Young athletes are constantly striving to be bigger, stronger, faster. Peruse professional sports and you’ll discover examples like Giancarlo Stanton to Adrian Peterson, from Lebron James to Lolo Jones. No matter what your girlfriend tells you, size matters.
For that very reason, when a young man or woman approaches me about gaining weight, I take it seriously. I’m often asked by the leaner types with less muscle mass how to put on weight. Recently, in fact, a college baseball player expressed in writing that he’s tried weight gain shakes and eats like Homer Simpson but has had difficulty packing on pounds.
It would be irresponsible not to illuminate one possible issue for young men and women trying to gain size. Y’all may be at a genetic disadvantage and especially active, to the detriment to your goals. From Nancy Clark:
Some athletes are genetically fidgety; they don’t like to sit still. Not only are they active with sports, but they are also active when sitting. For example, when I am counseling skinny clients, I observe them constantly tapping their fingers and shifting around in the chair—activities that burn calories.
The technical term for these spontaneous movements is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or N.E.A.T. NEAT includes fidgeting, pacing while you wait for the bus, standing (not sitting) while you talk with a teammate, being animated when you talk to friends, or tapping your fingers when watching TV. If you overeat, NEAT helps you dissipate excess energy by nudging you to putter around the house, choose to shoot some hoops, or (yikes!) feel motivated to vacuum the house. NEAT can predict how resistant you’ll be to gaining weight.
Personally, I fall into a similar bucket. I like to be moving. Even when I’m writing, I prefer to stand and take breaks by moving around. Sitting is not a palatable activity for me, and it’s been that way since I was a young boy.
This is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, young, slim athletes don’t need to watch their caloric intake and on the other, they need to watch their caloric intake. Confusing? Not particularly. It might be more difficult to get excess calories for a ballplayer who is constantly moving, but it’s certainly an attainable goal.
Here are my top tips for acquiring extra calories and adding bulk. For those of you searching for ways to reduce your caloric intake, STOP READING NOW OR YOU’LL HATE THE TARGETED PEOPLE OF THIS POST FOREVER AND EVER.
- Cook with butter from grass fed cows. Let’s not go a word further without acknowledging the obvious: Everything tastes better with more butter. Duh. Now, per tablespoon, you get roughly 100 calories. Cook three meals a day with an extra tablespoon, you’ve got 2,100 calories a week.
- Crush foods with high quantities of high quality fat like avocados, almonds, and olive oil. Add these foods to salads and snack on them during commutes in the car whenever possible. By eating a cup of almonds (529 calories), one avocado (234 calories) and two tablespoons of olive oil (240 calories) each day, you’ll be blessing your heart and adding 7,021 calories a week.
- In addition to your water, drink organic, whole milk from grass fed cows if your stomach likes it. One large glass of milk (2 cups, about 300 calories) with lunch and dinner will net you 4,200 calories per week.
- Add a piece of fruit to each meal. A large banana (121 calories), an overgrown apple (116 calories) and a giant pile of blueberries (2 cups, 160 calories) will provide plenty of vitamins and antioxidants and help you reach your athletic goals as well. 2779 calories a week in aggregate.
- Implement a weight lifting program. This seems somewhat obvious, but some folks haven’t had the training education you’ve had, so stop the eye rolling, dude in Pawtucket. Running long distances won’t help build muscle, so in weight packing mode, skip the long cardio sessions unless they’re necessary for your sport.
So, there you go. Follow these steps as an addition (not replacement) to your current nutrition program. You’ll have inhaled an additional 16,100 calories weekly and have an opportunity through your weight training program (hopefully this one) to turn those calories into useable muscle mass.
Good luck, King Kong.