A weird request it seems but I would like to gain weight. I am 5'4 ish and 123lbs if im soaking wet. Don't get me wrong, I would want to throw on muscle not fat but I have never been able to put weight on. I just finished freshman year and llike the typical college student, I engorged myself on pizza and fast food, though I did cook some "home-like" meals. I ate quite frequently, a lot of which was out of boredom, and I ate huge portions. Thing is, at most I gained 2lbs which I lost fairly soon. I just went to my college gym and had a personal fitness evaluation and the trainer said I should speak with the dietitian to find out how to eat to gain more muscle mass. I figure I should check with you guys first before im forced to pay $60. Like I said, I'm in college so money is a very limited resource. If anyone can help that would be greatly appreciated. I can give more info about the results of the evaluation if needed.
I was obsessed with gaining weight and becoming stronger and more fit at the end of high school and the beginning of college so I put in hours and hours of research to devise an ever-evolving strategy. In the most general terms possible, I discovered what works best for my body was a cycle of sorts--this has nothing to do with illegal substances so listen closely.
First you need a building phase. In this case, I recommend timing it in the fall/winter. This way, as you literally bulk-up, you'll have it hidden under your winter attire. Your cutting phase will be in the spring to make ready for summer. To build, you must forgo the high levels of cardiovascular exercise and high-repetitions with weights. Your diet must change drastically. So drastically in fact, that you shock your metabolism. This is best accomplished by doubling your caloric intake, perhaps tripling? This combination, with heavy weightlifting at low repetitions, will help you retain weight and build mass.
The idea is to build lean mass, which always comes with fat. Do not worry because you'll get rid of the fat in your cutting phase. Once you've put on, for example, 10 pounds during your building phase and enter the cutting phase, you'll lose roughly 40% of the mass as you reduce your caloric-intake and re-establish high-levels of cardiovascular work. You'll shed the fat and keep the muscle!
I followed this general approach for 4 years, introducing fun and new weightlifting plans to slowly get to my ideal weight for my height at 6'1", 185 pounds. I used to keep a wardrobe of clothing for my building phase because I literally bulked to 200-pounds and a 36-inch waist and an XL shirt with 12% body fat. My second wardrobe for my cardio-phase was when I would slim back down to a 185 pounds, 32-inch waist and 8% body fat with a medium shirt. I used to drive my mother crazy when we'd have to go find me new clothes! It sounds unhealthy and probably isn't the best for your body and your heart, but honestly, I've witnessed way too many people looking to get bigger as fast as possible and that, I know for a fact, is the most unhealthy approach. When corners are cut and supplements are relied on, your overall health and safety is sacrificed so please be as intelligent as possible when considering my advice here.
To make this yearly cycle a healthy way of life, consider joining a gym this fall and winter and perhaps even getting a trainer now that you have this goal in mind. When winter turns to spring, cancel or freeze the gym membership and get outside. Select a marathon that is 18-weeks away and follow a training plan to get there. You'll shed the pounds and feel a real sense of accomplishment. Give me a shout back with any more questions - hope this helps!
Social Media Specialist | Endurance Sports
Interesting. I have never heard of putting on fat at the same time as muscle. Ever. Please cite any sources on this. Lift weights, eat quality protein and cool it on the cardio. Muscle and weight gain will come with out having to add fat. You say that building lean mass always comes with fat, but then it isn't lean mass is it? hmm..
When your caloric intake doubles or perhaps even triples, its not going to be picture perfect muscle mass. Its going to have some byproduct aka fat along with it that you'll need to address--not an exact science but when you "lift weights, eat quality protein and cool it on the cardio," you'll get the idea.
Social Media Specialist | Endurance Sports
I had the same problem in college also. From a food standpoint, I had a nutritionist recommend adding in healthy snacks between meals that contained good fats and calories such as nuts/trailmix, dried fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, avocado. I used to also drink daily protein drinks. Jamba Juice has a smoothie call Peanut Butter Moo'd that has over 1,100 calories! Good luck
Ahhh!! Don't be so quick to want to put on weight... you should be concentrating on becoming strong, not big. But I know that my little rant here will not sway you so I will tell you how... diet and exercise. You obviously have a fast metabolism so eat early and often putting in more calories than you burn. Work out at least 5 times a week concentrating on your core muscles and stabilizers - remember the most weight we carry is n our legs... I would bet you are concentrating on upper body but you need to move to those trunks.
Keep this up for 9 months and then you will have begun your journey...
FYI - pasta, tuna and greens are your best friends! Mix and match them to fool yourself that as you are eating them for the 9786th time in 3 months that somehow... it is a new food...
FYIA - Chicken and potatoes are your buddies too...
5' 4" and 120 some pounds sounds about right to me. I went into college at 5'8" and about 125. Wrestled in High School at 112. Now I'm 52. I've been as heavy as 195 and down to 153 in the last 10 years. Once you create a fat cell it is there for the rest of your life!!!!!!! Also think ahead, you will probably put on 5 lbs. every decade. Do the math. How about this for an idea? Why not get involved in a sport where your weight to power output is an advantage? There are professional cyclists your size who are awesome climbers and make a very good living, lots of other sports also where bulk is not an advantage. Just keep working out, lifting, lean protein, etc. but be happy with the body God gave you.
Yea a lot of what everyone was saying was correct. I believe someone meant ectomorph not endomorph though. The principles are you have to take in more calories than you are burning and you have to invoke your muscles to want to grow, by lifting heavy weights. A hardgainer must be careful not to injury themselves in this process though. Naturally skinny guys have a tendency to have thinner bones and joints. So you have to allow for tendons to grow stronger usually before you can gain a whole bunch of muscle.