While the nation is currently fighting a rising obesity problem, not everyone can gain weight easily. A quick metabolism, genetics and your natural food preferences can leave you quite thin. If you are having a hard time gaining weight and feel forever stuck skinny, you may benefit from taking supplements in order to do so. However, there is a right and a wrong way to gain weight using this method. Understanding the process is essential to gaining weight in a healthy way and maintaining your gain over time.
1. Are You Ready for Supplements?
Before you rush off to the local GNC or health foods store, you need to be sure you are ready to take weight-gain supplements. You should first track your calories carefully and make sure you are eating enough calories to create a surplus. If you are a chronic under-eater, all the supplements in the world cannot make up a deficit with any degree of success. If you are under calories but feel uncomfortable trying to eat more, you can always make some substitutions in your diet to sneak in extra calories. Adding cheese to salads and sandwiches, using heavy cream in your coffee and even indulging in some snacking can help add calories to your everyday diet.
You also need to take a long, hard look at your workout program guys. While intense cardio is great for your health, it burns calories at an insane rate and will keep you thin. There’s a reason long-distance runners are spare, lean men. If you are over-doing cardio, you need to replace some of it with other activities such as weightlifting or other non-aerobic moves. You also need to have a good commitment to working out, especially if your thin stature is genetic. You should be working out for anywhere between 45 and 60 minutes, three to five times a week.
You will also need to take a good, hard look at your expectations. If you are a naturally slim guy, looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger is just not in the cards. You need to think carefully about what you can accomplish on the existing framework. For example, if you carry the most muscle in your arms, you can play them up and make them larger a lot easier than fighting to build up your legs if they are thin. If balance is more important to you, you may find it easier to build up smaller legs to match your existing arms rather than trying to increase the size of both areas. Take an honest look at your goals and make sure that they are realistic and attainable, or else you may find yourself mired in frustration.
Finally, you need to make sure you are eating enough protein. The good news is, unless you are a vegan or an extremely picky eater, you are probably getting more than enough protein from what you eat. With that being said, ‘enough’ protein means that you get adequate amounts to maintain the body you have. To build the body you want, you will need even more protein.
2. Some of the Best Supplements for Building Muscle
As stated above, protein is an important component of building muscle. Both whey protein powder and casein powder can help gent protein to your muscles and help them grown. Whey is great for a quick burst right before or after your workout, while casein works on a more long-term timeline. Both can help you gain muscle and mass if used properly.
Nutritional needs are also another huge consideration when it comes to packing on healthy muscle. Most Americans are deficient in essential fatty acids, which are found in unsaturated fats. Without these, your muscles cannot grow and you will not see any results no matter how much work you put into your body.
Another nutritional need that is not always met by a traditional diet is the body’s demand for vitamins and minerals. Luckily, there are a wide range of multivitamins available that can help bridge any nutritional gaps you may have in your diet. Vitamins, especially, have a huge effect on your hormones. Stabilizing your hormones naturally by making sure your needs are being met is one of the best ways to ensure you are able to put on muscle and maintain it.
3. The Skinny Guy’s Essential Supplement Checklist
1. Whey or Casein Protein Powder
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Top pick: Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard
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Top Pick: MusclePharm Glutamine
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Top Pick: Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men Multivitamins
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Top Pick: Beast Sports Nutrition Creature Creatine