1- Featured Article: Why Can’t You Gain Weight?
This Month’s Featured Article:
Why Can’t You Gain Weight?
by Anthony Ellis
Ok, this is the question that all guys want to know, right? Well, honestly, there is no ONE specific reason. It varies from person to person, but for the majority of us, the problem is genetic. Genetics control your body type and frame. Genetics control your metabolism. Genetics control your muscle fiber make-up, and they also control how big and strong you can actually get without steroids. Let’s look at each point individually.
Body Type and Frame
There are three main body types. Ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs. These are called Somatypes, and are simply a way to categorize body types.
* Ectomorphs possess low body fat levels, small bone size, a high metabolism, and a small amount of muscle mass and muscle size. This is typically the classic skinny guy/hardgainer. This is primarily for whom my program was written. Ectomorphs have a very difficult time gaining weight of any kind and have very small wrists, ankles and necks.
* Mesomorphs possess low to medium body fat levels, medium to large bone size, a medium to high metabolism, and a large amount of muscle mass and muscle size. They gain muscle fairly easily and can lose fat fairly easily. Most are naturally athletic and typically have broad shoulder and a thick torso.
* An endomorphic body type has a high body fat percentage level, large bone size, a slow metabolism, and a small amount of muscle mass and muscle size. They gain fat very easily and have a difficult time losing it. Many overweight individuals are endomorphs.
Most underweight individuals are ectomorphs. Though your frame cannot be changed, you can help combat your limitations by training correctly. Ectomorphs should focus on minimal, but intense weight training sessions. Heavy weights and long rest periods will work to stimulate the most muscle growth.
Your metabolism controls how many calories you burn. If you have a high metabolism, you burn calories rapidly. This is why many people can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound. They have super-fast metabolisms. Most ectomorphs have fast metabolisms. In order to gain weight in this situation you must do two things: 1) eat and 2) rest.
First, you must eat and eat a lot. Since your body burns calories at an accelerated rate, you need more calories to provide additional calories for muscle building. If your body does not have enough calories, it won’t build muscle. What you eat is also very important, as you don’t want to cram down junk food and sugar – this will just make you fat. I cover what you should eat later in the book, but your diet should focus on good quality protein, unsaturated fats and complex carbs. Rest is also essential as it helps to conserve calories. The more active you are the more calories you burn. You need those calories for muscle building, so extra rest is essential.
Not eating enough and trying to do too much activity are probably the most common cause of lack of muscle growth. You will not gain weight or build muscle on a low calorie diet and exercise regime that consists of mostly aerobic activity. It won’t happen for ectomorphs. Low calories and aerobics are for fat loss, not muscle building!
Muscle Fiber Make-up
This refers to how much of a particular muscle fiber you have distributed throughout your body. For our purposes, there are three main types: One for endurance (Type I fibers), one for muscle strength and size (Type IIB fibers), and one that combines both traits (Type IIA fibers). If you have a large amount of Type IIB fibers, you have more potential to increase size and strength than someone who has mostly Type I fibers.
I believe one of the main reasons I was able to grow so much in such a short time, is that I naturally have a large amount of Type IIB muscle fibers. These fibers grow larger than any other muscle fiber when stimulated. If you do a lot of endurance activities like running, you will have mostly Type I fibers. In this case, gaining muscle size and strength will be difficult. It is possible to change the tendency of muscle fibers, so you can make Type I fibers begin to act more like Type IIB fibers. My weight training programs are designed to promote the growth and stimulation of Type IIA and IIB fibers.
Our genetics also dictate how much muscle or weight we can actually have. It controls how big and strong you can get without steroids. Though many people use this as an excuse for not being able to gain weight, I don’t believe that it plays much of a part in your progress. Most people don’t even come close to their genetic potential – especially if you are just starting out. The only people who should be concerned with this are those pushing the limits of their current size and strength levels like pro bodybuilders or world-class Olympic athletes.
So, now that we know what we are up against, we can begin to formulate a plan of attack to combat these obstacles.
Excerpt from Gaining Mass! By Anthony Ellis.
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