Ok, now before you start grumbling about me being politically incorrect for using the word “skinny” – or for some reason you think all folk that are naturally slim should just be grateful and figure that they have it easy – then let me let you in on a secret… “being skinny is not always as wonderful as you think it may be”. And for some folk muscle and weight gain would be a dream come true for them.
Other than my father’s side of the family and my sister being “skinny as rakes” (as we say in Australia), I also have a few good friends (male and female) that are what you would call hardgainers. Sure they are grateful they aren’t overweight but that doesn’t mean they have it made.
One of my female friends, who is undoubtedly one of the nicest people you could ever come across, is under constant pressure due to her over-slimness, not just from men but in particular from other women. She has tried weight gain diets and programs and still struggles to gain weight.
Folk have been known to make fun of her lack of curviness, or her skinny legs or her so called gaunt face. I have heard my friend say many times that she’d give anything to be “normal”.
My “skinny” male friends also suffer a lot from the pressure of folk perceiving them as being weak, inadequate, awkward looking … just to name a few. These guys are true hardgainers, and no matter what they do, both muscle and weight gain seems to them, totally out of their reach.
I am by no means saying that everyone is mean to slim folk but the few who are certainly cut deep with their comments.
Muscle and Weight Gain… So Here’s The Good News!
If you’re tearing your hair out from frustration because you want to add some lean muscle mass or extra size in general to your body, and are fed up with people being plain old rude at your expense, then you’ll be thrilled to hear that I’ve got some workout and nutrition tips and hints on how to build muscle mass.
First off you’re going to have to consume a muscle and weight gain diet that is designed for putting on size. I am not saying “go out and eat junk food every day”. I am talking about a plan that will help support your gains safely, effectively while also improving your health.
Aim for around 6-7 meals per day – this makes it much easier to increase your overall daily calorie consumption. You want your meals to be much larger than say someone who is aiming to reduce body fat or wanting to achieve weight loss.
So if you’re only eating tiny meals at the moment gradually increase the serving sizes so you can slowly build up your calorie intake – rather than making yourself sick from force feeding. Make sure that you consume a decent serve of protein with each meal while also “upping” your carb intake as well.
If you find that you aren’t able to stomach eating more meals or food then make use of weight gain protein shakes that are high in protein and have an even higher content of carbs. Most muscle and weight gain protein powders are specifically designed for certain training goals so aim for one that states something similar to Gain Mass, Gain Size and Mass, Mass Gainer etc.
Another option is to make your own. I prefer this method because at least you know what’s going into your shake.
skim milk mixed with a large banana, 1 cup of oatmeal (dry), 1 heaped scoop of protein powder (a brand that contains natural ingredients) and 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter. Bung it into the blender and away you go.
If you don’t have protein powder you can throw in egg whites instead – you can purchase them in cartons. Opt for free range egg whites. If you do this you’ll want add some kind of natural extract flavouring or some organic agave. Some folk don’t like the flavour of egg whites and this adds some sweetness to it.
When it comes to adding fat into your diet use forms such as Omega-3 fatty acids from fish.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 can assist with the prevention of muscle breakdown and can be found in oil sources such as flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil in the bottle, stored in the fridge, is preferable to the capsule due to the oil usually containing a higher dosage.
Don’t go using the current favorite lean muscle mass program that’s going around the gym – because it may not suit your training needs.
The amount of times I have seen thin people at the gym using routines that have been thrown at them by other members – is ridiculous. Just because Joe “BIG” at the gym who looks like he is ready to explode or Jane “Curves and boobs” tells you they use a certain workout it doesn’t mean that you’re gonna look like them in twelve weeks. I know it doesn’t seem fair but if you want real results you need a “real program”.
If you’re going to hire a trainer to design your workout make sure they have trained clients for your specific goals previously and are qualified, so they have an idea of what’s required for how to build muscle mass. If you see a program online that you like, then just email the creator / author of it and ask a few questions beforehand so you go into it with your eyes open.
Don’t over train!
Trying to gain size from performing loads of reps with really light weights isn’t going to get you anywhere fast.
Keep your training sessions focused and to the point, making sure that you have moderate to longer rests in between each set is vital. Use a weight that is considerably challenging, but not so heavy you can’t lift it. Correct technique is essential. Remember less reps (6-8) per set using heavier weights.
I highly recommend using compound exercises and using free weights such as dumbbells and barbells and body resistance.
When starting out with your muscle mass workout only train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday giving your muscles time-out to repair and grow every other day.
Even though cardiovascular exercise is important keep it to an absolute minimum, if at all, to ensure your muscles are getting enough rest.
Muscle and Weight Gain Beginners Sample:
Monday – Working all muscle groups
Wednesday – Working all muscle groups
Friday – Working all muscle groups
Muscle and Weight Gain Intermediate Sample:
Monday – Legs and Abs
Wednesday – Back and Biceps
Friday – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
Creatine… This supplement can help increase strength and energy enabling you to lift heavier weights and perform a more effective workout.
BCAA’s and Glutamine… are also handy to include, to help support your muscle development.
Within 20 minutes of your weight training session make sure you consume a post workout shake or meal.
Give your workout a “fair go”!
Believe me, gaining weight for hardgainers is hard work. It’s much easier for most people to lose fat than it is for a naturally slim person to pack on weight.
For many skinny people their metabolism is really high which means their body burns off calories much faster than most of us. Which is why they need to consume a higher amount of calories in their eating plan.
Due to the process of gaining size being a little slower it can also get disheartening. So be patient and stick with your muscle and weight gain program and follow the above tips. I am telling you – it is well worth the effort when you see the end results.
Happy training folks,
Yours in fun, health and fitness
© Mandy Gibbons
Virtual Fitness Trainer