How do I gain weight?
This is a question I have been getting more frequently from our middle and high school athletes as we are working with a growing number of 13-16-year-old boys. Most of the time the real question they are asking is, how do I get more muscle?
For most of you, weight gain and muscle mass increase will happen naturally as you start your growth spurt. However, if you are naturally a “hard gainer” or ectomorph body type it will take more effort for you to gain muscle mass.
Here are 6 strategies to increase muscle mass:
Make eating a priority
If your goal is to get stronger and increase muscle mass you need to find strategies that work for you. Like most things in life consistency is the key to success.
Start your day off with a win
I know there is a lot of debate as to whether or not breakfast is really the most important meal of the day, but if your goal is to gain muscle you need to be eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
Have food conveniently around
It takes a little planning but if you always have a snack in your locker or bag it is much easier to ensure you’re getting the necessary calories to get big.
Use liquid nutrition
Piggybacking off of points 2 and 3, an easy way to get the calories you need either as a snack, breakfast, or post-workout meal is through a nutrient-packed smoothie. The folks at Precision Nutrition have put together a great guide for How (and why) to make the perfect Super Shake.
Get quality sleep
Sleep plays a major role in your ability to recover from training and your ability to put on muscle mass. Here is a scientific study that demonstrates the importance of sleep…
Spend mealtime with Big Eaters
If you’re one of those people who claims “I eat all the time and still can’t gain weight” spend mealtime around friends who eat big. My guess is that you’ll be surprised by what some people can put down during a meal and it’ll give you a better idea of what you should be doing.
This is not a comprehensive list of strategies, but it’ll get you started on a path to making healthy decisions around gaining muscle.