Gaining weight is probably the most simple concept one could grasp. All you need to do is eat a lot of food right? If you are trying to gain overall mass (including fat) then your answer is correct. In this post, I will give you a 5 step-by-step guide to putting on lean weight while adding the smallest amount of fat possible. If you all have any questions about how to lift weights or an example of a workout routine do not hesitate to ask using the "ASK FS" page.
1. Calculate how many calories you burn in a day
Normally you would have to multiply that number by one of the 4 numbers below.
1.3 to 1.4 - Lightly Active
1.5 to 1.7 - Moderately Active
1.7 to 2.0 - Very Active
Fortunately, there is a calculator that will do this step automatically for us, here is the link.
2. Set your target caloric intake needs to gain weight
Generally, you do not want to have a caloric surplus over 600 because if you do, you will be gaining a lot of fat along with your muscle. Some people think that if they eat more they will put on more muscle, this is not true! Your body has a certain amount of muscle it can synthesize in a given period of time and all other excess calories go straight to fat storage! What you will do is take the number which you calculated in step one and add 500 to 600 calories from that number. So, using the example, our target caloric intake will be around 3100 calories (2493 + 500 to 600 calories).
3. Eat the appropriate amount of calories and be within range of your target intake
You do not HAVE to be at your target caloric intake but within plus or minus 200 calories should be a good standard. So that means from around 2900-3300 calories for this individual. To track calories, just simply read the food label and see how many calories are in one serving.
4. In order to gain muscle, you WILL have to be lifting weights
Lifting weights is a MUST if you are trying to gain muscle. If you do not lift, your body will have no need to repair your muscle tissue and almost all of the extra calories you consume will go straight to fat storage. If you have no clue how to set up a work out routine please send me a question. I will be posting my routine for gaining muscle in the next upcoming weeks.
5. Eat cleaner foods or try to incorporate "IIFYM" (Second blog post)
Try your best to eat 40% of your calories from protein, 40% of your calories from carbohydrates and 20% of your calories from fat. This is a 40/40/20 ratio diet. This is a target ratio and does not have to be followed exactly in order to obtain success. In the beginners section of this blog, under nutrition, I have added a long list of "clean foods", so try to incorporate some of these foods in your diet. If you do not like eating all clean foods or want to ease your way into changing your diet habits. You can try the "IIFYM" approach which is incorporating some of the foods you love to eat in your diet (Link to second post). If you do not want to even deal with protein, carbohydrates and fats, you can just solely calculate your calorie intake.
For cardiovascular training, doing a session or two every week will also help minimize this fat gain.
Just know that when you gain weight, it is INEVITABLE to gain a little fat. If you gain weight correctly, you will be putting on very little fat and it will not be that noticeable.
Just remember these steps and more importantly to have fun while you are gaining weight!