Now we’re getting to the really good part. Of course
you can just print up and follow the exercise plan as designed and get the results
you want, but I think that knowing why you are doing what you are doing helps
make the task a little easier…well, if not easier then at least more bearable
and will allow you to work out with more purpose and conviction. That is actually
a very important part of the whole thing so don’t skip past Chapter 13
on the Mindset because your brain is probably the most important muscle to strengthen
in order to make changes in your body.
Ah, here comes the fun part. There are many theories that get tossed around
in the weight loss/ weight gain science arenas. There is the old standard calories
in vs. calories out theory that says if you take in more calories than you burn
you will gain weight and vice versa. According to this way of thinking, you
need to eat about 3500 calories above what you are burning to gain a pound.
But, how do you make sure that you are gaining muscle and not fat?
Here’s where things start to get a little more complicated. A lot of
the other theories flying around have to do with ratios. The ratios I am referring
to compare the percentages of your diet that come from protein, carbohydrates
For muscle gain without fat loss the recommended ratio is usually 40/50/10
meaning that 40% of your total calorie intake is from protein, 50 percent is
from carbohydrates and 10% is from fat. This is noticeably less fat than the
weight loss ratios which usually call for a minimum of 20% fat and that may
seem counterintuitive to you, but eating too much fat will actually slow down
your weight gain for a couple of important reasons:
It fills you up more quickly so you will end up eating too few calories.
It is more difficult for the body to store or use as energy and actually requires
more calories to process (I know, this is the opposite of everything “they”
taught you in the 80s and 90s)You need to have adequate protein and carbohydrate
intake to support the new muscle growth you are trying to achieve. The minimum
protein intake for muscle repair is about 1 gram of protein for every pound
of your bodyweight, but you will need to check your ratios and be sure to get
about 40% of your total calories from protein.
You should track everything you eat for 2 to 3 weeks until you understand what
the right amount of food and ratios look like for you can then continue eating
the same way. If you stop gaining weight or lose weight, simply go back to tracking
your meals until you are back on track again.
As for the “how much to eat” part…Remember when I mentioned
back in chapter 3 that you are underweight due to a combination of a high metabolism
and not eating enough? That is usually the thing the skinny least wants to hear.
You probably think you eat a lot, right? Track your current food intake for
a couple of days and you will likely be surprised to find out you are not eating
You need to be eating 5 or 6 substantial meals per day with the 40/50/10 ratio
in order to gain enough weight. There are plenty of complicated formulas for
figuring out exactly how many calories you should be eating in order to gain
weight, but an easier method is to take your current weight and multiply that
by 15 and base your caloric intake on that number. If you aren’t gaining
a pound a week you should multiply your weight by 16 or 17 until you begin to
see the increase you want.