Gaining quality weight is not as easy as you might think. Not everyone’s primary focus is to lose weight when it comes to fitness goals. There are a number of gym goers that are trying to increase their body weight in order to build more muscle and/or improve performance. Nobody usually has a goal of simply gaining fat. This would be the easiest blog to write if that was the case. Those of us with large appetites might just think it’s as simple as eating more (to be in a surplus) and training hard to result in weight gain. In a nutshell this is correct, but with this train of thought you would think that losing weight is straight forward too. All you basically need to do is eat in a deficit and exercise more. As we all know that even though it might sound simple on the surface, it isn’t easy for most people. The same can be said for ‘hard-gainers’ when it comes to increasing weight and I will discuss how they address this issue in a number of ways.
You might hear from a skinny man or woman that their metabolism is too high to gain weight even though they eat loads. While this may hold true to a degree, they still aren’t eating enough relative to their metabolism and goal. If they maintained their weight at 3000 calories they are going to need to consistently eat more than this in order to gain weight. 3000 calories might sound a lot to people that are less active or with a slower metabolism, but to others it might not be enough to gain weight. So you better start eating more if you want to make some gains!
Not everyone has a huge appetite so you have to become a bit strategic to be able to consume more calories during the day. You might notice that some of the strategies that help people gain weight, will be the reverse for those trying to lose weight.
Try to consume foods that are healthy yet calorie dense and with a lower level of satiety. Foods containing healthy fats such as nuts, avocados, whole eggs, full fat milk, and olive oil will provide you with quality nutrition and not fill you up much relative to their calories. You should then find it easier to eat in a calorie surplus.
If you skip a meal it reduces the number of hours you have to eat. So when you do end up eating you might get full before you have had a chance to eat sufficiently. I wouldn’t recommend intermittent fasting for hard-gainers. It’s usually considered a good way to stay lean because it helps prevent you from overeating. Not a good idea if you want to gain weight!
Your perception of how much you’re eating might differ to the actual amount. When you start to track your food you can determine if you are in fact eating enough or too little. You can analyze what needs tweaking in your diet by looking at the number of calories and macro nutrients that you are consuming. Properly tracking your food will also stop you from overeating. If the goal is to each 3500 calorie you should avoid eating 4000 calories because the extra 500 may lead to unwanted fat gain. It’s harder to gauge all this without tracking your intake.
Extra calories without the training will lead to the wrong type of weight gain. More food should result in a better output in the gym too. Track your lifting numbers so that you are always progressively overloading. By increasing the weights, reps, and/or sets of a given exercise, you will prime your body for gaining size when you have the extra calories to supplement it.
Increasing your carbohydrate intake and calories can be as easy as drinking a standard glass of orange juice. This will give you around 200 extra calories without it filling you up much at all. Need more protein and an extra few hundred calories? Whip up a 500 calorie protein smoothie mixed with a banana, full fat milk, and some peanut butter. It’s easy to down one of these even when you aren’t feeling particularly hungry.
For all you hard-gainers out there make sure you apply these tips to help you gain that muscle mass you desire. Consistency is everything and you can’t expect to build size by having one huge meal from time to time. Your total net calories for the week has to put you in a surplus. Enjoy the process. Eating more is definitely more fun than dieting down and doing a ton of additional cardio!
Written by Coach Rishi