How To Fatten Up

You can find articles all over the internet on how to get a six pack, or how to lose ten pounds quick.  What about how to gain weight, the wrong kind of weight? Better yet, if you’re trying to lean out for the summer and you’ve been working your butt off in the gym, why are you still gaining weight and your clothes are fitting tighter and tighter? I’m not talking about the muscle you’ve added to your frame, I’m talking about those of you that workout hard six days a week and your muffin top’s only expanded.  Let’s take a look at this…
First, if you want to gain some extra fat cells do more cardio! In a previous blog I wrote about my experience training for a triathlon only to have my bodyfat percentage rise up to an all-time high. So, here’s the deal- Cardio is great! Get outside, get your heart rate up, release some endorphins, absorb some vitamin D and improve your cardiovascular efficiency.  In fact when combined with strength training it’s a fat burning time bomb!  However, just because you ran a couple miles and your Fitbit says you burned 350 calories doesn’t mean you’re entitled to that 450-calorie sugar bomb from Starbucks.  From a physiology perspective when you do only cardiovascular activity such as running, biking, or rowing, and don’t engage in any challenging strength building training your body will simply burn up the muscle mass.  Muscle tissue will provide the body glycogen for fuel to give you energy so you can make it through your day.  Since you skipped strength training and haven’t given your body a reason to stay strong or build any muscle then your body will burn muscle instead of fat for fuel.  If you’re losing muscle tissue then your metabolism will drop faster than a drunken girl in stilettos.  Your body requires no energy to maintain fat, so fat will hang onto your upper arms like a chubby kid at a donut shop.  Here’s the take home; you want to gain bodyfat, do only cardio, refuel with crap nutrient deficient foods, and don’t engage in any challenging strength training.
Second, if you’d like to see your fat cells keep multiplying like rabbits then skip meals, and when you do eat make sure it’s anything but protein and veggies.  Remember that metabolism discussion we just had in the previous paragraph? It applies here as well. The old adage of burning more calories than you take in doesn’t always work.  I’ve heard so many times from people that get too busy and forget to eat.  This should NEVER happen! To quote Ferris Bueller, “I know life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.”  Take a couple moments during your busy day to look around and enjoy the world, while you’re at it, EAT SOMETHING!  Let’s do the quick math; skipped meals means starving, which tells the body to lower your metabolism.  A body with no fuel tells the brain it should start burning muscle tissue so glycogen can keep you going because your life is moving pretty fast! So now you’ve lowered your metabolism and your muscle tissue, but wait you may have squeezed in a quick energy drink or some M&M’s.  That’s three strikes.  Here’s the take home; you want to gain bodyfat, skip meals, run on energy drinks, and refuel at night after your crazy busy day with a glass of wine or a craft beer and anything but protein and veggies.
To some of you this may have struck a nerve, others you may think I’m a smartass, but hopefully to a couple of you it made sense.  The real take home is this; it’s ok to go for a run, in fact I encourage it! You need to make strength training a part of your life.  You need to eat protein, fruits and veggies consistently. Without these things, chances are you will continue to be unhappy with your progress.