Most people struggle with excess weight and find the process of losing weight slow and difficult. But there are people that are the complete opposite of that. Many trainees try hard to gain muscle mass, but they keep struggling without results.
This article targets people who have hard time building muscle and gaining weight. Yes, there are such people too. The problem can be summed up in just a few words: They don’t eat enough. And they don’t keep track of the food. It is impossible to keep track of the food (on paper) and wonder why the arrow on the scale doesn’t move.
The article is intended for people who either cannot handle the needed amount of calories, or simply do not follow the plan and don’t eat enough.
There are basically two approaches to solving this problem. Eating higher amount of calories or limiting your energy expenditure so you can get in calorie surplus.
If you eat less or equal amount of calories as your daily basal calorie needs , it is absolutely impossible to gain weight. And it doesn’t matter whether your diet consists of meat and broccoli or waffles and sweets.
Why is it so hard to gain muscle?
1. The body has its own mechanisms for self-regulation of weight. It tends to stay at approximately the same weight . If at lunch time you eat a lot of calories, then your body will make sure you lose your appetite for a long time after lunch.
Everyone has a friend who has hard time gaining some muscle. They usually will explain how much they ate lunch. But if you ask them that same day how did they finish the day, I’m sure you’ll get the answer: “Well … I was not very hungry and I ate a small meal for dinner ” or “I ate just a salad”. Bottom line is that the one big meal they ate doesn’t mean that the food they ate the whole day was a lot.
The same thing can be observed in the long term. Come the holidays and even the skinny people begin to overeat. But that only lasts for two to three days. Those few days are usually followed by a sharp decline in appetite and the caloric intake decreased over the next week. Eventually you are back where you started in the first place.
2. Another problem is that the definition of “lots of food” has a different meaning depending on the person in question. Many skinny people believe they are eating large amounts of food, which is far from reality. The same can be said for overweight people who can swear they “eat almost nothing” and still can’t lose weight. If you really want to gain muscle or lose fat, it’s time to start tracking your calorie and macronutrient intake seriously.
3. The third issue is the phenomenon of short term correspondence between the increased food consumption and the increase in unintended physical activity. When a skinny person overeats repeatedly, you may notice how their physical activity increases unconsciously. They become very energetic, nervous and usually desire to do some sort of physical activity. You can observe the totally opposite case in a person on a diet who limits their calories. They usually become lazy and unwilling to do any sort of physical activity (think of bodybuilders before a competition).
4. Evolutionary adaptation. From a survival point of view, carrying big muscle mass like today’s bodybuilders do is a bad idea. More muscle means you need more calories to sustain that muscle mass, and you are not as agile and fast as a human with less muscle mass is.