It’s a question that has been asked by many, but the answer is not that simple. Do you gain muscle when you gain weight?
The truth is, if you are gaining weight, you are eating at a caloric surplus. Which means that your body is primed to gain muscle. It matters what you do with those extra calories when you are in the surplus.
In this article, we are going to discuss the realities of weight gain, and how you can use it to your advantage when you are ready.
For context, I used to be ridiculously scrawny. Over the course of 3 years, I went from 135lbs to 205lbs. Once I hit 205lbs, I realized it was too much for me, and right now I am hovering around 185lbs.
What you do with your body is your decision, and you will find that gaining muscle while gaining weight can be easy.
Caloric surplus environment
If you are gaining weight of any sort, your body is in a caloric surplus. This means that you are eating more calories than your body can naturally burn.
This is important for muscle gain, because you cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit. As you would imagine, a caloric deficit is the opposite of a caloric surplus. It is when you eat less calories than your body can naturally burn.
Now to our question, do you gain muscle when you gain weight in general? There is evidence to suggest that yes, if your body is in a state of caloric surplus, depending on your activity level, you will most likely gain muscle.
Sometimes you will see a body transformation of an obese person down to a shredded person with muscle.
This is most likely because that muscle was built while that person was gaining fat, whether they knew it or not. Also, depending on how far overweight a person is, their body might be building muscle just to keep up with the extra weight being thrown around.
Here is how a caloric surplus works to build muscle and fat in your body. When you eat more calories than your body can burn, your body looks to store that surplus in calories somewhere.
The first thing that it will do with those extra calories is look to see if there are any muscles that need to be repaired and built up. Once it’s done with that, the rest goes to fat stores.
Therefore, you can see how someone could be building muscle without even knowing it.
If you want to be intentional about your caloric surpluses and deficits, learn how to calculate your maintenance calories.
Accelerating results with weight training
When most people think of exercise, they think of losing weight. Why? Because the majority of the US population is overweight.
If you are gaining weight, and you know you are eating in a caloric surplus, let’s do what we can to take advantage of that and build some solid muscle.
In the previous section, I mentioned that the first thing your body is going to want to do is repair muscle when it is in a caloric surplus. So let’s give it some muscle to repair.
Before you get too worried about muscle damage, I want you to realize that the way muscle is built is through creating micro tears in the muscle while working out. You can learn more in my article: how does lifting weights build muscle.
Where to start though? I personally think the best place to start is by downloading our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). We have a bunch of FREE workout plans. And if you want flexibility, you can create your own custom workout plan.
Maybe you would prefer not downloading an app. That is cool too. Our beginner bodybuilding plan for mass will help you build muscle while you are in your caloric surplus.
There is a big difference between weight training and cardio style workouts. When you are in the muscle building phase of your journey, you are avoiding doing cardio, and focusing on building muscle alone.
Since you are already in a caloric surplus, this is one of the best things that you can do for your body.
Then when you are at the point where you are ready to slim down, you will have a solid muscle base to reveal.
Losing fat rapidly
I want to briefly touch back on our question, do you gain muscle when you gain weight? The simple answer is that it depends, but you are more likely to build muscle while you are gaining weight.
However, what if you already have that muscle base, and you are ready to slim down and reveal what you have?
Now we are prepared to introduce a completely different workout routine and diet plan.
By now, you definitely understand the value of knowing your caloric intake. You gain weight when you are in a caloric surplus, but you lose weight when you are in a caloric deficit.
Therefore we can understand that if we want to lose fat rapidly, we have no choice but to be in a caloric deficit.
With that being said, we also need to switch up our workout routine. In addition to our current weight training routine, we are going to want to add in high intensity interval training, or HIIT for short.
The combination of doing HIIT workouts 3-4 days per week and eating at a caloric deficit is going to ensure that you lose fat rapidly.
I have also had people ask me why we need to continue doing weight training in addition to the HIIT workouts. It’s simply because we need to do everything we can to maintain our muscle.
When you’re in a caloric deficit, it’s not just fat that your body is looking to consume. It is also muscle. Which is why we must do everything we can to maintain it.
Main Point: Do you gain muscle when you gain weight?
It is a great question. Do you gain muscle when you gain weight? At the end of the day, if you are gaining weight, that means that your body is in a caloric surplus. And when your body is in a caloric surplus, that is the prime environment for muscle growth.
Sure, it doesn’t guarantee muscle growth, but it sure does help. And as people gain weight, their muscles also grow to help carry around the extra weight.
If you are currently gaining weight, and you know that you are in a caloric surplus, the best thing that you can do for yourself is weight training. This will ensure that you gain muscle along with gaining weight.
But why would you want to keep gaining weight? Coming from someone who used to be ridiculously skinny, I can tell you that gaining weight for me was a blessing.
After some time however, I found that I went too far overweight. But that is ok. When you know your caloric intake, you can always adjust. And switching to a caloric deficit is just as easy as eating in a caloric surplus.
Getting to know your body is a skill that most people decide not to pursue. But I have found that it is one of the most valuable things that you can do for your body and your life.
It isn’t just learning about exercise and caloric intake. It is so much more than that. The discipline and perseverance that you acquire will permeate into other areas of life and lift you up in ways that you never knew possible.