Don’t Fear Weight Gain by Nicole Derderian
Many people fear the idea of gaining weight. Society has constructed this ideal image that everyone is supposed to be. As a whole, we are getting better about accepting all body types, but there is a mindset that continues to scream at us: “smaller is better.” The “toned” look is what everyone is trying to achieve, and people tend to believe that you can magically get rid of fat while simultaneously gaining lean mass. Changing the body is always possible, but what if you were told that you need to increase weight to look better?
In most cases, when a male or female starts lifting they get what most people call, “newbie gains.” Since the muscles have been inactive (untrained), once they start working, an initial increase in size and strength occurs. During this time, most people feel good about themselves because their body composition is changing positively (especially if they have the right training program and are eating and sleeping right). However, as time goes on the muscle growth starts to plateau. This is when a person needs to look into manipulating their training styles and food so that their body continues to put on muscle.
When gaining lean mass, more food is usually the key. Eating more calories gives the body more energy. If the body has more energy, the muscles can lift the heavier weight which tears more muscle fibers. Once those muscle fibers are repaired, they grow back stronger. This seems ideal in most cases, right? Well, one thing that most people forget is that weight gain is weight gain. A person cannot gain lean tissue without gaining some fat mass, and this is what steers people away from gaining the weight that they need.
Another misconception that comes with gaining weight is that it is all going to be fat. If a person is sticking to a diet that is 75% whole nutrient dense foods during their “bulk,” then it would be silly for them to think that they are “getting fat.” The body looks fluffier if someone is in a caloric surplus, but it is the only healthy way to gain size. The body needs to feel safe to put on muscle mass. If it [the body] has to use up every calorie just to carry out its standard functions, then it won’t have anything left to repair and grow muscle.
In most cases, a person needs to have the muscle mass to look aesthetic once they cut down. If someone is trying to achieve a “toned” look, then they need to have a decent amount of lean muscle tissue. Without muscle, a person looks skinny. Just like gaining weight, losing weight is losing weight. One cannot lose fat without losing some muscle. This is why it is essential to growing as much lean mass as possible during a bulking phase so that there is room to lose a little during the process.
Looking a particular way is a PROCESS. For someone to achieve the look that they want he/or she may need to go through multiple bulking and cutting cycles. It isn’t possible to get jacked and lean if a person just lifts how they want and eats what they want. It also isn’t possible to get jacked and lean by restricting calories and doing cardio every day. This look is only achieved if a person goes through different phases and allows themselves to feel uncomfortable at times. Not many people have the patience and discipline to make these changes. So, it’s up to YOU to make the decision to be committed to making this your lifestyle or to be complacent with where you are at this very moment.