Are you one of those people who, no matter how much they eat, cannot gain weight?
Do you have a “hummingbirds” metabolism?
…Did you think having a fast metabolism was an excuse or even a myth made up by lazy people who weren’t prepared to put the effort in to build muscle?
It turns out, this “fast” (better described as adaptive) metabolism is very likely one of the major reasons you cannot gain weight. Let me explain exactly how this happens…
To gain weight you need a calorie surplus. You must consume a larger number of calories than you burn. Obviously, there are two sides to this equation.
- How many calories you consume
- How many calories you burn
If you’ve ever been in the frustrating position of bumping your calories higher only to see the scales unchanged then it is probably because of TEA.
No, not the hot drink. TEA stands for Thermic Effect of Activity.
TEA describes how much energy you and your muscles use during activity. When you consume a calorie deficit, and calories are not abundant, your body becomes more “energy efficient”. You burn fewer calories day to day in an attempt to save energy. Your workouts cause you to expend less energy. You will subconsciously move less during the day. All in an attempt to protect you from the low-calorie environment you are in.
The opposite happens when you are in a calorie surplus. You become less energy efficient. Your muscles use up more energy during a workout. You move more throughout the day. Find yourself fidgeting and burning through all the extra calories you are consuming without realising. This prevents weight gain.
This is all part of the incredible adaptive mechanisms within the body. The body likes stability. The technical term for this is homeostasis. The body will fight to maintain a balanced internal environment. One of the ways it achieves homeostasis is by fighting significant weight gain or loss.
Some people appear to be more effective at fighting to maintain homeostasis. Their body appears super-resistant to change and fights tooth and nail to avoid significant changes in body weight. This is probably exactly what is happening with you and why you find it so hard to gain weight.
The good news is – it helps prevent you from getting gat
The bad news is – it inhibits your ability to gain muscle
You Can Build Muscle!
If you are a hardgainer you probably have a very adaptive metabolism. While this is frustrating, I would say it is certainly better than the alternative.
To overcome this and gain weight you are probably going to have to eat more. More than the online calorie calculator equations tell you. More than you have eaten before. The fact is that your body is not average. So, average intakes aren’t going to get the job done. The good news is that you can push beyond your body’s ability to resist weight gain, but you’re going to need more calories than you think.
Here Are Some Guidelines to Help You Eat Enough to Grow:
- Never Skip Breakfast
- Make Homemade Mass Gainers (I have recipe book full of them)
- Increase Portion Sizes
- Increase Variety – When you are full of one type of food you can usually cram another type in
- Track Your Calorie Intake – What Get Measured Gets Managed
- Carry high protein, calorie dense snacks with you (e.g. protein bars, nuts & dried fruit)
- Liquid calories
- Have some “junk” occasionally – Make 80% of your diet “healthy” foods but use hyper-palatable, high calorie foods to create the surplus you need to gain weight
Want a detailed description of 6 Top Eating Tips for Skinny Guys?