Gaining and losing weight are very simple processes, but not always easy ones to accomplish. A large part of it relies on your metabolism, that is, how your body manages fat, calories, etc etc. So what works for one person may not work for another. And like with most fitness related things, finding what works for you is the key.
You must also be very committed and you must stick to your plan and routines. And as always, you have to trust and believe in yourself. Don’t panic and change plans just because you do not see positive results early on. You have to give the process a chance and results can take longer for some people.
Contrary to popular belief, being a Marine doesn’t require giant muscles, but having a solid amount of muscle will protect you from serious injury and make daily life easier. *This is not to say ‘do not lift heavy to build muscle’. Big muscles are not bad, but they should not be your central focus*.
At the end of the day you do not want to end up looking like the Marine in the picture to your left.
Basic Weight Gain Tips
- Get a scale to keep track of weight gain or loss, if you have trouble gaining weight, it’s important you keep track of even small gains or losses.
- Eat more, you can’t gain weight unless you start taking in more calories. Try to eat around 3000 calories a day to start and adjust accordingly as you progress. If you want, buy a weight gain powder. These are actually pretty effective at putting on weight quickly and are sometimes essential for you “hard gainers.”
- Eat “clean foods”. Bulking up by eating everything in sight will leave you with less muscle mass and more fat. Don’t eat everything in site, try to eat lean foods like turkey and chicken, but in larger quantities.
- If you have access to heavy weights, start a weight lifting plan where you focus on essential moves like bench press, squat, and dead lift, these are the most important lifts and will give you good amounts of muscle mass overtime. More importantly they will give you muscle mass that you can use, instead of muscle that just looks pretty.
- As always, ensure you are drinking plenty of fluids. Water is preferred.
Basic Weight Loss Tips
- Once again, eating “clean” is your best friend. Look at your diet and eliminate the things you know are bad. Don’t think of this as “dieting”, but instead as changing your life style. You don’t need to consume nothing but lettuce and water, this isn’t necessary. Getting rid of fast foods, high fat foods, sweets, and soft drinks will make the difference and by doing just this, you should see weight loss sooner rather than later.
- Keep a log of what you eat, if you’re not losing weight you can look at the log and count your calories and adjust. Remember, each of you needs to find a plan that works for you.
- Exercise is important. Doing anything is better than doing nothing, so don’t put off working out until you can get a gym membership or find some fancy workout plan. Find what works for you and do it and most importantly, stick to it.
- Drink plenty of water.
Frequently asked questions:
- Should I buy powders and supplements? No, most of these are overpriced and not effective. In fact some may be harmful to your health. The only things I would recommend ever is a protein supplement (whey powder) and a daily multivitamin. The protein being optional of course, but I strongly recommend vitamins when altering your current diet in any way.
- Do I have to run long distances every day? Once again no, in the words of former Recon Marine Sgt, star of Generation Kill, and fitness trainer Rudy Reyes, “Long distance running is only good for keeping skinny people skinny.” Distance running is good when training for your 3 mile pft, but not when trying to gain or lose weight. On both accounts running short distances at a fast pace will be much more effective.
- Do I need a specific workout plan from an expert? What works for one guy might not work for you, and spending big amounts of money on “specialized, scientific, fancy workouts” is a waste. My advice is look at some popular plans, find exercises that work good for you and build your own plan. You’ll notice really quick if something works or does not work for you. A good mix of cardio, weight lifting, and body weight exercises is what you are after.
Despite what many say about losing weight, the process is different for each of us. When I graduated boot camp I didn’t really lose a lot of weight. I didn’t gain any either. And no matter how much running we did in the USMC, I never really lost weight. I’m just one of those types who will never have a six pack stomach and who will always have a visible layer of fat throughout most of my body. I actually had and still have very strong abs, but you’d never know it by looking at me. A lot of it is due to genetics, so try not to worry too much about your weight if your regime doesn’t seem to be working out for you.
Always remember that change won’t happen overnight and it is important you give your workout a chance. Don’t panic and don’t make unnecessary changes. Keep in mind that the more people you speak to about getting fit, then the more you are gonna change your plans. This can be counter-productive in the long run. Understand that at the end of the day, each of you needs to figure this out on your own. You are not me, so I can’t give you the plan that worked for me since it is made for me. Do you see what I’m saying.
Be sure to read through the comments for some advice and tips about losing or gaining weight from your peers. And if you have anything to add, feel free to do so.