Gaining muscle takes the same amount of focus and preparation as
losing weight. Some important facts about gaining muscle:
•You can't necessarily gain muscle without gaining some fat as well.
•There are no magic foods, powders or pills that will allow you to
gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Some people can do this
naturally (again, the genes), but most will gain some fat along with
•Your body is very different from a bodybuilder--trying to gain mass
to look like them is not the best idea. They have different muscle
fibers than you and some may even be getting a little help from
•If you're a teenager, you'll have a hard time changing your body
dramatically. It's changing constantly and it will change even more as
the years pass.
•Gaining weight requires eating more and lifting more
Gaining muscle requires that you eat more calories than you burn. For
those with high metabolisms, that may seem impossible, but if you try
a few of these tricks, you'll find that adding calories to your day is
easier than you think:
•Choose calorie-rich foods like granola, bagels, biscuits, avocados,
olives, corn, meat, nuts, peanut butter, milk, yogurt and cheese.
•Add extra calories to your meals by using milk instead of water for
soups, sauces and hot cereals.
•Sprinkle powdered milk into casseroles.
•Add calorie-rich foods (like avocado, cheese and dressing) to
sandwiches and salads
•Mix beans, meat or cheese into pasta or side dishes
•Snack on yogurt, shakes, crackers and dip
•Keep a food diary for a week or so to get an idea of what you're
eating and where you can add more calories
The trick is to add calories without adding too much saturated fat.
You can also consider downing smoothies or meal replacement shakes in
Lift, Lift, Lift
Once you get your calories under control, you need to start lifting
weights. This will help you gain more muscle and help minimize the
amount of fat you gain (although you should expect to gain some fat as
well). Folks trying to gain muscle should:
•Lift heavy. This means lifting enough weight that you can only
complete about 6-8 repetitions of each exercise. The last few reps
should be difficult--the last one should be really hard, but not
•Have longer recovery periods between sets
•Have more recovery days between workouts
•Use spotters to avoid injury
•Continue with cardio, but keep it at maintenance level--around 2-3
days of cardio a week to keep your heart in shape
•Start with a full body program 2-3 nonconsecutive days a week, if
you're a beginner. Allow your body a few weeks to get used to lifting
weights before you tackle more intense routines.