I am setting a goal to gain ~8kg in 3 months. I have an average body build.
I know that to gain weight I need to increase daily Calorie intake and do exercise.

I don't want to hire a personal trainer or join a gym. Somehow, these things are not able to motivate me enough. What I am planning is to have a healthy daily diet, do some running and resistance training on my own. Am I thinking in the right direction or do I need to join a gym?

  • To gain muscle you need to challenge yourself. This is much easier to do with weights (as you can fine-tune the amount of challenge) and so going with just bodyweight is harder. Whatever gains you make would be suboptimal when compared to weight-use. Still, if you are set in your ways, consider The Naked Warrior by Pavel Tsatsouline. It concerns itself with just two exercises - the one-arm pushup and the one-legged squat (pistol) but if anything will help you gain mass with bodyweight, it's those two. Also consider pullups.
    – VPeric
    Sep 28, 2011 at 12:04
  • 2
    @VPeric That would make a great answer. Sep 28, 2011 at 13:13

4 Answers 4


I think you will be disappointed by your results with running. In order to understand why, you'll need to know where the weight would need to come from.

  • The number one class of people who have problems gaining weight are ectomorphs.
  • Ectomorphs burn fat quickly and easily, so the only way to gain weight is to build muscle.

Exercise is a specific thing, what you work on will be what gets stronger. More importantly, whether you specialize in endurance vs. power output also affects how your body adapts. For example, endurance would be running a marathon and power output would be sprinting in the context of your question.

The only way to build muscle is to give it work that is more than it is used to. Your body will respond to prepare itself for that level of work. This is why, especially in the beginning, you will need to keep increasing the amount of work your body needs to do. This is a fundamental principle in strength based exercises, whether you lift weights or perform body weight exercises.

The problem with running is that it is very good at burning fat, and most people who run specialize in endurance. That means you won't be getting significantly stronger, and your upper body won't be getting much work at all. In short, the amount of muscle build will be in your legs and won't amount to the 8kg body weight you want.

Resistance training is where you will get the most bang for your buck so to speak. If you have a weight set at home, then I highly recommend getting the book "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe and Dr. Kilgore. It covers proper technique (no need for a trainer), as well as how the exercises work the muscles in your body. The routine outlined in that book will make you strong, which in turn will help you gain the weight you want.

If you do any type of running (a form of conditioning), then I highly recommend specializing in sprints or interval training as it complements the type of energy use that your body is working for with resistance training.

  • +1. Agreed. If you want to gain muscle, lift weights. A full weight program is preferable but at least do barbell squats. If you don't want to join a gym, a squat rack, barbell, and several hundreds lbs of weights can be had for less than $500 brand new. And you could potentially buy from a garage sale and get them for a lot less. Sep 28, 2011 at 13:08
  • @JoshuaCarmody That would make a great answer. Sep 28, 2011 at 13:13

Short Answer: It Depends

What I am planning is to have a healthy daily diet, do some running and resistance training on my own. Am I thinking in the right direction or am I being too stubborn to join a gym?

Depends on the resistance training and how much running you'll do.

Generally, running will make you lose mass. You'll get stronger, particularly if you do sprints, but running will not help you gain weight.

Define "Resistance"

Resistance training is a broad term. It could mean weight machines, dumbbells, barbells, bodyweight exercises, kettlebells...

I think you will find it difficult and slow to build mass using isolation exercises like tricep kickbacks and leg curl machines. Bodyweight exercises (push-ups, gymnastics), done properly, will get you somewhat stronger but won't add that much mass. (Part of their appeal is that since the resistance is generally so slight, one must do many repetitions, turning most bodyweight exercises into part cardio, part endurance, and only a small part strength training.) Kettlebell work will get you stronger and a little bigger. But barbells--oh, barbells--will get you big and strong quickly.

Efficient Resistance

Squatting and deadlifting lots of weight, along with a sufficient diet, will help you most efficiently achieve your goal of weight gain. I gained about 12 Kgs in 4 months on the Starting Strength heavy lifting program.


I am setting a goal to gain weight of ~8 Kgs in 3 months. I have average body build. With some Googling, by now I know that to gain weight I need to increase daily Calorie intake and do excercise.

If you do not have previous training experience and you are under 25, 8kg in 3 months isn´t difficult. Just start some basic strength program - google "Rippetoe´s starting strength" or "Wendler´s 5/3/1"-, add GOMAD (Gallon of Milk a Day), sleep 8 hours and be consistent.


Diet, exercise and rest definately go together, but really you need to figure out how many calories your burning compared to how many your eating. I have found some good free calculators for BMI, BMR, LBM, and Calories Burned at http://howtogainweight123.com/calculators

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