Okay, first of all folks, I know there are already some questions about gaining weight.

The question in this case and the main difference with the others is on the conditions to achieve the same goal: Gain weight, lean mass to be specific.

I train kickboxing 2 times a week 2 hours each time, and it is a pretty intense and conditioning exercise. I swim two times a week as well. I have been trying to gain weight for a long time by taking protein supplements and increasing my calorie intake (eating 6 meals a day that are very protein rich). I am rather reluctant to do weight training because I have heard that you lose flexibility and that is essential in martial arts (I guess that is for another question). I am pretty ignorant on these subjects and would like some reference to texts about how to achieve lean muscle weight gain. I have read about the irregular fasting diet, but I am rather skeptical about it because I am mostly afraid of losing weight further.

I would like suggestions and if possible personal experiences in a situation like this one, maybe a healthy nutrition program (not drinking a gallon of milk and blah blah). I will go to my physician soon and ask him as well, but I thought maybe I would get some opinions here about it.

PS: I am 21 years old (almost 22), weigh 63-65 kg. (depends on the day, always fluctuating), and ~6ft.

  • If you continue with martial arts and specifically train for flexibility, as well, weight/resistance training doesn't necessarily mean you will lose range of motion. Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 17:37

4 Answers 4


You have two main questions:

  1. Gaining weight

    Being able to gain (or lose) weight is a matter of intake to output - simple, right? The output (burn) consists of your activity level including how your metabolism actually works. Each person's metabolism is different and can change based on age, genetics, etc. By eating 6 times a day, you are probably kicking your metabolism into high gear (people looking to lose weight can actually lose by eating more often). I would recommend a weight program along with even more healthy food - protein in itself may not be enough, make sure you have a balanced diet.

  2. Weight training and the martial arts

    I've been in the martial arts for over 25 years, have done a lot of reading and have some level of experience with incorporating weight training. A well targeted (for the martial arts) weight training program will enhance your speed, flexibility and explosive power. I tend to stick with the power lifting routines (deadlift, squats, rows and bench press) and have found them to be very useful.

  • Could you provide some examples of the weight training programs you mention please?
    – Jose Luis
    Commented Oct 5, 2011 at 15:03
  • 2
    Here's a link to power-lifting for beginner: bodybuilding.com/fun/plbegin.htm Commented Oct 5, 2011 at 16:42
  • 1
    Also take a look at any book by Don John, RossTraining.com site books....(exceptional) - you don't need much equipment or a gym to get where you want Commented Oct 5, 2011 at 16:43
  • +1 Thanks Meade for the resources. I have been already many times to Rosstraining and it is definitely a good resource for fitness and endurance but there are not many resources about what is spoken here. I think I may follow the 5x5 mentioned on the first link. I'll look for some weight targeted training for martial arts. Maybe you know one or is it not that special?
    – Jose Luis
    Commented Oct 6, 2011 at 10:56
  • @Joze - there are probably some specialized programs, depending on your specific martial arts, your strengths, etc. You'll want to use the basic lifts and then once you're comfortable with those add some specialized one - for instance: jump squats would add to your explosive power, clap pushups to your punching and don't forget about heavy bag training Commented Oct 6, 2011 at 12:44

Most people who are trying to gain weight have no issue with fat. That's a good thing, because the only thing that will help you gain is to eat a lot of food. To keep the weight on, you need to turn that food into muscle, which requires the right type of work to build that muscle. In short, the quickest way to build muscle is to lift heavy things. Those heavy things can be barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, you, truck tires, sledge hammers, etc. Check out an Intro to Strength Training I wrote a while back to help you choose what will work best for you. If you are a beginner in the weight room, then I would recommend a simple routine that has the four big barbell compound lifts: squats, bench press, deadlifts, and overhead press.

Now, not all conditioning is the same. In order to choose the conditioning that is going to help you keep increasing strength and mass you have to have a better understanding of how the body produces energy to feed the muscles. Since you mentioned martial arts, most sparring matches are limited to 2 minutes of activity followed by a lot of relative rest. That means your conditioning should be tuned to give you continuous output of strength for 2 minutes at a time. Running long distance is a different type of conditioning. The two best resources I've found to help understand conditioning are these:

If kickboxing is your true passion, then I might suggest dropping the swimming and add the weight training. That will help make the most of the food you are eating, and turn it into muscle--all while helping you get stronger in your sport.

  • @Berin-in gaining muscle mass for an athlete, what could cause cellulite to develop? I know cellulite developes when fat levels increase, but if this weight gained is predominately muscle mass in order to improve performance, how can I explain cellulite? Thanks!
    – Bee
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 11:05
  • If you gain weight, and keep the same body fat percentage, there will be more fat in an absolute sense. Example, 130lb woman with 20% BF will have 26lb fat and 104lbs lean mass. If she gains 5lbs and maintains 20% BF, she will have 27lb fat, and 108lbs lean mass. Unfortunately there is no way to control where the body chooses to put the fat. Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 12:12

Properly executed weight training will increase, not decrease, your flexibility and mobility. Use full-range-of-motion exercises such as dead-hang pull-ups, below-parallel barbell squats, and deadlifts.

Lifting heavy and eating a lot of food will cause you to gain weight. Swimming and kickboxing will make that progress slower. How you structure your workouts--more kickboxing, less lifting, or vice versa--is an indicator of your goals. It sounds like you want to gain mass, but only lean mass. If that's your requirement, keep in mind that your progress will be even slower and even more difficult than a program designed for increasing strength and mass.

You say you're eating 6 meals a day, but how big are they? How many calories are you getting in?


I've seen guys that are still very flexable while lifting weights. The thing to do is keep doing the kickboxing and flexability type exercises along with the weightlifting. 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 So, Calculate how many calories you have burned during the day and adjust your food intake to be less calories to lose weight or more calories to gain weight. Sounds simple, but actually doing it is the hard part :)

  • Thanks a lot man I will look into it. Sounds worth a shot!
    – Jose Luis
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 11:38

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