This post is for the skinny bitches. While the fitness industry focuses hard on weight loss I’m regularly asked by women how to gain weight. If you happen to be one of the overlooked, this is for you.
If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and want to lose weight, don’t leave too quickly. Here’s why: some of the strategies that will help “hardgainers” will also help you. All of us over the 50 threshold are losing muscle easier than we’re maintaining it. Gaining it is much harder. If you’re not maintaining lean muscle, you’re increasing your fat.
In effort to increase shape and change proportions, hardgainers make mistakes that push their goals further away. Here’s a few of the common mistakes that make both weight loss or weight gain impossible.
Lifting Too Light
Instead, lift heavy. You want fewer repetitions and plenty of rest between sets. Ten or fewer repetitions is your goal. Mix it up once in a while too. You do want to focus on compound exercises like squats, lunges, chest press, and rows. But you need to change the sequence and the way you format workouts. Sometimes you pair opposing muscle groups like chest and back. Other workouts do a trio of exercises three times in a row.
Lifting Too Often
If you’re not seeing results you need more rest. Muscles don’t recover as fast as you age. If you want to stop breakdown you have to allow time between workouts. Often someone who at 30 could strength train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and get good results, needs to switch to Monday and Thursday in order to get better results.
Not Eating Enough
Hardgainers need the same high nutrient-dense foods, not junk food, but they need it more often. Making sure that you have high protein meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a given. Hardgainers also want to have protein before and after exercise if that isn’t already true.
Sleeping Too Little
Whether you want to gain or lose you need sleep to release growth hormone that helps you create lean muscle. Getting adequate sleep also keeps your cortisol level healthy. Too much cortisol causes you to lose muscle.
Consider your entire exercise. If you do high intensity interval training and heavy lifting without plenty of rest and recovery between you’re increasing the breakdown (catabolism) and decreasing the repair and rebuild (anabolism). You wouldn’t lift heavy two days in a row and you shouldn’t do intervals two days in a row. One or two days of intervals and two days of heavy weights works, more isn’t better. Don’t overdo cardio.
Share your story with me. Are you having a hard time keeping weight on as you age?