I hear it all the time: “No matter what I do, I can’t gain any weight!”
Some overweight people might laugh and say you’re lucky, but you certainly don’t feel that way. And it’s true – being skinny can be as much of a problem for your health as being obese.
You want to reach a healthy weight, no matter what. But you also want more than that – you want to gain muscle mass. And right now, you might think that’s impossible.
I assure you, you can gain muscle mass and completely transform your body.
Today, we’re going to talk about the top five ways you can build muscle to leave that skinny body behind.
1. Pack on the Pounds
In order to change your body completely, you’re going to have to gain a lot of weight. The fact is that muscle doesn’t come from nowhere.
This means you need to hit the weights hard and eat for muscle.
Spending quality time in the gym is your ticket to huge changes in your body that will stimulate your muscles to grow larger in response to the challenges you present them every time you workout.
And when you work out, remember you should be limiting your cardio. Overweight individuals should perform tons of cardio when they try to sculpt their bodies, but for you skinny people – forget about it. The last thing you need is to be burning off those valuable calories that should be transformed into muscle.
You can still perform some cardio, but limit it to around two days a week of around 30 minutes per session. A better idea would be to perform sprint intervals in which you run all-out for a minute then back off to a light jog for two minutes. You could try this two or three times a week, also for 30 minutes.
And remember, eating is just as important as lifting when it comes to building muscle mass. The food you eat in the morning, for lunch, after your workout, and your final meal of the day can impact your results the same as the amount of reps you squeeze into every set.
It’s true that a busy lifestyle can make it hard to stick to a well-balanced diet – but if your meals are healthy, your body will be too.
2. Craft the Perfect Diet
If you want to gain weight you can convert into muscle mass, you’ll have to approach your meals the same way you approach working out. And when bulking up, it’s better to miss a day of training than it is to miss a single meal.
If you want to reach that buff body, you’re going to need a menu that is high in both carbs and calories. But this is not an excuse to start chowing down on junk food.
For a bulking phase, you need high-quality, nutrient-dense carbs around your workouts. The perfect plan involves foods that are also very high in protein and antioxidants to improve the health of your blood vessels while warding off inflammation.
Create a schedule you rarely if ever deviate from. Write it down and make copies. Aim for five or six meals a day, reaching a total of 3,000 or more calories.
Your ratio of protein, carbs, and fat should look something like this:
- 50 percent protein
- 35 to 40 percent carbs
- 10 to 15 percent fats
Protein is incredibly important for mass gains because it’s the only nutrient that can stimulate muscle growth. The carbs and healthy fats will supply you with all the energy you need to make it through your workouts.
And yes, it’s okay to occasionally go for a convenient fast-food choice, but that doesn’t mean you should be eating pizza and burgers every day. Sure, they’re high in protein and carbs, but you might start gaining fat rather than muscle if they’re all you eat.
3. Perform Full-Body Exercise
The most effective way to increase your strength and muscle mass is through resistance exercise training.
Many people who seek to increase their muscle mass think they need to perform split-set exercise. One day they focus on their legs, the next on their upper body, the next on their back, and so on.
While these split-set exercises are smart for bodybuilders who have already developed considerable muscle mass, people who are still trying to build muscle should work out their full bodies through resistance exercise.
When you perform resistance exercise, you typically use free weights or weight machines, but fast sprints on an ergometer (also known as a rowing machine) at high resistance can also achieve increases in strength and mass.
There’s a threat with resistance training that you may burn out and pack on weight aside from muscle. To counteract this, a study in the European Journal of Sport Science recommends the importance of restoring the depleted glycogen in your muscles by consuming carbohydrates and protein early after an exercise session.
You should also make sure you practice multiple-set training of at least five sets per muscle group in every workout.
One study showed a relationship between increases in muscle size, tendon size, muscle strength, and muscle endurance, which favored the groups who practiced the greatest number of sets during their workouts. The authors of the study noted that the maximum gains in muscle size were achieved with 5-set routines.
4. Take Supplements
Gaining muscle mass isn’t always a matter of exercising and eating well – sometimes, you might need some extra help from supplements. And one of the best areas you can supplement in is your total protein intake.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein for adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. But if you’re trying to gain muscle mass, you should probably increase this to around 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kilogram.
One of the best ways to ensure you get this amount of protein into your diet is to take protein supplements. If you consume one or two protein shakes daily, you’ll complement your diet to fulfill your RDA.
One study actually found that if you consume a protein shake right before bed, you can increase your muscle mass even faster. The study showed that protein ingestion before sleep was an effective dietary strategy to augment muscle mass and strength gains during resistance exercise training in young men.
The supplement used in the study contained:
- 5 grams of protein
- 15 grams of carbohydrates
- 1 grams of fat
You can also try whey protein powders, which are superior to other protein powders because they have insulinotropic action. Whey protein has been shown to produce results like increasing muscle mass, strength, and body composition in healthy adults when combined when exercise.
You can also take creatine, which has been shown to be more effective than resistance training alone. Creatine is the most popular workout supplement, and is scientifically proven to help you build muscle mass – and make your muscles look fuller because of added hydration and volumization.
But don’t let supplements be your only source of nutrients. Be sure your diet includes all the nutrition you need to maintain a healthy body and the muscle mass will build before you know it.
5. Recognize Your Unique Gains
Everyone’s body is different. Gains will differ between individuals depending on body size and level of experience in the gym.
Some people are genetic anomalies and will build muscle without ever touching a weight. The majority of us, though, will need to stick to a careful balance of workout and proper dieting.
You need to make sure you’re gaining muscle always, not fat. Don’t just look at the scale to see you’ve increased in mass – bring out the tape measure and the mirror to measure twice a month.
Keep track of your waist and hips – you don’t want to gain there. You want to build your biceps, shoulders, legs, chest, and quads.
But don’t think you need to gain a set amount of weight every week. Your mass gain doesn’t have to be perfectly structured. The intricate makeup of your body and the way it gains mass are different from person to person.
As long as you start seeing the results you want – increased muscle mass where there once was practically nothing but skin and bones – you’re doing it the right way.
Besides these five tips, there are also some general steps you can take in your quest to gain muscle mass.
For one, you should be drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially before your workout. When training, you should drink about 8 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes. If your body gets dehydrated, your performance will suffer.
You should also stretch your muscles all the time. This will help you prevent injury and improve recovery between your workouts.
And if you get to talking to someone in the gym who recommends you take steroids, approach your decision with care. The science is still somewhat out about the positive and negative effects of taking steroids, and you don’t want to do any damage to the rest of your body while trying to get into great shape.
See, it is possible to put on healthy weight and muscle mass. If you stick to these tips, you can say goodbye to skinny forever.
Are you eager to bulk up your body? Have you had success with any of these tips?
Share your stories in the comments below!
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