No one ever talks about weight gain in a positive light unless you’re a man trying to put on muscle. It seems to go against what society had been pushing out for so long which is: Thin is in. Up until recently that is.
Ironically my entire life I’ve wanted to get bigger, not thinner, no matter how envied I was for my size.
I wasn’t lucky enough for puberty to help me out. Up until my 23rd birthday I’d been a slim girl averaging around 110 pounds.
In spite of all of that I still managed to not only gain weight but a full 30lbs of mainly muscle (and it does not make me look manly). The process took tons of research and a lot of trial and error. Most importantly it took me realizing that there is no secret to gaining weight.
There is no secret to gaining weight.
No matter how many ads, syrups, or pills you see online there is nothing that will MAKE you gain weight.
It’s all up to you.
To gain weight it takes time, effort and a caloric surplus. Once I had an understanding of that I was able to put in the effort I needed to gain 30 pounds in less than a year, and I did it all naturally.
And even though there’s no secret to gaining weight, there are steps that should be followed and taken into consideration when trying to gain weight. Especially if you’re looking to gain muscle and not fat.
Step 1: Research
I don’t know how many times that I’ve had women ask me how to gain weight and this is one of the first things I tell them. In order to do anything and do it right you have to learn about it.
Choose a Training Style.
I knew I wanted to build muscle and not just fat so the first thing I did was figure out what type of training style I wanted to start with. There’s…
And plenty others to choose from.
Every training style has their pros and cons so I picked the one that best suited my needs and interests which was bodybuilding. I specifically wanted to focus on not only getting stronger but the aesthetics as well (especially building the glutes) so this was the best choice for me.
Create a Workout Split.
Once I decided on bodybuilding I knew I had to come up with a workout split. This took a bit more trial and error because I wasn’t sure what muscles I wanted to work on what days.
On top of that I knew that with a split routine you shouldn’t work the same muscles two days in a row, to prevent overtraining them. The first split I came up with looked something like this:
Push Day – Chest, Triceps, and Shoulders
Leg Day – All of My Leg Muscles
Pull Day – Back and Biceps
Rest Day then repeat
Later I figured out that this split routine was not the best for me because my arms were growing faster than my legs so I switched my split. Trial and error right? Well the split I switched to is more similar to the split I still currently use and that was:
Leg Day – Quad and Glute focused
Upper Body – Chest, Triceps, Shoulders
Leg Day – Glute and Hamstring focused
Upper Body – Back, Biceps, Abs
Leg day – Glutes only
This meant I would workout 5 days a week and take 2 rest days. This worked well for me since I was determined and I could go to the gym right after work. It sometimes brought challenges when I had plans but I usually found a way to make it work.
Find Exercises that Work Certain Body Parts.
Okay so I had my split, I knew what days I wanted to workout, but I still had to figure out exactly what I was supposed to be doing once I walked in the gym. I needed a game plan.
So I took the time (a lot of time) to figure out which exercises I wanted to do and which days I wanted to do them. I also decided on the sets and reps for each one.
If I tried out an exercise and it wasn’t working for me or if I couldn’t do it with proper form I would switch it out for something similar. I was meticulous with my workout plan so I could be sure that I’d see the results I wanted.
Figure Out the Necessary Calorie Intake.
Everyone’s different. The amount of food that one person might need for their goals can be completely different from the next person even if that person is the same weight and height. So I had to calculate what my caloric intake needed to be to see the results that I wanted.
For my goals I needed to be in a caloric surplus. I always say the simplest way to calculate a caloric surplus is:
your current weight x 20 = your caloric surplus
Realistically speaking, that formula works but it leaves out a lot of variables such as how much weight you’re trying to gain, how quickly you’re trying to gain it, how often you workout, for how long, your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure), etc.
I wanted to be as accurate as possible so instead of using that formula I found a macro calculator online and came up with my caloric intake and my macros (not that I counted my macros).
My goal weight in the beginning was 130 lbs so that’s what my intake was based on given my starting weight. Eventually I adjusted my caloric intake once I reached my goal of 130 lbs because I wanted to continue to gain.
Step 2: Eat
This is the most important part about making any gains. Every part is important of course but this takes the cake because you can’t make any muscle gains if you’re not fueling them properly.
Find High Calorie Healthy Foods.
Typically speaking whole foods tend to have a lot less calories than processed foods. So what I did was lean towards the whole foods that had the highest amount of calories and eat tons of them.
I did my best to eat clean, and again I did not track macros, only calories. As long as I knew I was eating healthy meals 80% percent of the time I was okay with having a not so healthy meal or snack 20% of the time.
Now I could have had a dirty bulk and ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted but that would have led to a lot of unwanted fat. I wanted to gain muscle and have a flattering physique.
I also could have had a much cleaner bulk but let’s be real, that’s not for everybody and it would’ve took the fun out of it for me. It’s much easier to reach your goal when you actually enjoy what you’re doing.
Find Relatively Healthy Restaurants.
Do you cook everyday?
Well if you do, more power to you. 🙂
I like hanging out with my friends and my boyfriend, so I don’t like to cook all of the time if I don’t have to. Eating out every once in a while or having a drink or two with my friends helped me stay sane during the weight gain process.
I am a big advocate for eating intuitively and sustainably. I want to be able to enjoy working out and eating well without feeling like I constantly have to track what I’m eating.
Despite popular belief and what you see on social media it’s completely possible to reach your goals without tracking your food as long as your still eating the right amount of food and it’s relatively healthy.
Set Up an Eating Schedule.
I have a hard time eating a lot of food at one time. The way that I made it possible to consume a large amount of food everyday was by creating an eating schedule so that I could eat more often. My schedule consisted of 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks everyday and looked something like this:
7:00am Meal One
10:00am Snack One
1:00pm Meal Two
3:00pm Snack Two
7:00pm Snack Three/ Protein Shake
9:00pm Meal Three
I made sure to do what I knew would help me reach my goal. I could have used a weight gain supplement to help increase my appetite, but it was just my personal choice not to.
Step 3: Strength Training
This is the part that I was most interested in because I’d never done it before. Of course I went to the gym before but it was all cardio based. I was always curious about weights but I didn’t know what I was doing so I wouldn’t dare go to the weight section and make a fool of myself.
But this time, with all of the research that I did to make sure I knew what I was doing, I walked in the gym confident and ready to conquer.
Workout 5 Days a Week.
I made it a big point to make sure I went to the gym 5 days a week. Even if I wasn’t too excited to work out I wanted to get in the habit of having a routine so that working out would become my new normal.
Sometimes I had other plans get in the way, or sometimes I was just too tired, so instead of missing a day I would use it as my rest day and go to the gym on the day I was supposed to rest.
Eventually this did become my new normal and not going to the gym felt weird.
This was the most important part of my gym routine. I made sure that not only I was consistent with showing up to the gym but also with pushing myself to do the best I could in each workout.
I gave 110% and would sometimes leave with my butt super sore. My goals were always in my mind and I stayed motivated by having fitness inspirations that I followed on social media. Looking at them and the exercises that they would post gave me new ideas to get up and try at the gym.
This is the end all be all right here. If there’s anything that I would’ve needed to know in the beginning it would’ve been to be patient. Gaining weight is simple. Eat anything and everything. Gaining muscle is harder and takes more time.
It took 3 months to see really significant results and for some that’s fast. For others it takes longer to see the results that they want. You can’t compare your journey to anyone else’s because everybody is different. As long as you see changes in photos and how you look and feel then you’re headed in the right direction.
Don’t forget to share this with anyone trying to do the same thing!
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