Archive for the tag - gain mass

Why Am I Not Gaining Weight?

Dear Davey,

I have been trying to put on weight for the last 6 months. I’ve tried several diets, I’ve been eating as much as I possibly can and have been training heaps as well. So far, I’ve toned up but haven’t put on any weight. What tips do you have? Sometimes I feel like I’m meant to stay this size forever and I often feel like I should give up.

From,
Luke

There are a few things to consider if, despite your diet and workout regime, you’re having trouble gaining mass.

Overtraining

First, overtraining may be a contributing factor. Overtraining is a condition wherein you provide more stress on the body than it is able to handle or recover from. When you lift weights, you create tiny tears in your muscles. This is a normal and healthy process – and, as the body rebuilds, the muscle is made stronger and larger than before. However, it takes time to recover. And if you’re training too frequently without adequate rest days in between, then the overtraining response will occur. Your body will become weaker and you may lose muscle mass.

Signs of overtraining include irritability, difficulty sleeping, poor performance, fatigue, losses in strength, weight loss, increased colds or flues and muscle pain. If you experience these symptoms and if overtraining is to blame, take a week or two off to recover – and then reassess the situation. By getting 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night, taking at least one day off per week from exercise, eating properly and by minimizing life stress, overtraining is easy to avoid.

Caloric Intake

Second, take a look at your calorie intake. Though I recommend using the Harris Benedict Calculator to determine your calorie requirements, a good general guideline is 14 – 16 calories per pound of bodyweight for active individuals. For example, at 155 pounds, I’d need to consume about 2,480 calories to maintain my current body weight. To build muscle and mass, you need an additional surplus of 250 – 500 calories a day. In other words, assuming that I’m following a nutrition and exercise plan to targets muscle growth, I’d want to aim for about 2,750 calories per day. This will result in a few additional pounds of mass per month.

Nutrients

Third, look at what you’re eating. To build muscle mass, you’ll need the fuel your body with the right ingredients. Very general guidelines (these can vary from individual to individual) include a gram of protein per day (per pound of bodyweight) from lean protein sources. It’s also recommended that you consume at least 100 carbs on non-workout days and 150 carbs on workout days – with a strong preference for complex, natural carbohydrates like those found in brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat breads. Include foods rich in heart-healthy dietary fats like nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado.

Train for Hypertrophy

Fourth, consider your workout. Are you following a workout plan that targets muscle growth? When you lift weights, they should be heavy – and your rep ranges should be low. I generally go for 8 reps, and I’m fully fatigued on my last repetition. Ensure that you’re not using low levels of resistance and performing 12 or more repetitions. Lighter weights and high repetitions are great for endurance training, but they’re not well suited for gains in mass.

Avoid Excessive Cardio

Fifth, moderate your cardio. Cardiovascular training offers great benefits – but don’t overdo it. If you have a naturally thin body type, a few sessions of high-intensity interval training or steady-paced cardio each week should be plenty. Limit cardio times to 15 minutes so that your results aren’t cannibalized.

Certainly, you’re not destined to be a skinny guy for life… so long as you follow these steps. With some effort, energy, dedication and know-how, you’ll be bulking up in no time!

Increases in Muscle Mass May Lower Diabetes Risk.

Muscles aren't just about looking sexy - they're good for you, too.

Admittedly, many people seek to add muscle mass for superficial reasons. But as it turns out, bulking up is about much more than just looking “good.”

Increasing muscle mass has a number of benefits – not the least of which is a huge boost to your metabolism. Adding muscle burns more calories; it’s one of the most effective ways to create a calorie deficit when it come to weight loss. Muscles also make you stronger (duh!), so it can improve your performance in any number of activities ranging from the mundane and ordinary (like housework or heavy lifting) to sports and competitions.

But a new study, soon to be published in the September issue of of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that increases in muscle mass may be linked to decreases in diabetes risk. The study looked at data from 13,644 adults and concluded that a 10% increase in participants’ skeletal muscle index resulted in a 11% decrease in insulin resistance and a 12% decrease in pre-diabetes.

Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, lead researcher, noted:

Our findings suggest that beyond focusing on losing weight to improve metabolic health, there may be a role for maintaining fitness and building muscle mass. This is a welcome message for many overweight patients who experience difficulty in achieving weight loss, as any effort to get moving and keep fit should be seen as laudable and contributing to metabolic change.

While the finds are important for all of us, they’re especially important for people with pre-diabetes who have difficulty releasing extra body weight. Yes, losing weight does reduce the risk for diabetes – but, according to the research, so does adding muscle.