By Jordan Feigenbaum MS*, CSCS, HFS, USAW Club Coach
If the title of the article didn’t give this article’s topic then let’s spell it out, these are the top ten ways to get fat. Use them at your discretion if you want to go up a pant size, get the feeling your car is getting smaller or your clothes are shrinking, and/or reduce your health. Alternatively, you could go against the grain and eschew these ten rules and get lean. The choice is yours; you have THE POWER!
- 1. Eat refined foods.
- Refined foods are fantastic for gaining fat. They include neat things like high-fructose corn syrup(HFSC), maltodextrin, dextrose, modified corn starch, soybean oil, lectins, etc. and have minimal amounts of vitamins and minerals. These suavely packaged foods pack a wallop of empty calories and their effect on your body’s internal milieu will leave you hungry in just a few short hours. Forget eating single-ingredient foods packed with quality nutrients, vitamins, and clean calories- these foods will satiate you too efficiently to gain significant amounts of body fat. Why would you want to access your own body fat stores for metabolism when you could simply keep the vicious cycle of eat-crash-eat going strong?
- Summary- eat refined foods to gain weight.
- 2. Fuel yourself inappropriately.
- Anyone ever hear the one about the body being like a car? You know you have to burn more “gas” than you put in if you want to lose weight, right? Well if that weren’t enough (or true, for that matter), here’s another car analogy for you; “If you drive your car around all day and burn a lot of gas you’re going to need more gas to repeat this the next day. Similarly, if you leave your car parked in the garage all day you don’t need to put much gas in the tank.” This analogy has the benefit of being true, unlike the first one, and will provide insight on to how you can most effectively pack on the pounds. If you’re not “driving” around all day and burning gas you definitely should be putting a lot of “gas” into your tank to fuel yourself- you know, because you wouldn’t want to run out and tap into your reserves. If you’re inactive, i.e. you sit at a desk all day, train one hour per day, etc., then you should definitely eat a lot of carbohydrates and fat every day. These two macronutrients are chocked full of energy, or “gas”, and will prevent you from ever tapping into your own reserves of fat (gas), thereby allowing you to acquire more energy, or body fat. We live in a society of excess so make sure to go heavy on the energy-dense macronutrients like carbohydrates and fat, lest you want to actually burn some body fat.
- 3. Don’t log your macronutrient intake.
- No one who is looking to gain body-fat should ever keep track of his or her calorie, protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fiber intake. It would be an exercise in futility to record this data because it might prevent overeating certain macronutrients or foods, which is not what we want when it comes to gaining body-fat. By keeping track of these important variables a person might be more likely to modify/adjust their intake in order to reverse or prevent fat accumulation. Since we’re in the business of gaining weight this is just a ridiculous notion. Ignorance is bliss. Dump the scales, measuring cups, and Tupperware, we’ve got eating to do.
- 4. Don’t do any conditioning.
- Since we’re trying to store as much energy (fat) as possible it would be unwise to engage in any sort of formal conditioning like classic sustained-effort cardiovascular exercise or high-intensity intervals- you know, because burning any extra energy (cardio) or increasing one’s metabolic rate for 24-72 hours (intervals) would interfere with fat accumulation. Why would we try to increase energy expenditure using these effective methods? Instead, forgo any conditioning and become a master of relaxation. Here’s to the good life!
- 5. Don’t do any non-formal energy expenditure (NFEE).
- Piggybacking on number 4, if we’re trying to pack as much fat away each and every day we definitely shouldn’t do informal activities like taking a long stroll with the dog, playing catch in the park, or going for a leisurely bike ride. These things would just burn calories and potentially make the body dip into its own fat reserves which would be counterintuitive since we’re aiming to store fat, not burn it. So sell the bike, the dog, and try not to have any fun this spring.
- 6. Lose all your muscle mass.
- Another cool thing we can do to increase the percentage of our body that’s made of fat and decrease the percentage that’s made from muscle is to lose all of that pesky muscle. The easiest way to do this is to not do any resistance training, why give the muscles a reason to stick around by stimulating them via strength training. In fact, if you’re just really into the gym scene- go in there and do a bunch of reps with really light weights. This will give your psyche its fix while also not stimulating your muscles effectively. If a muscle has the capability to squat 100lbs for five reps and you just squat 20lbs for multiple sets of 12-15 reps all the extra muscle tissue will be removed because it’s expensive to keep around and clearly not needed anymore to do anything useful– you know, like burning carbohydrates or fat to provide energy, use insulin to store glycogen in the muscle instead of storing it as fat in the fat tissue, or providing an aesthetically pleasing silhouette when the swimsuit comes out. Another really effective way to lose muscle mass is to eat a diet low in protein and low in calories. Hey, maybe you’re not cut out to put away massive portions of food. That’s okay; we’ve got you covered! If you simply eat less food and pay no attention to maintaining adequate protein/BCAA intake then you’ll start metabolizing muscle tissue (protein) in no time. Hey the body needs to get energy from somewhere, right? Might as well be your own muscle tissue. Don’t lift any weights that are challenging and eat a low-protein diet. Brilliant!
- 7. Try a new diet every week.
- Perhaps one of the most fun ways to maintain your current body-fat level is to try a new diet every week, starting on Monday of course. The real key to using this technique is to be non-compliant from Wednesday on. You know, life gets in the way and there’s too much stuff going on to follow this particular diet. This is definitely the time to get tell your friends that this diet doesn’t work and throw your hands up in disgust. The realization that you don’t like this dietary approach is also a good time to have a massive splurge and put off your next diet until next Monday. Don’t let the fact that any reasonable diet will work if you actually follow it dissuade your rationale- it’s most definitely not this diet! Sometime around mid-day Sunday is a good time to use your google-fu to find a new diet that promises quick weight loss with minimal effort. After the four days of gluttony you’re ready to go, this time with a new and improved plan of attack. Cool. Don’t stick with anything long-term and let the good times roll from Thursday to Sunday!
- 8. Diet for long periods of time.
- If you’re more into a lifestyle approach for fat accumulation/maintenance then you’re going to love this one. The best people at losing body-fat are physique athletes like figure competitors and bodybuilders. They go hard for 8-16 weeks consecutively in order to get really lean for a specific period of time (like a meet or multiple meets, guest posing spots, or photo shoots). I figured the best way to avoid getting lean would be to try and stretch this out as long as possible which is why I’m recommending a full-on year long diet. Instead of being really focused about the task at hand- getting lean- we’ll only put a smidgen of effort in in the hopes that our “bucking the system” will keep us from actually losing any weight. Instead of learning from the veterans in the game it’s time to forge new territory like Lewis and Clark did. In short, instead of vigorously attacking a diet and pouring all available resources towards this goal for a punctuated period of time, try to stretch it out for as long as possible and put less effort into it.
- 9. Make lots of excuses.
- If there’s one thing we can observe in people who successfully lean out it’s that they do not make excuses or rationalizations for poor decisions or situations. So ipso facto if we want to gain body-fat, or at least not lose any, then we need to make tons of excuses. You’re too tired to cook, there’s no groceries, you don’t know how to cook, my significant other won’t eat that, didn’t have the time, couldn’t do the cardio, couldn’t make it to my training session, etc. etc. Use any, all, or none of the above but you need to get good at making excuses- they come in handy when it comes down to brass tax- that is THERE IS NOONE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR BODY COMPOSITION BESIDES YOURSELF, PERIOD. If you can successfully come up with multiple reasons for why you’re gaining body fat and not leaning out without holding yourself personally responsible you’ll be well on your way!
10. Cheat frequently and excessively.
- If you’re an indulgent kind of person here is the trick for you when it comes to body-fat gain- cheat often and cheat well! Everybody knows that pizza, burgers, fried foods, beer, and the like are not the healthiest options. Seriously, everyone can make fairly good evaluations about what is and isn’t a health conscious choice. Instead of picking the healthier choice when you go out to a restaurant, like baked salmon and asparagus, pick something that you know is terrible for you, like triple stacker burger with cheese fries and a diet Coke. Hell, get dessert too. You can’t be bothered with making grown-up choices when it comes to your nutrition; you’ve got body-fat to gain. Eat up buttercup, we’ve got fat to store!
I hope everyone reading this realizes that this article was drafted in jest. I suppose if you did want to gain body fat these would be some good ways to go about doing it. On a more serious note, however, there is literally no excuse that is valid for why you’re not losing body-fat or leaning out. The information is out there and if you want it bad enough you’ll seek it, or (gasp) even pay a professional for it – I’m open for consultations by the way (end of shameless plug).
The bottom line is that without exception, everyone needs an energy restricted (carbohydrate and fat) diet with adequate levels of protein to support lean muscle tissue maintenance whilst body fat is the main fuel source. Obviously everyone will require the nuances to be tailored for their specific situation like: how many carbohydrates, how much fat, nutrient timing, supplementation, training, and so on and so forth. The fact still remains, if you are truly motivated to get lean then you can do it efficiently and effectively if you simply commit to following an intelligent plan, ask for help from trusted individuals, and keep yourself accountable. No one has ever failed at anything by being too committed, too motivated, or too diligent. It’s time to shine, are you ready?