Maybe, You Should Gain Weight

UsefulTom AFTER

(image credit: Thomas Campitelli, The Aasgaard Company 2013)

First, you have to give your body a reason to be bigger. This means doing things that require a larger body, gradually increasing the loads it is forced to move. Second, you give your body the things it needs to recover from the work, and it will grow. Works every time.

The reason to be bigger is the physical training you make yourself do. There are people who have taken very difficult physical jobs, and their increase in workload and appetite made them get bigger. But the more reliable, controllable, time-tested method is to start lifting weights. Using the major barbell exercises, you start with a weight you can handle and then go up a little every time you train.

The details are simple as well. You go to the gym three days per week, and you do a basic workout that consists of squats, overhead presses, bench presses, deadlifts, and power cleans. You squat every workout, alternate the two press variations, and deadlift or power clean every workout. The lifts are easy to learn, and barbells are commonly available in gyms all over the world -- and can be purchased for use in a home gym. Sets of five reps have proven to work best for our purposes.

Assistance work is kept to a bare minimum because it’s not necessary for this short-term project; chin-ups are the only other thing you need to do. Likewise, conditioning work is not necessary during this period. In fact, it will slow down your progress. We’ll condition later, right now we worry about getting big and strong.

This simple program results in rapidly increasing strength and bigger muscles. Muscles get stronger by growing bigger. Essentially, bigger muscles are a side-effect of getting stronger, and since we know how to get stronger, we just train for strength, we eat and rest enough, and growth happens accidentally.

If you eat and rest enough. Remember: you don’t get big from lifting weights. You get big by recovering from lifting weights.