Updated 6/18/2018
Added new links to "Tools"
Image by Gabrielle Do

How do I start? How do I start to gain weight (or lose it)?

Simple Answer:

Understand the bare – “Grrr!” – necessities of what it takes. Once you have the basics, build on it so it gives you a strong foundation to fly.

TL:DR

  • Know your body
  • Know your food & drink intake
  • Exercise well and effectively
  • Recover and fuel healthily
  • Follow your progress

1. Know Where You Stand

Ask yourself: How healthy am I really? How far am I to where I want to be?

Scout Your Body

To help you answer these questions, measure yourself. Grab a calculator below and punch your numbers. Don’t let the numbers discourage you if it seems far from where you want to be.

Tools

  1. TDEE Calculator: Calculates your energy consumption. Shows your BMI; calories to gain, maintain, or lose weight; adds in the calories you may need to take in for exercise, etc
  2. BMI Calculator: Show your general ‘body mass.’ Underweight, overweight, average, etc
  3. LBM Calc: Measure your body mass without the extra stuff (Fat) [Or to be fit/ripped]
  4. BMR Calculator: Calculating your energy consumption at rest. Your metabolism
  5. Explanations: calculations / Calculating yourself

Most people tend to use BMI (Body Mass Index) to find out their ‘body fat‘ or ‘fitness level‘ however it is not 100% accurate. Why? It does not directly measure the amount of fat percentage and muscle mass you may have in your body, so BMI results can potentially be incorrect, especially for athletes.

Regardless, using BMI to measure yourself is a simple way to start, and a convenient way to have a bird’s-eye view of being overweight or underweight. Keep it simple for now. Don’t get caught up in analyzing every part of yourself unless you have really bad physical health problems.

If you’d rather want more accurate results, take a look at these other, some more expensive and inconvenient, options.

When you’re done with the calculations you should have an idea of what you can do to gain weight, maintain, or lose weight (even bulk, or cut).

2. Understand The Process

There are 3 main things you need to understand if you want to go to where you want to be. This should clear up a lot of unnecessary info you may often read in many websites.

#1. Fuel

Ask yourself: How can I know how much to gain or lose? How will I keep enough energy to go on with I exercises?

It’s not recommended to completely starve yourself to lose weight because that can weaken your muscles and bones (I’ve experienced years of starving myself and not exercising. Please do not make my mistake). It’s also not a good idea to eat way too much of anything for your body to handle. Everyone has their own portion sizes. Know what’s right for you and be mindful about what you eat.

To keep it quick and simple, we’ll find out a general idea of how much you can eat. Do not take the numbers too seriously unless you are a beginner or want to see first hand about what and how much you need to eat. Regardless of the numbers, it is important that the quality of your food is top prioritynot the number of calories!

Use these calculators below to help you have an idea of how much you need to take in for each macro.

Tools To Use:

Please learn the basics of nutrition if you have not already which explains macronutrients and healthy eating.

NOTE: Later on, I will post about meal planning and saving money while eating healthy.

#2. Exercise

To know what makes muscles grow, watch this quick 4 min video below

Prepare

Ask yourself: Is my body ready for this?

Before you start training yourself, you need to prevent injuries from happeningBe sure that you don’t have any major health problems and injuries.

  1. Learn the stuff: Understand your health and how exercise works
    1. Reads: [MuscleWiki] [/r/Fitness] [3]
  2. Plan it out: Set aside time, day, and location for your exercises.
    1. Don’t make the excuse of not being able to exercise anywhere -unless you truly have serious issues. You don’t always need a gym membership to start exercising. You don’t always need gym equipment, you can use whatever you have at home and even your own body. It will be less convenient and generally more complex. However, if you are flexible and creative, you can do anything you desire.
  3. Wear comfortable stuff for safety: Specifically things that are more breathable and absorbs moisture from sweat (More read) (StopInjuries.org)
  4. Fuel and hydrate yourself
  5. Warm up with dynamic exercises or mobility exercises or stability exercises
  6. Start small, on the starter progression exercises. Be sure to build yourself from the ground, up like a tree. Build strong legs and back muscles first to keep you in balance and prevent yourself from falling
  7. Do whatever exercise that suits your goals and it’s something you enjoy, with..
    1. Proper form
    2. Start strong without pushing yourself too far
    3. That it feels right with your breathing and posture
    4. Slower, precise, and deliberat
    5. Gradually increase the difficulty of the exercises when you feel are ready because the body can be quite adaptive (NOTE: More info about progressive exercise / pushing the next level will be in later post)
  8. Cool down with stretches
  9. Fuel up  and hydrateagain
  10. Recover, rest, and sleep
  11. Rinse and repeat

Other tips to prevent injuries below

#3. Recovery

Recovery is vital. If you do not allow yourself to rest, you don’t allow the body to rebuild itself and grow. All you will get is a flabby mess

Recovery consists of…

  • Sitting / laying
  • Light exercise
  • Sleep
  • Proper nutrition

Read more about recovery here

3. Follow Your Tracks With Honesty

Ask yourself: How honest am I about starting this? How honest am I in keeping this commitment? How badly do I want this? What is truly holding me back?

Know your path, plan, and keep track of your progress however you can. This is your path to make, not someone else’s unless you have help from a reliable professional who knows and cares about what he/she is doing for you. You can write on paper, or you can use online tools such as the one I shared below.

With myfitnesspal or FatSecret (Keep in mind that not all calculators in fitness trackers are accurate, you’ll have to double check yourself) you can log in the food you ate to automatically track your calories and your exercises. You can search for other fitness trackers if you feel that this isn’t suitable for you.

NOTE: Later on, I will post about meal planning and saving money while eating healthy. I will also write a post about consistency and challenges in health and fitness.

More reading:

Overlooked Tips

Here are things many beginners wish they knew before starting.

  • It’s OK to ask for help
  • Muscles Come in Pairs; Train Them that Way
  • Don’t limit your exercises to one, small area such as crunches

Related reads:

Disclaimer

If any of you have any questions or concerns – especially misinformation – please share a comment below or contact me. I am only a ‘lifetime’ student, currently in Asia-Pacific Massage Institute, who wants to find honest and concise solutions. Learn from my experience as well as understanding studies from researchers, scientists, or professionals.

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