Gaining weight and getting bigger can be difficult, but by following these rules you’ll add lean muscle mass faster, and easier, than ever before.
While not the most popular of topics in your average fitness magazine, gaining lean muscle mass is a fairly common desire amongst athletes and those with above average metabolisms. So, if getting bigger is your goal, continue reading, as the five tips below provide the framework you need to pack pounds on in a smart and healthy way.
1. Eat Often
If putting on weight is hard for you, there’s a good chance that you’re simply not eating enough. I know, I know, you’re probably saying, “but V, I eat all the time and I can’t put on weight!” Nonsense. The bottom line is that you’re probably not taking in the 4,000-6,000 calories a day that it actually takes to put on size. Regardless of what you may think, three meals a day just won’t cut it. If you’re serious about getting bigger you’re going to have to eat hearty snacks like sandwiches, protein shakes, and/or meal replacement bars between meals,and right before bed, to get the job done. Plan ahead and prepare your daily snacks ahead of time to ensure you always have a snack on hand to deliver those calories.
2. Bigger Portions
It should come as no surprise that to get to that 4,000-6,000 calorie mark you’ll need to go heavier on your portion size as well. Now there are two ways to do accomplish this. The first is to simply consume more volume (i.e. eating four eggs instead of two) but the second is larger portions of calorie dense foods (i.e. eating three scoops of peanut butter before bed). By making small changes like adding an extra patty to a burger, an extra egg or two to your omelet, or using juice or milk instead of water for your protein supplement or weight gainer, you’ll be able to pack on the extra calories you need without taking 2 hours to consume each of your meals.
3. Maximize Nutritional Density
Tying into the point above, putting on lean muscle mass becomes much easier when you’re able to maximize the number of nutritionally dense foods you consume. While a large spinach salad has a lot of nutritional value, it’s relatively low in calories. If gaining weight is your goal, you’ll want to turn that salad into a hearty meal by adding grilled chicken, nuts, peppers, tomatoes, croutons, and, a creamy, calorie dense dressing. Additionally, you’ll want to substitute lighter foods for denser options, like meat, milk, peanut butter, avocados (but be careful not to exchange protein for carbs or fats). It’s important to emphasize that even though you’re eating more, you need to make sure that you’re getting the necessary protein to continue to build muscle mass. Generally speaking, roughly a gram of protein per pound of body weight should do the trick.
4. Drink Up
Drinking calorie dense beverages like sports drinks, milk, and weight gainers might be one of the easiest ways to pack extra calories into your diet. You’re probably already using a protein supplement so make sure you using one designed for hard gainers (like Serious Mass which provides 1,250 calories per serving). These will typically contain higher carb and higher calorie counts which will help you maintain the calorie surplus needed to put on good weight. Adding fruit juice or milk to these products will also add calories, as will blending in peanut butter, yogurt, and fresh fruit.
5. Train Heavy & Recover Properly
Building lean muscle mass takes work. Hard work. To stimulate growth and utilize all of the extra calories you’ll be consuming, you need to train heavy, train hard, and train with a purpose. Strength training breaks the muscle down, but it’s during recovery when your muscle tissue is rebuilt. This is why post workout nutrition, hydration, and adequate rest are imperative for developing and increasing overall lean body mass. While it may seem corny, keeping a food journal will not only keep you on track, but will also reveal any areas of inefficiency within your diet that may be preventing you from putting on that solid 15-20 pounds.
Remember, nobody ever claimed that getting bigger was easy. Gaining weight, like most fitness goals, takes solid nutrition, hard training, and sufficient rest and recovery. Follow the advice above and you’ll be well on your way to packing on the pounds… without giving up that skinny six pack that you love so dearly.
To gain weight quickly, 1R would also recommend the following supplements: