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I am underweight. How do I gain weight and muscle?

Here's some info about me:

  • I'm 21 years old.
  • Weight: 50kg (110 pounds)
  • Height: 1.70m (5'7")

What would you suggest I do to gain weight?

I've heard about Creatine and doing exercises, but I need some advice: what should I eat, or what routine should I follow when doing exercises?

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marked as duplicate by Dave Liepmann, Kate, Baarn, FredrikD, Matt Chan Dec 23 '12 at 13:23

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consume more calories than you burn. –  Ryan Miller Aug 17 '11 at 21:01
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5 Answers 5

Get enough sleep and eat well and healthy. Make sure you get enough vitamins, whether from diet or supplements.

Assuming that you are eating "enough", make sure that the nutrients you are eating don't go to waste. Try taking some enzymes for a while, see how that works for you.

Finally, train. Lift some weights. Be patient, results will be slow (think years). Don't rush to big weights and creatine and other "helpers". Start slow and develop your body carefully, avoid injury.

As long as you're motivated and you keep working at it, you will see results. Always remember that you want to grow muscles, not fat.

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We really don't have a lot of information to go on as far as helping you understand what works for you. Most information on intentionally gaining weight is with the idea that you want to gain muscle, and not fat. Most people who struggle with gaining weight are "ectomorphs" If that is the case, you need to build strength to get heavier.

The good news for someone who isn't exercising is that you can start building strength doing just about anything. Eventually, however, to become a better athlete you will likely need to incorporate free weight training to improve your performance.

Compound exercises such as the squat, bench press, overhead press, dead lift, and power clean provide a foundation of strength that applies to most sports. The exceptions (for sports) would be medium and long distance running/swimming or endurance sports in general. The compound exercises will stimulate growth, provided you give yourself enough nutrition and rest for your body to do the work.

In order to continue building strength and consequently weight, you will need to eat a lot of food and make sure you have enough protein and water. I recommend increasing the amount you eat 10% per week until you are seeing the results you want.

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I would dispute that you "need" to incorporate free weight training. That is highly person and sport specific. For the VAST majority of amateur athletes, simply doing more of their sport would be more beneficial than adding weight training. Everyone always points to some pro athlete(s) and say "They do it!" - Well, yeah, but they are at the pointy end of the stick and looking for every last little edge. For most of us, (barring power based sports where lifting is a necessity), simply doing more of our chosen sport would be a much greater benefit. (Unless you have deficiencies or other goals). –  JohnP Jun 28 '12 at 15:03
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Firstly: creatine and other supplements are only necessary after you have the fundamentals of your lifting program and diet straightened out. Don't worry about them for now.

Secondly, the most efficient way to get bigger is to A) tell your body to get bigger by lifting barbells and B) feed your body a lot of food so it has the material to get bigger.

  • Squatting and deadlifting are the foundation of any lifting program. Bench press, overhead press, or pull-ups/chin-ups should be included as well.
  • The basic workout plan is to lift three times a week, doing 3 heavy sets of 5 reps after warming up and working up to the weight. (Chin-ups and pull-ups should be done as 3 sets of as many as you can do.) Each time you work out, add a small amount of weight to the bar. For further detail I recommend Mark Rippetoe's book, Starting Strength. It explains the exercises and workout planning in the kind of detail one would need.

On the food front, you'll want to eat lots of vegetables, lots of meat, milk, eggs, and not too much sugar or carbs. Once you start lifting heavy you need to eat tremendous amounts of food (especially protein, especially animal protein). For further detail I recommend Rob Wolf and the Paleo template.

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Most likely, you have a super fast metabolism. That's good and bad news. The good news is it will be very likely that you will develop excellent definition and high quality muscle density. The bad news is you will need to be very strategic and work your arse off!

I agree 100% w/ Berin & anothem, but you also need to factor in ways to attempt metabolic slow down. If possible, a midday nap goes a long way. After each meal sit, relax and put your legs up. If you are able to workout eat and then sleep that is ideal...

In case you miss it..SLEEP! Most peeps who have problems gaining weight have super fast metabolism and have issues sitting still. Work hard then read, relax, take a bath anything to slowdown the revs of your metabolism.

Depending on your genetic make-up, there is very high likelihood that your metabolism will slowdown as you get older. This response is based on personal experience!

Another thing to consider is dairy...be careful, but ice cream works wonders!

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You should look at your BMI and then note how many pounds are required to get you into the good range. From what you reported 5-7 110 gives a BMI of 17.2. The healthy BMI (body mass index) begins at 18.5 and goes up to 24.9 I would say a BMI of 20 is safe.

For you that means being 5-7 and 128lbs. To be in the exact middle of the range (BMI 21.7) you need to be 5-7 and 138.5lbs

As you can see from those number you should only be looking to gain a max of 28.5 pounds. Gaining weight is dangerous, and yo udon't want to create poor eating habits and take silly supplements (like Creatine) just to put on some pounds. Your main goal is likely a physique. SO do not focus on WEIGHT or you could put yourself in a bad place. Creatine is higly unnecessary unless you are already working out and lifting to an extremem level in which you would NEED creatine to allow you to lift more (for longer periods). Don't start scarfing down food and taking creatine and have it all get stored as fat.

If you want to gain weight you will need to build some muscle endurance first, and learn proper techniques for various styles of weight lifting. Most people can NEVER lift heavy because they hit a wall where their technique does not allow them to withstand using more weight. They unfortunately do not realize that there technique sucks. So, start with lower weight and higher rep stuff, learn good technique (videos or a decent college-athlete friend can help you with this) then you should move to higher weights (lower reps e.g. 5), and try to increase the amount you lift every three weeks or so, but keep the reps the same.

Weight gain is a side-effect of becoming strong and powerful. DO NOT try to gain weight. Learn how to become stronger. If you just want to LOOK ripped, again gaining weight is not the place to focus your attention.

There are many articles about muscle building. In general, AFTER you've lifted and made tears to your muscles, you need to provide them with proper building materials to repair themselves. the window for "after" is as small as 45 minutes, and for building materials you should eat protein.

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I need to note that BMI should not in any way be used for this purpose. –  Dave Liepmann Jun 15 '12 at 5:20
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