Everyone is trying to lose weight and becoming increasingly worried about it around this time of year (Pre-Holiday Season).
Whatever you weigh, less would be healthier! Right?
Most of the mainstream information about fitness and nutrition aims to one goal: weight loss. “Burn calories” “Drop a size” “Best *blank* for weight loss”
So who in their right mind would want to actually gain weight? Get bigger?
A lot of People!
What if you’re a high school wrestler who wants to bump up to the next weight class or a teenager who aspires to play college football?
How about a woman who wants to get stronger and feel physically capable, or a slender person who wants to look more commanding, and feel more athletic and confident?
For folks like these, weight gain is not only practical and desirable, it’s downright healthy.
Even overweight people would benefit from gaining a certain kind of weight: muscle! Although they may have lots of body fat to lose, increasing muscular mass will rapidly speed up that process.
How To Embrace The Season Of Eating
As a high school athletic coach, I’ve become accustomed to seasonal planning. For example, with the Downingtown West High School wrestling team, the annual plan looks something like: Off-season is for strength, pre-season is for fine tuning, in-season is for technique and correctives, post-season is for variety…Rinse and repeat.
The reason I bring this up is because around this time of year, there are plenty of people who worry about gaining weight from the end of October through the Holiday season. It’s the season of harvest, festivities, celebration. The season of eating!
There is simply no better time to shift your focus in the direction of putting on some size – building muscle. Rather than stressing about inevitable over-indulgence and debauchery during Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas… embrace it!
That annual plan would look something like this:
Oct. 31 – Feb. 1: Build Muscle
Feb 2 – May 1: Get Lean
May 2 – Aug. 1: Build Muscle
Aug. 2 – Oct. 30: Get Lean
Benefits (& Joys) of Healthy Weight Gain
1. Get Lean Faster
For those who like to lean out before summer there’s gold in this approach. The more muscular mass you have, the easier it is to lean out quickly. Why? The biggest burner of calories in your life is your basal metabolic rate (BMR). If you’re a man, you can expect to burn between 1600 to 1800 calories a day. 300 calories fewer if you’re a woman.
The best way for increasing that rate is to gain muscular size. Just 5 additional pounds of muscle mass increases BMR by 400-600 calories per day while in a state of rest! That’s a huge increase, it’s really quite amazing.
2. Look Leaner At A Higher Body Fat %
The more muscle mass you have, the leaner you’ll look at a higher body fat %. Literally, you can have your cake and eat it too.
3. You Can Eat More
Gaining muscular weight requires a serious caloric surplus and I don’t say that lightly. Matter of fact, putting on muscle is far more difficult than losing weight. The training is murderous and the eating is even more so. This is why October through December is such a convenient time for this sort of goal – the high calorie foods are everywhere. Keep your eye on that plate of cookies…and eat them.
4. It Makes Training Much More Enjoyable
Rather than being focused “on the scale” and burning every calorie you ate that day, you’re focused on building your body up – getting stronger, feeling more physically capable, having a more commanding presence, boosting your confidence. It makes showing up and putting yourself through a slog much more desirable and fun.
Curious if this approach will work for you?
Did you know we have a barbell/weightlifting strength and conditioning class at Akers Of Strength Training Systems?
We offer several sessions every week with a focus on the big fundamental lifts plus accessory exercises – scalable for all fitness levels and individual goals.
If you’re tired of feeling guilty and stressed about the amount you eat during this time of year, we will show you how to put those additional calories to good use in getting stronger, moving better, and feeling and looking your best!
Here’s what to do next.
We’ll go from there on setting you up with a suitable program.