Rootstein_CJP775711While most of our Monday sessions together have dealt with overweight individuals looking to lose weight, reduce fat percentage, educate themselves on proper nutrition and exercise form, or even how to maintain mental discipline and toughness, a few shy folk have taken the plunge and emailed me directly from the other end of the spectrum.

No matter how much I eat, I can’t gain weight.

Firstly, shut the hell up. All of us fat people out here don’t care about your sob story. I’m too skinny. Boo freakin’ hoo.

Secondly, let’s look at the simple math of this. We’ve learned when studying weight loss that in order to lose one pound of fat per week we need to reduce our weekly caloric intake by 3500 calories. Dividing that by the seven days per week means reducing our daily calories by 500 calories.

Logically then, the same should work in reverse. If we increase our daily caloric intake by 500 calories, we should gain one pound per week. The math makes sense, right?

The good news for you, oh skinny one, is that this actually works, to a degree. You may think you’re eating a lot, but the simple truth is that you aren’t. You’re more than likely doing two things, which the rest of should be doing:

  1. You’re eating several small meals throughout the day, which increases your metabolism and helps reduce weight and body fat.
  2. Small meals means correct portions.

You are eating until you feel full. That doesn’t take much when you’re skinny. The simple fact of it is that your stomach is small. You need to force those extra calories in for your stomach to expand. This isn’t a bad thing. When your stomach expands, it can hold more food. Holding more food means your body has more to process, more energy available. If you keep an excess amount of calories in your system, it will also mean your body starts storing some of this energy as fat.

In your case, fat is good.

Now, activity level also is a part of this. That extra 500 calories is if you’re completely sedentary in your lifestyle. I’ll use myself as an example. I’m currently trying to pack on 10 – 20 lbs of lean muscle over the next few months. There’s really only one way for me to provide the fuel my body needs to repair and build muscle – I eat. A lot. 3830 calories per day. For a guy my size I would be eating roughly 1800 calories to maintain myself so you can see it’s a bit more than a 500 calorie per day jump (2030 to be exact).

So, feast on skinny one! Cram that extra Big Mac down your mouth hole every single day. Eat four dozen cashews in one sitting. Do whatever it takes to gain that weight.

Be forewarned, however. Once you get to the weight you want and have the beef to start reshaping your body, you’re going to be in the same boat as the rest of us where enforcing discipline on yourself simply turns out not to be as much fun as you thought it would be.

6 responses to “Skinny

  1. This is why skinny people end up with skinny arms and legs but a pot belly at 40. I would be afraid to double my calories without increasing my activity until the weight was gained — is that optimal?

    • Skinny fat is a valid concern longterm. What I’m talking about here is making sure you have the fuel needed to transform yourself into a more muscular you. In the example of myself, I workout hard, throw around VERY heavy weights, so my muscles need that fuel to recover.

      Optimally, you’re doing the same. You’re not just eating. You’re approaching this from a “whole picture” point of view. Eating alone is not enough for good health, but it will definitely stop you from being skinny.

  2. Ouch Roc, some of that comes across a little harsh man (however I feel sure deep down that wasn’t your intent).

    Being one of those skinny whiners in the past, I used to search high and low for advice on how to put weight on. You know what’s out there on the internet to help? NOTHING I COULD FIND. Maybe I looked in the wrong place or the answer was in front of me the whole time.

    In frustration, I ended up trying a dietition. Got myself a healthy eating plan, followed it and felt sick all day everyday for a month. The end result was I put on about 3kg.

    Later I tried getting my bodybuilder mates to help me with a program. Followed it religiously and while I did put on a bit of muscle mass, it was always the skinny bloke problem of you need something to turn into muscle and something left in the tank to repair (as you’ve always said is necessary).

    Don’t get me wrong, too much weight is definitely a concern for more of the population than being skinny and underweight, but there are a small portion that wish to go the OTHER way and you could also be a shining beacon to them also.

    You know what eventually solved my problem? Good, healthy meals in the required proportions, trying (ahem) to sticking to the weight program and, at the end of the day, getting older. At a certain point in my family’s history, our metabolism eventually slowed down (just as my Dad and Uncles all promised). So did mine. I went from 55kg (classed anorexic for my height) at age 18 to 75kg at age 35 (normal range).

    Keep up the stirling work mate – sorry if this came across a little judgemental but this one just hit a slightly still raw patch in me.


    P.S. I went away for 6 months for work and informed my wife I was going to come back looking like Arnie Schwarznegger’s twin. I did. His evil, skinny twin LOL and she still loves me 🙂

    • It wasn’t meant as harsh. It was meant tongue in cheek.

      When I was young, I actually was the skinny guy as well. I used to get picked on a lot. I wished for nothing more then to gain weight.

      Age, a sedentary job and a car accident granted my wish and I quickly became a fat guy. Be careful what you wish for and all that.

      Feeling pukey is definitely understandable as you’re eating to overfill and expand your stomach. It can be just as hard for a skinny person to find good health as a fattie.

      Hope I’ve redeemed myself a little to you.

      • Damn don’t I feel like a tool now …. At least I said at the opening I was fairly sure you weren’t being deliberately harsh. Oh well.

        I wrote my reply, walked away, came back and read your post and my reply again and still felt I should post it anyway. If nothing else, at least it might give some moral support to the Skinny Brigade that things can get better given time and effort.

        Hopefully no lasting harm was done to either of our psyche mate.

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