And here I am again. This time to make a blog about gaining weight, as promised and requested. You'll see a lot of things that are the same as weight loss, and that's not laziness, it's just how it is. I'll make this blog as if you didn't read the other one. So I'll still cover the basics of nutrition and so on, in order to make as complete as possible. If you read the other one, this will be boring, and I'm sorry.
Previous blog: http://www.hltv.org/?pageid=135&userid=243271&blogid=6372
So, let's get started:
Fruits should not be avoided
As you might have heard out there, 80% diet and 20% gym. Although making percentages is pretty useless and inaccurate. Nutrition is very important. It's important to track and understand calories. A calorie is just a unit of energy (just like joules). The food we eat contains calories (energy). Our body needs energy to function, to brush your teeth, take a walk, etc. Each of us have certain energy requirements, which is how many calories your body needs each day. If you eat more, you gain weight, if you eat less, you lose weight.
Now what you need to do is to discover how much calories your body needs, your maintenance calories (TDEE - total daily energy expenditure).There's 2 ways to do it, calculate it yourself (http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=121703981) or find it thought a calculator (way easier) - http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm
This is not 100% accurate, but it doesn't need to be. I'll explain it later.
Fill out the form, age, gender, weight (your weight will determine most of your TDEE, so if you are not sure how much you weight, weight yourself now or do this test only for experimental purposes), height and exercise level. On the exercise level put the number of days you work out per week (do not choose "*intense* unless you are a competitive athlete or something). On the advanced options, if you know your body fat, choose the katch mccardle formula, but I guess most of you don't, so choose the last one, the harris-benedict. Click calculate.
Now you have your maintenance calories (ignore the fat loss and extreme fat loss). This is your starting point.
When you're bulking, you're trying to gain weight, trying to add muscle mass. This is done by eating more calories than you burn. You will most likely gain some fat when bulking. Some people try to stay shredded while gaining muscle by either not eating enough calories or doing too much cardio. Doing so may allow them to stay super lean but they won't be gaining much muscle. At the other end of the spectrum some people eat everything in sight to get as many calories as they can. This strategy will definitely lead to weight gain, but a lot of that weight will be fat and not muscle. The best approach is to eat sufficient calories to gain muscle but don't get crazy with your eating. What you need to do is a add a caloric surplus to your TDEE.
You want gain weight slowly, slow and steady will win the race. Even if you gain more muscle by eating more, you'll earn a lot more fat as well, and you'll have to lose a lot more time cutting, time that you should be using for another bulk. Plus, I don't think anymore likes to be fat.
Since the TDEE we just calculated isn't 100% accurate, you have to start small and progress up. Based on the feedback (the weight you gained or not gained), you are going to adjust the calories. Start with a 100 or 200 caloric surplus. You should aim for about 0.5-1kg per month. So track your weight for about 2 weeks. If you gained less than that, add another 100-200 calories, if you gained too much weight, reduce the calories. Unless you gained a LOT of extra weight, don't reduce just yet, since most of it it's probably water weight. Wait a few more weeks.
Weight your food
Now you have the amount of calories that you need. If you eat that amount every day, you will lose weight. Now we have to go into macros. “Macro” is short for “macro nutrient” and in bodybuilding it means one of three nutritional pigeonholes: protein, carbohydrate and fat. Fiber is technically considered a macro nutrient, but this is something we should focus on getting enough of each day, rather than meticulously tracking it.
In the old days it was calculated by percentages of your caloric intake. But we are going to calculate by your weight.
Calculating your protein needs: 2.2 g per kg of body weight
Calculating fat: 1.1g per kg of body weight
Calculating carbs: Carbs are a little bit more tricky, but it's still simple. For the carbs we want to fill up the rest of your calories. So first we need to know how much calories we have already, from protein and fat. 1g of protein is 4 cal, so multiple the protein by 4, 1g of fat is 9 cal, so multiple the fat by 9. Add both and you'll have the calories you're getting your protein and fat. Now all you need to do is subtract that number to the original caloric intake you have for your fat loss. And there you have it, now you know how much calories your have to eat per day, how many grams of protein, carbs and fat.
As you know, macronutrients are protein, fat, carbohydrates, alcohol, fiber etc. They are the nutrients that make up the calories of food. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that are in food. This is very important for general health, and it will aid your journey of muscle gain. To make sure you hit your micros, eat mostly whole foods and eat a lot of vegetables. You can also take supplements with vitamins and minerals. If you're interested in knowing more about micros, read the following article: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=2845231
It's pretty easy. Just see the nutritional label of what your eating and see how much your eating.
Then it's simple math. If you're eating something that doesn't have a nutritional label (like vegetables), just search on google.
Now, I'm sure you'll all ask what foods you should eat. It really doesn't matter. Just don't eat processed foods, cut sugar and salt, hit your caloric and macros needs, and you have everything to have the results you want. For protein you can eat meat, fish, eggs, beans etc. For carbs you can eat potatoes, rice etc. And for fats: fish, nuts, etc. Also make sure to eat a lot of vegetables to get your vitamins and minerals in check.
Forms of cardio
Cardiovascular exercise is simply exercise that elevates your heartrate for an extended period of time. It must elevates your heart rate to 50%-85% of your maximum and keep it there for at about 20 minutes (to calculate your maximum just subtract 220 - your age).
Cardio is very beneficial to health, it improves heart health, increases metabolism, improves your hormonal function etc.
The thing is, cardio burns a lot of calories, and therefore puts you on a caloric deficit, so the more cardio you do, the more you have to eat to maintain that caloric surplus.
Get into a gym.
"I can't afford it". Yes, you can afford it. It's all about priorities. The good thing of world crisis is that everything is cheaper. Contact some gyms in your area and ask for the packages. Always try to get a good deal, most gyms actually negotiate with customers, so try your best for a good price.
"I'm insecure." Don't worry about it. This is rude, but it's true: no one gives a shit about you, no one will be looking at you, every one is doing it's thing.
"I don't know what to do." Internet is your friend, plus, gyms have trainers, you can ask them for advice and how to get started.
This is where most newbies will screw up. Don't over-think it. Just fucking do something. Just don't free style at the gym (doing random stuff). Choose a program that is it's known to work. Don't choose a random program that you saw on a ad or something like that ("SUPER EXTREME FATLOSS MUSCLE BUILDING 69 - GET RIPPED IN 2 WEEKS"). I guarantee you it's bullshit, there's no magic, it takes hard work and patience. Choose something simple and effective. Compound movements is a MUST, the most common mistake is to make only isolation exercises (bicep curls, tricep push downs, leg press etc), isolation exercices are the final touch, you must build your foundation first, with compound movements such as squats, bench press, deadlift, barbell rows, overhead press, pulls ups, etc. A good beginner program is 5x5. It's free and simple. It's 3 days a week and it's very low volume so you won't be spending too much time at the gym. To download it go to stronglifts.com
Supplements are used to fill up holes in your diet. Most of them are a waste of money, but here's a few that can help you out:
Multivitamin (If you don't eat a lot of veggies, aka 99% of the population)
Fish oils (If you don't eat a lot of fish)
Whey protein (If you're having troubles getting your protein needs or/and you want a high quality aminoacid profile)
Creatine (If you don't eat a lot of red meat, it gives you a little boost in strength)
Thanks for reading.
Any question please comment or PM me.
If you notice any mistake please comment or PM me.
If you have any advice or information that would be a good addition to the blog please comment or PM me.