We all can agree that to gain weight you have to eat, right?
I hope so or else you're on the wrong website.
If you're training drug free you won't be able to gain weight or add an impressive amount of muscle mass if you're not consuming enough clean calories to promote hypertrophy; i.e. muscle growth.
On the contrary, if you don't eat enough, chances are that you'll lose muscle no matter how hard you train.
Sherlock Holmes would be the first to acknowledge a 'see food diet' as the logical answer to gain weight and mass because the more you eat, the more you grow, correct?
It is very true that you'll be putting the breaks on gaining weight if you're nutrition intake is impaired. However, there is a clear difference in getting bigger and getting more muscular. We're talking about gaining weight without getting fat which will make you more muscular, not just bigger.
Which leads me to my pet peeve...
Guys who justify eating too much junk food to gain weight and accept an excessive amount of fat gain (more than I endorse in my book) in hope of stimulating extra muscle growth.
It does not work that way.
Each person has a different ability to manufacture muscle based on how much protein their body can synthesize which is based on your testosterone levels, your testosterone to stress level, your insulin sensitivity, your genetic muscle fiber make up, and many other variables.
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Lets look at eight secrets to help you eat more food so you can gain weight that does not turn into body fat.
1 Double It Up
If you aren't growing, the solution is simple - get in more calories. What's the easiest way to bump your calorie intake through the roof? Double up on all your servings. For example, if you're having one chicken breast for dinner, from now on, make that two.
Toasting a slice of bread for breakfast? Double that as well. This takes all the thinking out of it for you. Whenever possible just aim to eat twice as much as you normally would to double your calorie intake. Since you have to prepare the food anyway, it's not really any extra effort to prepare twice as much.
2 Focus On Food Timing
Next, don't let yourself be distracted during the day. You have to eat and eat frequently - once every 2-3 hours would be your best bet if you really struggle to get those calories in.
If you find you forget to eat when it's time, get a timer and set it to go off. Or, buy a watch that has a beeper. This includes breakfast as well. You must get quality nutrients into your body within fifteen minutes of waking up if you want to go grow. Don't ever let your body turn to present body mass as fuel or you'll be digging yourself out of a hole.
3 Find Big Eating Equipment
Another sneaky trick I have many of the guys in my program do is just purchase bigger plates. Just like many diet books will tell you to cut the size of your plate in half to consume fewer calories, for building muscle you want to do the exact opposite. Once you have that bigger plate, make sure you fill it - FULL.
It will take less mental effort to clean one large plateful of food compared to two whole smaller plates of food.
4 Don't Skimp On Post-Workout Nutrition
Next, you also must be absolutely sure you're eating good food immediately after your workout. If you let yourself suffer at this point, you're not maximizing the true potential of the effects of that workout.
If there is one time you want to slam back a higher calorie shake, this will be it.
Also, if you're someone who can only train in the morning, don't think this means you can get away without eating beforehand. It doesn't. Just like everyone else you must fuel the body before the coming workout. If you cannot tolerate a full food meal, then you should instead use a liquid shake to get the calories in.
5 Find Calorie Dense Foods
For guys who do require the very high calorie intakes to build muscle tissue, you must get your hands on the most calorie dense foods available. If you waste your time eating foods that have too much volume, it's going to be a real struggle to meet your calorie requirements, and this will hinder your ability to build muscle.
Avoid eating foods such as whole vegetables (blend them into sauces or drink V8 juice for nutrition), bowls of cooked oatmeal, popcorn, and low calorie soups. These have too much volume and will fill you up quickly.
6 Track, Track, Track
Now, since you are going to be taking an aggressive approach to your diet and getting those calories up there, you also need to be tracking. You don't want to wind up a fatty and the best way to prevent this is by monitoring how many calories you're taking in daily. If you're pushing the limits too far, you're going to start gaining body fat.
If you see this happening, then all it takes is for you to cut back on your calorie intake by about 200 calories a day or 10% and fat gain should stop.
If you aren't tracking, you never know how many calories you're taking in daily and if you do start gaining fat, you don't know how much to cut. Most guys who start gaining body fat really reduce back on their calorie intake, which is a huge mistake because then they stop building muscle as well.
There has to be a very careful balance. Go too low and you won't gain muscle. Go too high and you'll start getting fat. Once you've found the sweet spot you'll know because you'll be getting bigger and may even appear to be leaner as well.
7 Consider Some Cardio
Finally, you may also wish to consider adding a bit of cardio to your program. Don't make the mistake most guys make though and think you can do cardio every day and prevent fat gain whatsoever. Too much cardio training will limit muscle building as well, so it has to be done at moderate levels.
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When my diet is perfect I only need a 10 minute warm up on the treadmill and 20 minute cool down after my weights to squeeze out any last drip of glycogen. I walk at around 4.0 mph and a 8.0-12.0 grade which prevents you from getting a double chin and won't put the breaks on your muscle gains. Anything more and you may be consuming too many calories.
8 Never Train Hungry
How many times have you woken up, whipped up a protein shake and then headed off to the gym? Or maybe you had a long afternoon and missed a few meals and then attempted a weight training workout after work?
I thought this was common sense to avoid, until a few of my skinny clients confessed that they were showing up for their workouts having only eaten a piece of fruit and some crackers within the entire day!
After dropping the 45-pound plate on my foot out of shock, they reassured me: they were not hungry. I sometimes screamed back, "Yeah, that's because your metabolism is in starvation mode and shut right down, you skinny pencil neck!"
I understand that training in the morning is the only time for some; however, I recommend aiming for a minimum of at least three solid meals in your system prior to training. Or eat the biggest meal of your day immediately after your AM workout.
Would you take your car out on a long trip with a half empty fuel tank? Not unless you wanted the car to die and you push it the rest of the way. So why would you take your body through a grueling training session on an empty stomach?
Gaining weight is not an excuse to get fat and schedule daily visits to all-you-can buffets. I suggest you begin implementing one principle each week and watch your body stack on more muscle to your frame each week.
You are probably only one or two principles away from unmasking a super-sized frame so don't add all eight of these secrets at once. Scale them up if your muscles start slowing in progress.
I would love to hear which principle you liked the most and which one you're going to start implementing this week. Post your comments and questions on the forum.