I used to be very heavy, but I dropped almost 100 pounds. Now I weigh 190 with a decent amount of muscle mass. I want to keep adding muscle, but I’m concerned that I’ll just get fat again if I eat enough to gain more muscle. What do you suggest?


This is a reasonable concern. You might always be more susceptible to adding more bodyfat than hardgainers are, but you have already made dramatic changes to your body, and these will help prevent you from becoming obese again.

One of the best ways to prevent adding bodyfat is to carry more muscle mass. Muscle mass is metabolically “active,” meaning it burns calories simply to maintain itself. By increasing your muscle mass, you’ve made it so that you must consume more calories each day just to maintain your bodyweight. If you continue to work out, it will be hard for your body to accumulate large amounts of bodyfat unless you eat excessively.

The next step is to increase calories slightly — try adding about 200 calories to your daily baseline intake. For most hardgainers, I recommend increasing consumption by 500 or more calories, but your history indicates that you may be more likely to add bodyfat when you consume calories above your maintenance level. Another strategy is to keep those extra 200 calories limited to lean protein sources, such as chicken breast, turkey, tuna and egg whites. Many people who are susceptible to fat gain convert carbs into  fat more readily than hardgainers do.

As you bump up your calorie consumption, have pictures of yourself taken every week or so. They will help you notice whether  or not you are adding quality weight or more bodyfat. This is a strategy many bodybuilders use when they are shedding bodyfat for contests, but I think it will work well for you as you increase your muscle mass while trying to control additional bodyfat.

Keep up the hard work and stay focused on your nutrition plan, and you will be able to maintain your new level of conditioning.