#1 Train Under an Hour
You should be keeping whichever program you are doing to no more than 1 hour of duration. Be sure that you are focusing on keeping the intensity high rather than making the workout drag on. There have been countless studies on how nasty things happen in your hormonal state after training hard for more than an hour.
Plus, when trying to gain weight, we want to work out harder rather than longer.
#2 Make Eating a Habit
Listen, I know in the beginning of this post I was sympathetic to your problem, but I am also here to say, Suck It UP. I can tell you that to gain weight, you need to focus on making your meals a habit rather than an afterthought. Your body is pre-programmed with your genetic disposition. And in your case, you have a very fast metabolism that digests and burns calories quickly.
So even though you might eat 3 meals a day, and they may be high calorie meals, your body is going to burn through these very quickly. Instead focus on having 5-6 meals a day spaced 2-3 hours apart so that your body is constantly being provided with something to metabolize and build muscle.
#3 Stop Relying on Supplements
I have been in your shoes, and I can’t count how many times I have fallen prey to the supplement industry. You have to understand, a supplement is exactly as the name implies…A SUPPLEMENT. It is not going to make or break your gains in the gym. The majority of supplements being marketed to hardgainers looking to gain weight are focused on increasing water weight instead of muscle which after you come off the supplement, your weight will drop again. The only supplements I recommend are protein powder and perhaps some Gatorade after workouts.
#4 Take It Easy
As naturally skinny guys, you have to stop moving around so much. It’s just a part of who you are, but you might fidget or move around a lot in the day. Learn to relax a bit more and try to limit activity outside of the gym as much as possible when outside of the gym so that your energy is put forth to good use.
#5 Understand Caloric Surplus
This is another thing I am very tired of hearing. ‘No matter what I do or what I eat, I can’t gain weight’. I have heard this countless times and I am here to tell you that you are dead wrong. That’s OK, because I actually said the same thing until I realized the truth.
Most people think they are eating lots and you just may be. But no matter what you are eating, if you are not gaining, you are not eating enough. Most times, you should re-evaluate your diet as well and focus on more calorie dense foods. But you need to eat more if you are not gaining.
Also, when changing your body composition, you will need to ‘force’ things a little bit. Your body doesn’t want to change and it doesn’t care to gain weight. You need to ‘coax’ it along and yes at times it may be a little uncomfortable.
#6 Focus on Progression
As mentioned above, your workouts should really be under an hour if even that. But the main take home principle is to make sure you are progressing at a workout. It’s so simply yet so many people screw it up. They put in more volume and more until their workouts are at about 2 hours.
Now some things to work for a while and you may see some results. But if you want to gain weight, you’re better off focusing on progressing in either the number of reps or an increase in weight lifted within your main program. Just like overeating, this too will be tough and require you to PUSH yourself to the limits.
#7 Change Rep Range Every 3-4 weeks
Unless you are making great gains and progressing like nobody’s business, I would suggest changing the rep range every 3-4 weeks to avoid plateaus. Changing the rep range will make your body adapt to the new stress causing you to gain weight in the form of muscle. This is a much better tactic than adding more sets and more work in your routine.
#8 Hit the Buffet
Remember, this is for the extreme skinny guy…But I want you to start hitting a buffet once a week. Try and position this eating frenzy after a hard workout so that the majority of calories get shuttled into the muscles which will really help you pack on those pounds and gain weight in the right places. Don’t go too overboard, but this will train your body to ‘accept’ more food and it will increase your appetite in the days to come. Take advantage of this strategy.
#9 Consider a Mass Gainer
I know I bashed the supplement industry, but the truth is, if you really cannot eat any more whole foods (which is the better option) you could consider a mass gainer. A mass gainer is basically calories in the form of a shake. So instead of having rice veggies and chicken, you could replace with a shake.
These are another option for between meals. But make sure you have three meals of real food and no more than three of these gainer shakes. Better yet, make your own shakes with fruits and protein powder. Much better option. OK, so start putting these tips into action and you should be sure to start go gain weight in no time at all.
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