Things which can hamper your getting-bigger-and-stronger goal include:

Endurance exercise or high-intensity conditioning, which could include running, cycling, swimming, long hikes, snowboarding, metcons, sprinting, HIIT, ball sports...

I am a thin girl and am planning to skip rope regularly as it is said to increase mental alertness. I do intend to gain weight too. Now, I am worried that this exercise will "stop" me from getting bigger and stronger!

Did I get it wrong? What's the way out?

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    At its simplest, your high intensity training makes it harder to do what's required to get bigger and stronger. The basics are lifting heavy and consuming more calories than you burn. If you use energy on high intensity training before you do your weights you won't be able to lift as much. You'll also be burning calories doing the high intensity training, so it's more difficult to achieve a caloric surplus. Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 12:36
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    That said, I think I recently saw a comment on another question (that I can't find!) with a link to research that said that most of the negative effects (in terms of gaining strength, not necessarily getting bigger) of also doing high intensity work can be removed by waiting as little as an hour between your weights and high intensity workouts. Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 12:43

3 Answers 3


It is just a trade-off.

If you're spending your time and calories (energy) on non-strength-building activities, you have less time and calories (energy) to spend on strength building activities.

In your example, skip rope may initially build a bit of strength (if you're fairly untrained), but after that, you won't get much stronger than necessary to push yourself off the ground a few inches. So, your strength gains will plateau, and you'll continue to burn calories.

You should consider how much time you have, and decide how much time you want to devote to strength training and how much time you want to devote to conditioning. You can probably find some time for both goals.


Remember, in terms of physical fitness, 'bigger' and 'stronger' are not synonymous. You can get stronger without getting much bigger, and vice versa.

To answer your title question though, high intensity exercises altogether stop you from getting bigger and/or stronger (for the rest of this answer, I'll focus on 'bigger' rather than stronger). However, they do cause an increase in metabolism, and if you're not keeping up with the demand by taking in more calories than you burn on any given day, then your body will make up the difference by taking from your reserves. The thing to watch out for in the case of doing regular HIIT is that HIIT typically spikes your metabolism for a long time after the training, so just adding a handful of legumes or nuts to your regular diet may not cut it to gain weight, depending on your circumstance.

The good news, however, is you can eat as much as you like if you want to gain weight, just stay away from the sweets! From the thin people I've run across, they're always surprised at how much they have to eat to gain weight! I've never had that problem so I can't relate...

Before you start your training, I'd advise you to keep a diet log of everything you eat for a period of time (1-2 weeks should do), and get a good caloric estimate per day of what you take in. There are Base Metabolic Rate calculators out there that will give you a decent estimate of what you burn per day, without doing any work. The # they spit out isn't set in stone, but the actual rate should be pretty close.

From there, add a minimum 500-1k calories to your diet per day, every day, if you want to get bigger. If it's easier, you can start with an extra 250-500, and work your way up every day.

Now you have a baseline for your hiit also. Once you start jumping rope, you might find yourself more hungry even after eating your extra calories. This is your metabolism speeding up. At this point, you can choose to keep your calorie intake the same, or take in more to keep your mass the same (or even increase your mass further), it's up to you.

Finally, none of this will happen overnight. Do not expect to demolish a large pizza one day and be your dream size the next day, it doesn't work like that lol.


There is no exercise that will stop you from getting bigger and/or stronger. What will, however, have a huge impact on your progress is your diet. Your diet will account for most of your progress and the rest will be training. The general rule of thumb is to start with 500 calories over your TDEE (*T*otal *D*aily *E*nergy *E*xpenditure) as this will work for most people. Simply adjust your calories depending on your weight gain (or loss for that matter)

Here is a REF for doing some basic calculations: TDEE Calculator

Here is a REF with a sample diet and some general good advice: How to Gain Weight for Skinny Guys (with Weight Gain Diet)

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