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How to bulk up
- Updated: May 9, 2013
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Hey Skinny! Who Me?
I hear the call! This is where some people get confused. They know they’re supposed to be eating more calories, and they may even be trying to eat more calories, but still can’t seem to gain weight no matter what they do.
The challenge here is they don’t know what kind of food they should be eating. Don’t worry; Isalean protein has 240 kcals and I always add a few almonds, a half cup of quinoa- I am a texture foodie. I love the crunch, and taste bud blitz.
I just want you to understand the basic principal that in order to successfully gain weight you need to eat more food on a consistent daily basis than your body needs to fuel itself.
There is also a line you can cross where you could actually be eating too many calories to the point where you are gaining more fat than muscle mass. We’ll discuss how to avoid this by fine-tuning your caloric intake, and measuring your results. This brings us to the next question of how much food?
There are many different calculations you can use to determine the right amount of calories to consume to start gaining mass. Here are some of the calculations I recommend you start with:
Saying it simple…If you are super-skinny with hardly any body fat, use this formula:
20 x (Bodyweight in pounds) = Daily Caloric Intake
If you are a skinny guy but you have a little bit of a gut from too much beer super bowl Sunday (giants!) or junk food, use this formula:
18 x (Bodyweight in pounds) = Daily Caloric Intake
Pretty simple, right?
Realize that these calculations are only meant to give you a starting point for how many daily calories you should be consuming. The fact is, everyone’s body is different. Everyone has a slightly different metabolism and you may require more or less calories to gain weight.
Now that you have your starting daily caloric intake figured out, start off by consuming that amount of calories every day for the next week. Monitor your results by weighing yourself before you start, and 10 days later.
It’s important to weigh yourself first thing in the morning. This will tell you your true weight. If, after a week you are gaining weight, then great – you don’t need to change a thing. If not, then simply add 400 calories to your daily caloric intake and weigh yourself next week. Continue this pattern until you see results. It’s really about trial and error here. But once you find that sweet spot that has you gaining weight and muscle, then you’ll know exactly how much food you need to eat.
Always remember that your weight gain diet should be in addition to a solid weight training program if you want to see muscle gains. If you are not on a strength training program, you will gain most as a male in the abdomen, and female in the hip and thigh region.
We already talked briefly about the fact that you shouldn’t just stuff your face with junk food unless you want to get fat. So what kind of food should you be eating if you want to bulk up?
There are 3 specific types of categories (macronutrients) that your food will come from: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat. You need each of these to gain weight. Your body needs protein in order to build and keep muscle mass. I am not in compliance to the (RDA) in regards to protein.
Everything is specific to goal needs, activity levels, and environment. Don’t quote me however a great start for anyone who wants to gain muscle is 1.3 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. So a 130 lb. person would need to consume about 169-170 grams of protein per day.
I also recommend no more than 25-30 grams every 2-3 hours. Isa Lean has 23 grams per serving, and all the other nutrients needed for the building blocks of muscle building.
Why so much protein? If your goal is to gain weight, you’ll be lifting heavy weights in the gym, which increases your body’s demand for amino acids (which is what protein is made up of.) Your body will break down existing muscle tissue if it does not get enough protein from your diet. without protein you can’t gain weight. Ladies: Be Careful! If you don’t have enough you will be skinny-fat (soft)!
Here are some good protein sources that you should be eating:
• Lean Red Meat
• Eggs- whites but never alone (incomplete protein)
• Cottage Cheese
• Grass fed Whey Protein
Every weight gain diet needs to have plenty of unrefined carbs. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose and glycogen in the body, which supplies your body with energy – which is essential for both heavy weight training, and just to keep your body fueled throughout a normal day.
Here are some carb sources you should be eating to gain weight:
• Brown Rice
• Oatmeal- gluten free
• Potatoes- sweet, and yam
• Rice, flax, whole grain breads
Some people have a misconception that all fat is bad and just makes us… well… fat. This couldn’t be further from the truth. FAT is essential for many reasons we’ll talk about right now.
Fat is divided into different categories. The bad ones you should limit your intake of are saturated fats and trans fats.
Unsaturated fat… Which is what you need in order to gain weight.
Unsaturated fats are often labeled as “essential fatty acids.” They can benefit you in many ways including an increase in testosterone.
Here are some good fat sources that you should be eating:
• Flax Seed Oil
• Fish Oil- only omega 3 w EPA isa ageless essentials have that! Would you expect anything less.
• Olive Oil
• Fish (like salmon)
• Nuts-NO PEANUTS all others
In order to build muscle and gain weight you need to be eating 5 – 6 small meals throughout your day. These don’t need to be large full course meals. The point is to consistently feed your body with the nutrients it needs to build and maintain muscle weight. My concern with people who only have three meals is blood sugar levels, and insulin response. Too many highs and lows will reap havoc on your entire system.
It allows your body to go into a catabolic state, which means you WON’T be able to grow new muscle weight and your body will break down muscle for energy. Essentially your body is starving for a few hours in between each meal.
Possible gluconeogenesis the process by which glucose is made, primarily in the liver, from non-carbohydrate sources. The body is able to make glucose from amino acids (protein), glycerol (the backbone of triglycerides the primary fat storage molecule), and glucose metabolism intermediaries like lactate and pyruvate. \
What? Your body will convert protein and use it for fuel. You don’t want that–trust me (Skinny Fat)!
Eating six mini grazing meals a day keeps your body in an anabolic state that promotes muscle gains and limits fat storage. (helps regulate blood levels)
I hope this helped- in regards to the actual food to eat…that’s a whole different dissertation.
Dave Parise CPT FPTA