Gaining Weight Advice From Randy Santel!!
By clicking on the links up above that relate to your body type or "somatotype"
, you will find a ton of information about the diet & exercise plans that you need to adapt whether you want to lose weight or gain muscle weight. Therefore, I am not going to go into many details based on your body type. There is no reason for me to "reinvent the wheel" for you. If you are big like I used to be, I suggest that you strictly focus on losing most of your fat before you think about gaining any muscle weight. That is, of course, if you want any kind of noticeable definition. It is possible to gain muscle while losing fat, but it is really hard. Get lean, and then get BIG!! Here are a few tips that helped me when I was gaining weight for football. Hopefully you find them to be helpful & useful in your life!!
► Eat, Eat, & Then Eat More!!
- In order to lose weight, you have to consistently burn more calories than you consume everyday. Well to gain weight, you have to consume more calories than you burn everyday. Hopefully you knew that!! When I worked at Subway, I ate 3 double-meat foot-long sandwiches within a 6-7 hour time period. That was not all I ate that day!! I usually had 2-3 other meals. I am not a "hardgainer"
at all, and I still ate that much!! Especially if you are a "hardgainer"
, you need to continually eat about every 2.5 hours during the day. Unless you are a big guy, you wont be able to gain much weight eating the typical 3 meals per day. You need to have big snacks in between. You shouldn't have the chance to be hungry!!
► Lift BIG, Get BIG!!
- You are not going to get BIG doing main lifts with endurance sets of 15 repetitions. To build muscle, you have to build power & strength!! To build bulk, you have to lift more weight with less repetitions. Focus on lifting heavy weights mainly, but don't restrict your workouts to that only. Do a few "pyramid sets" and endurance sets with higher repetitions for maximum growth to keep your body guessing. Heavy lifting will provide the most muscle growth while you are sleeping. Lifting with more repetitions also burns more calories, which you don't necessarily want since you are trying to gain weight. Also, if you are a hardgainer, you don't need to be spending hours in the gym and also doing cardio. Lift BIG, get done, and get out. To get BIG, you have to think BIG all the time!!
► Get Enough Sleep!!
- If you are wanting to gain muscle weight, and most muscle growth occurs while you are sleeping, common sense hopefully tells you that you need to make sure that you are sleeping your full 8 hours each night. Your body also repairs itself and many other things important for muscle growth while you are sleeping. People that lack sleep are more prone to obesity and storing fat. Not getting enough sleep can be catabolic rather than anabolic. You don't want that!! Turn off the damn TV and get to bed!! Make sure that you sleep enough, and your workouts will be that much better the next day too. I used to sleep 8.5 hours / night.
► Rest, But Don't Be Lazy!!
- You can't expect to gain much weight if you are up moving around all day & evening, riding your bike everywhere, and working out or doing cardio for hours each day. This is not an excuse to be lazy though. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Don't say no to playing in a soccer or basketball pick-up game. Your muscles and body will appreciate the extra work. Just make sure you are eating enough to counter all the extra stuff that you do throughout the day. Sitting on the couch all day playing video games may be resting but there are many better things to do!!
► Eat Real Food!!
- You are never going to lose weight if you rely on fat-burners and weight-loss supplements. You are also never going to gain weight if you rely on mass gainer supplements and all the other stuff available. Never substitute a supplement in the place of real food. If you are going to use a mass gainer supplement, have it take the place of your whey protein shake right after your workout. Drink the shake right when you get up or before you go to bed (if you are an ectomorph). Mass gainers should not be used as a meal replacement for you. When I was on the set of Spartacus
, a few of the gladiators stuggled to maintain their weight, so they would bring a meal to eat during breaks. One of the guys brought a big tray of rice, chicken, & vegetables, and he would eat some at every break they took. He specifically said he always tries to eat real food!!
► You Can Use Supplements!!
- I am not a big promoter of using supplements, but it's not a bad idea to use a mass gainer if you want to. Like I said above, they are not meal replacements though!! Mass gainers are just filled with more protein, carbs, & fat than regular protein drinks, so substitute them for your regular protein drinks that you were taking. Take one after your workout, and maybe when you wake up. I have never done this, but I used to have a roommate that actually had a problem gaining weight. He used to drink a mass gainer shake at night right before going to bed. Have you tried that? If you are gaining weight too fast though & you notice a little fat being gained, make sure supplements are the first thing you cut.
► Eat Peanut Butter & Other Dense Foods!!
- When I was gaining weight in high school, I used to go through an entire value-sized package of peanut butter per week. Don't worry about buying the expensive natural stuff if you are trying to gain serious weight. Go big & save money. I used to eat peanut butter sandwiches that were 1 inch thick, and I had to drink water or milk after each bite. I used to toast Eggo Waffles
in the mornings & smother them in peanut butter & jelly. If you are not a peanut butter fan, try other calorie dense foods. Do you like other nuts like almonds? Almonds can be used for losing or gaining weight. There are also many calorie dense foods, especially meats & whole-grain foods. For a list, click here
► Drink Water!!
- Just like the rest of your body, your muscles are mostly water. Never let your body get dehydrated, and it should always have a surplus of water. I drink over 2 gallons per day. Put down the soda, sweetened drinks, and even many other low-calorie drinks, and consume more water!! This will definitely keep your body strong and more energetic so that you can keep building mass.
► Diet vs Regular, Pick Regular!!
- For almost 50% of foods in the grocery store, you can choose between different options for the same item. Foods can be regular just like they were originally created, but they can also be reduced-fat, light, sugar-free, fat-free, just labeled low-calorie. With some items like milk, there are even different levels to choose from. You can have whole milk, 2%, 1%, or skim milk typically. If you are on a diet, most of the time, you should go for the lower calorie options. If you are wanting to gain weight, go for the real thing!! Drink 2% or whole milk with your protein drinks. Go for the regular cottage cheese or yogurt. Some regular foods are shown to provide a lot more nutrition than the low calorie options. Some people trying to gain weight even go with chocolate whole milk after workouts. These extra calories will help maximize protein synthesis. This isn't an excuse to eat like crap!! ;)
► Maintain a healthy diet!!
- Even though you are trying to gain weight, stay far away from all the completely empty calories. It's not an excuse to chow down on fried foods, big desserts, and then chug a big bottle of soda. You still want to keep your carbohydrates complex by eating brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, oats, and potatoes. For a list of great sources of complex carbs, click here
. If you are a hardgainer, yeah you can treat yourself to ice cream, brownies, and all that stuff every now & then, but it's not really gonna help your muscle mass goals. With foods, try to stick to unprocessed foods. As raw food gets processed, it continually loses some of the nutrients that it originally started with. That is why many processed foods are "enriched" or "fortified"
. Stick to cooking raw meats when you can. Stay away from processed meats like bratwurts, hot dogs, and sausage when you can. I even try to pick deli meats over packaged deli meats. Really, you want to stick with a lot of the foods that would be acceptable on a diet to lose weight, but you can eat more & more often, depending on your body type.