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How Do I Gain Weight? by Stew Smith
Weight gain is something that isn’t easy to do and you probably know this already. People who cannot gain weight usually have a high metabolism, which makes gaining so hard. The key to weight gain is to do everything BIG. You have to eat big and lift big, in order to get big. This is your new motto!
A lot of people think weightlifting is the key to gaining weight. It is an extremely important part, but the other thing that is just as important is your food intake. Some people gain weight by eating more calories and only doing calisthenics. Some also experience weight gain and weight maintenance while training for marathons by adding a lot more calories and a basic weight training routine. So it is not the cardio that kills your muscle – it is the lack of refueling your muscles after you workout. This requires you to eat both larger portions of protein and complex carbohydrate rich foods. Here is a free sample weight gain plan for you to download.
Try these 5 simple steps to help you gain weight:
1. Count how many calories you eat in a normal day. Don’t change anything, just eat like you normally would and count how many calories you consumed. This is extremely important, so try to be as exact as possible. Also, weigh yourself. If you are not gaining weight or losing weight, this number is your baseline caloric intake with exercise.
2. Starting the day after you counted calories, eat 500 calories more than you normally do. For example, let’s say that the day you counted calories you counted 2000 as your baseline. For the rest of the week, you would now eat 2500 calories a day. Instead of eating 3 big meals a day or eating all day all the time, spread those calories out over 5-6 smaller meals. Eat one meal every 2 and a half to 3 hours. To get big, you have to eat big! Remember that. Adding more peanuts, almonds, even milkshakes will help you add great protein and healthy fats (in the nuts) and many calories with little effort.
3. Weightlifting! Get in the gym and lift! This is another important step to gaining weight, so make sure you are doing it correctly. If you do not have weights, go with a TRX, pullups, and dips since together they are the heavy exercises in the calisthenics world. Adding body-weight squats or holding dumbbells in your hands while squatting / lunging is an easy way to add weight to your resistance muscle building routine. For more of Stew’s ideas on this, read Multi-Joint Dumbbell Exercises.
4. At the end of the week, weigh yourself again. You’ll notice you are gaining just after one week! Now, don’t expect to see a 10 pound increase. Gaining anymore than 1 or 2 pounds a week is unhealthy and means you are putting on way too much fat or water weight. So look for 1 or 2 pound gains at the end of the week. You can be gaining 5 to 8 pounds in a month, so be patient.
5. It’s important to remember that, at some point, you will stop seeing weight gain. When that happens you will have to eat even more. So, when you stop gaining for at least 2 weeks, it means it is time to start eating an extra 250 calories a day. Every time you see you haven’t gained weight for at least 2 weeks, add an extra 250 calories until you have reached your goal. Then it is even more important to keep working out. Do not just eat to get big, work out to get big too!
Even more tips for gaining weight (These are extremely important for success!)
— Stay away from too much fat! Even though weight gain is your goal, you don’t want to be getting all your calories from fatty foods, thus gaining fat. Get rid of the chips and candy. No more fast food, nothing fried. Stick to high protein and high carb / low fat foods like tuna fish (and other seafood), chicken breast, turkey, ham, lean meats, fruits and fresh vegetables.
— WATER! Drink plenty of water! Drink around a gallon a day, more if you can. Yes, that is a lot of water, but it is water that will allow you to gain weight. Just make sure you sip it through the day and do not consume quarts during meals. That will take up space in your stomach. Below is a list of foods you should eat to gain weight.
Foods that will assist with weight gain:
Whole or 2% milk
Raisin Bran cereal
Peanut butter and jelly
Nuts (peanuts, almonds, etc.)
Cream based soup
Beans and peas
Eat these and add additional helpings if you are trying to boost your caloric intake to 2500-3000 calories per day in order to gain weight — even more if you are very active with your workouts.
STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.