5 Tips for Gaining Weight+Building Muscle

1 Feb
My big triathlon race of the year is IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder August 4th 2013. I have completed countless sprint triathlons, olympic triathlons, and my first half ironman last year in 2012. As a ironman-70-3-bouldertriathlete is it important to be be fast, but also strong. My training in the past has been focused only around running, biking and swimming. This is important as a triathlete, but it is also vital to do strength training too. When I was running and biking my body was not being supported very well, because I did very little strength training. My back got really beat up after each ride, simply because my back muscles had a hard time supporting me during the long 40+ mile rides. 
This year I made it a goal to join a strength training gym/program. I joined a gym in Hudson, Ohio (also Bath, Ohio location) calledSculpt Fitness Training. The trainers there really know their stuff. No weekend certified trainers here! College educated strength and conditioning sculptcoaches is what you will get! (P.S . This should go for your nutrition as well. Look for college educated nutrition professionals with completed residency/internship+ board certified exam for nutrition advice…Registered Dietitians!). This is so important to have a trainer that is well educated. This reduces chances for injury. Sculpt’s style is a mix of old school and new school training. Kettle bells, bars (olympic lifting style), sandbags, dumbbells, tires, sleds, rings, ropes, resistance bands, rage cages, medicine balls, slam balls, plyo boxes, jump ropes and more! The perfect fit for me.
With the weight training, it is inevitable that I would have to gain weight in order to get stronger. I thought this would be quite the challenge, simply because it is in my genes to be lean, and I have been thin my whole life. Also because I do a bunch of cardio throughout the week including running biking and swimming. The other challenge of gaining weight would be because I only eat plant based food. Plant based food is very high in fiber, nutrients and complex carbs. These all fill you up very fast! But it CAN be done! There are many, many vegan bbsuccessful vegan bodybuilders out there. Do you know Patrick Baboumain?? So I had to switch up my diet a little to put some weight on!  I normally eat about 2500 calories per day to maintain my weight (including strenuous exercise 6+ days per week), but I am adding 250 calories per day to gain about 1/2 pound per week. 
This is what day might look like for me (with carbs approx. 55-60%, protein 15-20% and fat about 25-30% of total calories)
Breakfast: Daily Morning Juice: beets, celery, apple, carrots, cucumber, kale, spirulina powder
Colleen’s Get Ripped Smoothie: Peanut butter, bananas, maca powder, almond milk, ground flax seed, Chocolate Sunwarrior Protein Powder (600+ calories here!)
Snack: Natural almond butter and natural jelly sandwich on whole grain ezekiel bread 
Lunch: Quinoa or rice bowl: quinoa, black beans/chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, salsa, corn, green peppers, red peppers, avocado
Snack: Larabar with banana
Post Workout: chocolate hemp milk or almond milk with Sunwarroir protein powder
Dinner: kale salad with avocado dressing, Sautéed veggie mix with grilled tempeh, potatoes, bok choy, green beans, zucchini  brussel sprouts, carrots
Snack: apple, mango or banana with peanut butter
 
Now, Here is what you were waiting for: 5 Tips for gaining weight+building muscle, vegan style:
  1. Sign up for a strength training program that will rock your socks off! 
  2. Up your calories about 250-500 calories per day to gain one half to one pound per week. 
  3. Increase protein to about 1.2-1.5 grams per 1 kilogram of body weight. Meat is not needed to gain muscle mass, it can be done with plants (nuts, seeds, soy, whole grains)! Also check out Sunwarrior Protein Powder. 
  4. Eat 6-8 times a day.
  5. Stay positive!!!!! This will keep you going back to the gym, and keep you eating all that food!positive
So far I have gained about 5 pounds, in 10 weeks, which is right on target. I am steadily increasing my weight load during workouts each week…I am getting stronger! I have some more weight to gain and more muscle to build, but I know by the time August comes around….Colorado better watch out!!
Colleen Poling, RD, LD
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