Ultimate Guide On How To Gain Weight | The Right Way
When we talk about gaining weight, what it means is that we are concerned about gaining muscles. Our body weight comprises lean mass, fat mass and water.
Comprises your bone weight, your organ weight, your brain weight, and your muscle weight.
Nearly 70% of your body is water. At any given point in time, your body can hold about 40 liters of water.
All your adipose tissues, including visceral fat, essential fat, and subcutaneous fat, consists of your fat mass.
I Have Been Skinny Almost All My Life
I have been skinny almost all my life and have suffered from an inferiority complex from guys who were naturally broad and heavier than me. Standing tall at 186cm (6’1), I was a mere 140 lbs (63.6kg).
My folks used to say that there is nothing wrong with being too thin and I should be very fortunate that I am not one of those kids with obesity as a problem.
Temporarily I used to feel ok with this fact, but deep inside, I wanted to look good, and more importantly, I wanted to be strong both externally and internally.
I had a weak immune system, and I always felt that it was because of the fact that I was thin. Yes, for all you thin people out there who think that you are fit, there are no guarantees, especially if your BMI is below 18.5. 1http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18519281
Why Was I So Thin? Was There Something Wrong With Me?
There are many reasons why you may be thin.
If you are an ectomorph, in most cases, you will be thin, as your bone structure will be light. Therefore, your wrist measurement would be no more than 7 inches or very close to it.
When I was a child, I was always moving, running and playing. I can’t remember sitting down ever! That probably resulted in an elevated metabolism. No matter what I used to eat, my body used to digest it pretty quickly.
On the contrary, there are thin people who have a reduced appetite, probably due to some illness. I would recommend getting checked with a physician to rule out any possible issues with your health before you put yourself on a weight gain program.
Therefore throughout the article or anywhere on this website, If I am referring to gaining weight, I specifically mean building muscle.
How Much Weight Should You Gain?
The BMI (Body Mass Index) is an attempt to quantify the amount of tissue mass ( muscle, fat, and bone ) in an individual and then categorize that person as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese based on that value.
Commonly accepted BMI ranges are underweight- under 18.5, normal weight: 18.5-25, overweight: 25-30, and obese over 30.
There is criticism of using BMI, and one major flaw is that it doesn’t account for the percentage of body fat. For example: If a weight-lifter is 90kg with fat levels of 10%, his BMI= weight (in kg)/ Height (in meters square) = 26.2, which puts this lean and fit person overweight!
We have established that our main aim in gaining weight is to look good (and, of course, to feel good and be healthy), right?
Then what we need to do is find out studies and certain formulas that help us find a suitable weight range that is not only healthy but makes us look good to the fairer sex (one more reason to gain weight 🙂
Dr. Casey Butt has done a brilliant job of finding a sexy weight range for men that women find attractive. 2http://www.weightrainer.net/articles.html#Casey_Butt
Sexy Weight Range = Minimum Lean Body Weight: 23 * H 2 – Maximum Muscular Body Weight: 26 * H 2
In this equation, height (H) is in meters, and weight is in kilograms. You can convert feet and inches to meters here. 3https://www.feettometres.com/ Let’s take an example of an individual who is 6 feet tall to illustrate this point better.
His sexy weight range, assuming his body fat is between 9% and 14%, is 77 kg–87kg (170–192 lbs). This sexy weight range came from a study by MJ Tovee funded by Newcastle University. 4https://www.researchgate.net/publication/13066910_Characteristics_of_male_attractiveness_for_women
In the study, thirty female undergraduates rated color pictures of 50 men in front view. Waist-to-chest ratio (WCR), a measure of upper body shape; waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), a measure of lower body shape, and BMI were measured for each man. Images were presented randomly, with each subject’s head and body obscured.
Results showed that individually all three characteristics were contributors to attractiveness. However, WCR was the principal determinant of attractiveness, accounting for 56% of the variance, whereas BMI accounted for only 12.7% of the additional variance. WHR was not a significant predictor of attractiveness.
What this boils down to is that shape (WCR) is more important for male attractiveness than size, which clearly explains why Steve Reeves was the most admired man of the twentieth century.
Even though his weight was well outside the sexy weight range, his shape, especially his WCR (chest- 49/waist- 29=1.68), was exceptional. That’s what one should target.
Go ahead, calculate your own and let me know what you think.
Now that we know how much weight one should gain (i.e., be in the sexy weight range ), let’s figure out 8 steps to gain weight fast.
Top 8 Ways To Gain Weight Fast
1) Eat 10-20% More Than Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
Gaining weight is a simple equation of calories in and calories out. Here is the easiest way to understand energy balance
Energy balance = Energy intake – Energy expenditure
Energy intake encompasses whatever you put into your mouth. Energy expenditure comprises several factors, including resting metabolic rate ( RMR) and calorie cost of the activity (TEA). The balance of intake versus outtake is the critical starting point in weight gain.
If you have a surplus of calories ( i.e., positive energy balance ) where the intake exceeds the expenditure, you gain weight.
If you have a deficit of calories (negative energy balance) where the intake is less than expenditure, you lose weight.
Simple enough? Not quite; this is just a starting principle but nevertheless an important one. The type of calories is the next step. You need to ensure that the number of calories you eat should come from highly nutrient-dense food, not typical fast food.
How To Calculate Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure
(TDEE)- TDEE is the amount of calories your body burns in 24 hours, sleeping, working, exercising, playing and even digesting food.
TDEE is a sum of BMR+TEA. Let’s briefly discuss each of them.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
It is the calories you burn at rest ( lying down, watching tv, or working on your laptop ). These calories are required for your brain to function and for your heart to beat. Most people’s BMR is about 60 to 75% of their TDEE, depending upon their activity levels.
Thermic Effect Of Activity (TEA)
The more you move and exercise more your TEA is. More intense your training session more calories your burn overall. That’s why weight training burns more calories than a moderate-intensity cardio session because of EPOC.
Related Article: 14 Awesome Benefits Of Weight Training
Studies have shown that Energy post oxygen consumption after intense heavy resistance training showed elevated metabolism to remain elevated even 24 hours following the resistance session. 5http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11882927 There are various formulas for estimating your total caloric expenditure.
Let’s look at the two most popular ones.
The Katch-McArdle Equation
BMR = 370 + (9.79759519 x Lean Mass in pounds)
The Mifflin-St Jeor Equation
Male BMR = 10 × weight (kg) + 6.25 × height(cm) – 5 × age + 5
Female BMR = 10 × weight (kg)+ 6.25 × height(cm) – 5 × age – 161
Once you have determined the BMR, you must multiply it by the appropriate activity factor to determine your daily caloric needs.
-1.200 = sedentary (little or no exercise)
-1.375 = light activity (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week)
-1.550 = moderate activity (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week)
-1.725 = very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week)
-1.900 = extra active (very hard exercise/sports and physical job)
If in doubt, choose a lower activity factor
Caloric Increase Guidelines
15% Above Maintenance
This is a conservative increase and a slow way to gain weight. However, if there are no deadlines, and you need to ensure that you don’t want much fat gain, this is the best estimate.
20% Above Maintenance
This is a moderate increase for people who have some trouble gaining weight.
25% Above Maintenance
This is an aggressive plan to gain weight and can be used for a short period of time.
How To Calculate Energy In?
One excellent approach to good nutrition is creating a food diary to keep track of the food items you eat on a daily basis. Having an approximate idea of how many calories you are ingesting can be a huge help in reaching your goal.
Buy a food scale and weigh your food before you eat it. You can find the caloric content of food pretty easily by googling it; this will give you a clear idea of how many calories you’re eating. Most people are surprised to see just how few different foods they actually consume on a daily basis.
For example, for the past five years, whole eggs have been a staple breakfast for me at least five times a week. Add nuts, a portion of meat, dairy products (milk, yogurt), and some fruits, and that’s almost 80 percent of my daily calorie intake. Yet, my total ingredient list contains no more than 20 items!
In addition to measuring your food, another important approach is eating mindfully and slowly (Fabulous Body Law 4). It takes 15 minutes for your body to inform your brain that you are full, so be sure to wait at least that long before deciding if you want a second helping.
If you tend to have a second serving when the food is delicious (as I often do), use a smaller plate and ensure you don’t overload it the first time. Find what works for you and do it!
2) Train With Weight No More Than 3 Times A Week
This is the best way to train with weight for maximum results.
3) Include These Muscle-Building Foods Daily In Your Diet For Maximum Results
If you think that eating 10 egg whites, eating half a kg of chicken and gulping down unnecessary whey isolates will help you build muscles fast, well, think again.
Eating protein is simply part of the whole story. Muscle-building is a complex process requiring other nutrients in adequate amounts (eaten every day). These nutrients are complex carbohydrates, healthy fats (including omega-3), vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Related Article: Top Muscle Building Foods
4) Include Squats And Deadlifts In Your Workouts
Compound exercises work more than one muscle at a time; they are functional in nature and mimic our natural movement. They also provide a big hormonal boost (a big surge in testosterone and human growth hormone after performing squats/deadlifts ) which is beneficial in building muscle. If you want to gain 1 inch on your arm, squat!
5) Sleep At Least 7-9 Hours Every Day
If you don’t get enough quality sleep every day, you will never be able to experience optimal health and build muscle no matter how regularly you exercise or how well you eat.
During sleep, your body repairs, restore, and rebuilds. For example, deep sleep triggers key hormones like HGH, which helps you to burn fat and build and repair muscle tissue, whereas lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Enough time in the sack can also help you function well during the day, leading to increased productivity and happiness. How much sleep you need to stay healthy and alert depends on your age and may vary. However, for adults, anywhere between seven and nine hours is recommended.
6) Ingest 1.4-1.7g Of Protein Per Kg Of Your BW
If you want to build a house (build muscles), then you need one thing: Materials. If you want to have muscles, you have to feed them, plain and simple.
Related Article: How Much Protein Should I Eat Per Day?
7) Include These Supplements In Your Diet
The only supplements I recommend are whey protein concentrate, multivitamins and krill oil.
Related Article: 4 Benefits Of Whey Protein That No One Told You About
8) Have Faith
Yes, have faith. Do you believe that you can gain weight (muscle)? I know many skinny people who have tried various programs out of the fitness magazines, followed the advice of their trainers, eaten 10 egg whites a day, drank a gallon of milk every day and still nothing happened!
Many skinny people simply give up the fact that they are doomed to be skinny forever because of their genetics. I was one of them until one day, and I decided to stop listening to what is popular out there and challenge everything normal.
Over the course of time, my results got better. It’s all in my mind.
Whether you think you can to you think you can’t, either way, you are right.
How Many Kilos Can You Expect To Gain In 3-6 Months Time?
One’s body type, muscle fiber distribution, bone structure, hormonal levels, age, training, nutrition, rest and sleep are certain variables that determine how much weight you can gain and how fast you gain.
I started with 140 lbs almost a decade back. Unfortunately, I made almost every mistake in the book on how to gain weight and was misguided by conventional wisdom.
However, I didn’t give up and found better and smarter ways to gain weight and build muscles. My ultimate goal is to be over 200 lbs ( gain of more than 60 lbs of rock-hard muscles ), and my current weight is somewhere close to 180 lbs.
You don’t have to go through what I went through. Learn from my mistakes. If you are a beginner, I can help you gain 20-30 lbs of rock-solid muscles in less than a year’s time.
Related Article: 4 Workout Plan Mistakes That Beginners Make
Even at intermediate or advanced levels (depending on how close you are to your genetic potential ), you can gain anywhere between 10-15 lbs in about a few months. However, this rate of muscle growth is non-linear and cannot go on forever.
What do you think about gaining weight? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!
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About Akash Sehrawat
Akash is a creator of 25+ programs and certificate courses in which more than 200,000 students have enrolled both on Udemy and Fabulous Body's native platform. Akash is also an author of three books that can be found on Amazon. His answers on Quora have gathered more than 12 million views in less than a year.