For many people, gaining muscle without gaining weight seems like the holy grail.
But unfortunately, holy grails hardly ever turn out to be anything other than myths.
The way to gain muscle without gaining weight is… you don’t.
Sorry if you feel disappointed, but that’s the plain truth.
One thing people chasing after these kinds of workout goals don’t seem to understand is this, muscles weigh something!
So, it’s pretty evident that when you gain muscle, you consequently gain weight.
It’s just that simple.
Although, the weight gain may be very minute and almost unnoticeable, especially when you are just starting out.
Or when you engage primarily in bodyweight exercises or calisthenics.
Nonetheless, you gain weight when you gain muscles.
In this article, you will learn the truth about weight gain and muscle gain.
How to gain weight without gaining fat, the possibility of losing fat while gaining muscle mass, and bulking without belly fat.
You would also learn how to know if you are gaining muscle weight or fat weight and how to gain muscle fast.
Did you know you don’t even need a gym membership to build muscle anymore?
All you need is a packet of resistance and a copy of my EBook Train Wherever The F*ck You Want.
And even better my EBook is FREE!
How To Gain Weight Without Gaining Fat
Over the years, one thing I have come to realize in the world of exercises is that, just like in other areas of life, people tend to differ in their goals.
In the current crazy race to lose weight, we often forget that some people would like to gain weight.
They would like to have a more imposing physique to compensate for a silhouette that is too thin for their taste or simply to have shapes.
To gain weight without gaining fat, it is necessary to aim for a lean mass gain, that is, gaining mainly muscles.
The aim of this is to make certain parts of the body bigger without gaining fat.
To increase your weight without having a shapeless fat mass, you will need two allies: exercise and diet.
To gain weight through exercise, you need to practice bodybuilding or muscle building (softer than pure bodybuilding).
With this, you will tone and shape one or certain parts of your body (arms, posterior, thighs, pectorals, etc.).
However, you need to be careful with this.
Certain exercises or machines (cardio) can cause you to lose weight and muscle mass if you don’t know how to use them to your advantage.
So, find out and ask in particular that a coach establishes a program for you.
When you exercise to gain weight, you need to drink lots of water.
Also, remember to eat accordingly so as not to create a calorie deficit.
The calorie deficit involves giving the body fewer calories than it expends.
In this case, the desired effectt is weight loss, therefore contrary to the desired mass gain.
Finally, the speed of your weight gain will depend on several elements, in particular, your sports training (duration and intensity), recovery time (sleep, rest), your diet (healthy or industrial), the calorie intake/ expenditure ratio, energy, your daily activities, your age, and finally the speed at which your metabolism processes food.
You also need a good diet to gain weight.
To increase your weight, you naturally need to eat more.
You need to provide your body with more calories than it needs to function normally.
To find out how much energy your body needs on a daily basis, calculate your basal metabolic rate.
It is important to take care of the quality of what you eat, by opting for balanced meals, with a lot more protein.
Choose healthy foods that are naturally high in calories.
In terms of fruits and vegetables, for example, steamed vegetables in large quantities are advised.
You can as well take these: avocados, bananas, grapes, cherries, mangoes. Oilseeds are also recommended.
Conversely, some fruits, such as pineapple, have negative calories, so reduce their consumption.
Finally, it is strongly recommended not to want to gain weight by eating exclusively and in large quantities of industrial products (crisps, soft drinks, etc.) or fast food.
To do so would be to put your health at risk.
The consequences may be irreversible (cardiovascular problems, stretch marks, etc.).
Indeed, you will store bad fat which will be badly distributed in your body.
Is It Possible To Lose Fat While Gaining Muscle Mass?
The answer is yes, but it is extremely difficult.
It is, therefore, more realistic to aim to lose fat while maintaining muscle mass.
To do this, you must have a slight calorie deficit, which is 10 to 20%.
For example, if you burn 2,000 calories per day, you should be consuming around 1,800-1900.
This is important because without a deficit, your body will not need to draw energy from your reserves and you will not lose weight.
Ideally, it should be supplemented with strength training exercises.
Working your muscles and pushing your limits will get the results you want.
Remember it will take time, consistency is key.
Also, you need to eat enough protein.
Aim for 1g of protein per body pound.
This is necessary in order to stimulate protein synthesis, which is super important for building and/or maintaining muscle mass.
There are lots of plant proteins that you can incorporate into your diet as well as healthy snacks to help you lose weight.
If you manage to prioritize these three aspects, you will lose fat while maintaining your muscles.
You may even be successful in gaining muscle.
While we’re talking about protein.
Check out this video I recently uploaded.
I try out Brad Pitt’s fight club diet, and it was so high in protein it wasn’t funny!
Bulking Without Belly Fat
Bodybuilders prove it, you can be bulked up with muscles and still have a protruding belly.
This is rather unsightly.
In order to keep a flat stomach while you bulk up, you need good abs exercises and a healthy diet.
Do hypopressive abdominals.
These special abdominals play on breathing to tone your abdominal muscles.
Do this two to three times a week to get the best results.
Remember, consistency is key.
As with all workout goals, physical exercises will not be enough to make your stomach flatter if you eat anything, anyhow.
Here are three healthy diet tips to avoid belly fat while bulking:
- Eat more slowly. The faster you eat, the more air you swallow; and the less you chew, the more work your digestive organs have to do. This will eventually result in you having belly fat.
- Eat less. There is no magic to regaining a well-toned belly. Losing abdominal mass is essential. And you need to eat less to achieve this.
- Eat less sweets. To promote muscle building for the whole body without gaining fat in the belly, focus on protein instead. In addition, they are satiating. So, it is very practical to bypass the onslaught of cravings.
How Do You Know You Are Gaining Muscle Weight Or Fat Weight?
When you notice a weight gain, it is important to know if you’ve gained muscle weight or fat weight.
But unfortunately, the scale cannot help with this.
It cannot tell the difference between fat gained and muscle gained.
Thankfully, there are some tell signs to identify whether weight gained is a result of fat or muscles gained.
Here are some ways to identify if you’ve gained muscle weight or fat weight:
- If you exercise often, and you notice a small, slow weight gain, there is a huge probability that the weight gain is as a result of muscles gained.
- Through body composition testing. This involves taking skinfold measurements from certain parts of the body to determine your body fat percentage. If you’ve gained muscle weight, your body fat percentage will be lower than it was. On the other hand, if you’ve gained fat weight, your body fat percentage will be higher than it previously was.
- Through your clothing. Muscles are firmer and take up less space, while fat takes up more space. So, if you notice weight gain but your clothes are still loose, it is safe to assume that you’ve gained muscle weight.
How Do You Gain Muscle Fast?
Of course, you CAN gain pounds of muscle in a relatively short time by working out crazy at the gym, sleeping 10-11 hours a night, using anabolic steroids, and eating like a lion.
But it is not healthy.
You’re going to knock out your tendons, ligaments, and joints, and you’ll probably end up feeling sore most of the time.
Realistically, if you want to build a lot of muscle (> 10 kg), it takes 12 to 24 months.
I hate giving bad news, but it’s the truth.
That being said…
There are a lot of things you can do to still gain muscle faster than if you didn’t.
These tips won’t result in a transformation like Captain America’s.
But they will help you avoid the pitfalls most people fall into that keep them grinding for years and never really progressing.
So, without further ado, here are the best ways to build muscle faster and in a more consistent manner:
1. Track Your Workouts, Diet and Sleep.
There are only three main components that impact muscle growth.
Time under tension (i.e., training), Nutrition, and Recovery.
If you miss any of these components, you will sabotage your progress and you will never progress.
So, what is the solution?
You need to keep track of every relevant metric!
Starting today, grab a small notebook and pen, and write down the following.
2. Gradually Overload Your Muscles Using The Correct Repetition Ranges And The Appropriate Exercises.
As you gain muscle you have to lift heavier. But you also need to lift better.
If you plan to gain muscle naturally, you should use the appropriate repetition range for your exercises and gradually increase the weight or number of repetitions.
Most studies have found that 4-8 times lifting is best for building muscle and strength.
If you do more, you get into the realm of muscle endurance.
If you do less, you only gain strength, without causing hypertrophy to gain volume.
But the type of exercise you do is just as important as the number of times you repeat it.
Specifically, do compound, multi-joint exercises like:
Deadlift, Squat, Bench press.
You can vary these movements and do a few isolated exercises, but your workouts should consist primarily of these compound movements, repeated 4–6 times or 6–8 times.
3. Focus On Macronutrients And Calories.
Calories matter. Some people say no, but it’s almost impossible to gain muscle when you don’t have a calorie surplus.
But what matters even more than calories is the quality of the macronutrients you consume.
For example, you can eat 3000 calories from cakes, pizzas, and candies.
But it’s not ideal for gaining muscle.
Ideally, you should get 80% of your macronutrients from whole food sources (i.e., had a head or grew from the ground).
For the remaining 20%, you can be flexible.
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4. Prioritize Recovery.
We work the muscles in the gym, but it’s in the bed and in the kitchen that they eventually develop.
You can do it all right with a flawless diet and your smart training, but if you don’t get enough sleep and recover enough, you won’t gain muscle that fast.
When you start out, try to do 4 training days with a rest day between days 2 and 3.
Get at least 8 hours of sleep (or even 9-10 hours).
- But getting enough sleep is not enough. You also need to get quality sleep and prioritize recovery in other ways.
- Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Buy blackout shades, a sleep mask, earplugs, and a humidifier for your bedroom (make it a sleep sanctuary)
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day
- Go to bed before 11 p.m. (this is when your body starts releasing hormones designed to promote recovery)
- Stop eating 3 hours before bed or have a light snack
- Avoid alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime
- Meditate 15 minutes a day (this may sound weird but it can help you build muscle)
- Turn off the television and all electronics 2 hours before bed and read instead.
- Take a salt bath for 15 minutes or do contrast therapy (a 15-minute shower alternating 2 minutes of cold water and 3 minutes of hot water) after a workout
- These tactics will help your body recover faster and increase your gains in the gym, and your energy outside the gym.