I remember the day my own weight gain story began. I’d just recovered from the flu and in my wisdom thought it would be a good idea to see how much weight I’d lost. My scrawny, 5 feet 8 inch frame weighed in at a whopping 112lbs (dead on 8 stone).
To be fair I hadn’t eaten for two days compounded by the fact I was very likely dehydrated. Even so I’m glad I stepped on the bathroom scales when I did because it pushed me to a threshold and I knew I had to do something about it.
I was 18 at the time and knew nothing about the mechanics of weight gain. And I didn’t know where to start looking. It was when I started a Sports Science degree a few months later that I suddenly became privy to a wealth of credible, up-to-date information relating to weight control, metabolism and strength training. Then I hit a problem we all face in the 21st century, an overwhelming amount of information. Ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, the one common denominator was the constant contradictions.
For five years I tried all kinds of weight training programs which involved training two days a week to five days a week, negative reps to static contraction training, using supersets, drop sets, free weights versus machines. And I was consistent, never going more than a week without lifting weights. And I was eating plenty to gain weight, or so I thought.
My physique improved unquestionably. I was toned but still very skinny. I gained some muscle initially but hit a plateau very quickly both in my strength and body weight.
Finally, I reluctantly laid the blame with genetics. The number of people I saw starting at the gym, weaker than me, only to surpass me in a matter of weeks, and they broke every training rule in the book. Frustrating to say the least! So it must be genetics. I was just unlucky.
What I failed to appreciate at the time is that, in my opinion, genetics emerge as tendencies rather than hard and fast rules. My metabolism, my hormonal system, my muscle fiber make up and other physiological parameters make weight loss easy and weight gain difficult, but not impossible.
I discovered, as have many others, that it’s possible to influence things such as metabolism and hormone levels and even muscle fibers. Yes, it takes effort and it takes discipline but that’s what makes it a worthwhile pursuit.
I will never be a bodybuilder or a bouncer but I never wanted that. I simply wanted to be a good weight for my height, look more masculine and have a physique I was proud to show off at the beach. To that end I think I’ve been successful. I now weigh 160lbs (roughly 11.5 stone) and I’ve managed to keep my body fat percentage to about 10%. I’m completely happy with the way I look while striving to improve my physique all the time. I truly believe it’s possible for any healthy person to gain weight if they follow a good diet and weight training program.