I am an underweight person trying to reach a healthy BMI. The goal has been much more challenging than anticipated. Two questions...
1. Is it necessary to cut back on physical activity, or is increasing calories enough?
2. While I dislike the low number on the scale, I love my super-lean body mass. My research says that a considerable amount of the weight I gain will come in the form of fat -- no matter how much one exercises. For those who've been through the weight-gain process, were you able to trim down after reaching your desired body weight? Is this what happens to body builders when they "bulk up"?
Any feedback you have on the matter is much appreciated!
Well it is true that if you are trying to gain weight, it is possible to gain a little fat. But if you go about it the right way, you can minimize the amount of fat you gain in the process. The best way to gain weight is to take in enough calories but also do a weight training routine. I recommend doing a workout routine that is consisting of compound movements, like squats and deadlifts. These will build more muscle than almost any other exercise. Most likely if you are having a hard time building muscle or gaining weight then you are probably a hardgainer. The days you workout should be high calorie days, where you eat lots of carbs.
Here are some good articles I recommend you reading if you want to succeed at gaining muscle and minimizing the fat gains as well.
--> learn how to gain weight fast <--
--> strength and bodyweight training <--
good luck hope you can pack on some pounds,
Well it is likely to gain a little fat. But if you proceed about it the right way, you can minimize the allowance of fat you gain in the process. The best way to gain heaviness is to take in sufficient calories but furthermore manage a heaviness teaching routine.
Thanks to you both for the input. I should mention I am female. Thanks to estrogen, my body favors body fat over muscle.
Another question... Once you reach your top weight, is this the time to alter body composition by trimming down the "bulk" achieved through the weight gain process?
Appreciate the insight!
Well whether you are female or male the building muscle principles are still the same. You need to lift weights that are considered a little heavy to you and constantly go up in weight. But do not forget to take some back off weeks where you lift lighter weights, to let your body fully recover itself. But yea mostly you would trim off the extra body fat you acquired by cutting some calories someday and doing a little cardio. Sometimes things like going to do some hill sprints do awesome things for gaining muscle and losing body fat at the same time. Sometimes doing steady weight cardio can cause you to lose muscle so be careful about not losing all the muscle you worked so hard to get. That is why I kind of prefer not to let my body fat levels get too high. I am a guy and I do not usually let mine get over 14 to 15% because I feel it is too hard to cut bodyfat without losing muscle in the process. It would be a totally different figure for a woman though, probably more like 20 to 25% <- that was just a guess don't quote me on that
But here is a detailed article you might enjoy reading about building muscle without fat.
--> Fat Free Muscle Building <--
Meg, please recognize that fat is an essential part of the body! Your cells need fats to build their membranes, and fat is an essential building block for many molecules your body needs to live. The American Council on Exercise says that for women 10-13% body fat is essential for your body to maintain all its normal functions at a healthy level. 14-20% is considered very athletic. Believe me, I know that with the entire world focusing on reducing their body fat it can be hard to accept that some fat is good for you, but it really is!
Try gaining weight slowly until you're no longer at an underweight BMI, without worrying too much about where it goes. As long as you keep exercising and eat healthy foods as the other posters recommend, your body will but that mass where you need it most. I suspect you'll find you have more energy and endurance, and that real world people will find you more attractive with a healthy amount of body fat, no matter what magazine covers look like. Remember that you've gotten yourself to be underweight once, so if for any reason you wanted to get back there again, you could. Not that you should, just pointing out that there's nothing to be afraid of. I've gradually regained 15-20 lbs from my most underweight, as a mixture of muscle and some fat. I don't think anyone would say I don't look healthier now than then. Including myself, looking at old pictures. Good luck!
car2nwallaby - Love the perspective... You're right. Nothing's permanent. We always have options. Health and performance are my primary motivations. Thanks for reminding me what counts.
All the best!
Gaining "good" weight is a tricky processes. Be sure to focus your eating on protein and high fiber complex carbohydrates. That will improve your chances of building muscle with very little fat.
Indeed, include protein and high fiber carbs (i.e. minimize white bread and added sweeteners, including artificial sweeteners which trick your body and mess up your natural homeostasis). But don't forget healthy fats too! Saturated and trans fats are bad, but unsaturated fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish like salmon) are necessary building blocks for cells, hormones, and neurotransmitters; and they come packed with other nutrients. Omega-3 fats may even help reduce inflammation. Moderate amounts of fat that you eat are actually probably less likely to end up as body fat than refined sugar that you eat.