In the fitness industry, scientific weight loss and weight gain theories are a dime a dozen. Some are not merited and some are.
For example, the old “calories in versus calories out” theory asserts that you will pick up weight if you consume more calories than you burn, and this may very well be. This school of thought suggests that your intake should be 3,500 calories above what you burn to gain one pound.
There’s just one thing… how do you know for sure that what you are gaining is muscle and not fat?
The Plot Thickens…
Looking at all the theories out there, you will find that a lot of them talk about ratios. To be clear, the ratios we discuss here in this post refer to the percentages of your diet that you consume in the forms of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
To gain muscle and not lose fat, 40/50/10 is the recommended ratio. What that basically means is that 40% of the total calories you consume will come from protein, while 50% will come from carbohydrates and 10% will come from fat. This ratio may seem counterproductive because you would think that someone trying to gain weight would need more fat, but know this: too much fat slows down weight gain.
There are two reasons why this happens. Firstly, you get fuller quicker and therefore consume fewer calories. Secondly, the body has a harder time storing and using more fat as energy, as the processing requires more calories.
You Need Sufficient Protein and Carb Intake…
How else would you manage to support all of that new muscle you will pack on? Generally, to effectively repair muscle tissue, you will need an intake of about 1 gram of protein for every pound of weight that you have.
However, it is important that you watch your ratios to ensure that 40% of calories are coming from protein. To track your eating and maintain your ratios, you can use tools like those found on fitday.com and other dieting websites.
Track What You Eat…
Everyone is different, and there’s a learning curve involved. The best way to figure out what the right food quantities/ratios are for you specifically is by tracking what you eat. You need to know where you are to know where you are going.
Usually, skinny guys are underweight because they have a high metabolism and do not eat enough. Think you’re eating a lot? Track your current food intake for two weeks. You might just find that you do not eat as much as you think you do.
Eating Several Meals Daily Is Necessary…
Using our ratio, you will only gain noticeable weight if you are eating 5 to 6 meals per day. In the dieting world, there are many technical formulas for determining the amount of calories needed to gain weight, but here’s a quick and easy method.
Multiply your current weight by fifteen. The answer is how many calories you should be consuming daily. If you don’t gain at least one pound a week working on that number, simply multiply by sixteen or seventeen. Increase until you see gains.