy and lead to binge eating later in the day. So what is an ideal breakfast? Try making one of the two meals below your dietary staple, and you’ll start seeing results.

BREAKFAST #1:
4 eggs (3 egg whites, 1 full egg)
1 slice cheese
2 cups oatmeal
¼ cup crasins
¼ cup raisins
16 oz skim/2% milk

BREAKFAST #2:
2 english muffins
4 oz ham
1 piece cheese
16 oz orange juice
1 cup fresh fruit

Eat Before You Go To Bed

We all know you don’t go to bed after dinner. You probably sit around watching Glee, Sportscenter, or the latest episode of American Idol (it’s cool, we all do). What you probably didn’t know is that your body uses up all of the fuel from dinner during this 3-4 hour period before sleep. The only way to avoid going 12 hours without eating, and absolutely killing your gains (and thus the ability to put on weight) is by properly fueling your body and muscles before you fast for 6-8 hours (also known as sleeping).Need ideas? A casein shake or either one of the meals below should do the trick:

BEFORE BED MEAL #1 (For hard gainers):
2 pieces bread
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
1 large banana
16 oz skim/2% milk

BEFORE BED MEAL #2 (For those with slow to medium metabolisms):
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup mixed berries



More Meals, More Often

Throw the old 3 meals a day thing out the window if you want to get bigger. Your body needs fuel constantly, and you’re depriving it if you only eat 3 meals per day. Trying moving to 5-8 meals per day that all have the desired combination of protein, carbs, and fat. By adding more meals you can easily add the extra 500-1000 kcal needed per day to gain 1-2lb per week (as you should probably be in the 3500-4500 kcal range if you’re looking to put on lean muscle mass).

Breakdown, afternoon workout:
Meal 1 – Breakfast 8am (yes you can get up that early)
Meal 2 – Snack 10am
Meal 3 - Lunch 12pm
Meal 4 – Pre Workout Snack 2pm
Meal 5 – Post Workout Recovery Shake 4pm
Meal 6 – Dinner 7pm
Meal 7 – Snack 10pm (yes 10pm, your body needs rest!)

Breakdown, morning workout:
Meal 1 – Pre Workout Snack 7am (yes athletes train early)
Meal 2 – Post Workout Recovery Shake 9am
Meal 3 – Breakfast 10am
Meal 4 – Snack 12pm
Meal 5 – Lunch 130pm
Meal 6 – Snack 4pm
Meal 7 – Dinner 7pm
Meal 8 – Snack 10pm

Pay Attention to Post Workout Nutrition

We all have probably had someone say, “hey dude, take this supplement plus this supplement, along with this supplement and you’ll get huge.” Don’t waste your money. There are two things you need in your post workout nutrition, carbohydrates and protein. Don’t be the guy that chugs 60 grams of protein post workout thinking that more is better because the fact is that your body can’t use all of that protein at once! Instead, I’d recommend going with a shake that has a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein (meaning 20-40 grams of protein with 40-80 grams of carbohydrates). You want fast digesting Whey Protein as well as fast digesting carbohydrates (like Glyco-maize, etc) as it’s actually the carbs that help shuttle the protein and amino acids to your muscle tissue to speed up recovery. Having trouble finding the product that’s right for you? Just take a look at the products in the Post Workout section of the 1R store for a variety of different options, but whatever you go with, just make sure you consume it within an hour of finishing your workout. It will have a huge impact on how quickly you're able to add strength and size.

Be Persistent, Organized, and Write Things Down

Gaining weight and building muscle is not easy. You have to be persistent or your progress will stall. If you stick to your plan 4 out of 7 days a week, don’t expect results. Putting on good weight takes a strong commitment and requires you taking your nutrition as seriously as you take your training. Make thetime to sit down and record everything you’re eating. It’ll help you stay on track and allow you to identifypossible problems with your plan.

And there are the guidelines you need to put on that elusive weight over these next three months. Commit to nutrition as you do your training and you’ll finally see the results you’ve been chasing.

In addition to the tips above, 1R would recommend the following supplements if you're trying to gain weight as quickly as possible:

  1. Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass – Between the 50 grams of protein and 1,250 calories per serving, this weight gainer will help you put on mass faster than ever before
  2. Cytosport Creatine - By increasing your body's ATP production creatine will help you add more power and size when taken before or after workouts
  3. Cytosport Complete Casein – A great tasting casein shake that will ensure you don’t lose your hard earned muscle when you’re sleeping
ShareThis
Nate Hemphill's picture

About the Author

Nate Hemphill is an assistant strength & conditioning coach at the University of California-Davis where he oversees the training protocols for Men’s Soccer, Field Hockey, Women's Lacrosse, Golf, Tennis, and Women's Water Polo while assisting with Football. Prior to joining UC Davis in 2011, he was a graduate assistant strength & conditioning coach at Seattle University from 2009-2011. A 2005 graduate in Exercise and Movement Science from Missouri State University (MO), Nate worked with numerous sports at MSU as well as working with the St. Louis Cardinals in their Minor League affiliates (Rookie, AA). Nate is currently a certified CSCS from the NSCA. He is working to finish his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration and Leadership from Seattle University.