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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 August 12, 2019

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark Chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko Biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and Black Tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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