Why Can’t You Gain Weight?

Though there may be many reasons why you may be thin, the mostapparent reason is because of your genetics. If your parents arenaturally thin or have a small body frame, then you will most likelyhave the same small body type. To some degree, your size can also be controlled by your metabolism.If you have a difficult time gaining weight of any kind (fat ormuscle) then you most likely have a fast metabolism. That simplymeans that your body burns calories at a faster than normal rate. Youmust take this into account whenever you are considering a particulardiet or training program. Is it geared towards someone with yourmetabolism and goal?

Though much of the information I cover here is not as”magical” as you may like, I consider these rules to be thebasics with regard to weight gain. These are not all of the answers,but they are definite elements that must be addressed in anysuccessful weight gain program.

You should be able to easily integrate these rules into your currentprogram to make it more suitable for your particular body and goals.


1.) Get the proper information that pertains to your SPECIFIC conditionand goals.

The first big problem I find in most people is the lack of correctinformation. Yes you are motivated and doing things, but your effortis wasted on incorrect dieting and training information. Basically,skinny guys are taking advice from people who have never had a weightgain problem. Want to know how to gain weight? Then find someone whohas walked your shoes. Someone who has been where you are.

2.) Set a specific goal and create a plan of attack.

If you were to drive cross country to another city, would you juststart driving randomly, or would you plan a route that would get youquickly and efficiently?

Think of your plan as a road map and your goal as your destination.Without a plan and a specific goal you will be without focus and caneasily get lost or side tracked. This happens more often than youknow. I see many people in the gym just doing whatever, or justeating whatever — no plan or specific goal. They wonder why theydon’t make progress. They have no focus.

Having a specific program to follow allows you to take action eachday. This action is focused on specifically getting you to yourdestination quickly. There is no thinking, debating or guessing. Youjust do it. A specific plan provides necessary daily structure thatnot only keeps you on the road moving forward, it also helps todevelop good eating and training habits that will benefit you longafter you have reached your destination.

3.) Have confidence in yourself and belief in what you are doing.

Let’s face it; we live in a cruel world. Hate and jealously iseverywhere. For most people who begin a fitness program to improvethemselves, getting started will be half the battle. The other halfwill be staying motivated throughout the constant onslaught ofnegativity from others. A few negative words can do serious damage ifyou allow it.

The most insulting things you hear may be from friends, co-workersand acquaintances at the gym. People hate change. It makes theminsecure, because they suddenly discover there’s more to you thanthey were probably willing to admit. They fear that you may actuallyachieve your goal. It makes them look less “superior”.

Once you have begun your plan, you must have faith and believe inwhat you are doing. Stay focused and avoid overly critical ornegative people. If you have to, keep your business to yourself. WhenI first began my program, I stopped talking about what I was doingbecause I got tired of hearing things like “you can’t do that”,”that’s impossible”, “you’re wasting your time and money”. Funnything is, now those people are constantly bugging me for advice.

It’s your life. It’s your body. It’s your dream. Don’t allow yoursuccess or failure to rest in the hands of others.


4.) Stop listening to every ridiculous piece of advice someone givesyou in the gym.

Recently a client of mine informed me that someone in the gym statedthat he was training all wrong and he needed to train 5-6 days aweek, and aim for more reps during his workout. Somewhere in therange of 15-20 reps per set.

The person giving the advice was quite confident about hisrecommendations, and he had an impressive physique that typicallyelevates him to the elusive “listen to me if you want to looklike me” level in the gym. He was bigger than my client, so eventhough my client’s “intellectual” mind knows that thatadvice is absurd; his “unrealistic dreamer” mind took thisinformation very seriously. So seriously that he changed his programand didn’t inform me until a week or so later. This particular personhad been making great progress on his current program, yet he allowedthis one person’s comment to overshadow that progress and convincehim that his program was inadequate. This is a mistake and it showedin his lack of further progress.

In addition, don’t judge the validity of what a person says by howthey look. Just because the guy is huge doesn’t mean he is spewingpertinent advice for you. Many people that have big physiques are bigdespite of their training, not because of it. I know some huge guysthat know very little about training and dieting correctly. They cando whatever and still gain muscle; unfortunately we are not that way,so we much approach things in a more intelligent way.

5.) Workout Infrequently.

This is the most difficult concept for many to grasp simply becauseit involves less action, instead of more. When we get motivated andstart a new program, it’s natural to want to do something. We want totrain and train and train. Thinking all along that the more youtrain, the more muscle you will build. Unfortunately, this could notbe farther from the truth.

More training does not equal more muscle growth. Understand that thepurpose of weight training is to stimulate muscle growth. That takesvery little time. Once that has been done, the muscle needs to berepaired and new muscle needs to be built. That only happens when youare resting. You do not build muscle in the gym, you build musclewhen resting! If you never give your body any essential “non active”time, when will it have a chance to build muscle? Think about that.

Now, add in the fact that you have a difficult time gaining weightand the importance of rest increases. Individuals who are naturallythin and have difficulty building muscle tend to require lesstraining and more rest.

6.) Focus on Multi-Jointed Lifts.

Multi-jointed exercises are those that stimulate the most amounts ofmuscle fibers. Unlike isolation exercises which only work individualmuscles, multi-jointed lifts work many different muscle groupssimultaneously. For those needing to gain weight, this is idealbecause these lifts put your body under the most amount of stress.This is the stress that will shock your nervous system and cause thegreatest release of muscle building hormones. This results inincreased muscle gain all over the body.

You can still do some isolation work; however it should not be thefocus of your workouts, and should only come after your multi-jointedlifting is complete.

7.) Focus on Using Free Weights.

Free weights are preferred over machines for many reasons, but mostimportantly because they allow the stimulation of certain supportingmuscle groups when training. Stimulating these stabilizer andsynergistic muscles will allow you go get stronger, and ultimatelybuild more muscle faster. Yes, some can most likely still build largeamounts of muscle using machines, but why make it more difficult ifyou already have a difficult time gaining weight?

8.) Lift a weight that is challenging for you.

Building mass involves lifting relatively heavy weight. This isnecessary because the muscle fibers that cause the most amount ofmuscle size growth (called Type IIB) are best stimulated by thelifting of heavy weight. A heavy weight as one that only allows youto perform 4-8 reps before your muscles fail.

Using a lighter weight and doing more reps can stimulate some TypeIIB fibers, but again if you have a difficult time gaining weight,why make it more difficult? You need to try and stimulate as many asyou can with the use of heavy weights.

9.) Focus more on the eccentric portion of the exercise.

When you lift a weight, it can be divided into three distinctperiods. The positive, the negative and midpoint. The concentric or”positive” motion usually involves the initial push or effort whenyou begin the rep. The midpoint is signaled by a short pause beforereversing and returning to the starting position. The eccentric, or”negative” portion of each lift is characterized by your resistanceagainst then natural pull of the weight.

For example, when doing push-ups, the positive motion is the actualpushing up motion. Once you have pushed all the way up, you hit themid point. The negative motion begins when you start to loweryourself back down. Most would simply lower themselves as fast asthey pushed up, but I recommend extending and slowing down thisportion. Slowing down the eccentric part of the lift will help tostimulate more muscle growth. It actually activates more of the TypeIIB fibers mentioned about in Rule 7.

10.) Keep your workout short but intense.

Your goal should be to get in, stimulate your muscles and then getout as quickly as possible. It is not necessary to do large amountsof exercisers per body part trying to target every muscle and hitevery “angle”. This should only be a concern of someone with analready developed, mature physique who is trying to improve weakareas.

If you have no pec, don’t concern yourself with trying to targetinner, outer, upper, lower or whatever. Just work your chest. Youshould do no more than 2-3 exercises per body part. That’s it. Doingmore than that won’t build more muscle, faster. In fact it couldpossibly lead to muscle loss. Long training sessions cause catabolichormone levels to rise dramatically. Catabolic hormones areresponsible for breaking down muscle tissue resulting in MUSCLE LOSS.While at the same time, long training sessions suppress the hormonesthat actually build muscle.

If you don’t want to lose muscle during your workouts, I suggestlimiting your sessions to no more than 60-75 minutes MAXIMUM. Less ifyou can.

11.) Limit your aerobic activity and training.

Honestly, I do not do any aerobic activity when I am trying to gainweight. This is mainly because it interferes with the important”non-active” time my body needs for muscle building and recovery. Ido understand that people have lives and other activities that theydon’t want to give up, so it must be kept to a minimum. It won’t hurtyour progress as long as you don’t over do it. If you find that youare doing more aerobic activity weight training, that’s overdoing it.

I also don’t recommend it because people tend do it for the wrongreasons. Many start aerobic activity because they believe it willhelp them to lose fat. While that is true, it won’t do so on a highcalorie mass diet. To lose fat, you need to be eating fewer calories.

12.) Don’t program hop.

Here’s how it usually happens. You’ve just read about a new exerciseor workout that is supposed to pack on the mass. Now, even though youhad already started another training program a few weeks ago, you aretired of it and really want to start this routine instead because itsounds better.

I call these people, “program hoppers”. They are very enthusiasticwhen starting a new program, but they never follow it long enough toactually see any results. They are easily distracted and love to dropwhatever they may be doing to follow the latest “hot”workout or exercise.

My advice is don’t do it. This is a bad habit that never leads to apositive outcome. Understand that it takes time for any program towork. To be successful, you must follow your program consistently.Yes, there are many different training methods and interestingroutines out there, but you can’t do them all at the same time andjumping around won’t allow enough time for any of them to actually beeffective for you. Pick one that is focused on your current goal andstick with it. There will be plenty of time to try the others later,but NOT NOW.


13. Eat more!

This rule is pretty simple, but usually the one that is not donecorrectly. If weight gain is your goal, then you will need to eatmore food. Period. In most cases, you will need to eat more than youare normally accustomed to.

One large problem that I had when starting out is I just had noappetite. I knew I needed to eat more, but I just did not want to. Ihad to force myself to eat at each meal. Thankfully, after about 2weeks, my appetite grew. I was becoming hungry before each meal, andif I didn’t eat my meal at the normal time, my body knew it.
If you have this problem, you still must eat something, no matter howmuch. Start off making yourself eat something small like fruit everyfew hours. Then, as your appetite becomes more active, gradually moveinto more real food.

What this will do is gradually get your body accustomed eating atregular intervals. Eventually you will be hungry before each mealtime.

When eating more, you will need to make sure that you are gettingplenty of good quality protein. Protein is a nutrient that isessential for building muscle. Every meal that you eat should containsome form of protein. Meal Replacement Powders like Myoplex areexcellent for this purpose. They enable you to eat large amounts ofgood quality protein in a very convenient manner.

14.) Eat more often.

In addition to eating more calories, you should also strive to eatmore often throughout the day. Eating infrequently, or going longperiods without eating, will cause your body to breakdown muscletissue for the calories it needs. This is especially true for thosewith fast metabolisms.

Spreading your meals throughout the day will give you more manageablemeal sizes, improve nutrient assimilation, and make sure that yourbody always has the calories it needs for muscle building and repair.I recommend eating a high protein meal every 3 hours. During normalwaking hours, that usually equals about 6 meals.

Now, I know what you are saying, “I’m too busy to do this”, or “howcan I do that with a full time job and school?” Don’t let the thoughtof this being too difficult keep you from doing it. It may seem veryinconvenient at first, but once you get in the habit of doing it, itbecomes second nature and you don’t have to give it much thought.Trust me, I’ve been doing it for years and do not feel that it’slimiting or time consuming.

15.) Use Nutritional Supplements.

Before you buy any product, remember that supplements are not magic.Too many people think that just because you buy the latest product,it guarantees that you will automatically begin to pack on thepounds. The truth is that supplements are only there to enhance analready solid diet and workout program.

They can give you the extra edge by:

* Adding More Convenience: Using food supplements like Myoplex orPrecision Protein help to eliminate the common problem of ‘not enoughtime’, by providing you with a quick, efficient way to get yourrequired nutrients each day. They make eating large amounts ofcalories and protein easier for people with low appetites.

* Increasing Strength Levels: Products that contain Creatine, likePhosphagen HP or Riboforce enable you to swing the odds of gainingmore weight in your favor by increasing your strength output.Creatine enables you to lift heavier weights, which will stimulatemore muscle fibers and cause more muscle growth.

* Decreasing Recover Time: Using certain vitamin and amino acidsupplements help to minimize the negative side effects of weighttraining and speed your recovery.

Vitamin C is essential to prevent free radical damage, which isaccelerated after the heavy trauma of weight training. It is alsoessential is helping to repair connective tissue. All of this helpsdecrease the amount of time you are sore.

* Enhancing Your Immune System: Weight training increases the body’sneed for many minerals like magnesium and selenium. I always use agood multi-vitamin ensures that I am not deficient in any majoressential vitamin or mineral. Deficiency symptoms include muscleweakness and suppression of the immune system, muscle cramping andfatigue.

Glutamine is an amino acid that is used to strengthen your immunesystem and preserve lean muscle tissue during low calorie periods. Imake sure to get plenty of glutamine because my body can useglutamine to convert into energy instead of muscle tissue.

* Increasing Your Body’s Production of Muscle Building Hormones:Certain supplements like EAS ZMA HP have proven to increase yourbody’s natural testosterone production. More testosterone equals moremuscle.

I can honestly say that I could not have built the body I have todaywithout the convenience and enhancements supplements provide. Isimply don’t have the time or desire to do it any other way. This isa choice that you must decide for yourself. You will be spending yourmoney on these products, so make sure that you know their place inyour program.


Yes, but I have to be honest and say that from my experience, gainingweight is much more difficult than losing fat. Even if you are doingeverything right, it will still be difficult because you are fightingagainst what your body naturally prefers. If you are naturally thin,building an impressive physique involves persistence anddetermination, but no matter what anyone says, it is well within yourability. Good luck and for more information on how to gain weight, besure to check out my website at www.musclegaintips.com

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