So you are eating a lot but still losing weight? You have no idea why, and you are on your wits end. The time has come to finally figure out what you are doing wrong. Newsflash! You aren’t eating enough.
This is a common mistake that people encounter when they are trying to gain weight or put on muscle. They think they are eating enough calories, while in fact, they aren’t even close. We will cover this in depth in this article.
I had to learn these concepts the hard way. But once I figured it all out, I couldn’t believe how simple it all was. For some context, I used to be very skinny. Actually, I told a girl how much I used to weigh recently and she said that was her weight currently.
I was 6’1” and 135lbs. For those who don’t know how skinny that is, just look up “scrawny teenager” on Google images and you will understand.
The thing is, I thought I was eating a ton of food. I wasn’t. I just thought I was eating enough food.
In this article, I will discuss the steps that need to be taken to guarantee that you gain weight. If you implement everything discussed in this article, there is no doubt that you will put on weight and muscle.
How to make sure you are eating enough
Ok here we go. This section is going to be what separates you from solid muscle to scrawny person. And it starts with counting calories. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! The dreaded counting calories strikes again.
But I must ask you. What sounds worse, being scrawny for the rest of your life, or counting calories and building up solid muscle? For me, I made the choice of counting calories, and I couldn’t be happier.
Here is why counting calories is frowned upon by our society. First, it can be tedious at first. Luckily it gets a lot easier with time. Second, the fitness industry really pushes the idea that counting calories is for suckers. Why? Because they want to sell you something that is “easy.”
Sadly, there is no easy fix for anything in fitness or nutrition. Everything is going to take time and work.
How do you know you are eating enough if you are still losing weight?
The first thing that you are going to have to learn how to do is calculate your maintenance calorie number. This is the number that you can stay at to not lose weight or gain weight. If you are currently losing weight, you are probably eating under your caloric maintenance. This is known as a caloric deficit.
If you are trying to gain weight, you do not want to be in a caloric deficit. In fact, you cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit.
So here is what you need to do in order to calculate your maintenance calories. Start by getting a free nutrition tracking app, like MyFitnessPal. Next, get yourself a digital kitchen scale, like this one from Amazon.
Calculating the numbers
Now, you are going to calculate your calories every day for the next 2 weeks. At the end of those 2 weeks, you are going to divide your total caloric intake by 14. That number is your daily caloric intake.
Let me show you an example. Let’s say after 14 days, my total calorie intake is 35,000. 35,000/14 = 2,500. So this means that on average every day, I ate 2,500 calories.
So now the big question. Did you gain or lose weight during those 14 days? If you lost weight, add 500 calories per day to your daily calorie intake and do this for another week. Weigh yourself again. If you are still losing weight, add another 500 calories per day.
You will need to keep repeating this process until you come to a week where you didn’t gain or lose weight. Once that happens, this is your maintenance calorie number.
Once you have that number, you can now go 500 calories per day over that number in order to gain weight and put on muscle. For example, my maintenance calorie number is 3,100. Which means that if I want to gain weight, I need to eat 3,600 calories per day.
Working out on a consistent basis
By now, you understand that if you are going to put on weight, you absolutely need to be eating at a caloric surplus. Well, what you do with your body during the time you are in a surplus is going to determine what type of weight you put on.
If you sit on your couch all day while in a caloric surplus, all those extra calories are going to convert to fat. That is how people get fat without noticing.
This is why it is important to workout. Actually it is best to specifically do weight training.
You will find that weight training alone is good enough to get your heart rate pumping to a good range.
So what weight training routine should you do in order to put on this muscle? I highly recommend our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). We have FREE workout plans that will help you put on plenty of muscle.
In fact, the exact plan that I used to put on over 20 pounds of muscle in 1 year is in our app. It is called 3 Day Overload. And yes, it is only 3 days per week. As long as you are eating at a caloric surplus, you will absolutely put on muscle.
It is understandable if you don’t want to download the app. That is why we created a couple workout plans for you to choose from that you could follow along on your computer or phone. Check out our 4 day workout routine for weight loss and muscle gain.
Maybe you are thinking that you only want to workout 3 days per week. Don’t worry, we have you covered. Checkout our beginner bodybuilding routine for mass.
Having consistency in the process
Working out and eating right is important, but if you just do it here and there, it pretty much means nothing. It is going to take commitment and consistency for you to see any results.
You have heard the term no days off, right? Well, I was never a big fan of that term, because I just don’t believe that people are working out everyday. Nor should they. Building muscle doesn’t work like that.
What I take from the no days off mentality is that we need to be staying as consistent as possible with our nutrition. We cannot let our daily caloric intake slip below our maintenance. In fact, we shouldn’t let it slip below our surplus number, even for one day!
Here is what will happen if you take a rest day. Let’s say that your surplus number is 3,000 calories per day. One day per week, you just want to chill and not think about your surplus number.
Therefore you eat 1,800 calories that day, and then tomorrow you will get back to 3,000.
Let’s do some math. 3,000 * 6 = 18,000 + 1,800 = 2,828 calories on average per day.
Sure, it isn’t going to kill you, but since these calories average out to under your daily goal, you will find it a lot harder to gain weight.
When I am trying to put on weight, I would rather be over and gain a little bit extra fat than be under and lose muscle.
The whole point here is to be consistent not only with working out, but with nutrition. You can change your body rapidly if you bring it all together and don’t waiver from your goals.
Main Point: Eating a lot but still losing weight?
If you are eating a lot but still losing weight, chances are, you probably aren’t eating enough to begin with. I know it’s a hard pill to swallow that maybe your hard work is not bearing fruit.
That is ok though. Now you are equipped with the knowledge that you need to put on weight and muscle.
It is important to remember that your maintenance calorie number is going to be different from your neighbor, friend, relative, etc… Every person has a different maintenance calorie number. Which is why it is very imperative that you calculate your own.
Once you have your personal maintenance calorie number, you can either put on weight, lose weight, or maintain your weight. You now have the power to go in whatever direction you want to go with your body.
Just remember that it is going to take time. Don’t be sucked in by gimmicks that tell you that you can gain 50 pounds of muscle in 3 months. Anything in fitness that sounds too good to be true probably is too good to be true.
It took me 1 year to build a little bit over 20 pounds of muscle. And for 2 years after that, I gained 20 more pounds each year.
Just think about this, the maximum amount of muscle that you can gain per week is about a half pound. Meaning that you can gain 26 pounds of muscle in a year. That is the only type of math you should worry about.
Don’t forget to be consistent. Not just with working out, but also with eating right. If you are in a constant state of caloric surplus, and you are working out, you are absolutely going to put on muscle. Your body has no choice.