Designing a weight gain plan to build muscle is easy when you’ve got all the pieces to the puzzle. The problem is, most people don’t know what all those pieces are. So today we’ll talk about how to put together a solid weight gain plan that will have you gaining about 2 pounds a week or more.
If 2 pounds a week doesn’t sound like a lot to you, consider this: Your body can only naturally manufacture 2 pounds of muscle per week without using steroids. So if you’re gaining more than 2 pounds a week, chances are the rest of that body weight is fat.
And we’re trying put a weight gain plan together that allows us to gain healthy weight right? And that means building lean muscle, not adding fat. The truth is, with any weight gain program you will gain some additional body fat. But the goal is to make sure you’re always gaining more muscle than fat.
So lets get into the different parts of your weight gain plan…
Step 1: How much weight do you want to gain?[adrotate group=”1″]It’s important to figure this out first so you have a goal to shoot for and you can set milestones. Say weigh 130 pounds right now and your ideal bodyweight would be 170 pounds. Well then you’ll want to gain a total of 40 pounds.
That sounds like a lot of weight to gain but you can do it in a matter of months. If you follow your weight gain plan and you start gaining 2 pounds a week like we talked about, you’ll be at 170 lbs. in just 5 months.
Imagine 5 months down the road… Being 40 pounds heavier than you are now. What would you look like more muscular… Not feeling so skinny… Filling out your t-shirts… 5 months isn’t that far away. So get to work!
Step 2: Put together a weight gain diet
The second thing you’ll need to include in your weight gain plan is a diet to follow. You probably already figured you’ll be eating more calories to gain weight. But how many calories? What should you eat to gain weight? I’m sure you’re asking yourself these questions.
Well, to figure out how many calories to eat to gain weight, simply multiply your current bodyweight by 20. This will give you the number of calories you need to eat on a daily basis in order to gain weight and build muscle. So the formula would look like this:
(Bodyweight x 20) = # Daily Calories
Pretty simple right? Now remember this is just a starting point. You may need more calories and you may need less. That is where tracking comes in. But we’ll get to that later. Just know that this is your starting point.
Now that you know how many calories you need to eat to gain healthy weight and muscle, you need to know what food to eat to gain weight.
You’ll want to eat a certain ratio of carbs protein and fats. This is called a macronutrient ratio, but that’s just a technical term. Generally, a good macronutrient ratio to gain weight and muscle is 30% protein, 40% carbs, and 30% fat.
So 30% of your calories would come from protein, 40% from carbohydrates, and 30% from fat. Lets talk about the specific food you’ll want to eat. I’ll list out some of the best food to gain weight…
Sources of carbohydrates to gain weight:
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole wheat bread
Sources of protein to gain weight:
- Lean beef
- Cottage cheese
- Whey protein
Sources of fat to gain weight:
- Flax seed oil
Now that you have a list of foods to gain weight you can put together a solid weight gain diet.
One other important point about a muscle building diet is you’ll want to increase your meal frequency. You’ll want to eat 6 small meals a day instead of the regular 3 meals a day.
Eating 3 meals is okay if you’re an average person who isn’t trying to gain weight. But if you want your weight gain plan to work you need to eat MORE and eat MORE OFTEN.
This will ensure that your body always has enough nutrients to build new muscle tissue and make sure your body isn’t breaking down your precious muscle tissue to use for energy.
When you don’t eat often enough your body can break down muscle tissue for energy. Imagine a school of piranhas eating away at your muscles every time your stomach growls. This is basically what’s happening. Your body is feeding off itself. This is NOT productive to adding new muscle and gaining weight.
Step 3: Put together a weight training plan
Your weight gain plan should include working out 3 days a week. Why 3 days a week? Because that’s all you need to put on new muscle mass. Any more and it’s overkill for you. You’re not a pro bodybuilder on steroids so training more than this is actually counter productive.
This is a mistake most newbies make when going to the gym. They do 2 hour weight lifting marathons 5 days a week and wonder why they’re not growing.
Your body grows while you rest… NOT when you’re in the gym lifting weights. Lifting weights actually causes micro-tears in your muscle tissue which makes your muscles grow back larger and stronger when you rest. So taking days off to rest between workouts is essential.
keeping your workouts under 60 minutes is another important factor. After heavy intense exercise for 45 – 60 minutes your body releases cortisol which is a catabolic hormone that breaks down muscle tissue.
Your goal in the gym is to get in, lift heavy weights, and get out quick so you can have your post-workout meal and get nutrients in your body to repair your muscles and recover from your workout.
Your weight gain plan should require you to lift heavy weights in the gym. You should be using a weight that makes your muscles fail in 8 – 12 reps. So if you can take two 35 pound dumbbells and crank out 20 reps, the weight is too light and you need to bump it up to 50 lb. dumbbells and see how many reps you can do with that.
The best weight lifting exercises to gain weight are compound exercises. Things like…
- Bench press
- Military press
- Barbell squats
- Barbell dead-lifts
And don’t think you need to perform 10 heavy sets of each. For the most part, 3-4 sets is plenty for each exercise.
Of course you won’t perform each exercise on each workout session. If you do full body workouts you’ll always be sore for your next workout and that will throw off your weight gain plan because you won’t be able to train 3 days a week that way.
Sometimes you could be sore for up to 3-4 days after your workout when you’re lifting heavy weights like this. So you’ll want to split up your weight training routine into different body parts.
For instance your weight lifting split might look like this:
- Monday: Chest, triceps, shoulders
- Wednesday: Legs
- Friday: Arms, back, biceps
When you split up your workouts like this you can be sure you aren’t training the same muscle group more than once per week. This allows your muscles to repair and grow for your next workout.
Step 4: Tracking your results
The last part of your weight gain plan is tracking your progress. You need to track a few things on a weekly basis to make sure you’re getting the results you’re looking for. This way you can tweak things if you need to.
The 3 things you need to track are:
- Body fat: You can track your body fat from week to week using a set of calipers you can pick up for 5 bucks on Amazon.com. All you do is use it to pinch your fat and take down measurements. You can follow a formula like the Jackson/Pollock 3 point method to calculate your body fat percentage. This way you can make sure you’re not gaining more fat than muscle.
- Body weight: Of course this is what you’re probably most concerned about. This means simply stepping on a scale once a week and checking your weight. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to get your true weight. Don’t fool yourself by weighing yourself at 5:30 at night after you’ve had a big dinner. Your weight could fluctuate by 5 o 8 pounds during the day and you’ll never get an accurate reading that way. Weigh yourself only once a week. Again your weight could fluctuate from day-to-day so you’ll want to make sure you don’t overanalyze everything by being too obsessive about this.
- Pictures: Take before and after pictures so you can really see your results down the road. It may be hard to tell from day to day how effective your weight gain plan is but once you compare those pictures after just a month you’ll see a difference.
This mini-guide should give you a good jump-start to putting together a good weight gain plan that has you packing on the pounds. Remember not to leave out any of the steps mentioned. You need each piece of the puzzle to gain weight and build muscle as fast as possible.
If you’re serious about gaining weight and building muscle and you want to do it in the fastest way possible, you should consider checking out the Weight Gain Blueprint program here: www.WeightGainBlueprint.com.
It reveals the exact methods I used to pack on 38 pounds of muscle in just 19 weeks.