New Year new me and this year you have made the choice to stop being so skinny put on some extra weight and grow your muscles, or maybe for some beginners form some muscles that never existed. There is no cookie cutter formula to succeed with this goal and it is going to take a lot of time and effort. My goal is to share the knowledge I have gathered over the years and break down what will help in the gym and the kitchen for you to succeed and accomplish these goals.
Motivation…. the word associated so much to this topic, but what does it really mean or how do you stay motivated when the results are not instant. To me, the first thing that you need to do is set realistic goals and a plan of action on how you will achieve these. When you do see yourself getting closer and closer as the weeks go on you just want to live at the gym because you know you are almost there. Next you need to get to the gym and find out what you enjoy making it exciting. To me knowing I get to go to the gym after work makes my day fly by especially when I get to do one of my favorites lift that day which for me is the bench press and deadlift.
So what is a realistic goal? That all depends on where you are at in process, if you have never stepped foot in a gym or tried to bulk up you will be able to make more progress in a shorter amount of time. A realistic goal just starting off maybe you want to gain a pound to a pound and a half per week for three months most of that being muscle. This would bring you up between 12 and 18 pounds which is a significant start and foundation. Someone who has gone to the gym and weight lifted for some time is not going to be able to gain muscle as quick because they already have that foundation built but Let’s say we will shoot for a pound a week.
Now how are we possibly going to do this in three months you might ask? That is all going to come down to calories you are taking in and the breakdown of the macro nutrients these calories are coming from. The three main things to focus on is Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat intake. Protein is going to be very essential in the building of muscle mass, if we aren’t hitting proper protein intake the whole process could be just getting you fat. We will be going more in depth a little further down on how to break this up and make sure you are eating to set yourself up for success.
Getting into a Caloric Surplus
What we are going to want to first find out is what is the maintenance amount of calories required for your body to remain at a stable weight. There is a ton of factors that going into this number such as age, height, current weight and how active you are. For me I am six feet tall around 185 pounds and decently active between working out and playing sports, my maintenance calorie count should be around 2800 calories. That means if I am consistently eating 2800 calories every day my weight should stay around the same.
To be in a surplus is how we are going to gain weight. One pound is equivalent to around 3500 calories, so if we want to gain a pound a week we will eat an excess of 500 calories a day, 500 x 7 is that 3500 extra per week. For me and my maintenance calories to gain a pound a week I will want to eat 3300 calories a day. To gain a pound and a half 750 calories a day will need to be added to your maintenance calories and so on.
Breakdown of Macronutrients
Now we know how many calories a day we should be eating, but we don’t know how that should break down into proteins, carbs and fats. To gain weight and muscle mass a good breakdown of the foods you eat should be as follows 25% protein 20% Fats and the remaining 55% carbohydrates.
- 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
With this formula and the above information we can figure out how much of each we need. If 25% should be protein for me I would take 25% of 3300 and get 825 calories divide that by 4 since 4 calories equals a gram of protein and we will find I need around 206 grams of protein a day. Do the same for the others so carbs 55% would be 1815 calories divided by 4 again as there is 4 calories per gram and we get 454 grams of carbs. Fats 20% of 3300 is going to be 660, this one will be different from the other as we will divide by 9 and get 74 grams.
If after a week or two you don’t see the results you are looking for you might need to bump up the calorie count by 100 or 200 a day and reevaluate the following week until you are getting the weight gain you are shooting for weekly.
Now what are you waiting for go get results
This should be a great start for you. Remember these calories are super important so don’t think if you are hitting your surplus calories on most days that is good enough, you need to consistently hit these numbers ever day to see the results you desire. It will not be easy but I can promise you it will be worth the effort you put in and you will enjoy showing off your new gains at the gym, maybe even share your success and these tips with a newcomer who is starting this journey as well.