Several readers have expressed concerns about possibly gaining excess body fat on the high calorie diet that we recommend. You might be wondering if you should add some aerobics to your routine to offset weight gain. However, doing so would actually damage your ability to gain the muscle that you desire.
If your goal is to gain muscle, then your diet and training have to be geared towards gaining muscle. For hard gainers especially, trying to both gain muscle and lose fat will not work. You will not see results in either direction. If your intention is to gain muscle, then the current goal is to gain weight. Don’t worry, you can focus on losing fat later.
Honestly, there are no pills, special powders, supercharged foods or exercises that can help you gain muscle and lose fat all at once. Your body’s ability to do that is determined by your genes and your metabolism. Some people can do it, but you probably can’t.
If you are a skinny person by nature and find it hard to put on weight of any kind, then the idea of trying to keep your body fat low while trying to gain muscle is ridiculous. Yet it is common for scrawny guys to worry about gaining fat while they are trying to gain muscle.
They look at pictures of bodybuilders and read about other people gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time, and want to do the same thing. But when you look at these photos, you have to keep in mind the fact that everyone has a different body type. In fact, most of them started off overweight and wanted to lose fat; they weren’t even interested in gaining muscle.
Then you might say, “Well, what about those folks who have totally transformed their bodies? They managed to do both.” Again, most of them started off with high levels of body fat. They were not skinny, they were overweight. They probably had slow metabolisms and their diets and training were geared towards fat loss.
These people used weight training to tone up and experienced gains in muscle mass by replacing the fat they were trying to get rid of with muscle. Understand, though, that that type of diet is not designed to increase your body mass.
You might gain some muscle, but you will end up weighing less! For example, Big John weighs 190 pounds with 20% body fat. That means about 38 pounds of his weight is fat and the remaining 152 are muscle.
If he goes on a fat loss diet and brings his body fat down to 5% at 170, he will have 8.5 pounds of fat and 161.5 pounds of muscle. In other words, after losing almost 31 pounds of fat, he will only have lost 20 pounds overall.
When you look at this, you can see that he gained 9.5 pounds of lean muscle on his fat loss diet. While he looks ripped, and he definitely has more muscle mass than when he began, he lost weight because fat loss was his main goal. He looks great, and his body composition has changed, but he was not looking to gain weight.
If you start off thin and go on his diet, you will not have the same results. You might gain muscle mass and lose fat, but you will not gain any weight — which is what you need to do if you do not want to remain so thin. Big John had a lot of weight to work with; you don’t. Therefore, if you want Big John’s results, the first thing you have to do is gain some weight.
You can worry about losing the fat later. John was big enough, but he had to trim down. If you don’t have the body size to begin with, your first goal is to force your body to grow beyond its comfort range. That will not be easy. That’s why if you want to get bigger than you are, you have to diet specifically for weight gain.
Remember, most people who are skinny have fast metabolisms. It will be extremely difficult to gain weight unless you shock your body into doing so.
In order to shock your body, you need to —
1. Train with heavy weights and
2. Eat a lot of calories.
To shock your body with weight training, you need to focus on compound free weight exercises with heavy weights. This will encourage the body to increase muscle mass by stimulating a large number of muscle fibers.
Eating more calories than your body is used to is even more important than lifting weights because once you pump in extra fat and protein, your body is forced to gain weight.