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How To Gain Weight Fast And Remain Healthy

How To Gain Weight Fast And Remain Healthy

If you want to gain weight and be healthy doing it, do yourself a favor and read this article.

“You’re wearing 2 suits.” That’s what I tell my clients. On top of your skeleton, you wear a suit of muscle first, then a fat suit on top of that.

You don’t want to get fat, but you do want to gain weight. This leaves one place to go—muscle!

So to gain weight fast, but to do it in a healthy way, we need to build up our muscle mass.

While there are a gazillion “muscle gurus” on the net all contradicting each other, I have always stuck to the research and science. I’ve been blogging since 2006 and my readers have produced some remarkable results. Now I’ll share with you, in 8 steps, how they gained weight (muscle) and became healthier than they ever were before.

1. Consume the correct amount of calories.

Since you want to gain weight, you could simply eat 5000 Calories a day to get the job done. However, we said we wanted to do this in a healthy manner.

Since we are training in a way that is stimulating the body to build more muscle (see point 2 below), we need a little extra caloric intake. Some trainers recommend an extra 500 Calories above maintenance. As a trainer I have never seen this work and not make people fatter. 500 Calories above maintenance comes to an extra 3500 Calories per week; this is just too much in my opinion.

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Shoot for 200–300 Calories above maintenance levels. They say the average man needs, 2500 Calories per day. Therefore shoot for 2700–2800 on a daily basis. For a more accurate assessment, I have a free calculator that will estimate how many calories you need to build muscle here.

2. Train with resistance and to a high intensity.

Obviously aerobic work doesn’t build muscle. Resistance training is needed. Simply put, this means lifting weights.

Furthermore, you need to know how many reps you need to complete per set in order to produce the result you want—maximum gains in muscle size (called muscle hypertrophy).

  • 1–5 reps Per Set: 85-100% Neural Strength But Only A Little Hypertrophy
  • 6–8 reps Per Set: 75-85% Neural Strength & Some Hypertrophy
  • 9–12 reps Per Set: 70-75% Metabolic & Neural Hypertrophy (optimal) Plus Strength Gains

The sweet spot here is training in with 8–12 reps per set. What that means is that in each set, the weight you lift should be heavy enough so that you can’t get more than 12 reps, but light enough to allow you to get at least 8.

Now, I have a free training system I give away called ‘Targeted Hypertrophy Training‘ (THT) that optimizes all the factors that lead to muscle growth. But to get you started right away, here’s 3-day lifting plan. You’ll train your whole body on 3 non-consecutive days e.g. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but you can change the days to suit your own lifestyle.

THT Training 3 Day Weight Training Plan

    3. Eat more protein.

    Dietary Protein is ESSENTIAL for building muscle. Muscle tissue IS protein. To build more of it, you need to eat more of it.

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    How much more? Easy–here’s a good rule of thumb:

    Consume 1g of protein per pound of body weight.

    So if you weigh 160lbs, consume 160g protein per day

    4. Eat your fat.

    Thankfully the old “fat is bad” paradigm is dying a death. The science just never showed up. As far as those of us wishing to gain weight, we have to know that dietary fat is required for the production of testosterone. Therefore, it is most desirable for those people wishing to gain muscle weight.

    Here are fantastic sources of dietary fat:

    • Eggs
    • Fish
    • Seeds
    • Nuts and nut butters
    • Olive Oil
    • Avocado
    • Red meat (low-carbers can have more of this than high carbers)
    • Real butter (throw out your margarine)
    • Coconut oil (contains an abundance of medium-chain triglycerides)

    5. Supplement with Vitamin D.

    Testosterone will help you gain muscle weight—no doubt about it! However, we want to be healthy and do it naturally. This is where supplementing with vitamin D can help us.

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    A study [1] of 165 participants (males aged 20–49 years) took either 3332 IU of vitamin D or a placebo.

    Compared to baseline values, significant increases in total testosterone levels (from 10.7 ± 3.9 nmol/l to 13.4 ± 4.7 nmol/l; p < 0.001), bio-active testosterone (from 5.21 ± 1.87 nmol/l to 6.25 ± 2.01 nmol/l; p = 0.001), and free testosterone levels (from 0.222 ± 0.080 nmol/l to 0.267 ± 0.087 nmol/l; p = 0.001) were observed in the vitamin D supplemented group. In contrast, no significant change was measured in the placebo group.

    6. Get enough sleep.

    Insufficient sleep will actually hamper your attempts to gain weight (in addition to making you feel lousy and irritable).

    How much do you need? 7–8 hours per night, every night.

    This comes from a study [2] conducted by the National University of Singapore which found that those who slept 4 or less hours per night had 60% less total muscle-building hormones, and 55% less bio-available muscle building hormones than those who slept 8 hrs or more. The study was conducted on 531 healthy men aged between 29 and 72. So get your sleep!

    7. De-stress.

    A hormone called cortisol can mess up your efforts to gain weight healthfully. It is a “break-down” hormone, whereas we want those “anabolic” or “build-up” hormones.

    The relationship between cortisol and anabolic hormones isn’t good. As cortisol levels rise, muscle-building hormone levels decrease [3] [4].

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    Stress causes levels of cortisol to rise. As some examples, you can start a practice of meditation (mindfulness), take regular walks in nature, spend more time with loved ones, and get more sleep. But there are many other ways to take control of your stress. Search Lifehack for more articles on this.

    8. Drink less alcohol (or none at all).

    Following on from my last point, alcohol also lowers levels of those anabolic hormones we’re after. Additionally, it also raises cortisol levels.

    It has been shown that anabolic hormones will remain depressed for 24 hours after alcohol is consumed, while catabolic (break-down) hormones will increase for the same duration peaking at 12 hours after consumption [5]. So drink sociably at best. No binge drinking.

    I wish you all the best with your weight gain efforts. (I’ve been there!)

    References:
    [1]Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men.
    [2]Sleep, sex steroid hormones, sexual activities, and aging in Asian men.
    [3]Testosterone, gonadotropin, and cortisol secretion in male patients with major depression.
    [4]The relationship between high and low trait psychological stress, serum testosterone, and serum cortisol.
    [5]Sex hormones and adrenocortical steroids in men acutely intoxicated with ethanol.

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    Last Updated on October 15, 2018

    Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

    Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

    “Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. When tiredness is persistent, however — when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get— it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

    While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here’re some of the most common causes of fatigue:

    1. Dehydration

    If you want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions.

    If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energising oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

    You cannot cure this crash with caffeine – the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

    2. Lack Of Exercise

    A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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    Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of our everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

    3. A Poor Diet

    The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

    An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by pizza or cheese.

    Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

    4. Skipping Breakfast

    Physician Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advises that eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

    Ingesting food signals to your brain that there is enough food available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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    Some great ideas for a healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

    Or if meal-prepping isn’t your think, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit: 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

    5. Poor Quality Of Sleep

    We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed. But did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is.

    TO feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

    Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time. And before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to prepare for a restful night.

    Read more about how to develop a routine that will get you better sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

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    6. Sleep Apnea (A Person’s Airways Get Blocked off While They Are Asleep)

    Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while they are asleep. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

    Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing as well as the use of a special breathing machine to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

    If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

    7. Depression

    Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating.

    Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling and lifestyle changes like stress management to help manage this condition. You can take a look at these 15 Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness.

    Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

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    8. Hypothyroidism

    If a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce adequate levels of these important hormones— and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain and feeling cold all the time.

    Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills like Synthroid. Check here for signs of having a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

    9. Anemia

    People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

    However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements or B-12 shots.

    While here are some drinks you can try to relieve symptoms of Anemia, it’s best to do a blood test and consult your doctor in case of any hidden medical conditions.

    10. Cancer

    While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surround tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

    Diagnosis is usually by biopsy and treatment often focusses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery— and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

    Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

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