TMHS: 087: How To Gain Weight In A Smart, Health Way And Why Being Underweight Can Be Dangerous

Being that our modern society has an epidemic of diabetes and obesity, it may surprise a lot of people that anyone would be interested about finding a way to gain weight. It may also come as a surprise that many people are unknowingly struggling with health problems as a result of being underweight or having a body fat percentage that’s too low.

What abundant health is, as with many things, it’s uncovering that perfect balance for oneself. Abundant health is finding that “sweet spot” where your energy is high, your physical body is functional and strong, and you feel good about who you are.

So, whether you desire to tip the scale up or down, you’re going to get a lot of value out of today’s show in understanding HOW the process of weight gain happens, things that encourage it, and things that can block it from taking place.

If your goal is to gain some healthy weight, then this episode will change your life and give you the specific areas that you may need to sure up in order to make it happen.

If your goal is weight loss, then there is a tremendous amount of value in finding out what not to do so that you can finally get an edge in creating the body that you desire.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Typical health problems associated with being underweight.
  • What having a “fast metabolism” actually means.
  • Why being thin does not equate to being healthy.
  • Why measuring your Body Mass Index (BMI) can be very misleading.
  • How to reframe your relationship with the weight scale.
  • What major organ dysfunction is typically responsible an inability to gain weight.
  • How chronic stress relates to being underweight.
  • How hormone imbalances can create challenges in gaining weight.
  • The percentage to people who have parasites (this is shocking!)
  • How an inability to gain weight could be caused by digestive problems.
  • How you can instantly improve your nutrient assimilation (it has to do with DNA!)
  • 7 health problems that can occur when your body fat is too low.
  • The influence that your body fat has on your immune system.
  • Why your body fat percentage has a huge impact on your brain function.
  • How body fat influences your sex hormones (especially testosterone!)
  • Why female athletes can have problems with their menstrual cycle.
  • What my personal health challenges were like when my body fat was too low.
  • How our emotions are influenced by our body fat percentage.
  • How to gain weight by shifting the way your hormones operate.
  • Specific foods you should eat more of if you want to gain weight.
  • The truth about white rice vs. brown rice.
  • The powerhouse mass gaining drink I created.
  • What to have post-workout to aid in muscle gain.
  • What critical exercise adjustments to make in order to gain healthy weight.

Items mentioned in this episode include:

Onnit.com/Model <== Get your optimal health & performance supplements at 10% off!
5 Tips For A Healthy Liver – Model Health Podcast
How Stress Can Make Us Fat, Dumb, And Unhappy – Model Health Podcast
10 Ways To Boost Testosterone Naturally – Model Health Podcast
Surthrival Colostrum
The Fat Loss Code

TRANSCRIPT
Click Here to Download the Transcript of Episode 87 (PDF)

Onnit Labs

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  • derrick
    27 Jan 2015, 1:32 pm

    Thanks for this podcast, You rock as usual my dude!…question: if after an evening workout, leaving the gym around 6pm, i get home and do the post workout drink mentioned here, would that suffice for the rest of the evening or should a eat a huge meal an hour after the post workout drink?

    Reply
    • Shawn
      27 Jan 2015, 9:27 pm

      Hey Derrick, thanks so much my man! To answer your question, if your goal is to put on some size, then absolutely you need to have a meal a little while after the protein drink. Simple HempForce protein with water and sweetener at, say, 6:15pm – dinner at 7:15pm. Easy. You’ve got to do that little extra to to add that healthy weight. Thanks again!

      Reply
  • Kyle
    28 Jan 2015, 1:17 pm

    Hi Shawn,

    Great stuff as always. I’ve been working out for a while at home, but I haven’t seen a ton of progress (if any), and I though I’ve given effort, I can’t say I’m surprised. Before I give up entirely, I feel like I need the help of an expert rather than just trying random things. My goal is to swap fat for muscle while hovering around my current weight of 170. I think that’s an ideal weight, but +/- 5 pounds is no biggie. I’m at about 22 – 22.5% body fat according to my scale.

    In this show you talked about a 3-week program to add muscle. Is there a “dumbed-down” version for people who don’t have much equipment at home? I have a standard curl bar, a couple hundred pounds in plates and a pull up bar. My go-to exercise right now is the bear complex. The squat part is too easy for me at 5 sets x 5 reps, but the overhead press part is just right at 60-70lbs. I toss in some push ups for auxiliary work, but like I said, I’m just not seeing much in the way of results. Any thoughts? Much appreciated, as always!

    Reply
    • Shawn
      3 Feb 2015, 5:22 pm

      Hey Kyle, thanks so much, and thanks for the question. The worst thing is to put a lot of effort into something and not see any results. At this point, it’s pretty obvious that you need to make changes if you want to see a change.

      I don’t want to just throw shots in the dark, so when you say you’ve been working out at home for a while, what is a while exactly? How often per week have you been training and how long are your sessions? How old are you? Is there, or were there, any other fitness practices in your life? Let me know the answer to these and I’ll see what we can do.

      Reply
      • Kyle
        3 Feb 2015, 9:56 pm

        Hi Shawn,

        I’m nearly 37, and have not been very active over the last few years since kids entered the picture. Truth be told, I’m probably lucky to not be in a worse situation!

        I’ve been trying various workouts at home since about August of last year in an attempt to reverse the damage done by being too sedentary and a less-than-ideal diet. I’ve tried a variety of body weight workouts and single dumbbell workouts (lots of goblet squats, shoulder presses, etc).

        The toughest part for me is that the only time of the day I can fit in a work out is pre-6am (or post-9pm which I’ve heard is not ideal, right!) Because I have two small children who aren’t great sleepers, and because my evenings are only free some time after 9pm (which is when I get to take care of a few things before bed) I’m only averaging about 6-6.5 hours of sleep per night, short of any reputable expert’s recommendation. All of that adds up to me working out an average of 3 times per week for about 20 minutes each session because I don’t want to burn myself out, and it’s often simply too hard to roll out of bed at that hour more than a couple times per week. There’s probably a lot of factors at play here (frequency, intensity, age, sleep), but the bottom line is I that I feel that those factors have conspired to prevent me from getting in to a groove long enough to see or feel any results. I hope this wasn’t too much rambling for you to make sense of! Any kind of advice, including a regimen using the gear I outlined in my first comment would be tremendously appreciated. Thanks so much for your time once again!

        Reply
        • Shawn
          5 Feb 2015, 12:46 pm

          Kyle, where there’s a will, there’s 1000 ways!

          You have to shake things up. Think outside of the box you’ve found yourself in. You are doing several things right, so give yourself credit for that (taking into account the importance of sleep is huge – that said, 6.5 to 7 hours could be spot on if you’re following the practices in Sleep Smarter making sure your time on the mattress is getting the benefit you need.

          Look, this schedule of yours where it’s pre- 6am or post 9pm is really questionable for me. I still don’t know enough of your story to say this conclusively, but I know people running multiple businesses, have kids (AND grandkids), have a social life, and still make time to workout and do stress management practices.

          You need to do a serious analysis of your schedule and see where you can free-up time by outsourcing something (for example) or where you may be wasting time by being inefficient (or just wasting time in general).

          Reassess your schedule TODAY and MAKE time. We all have the same 24. You have more dominion over your schedule than you are giving yourself credit for.

          With that, you’ve got to shake things up and do something different. The home workouts are just not hitting the spot. And they usually don’t for 95% of the people. You need to get into the environment of fitness. Your house is too cozy and it’s tougher to get geared up to train, especially when you “don’t feel like it”.

          Sign up for the closest gym. No matter how grand or rinky dink it is. How can you do this during the week? Well… here’s the biggest key: OWN the weekend! Hit the gym hard on saturday and sunday when the workload is not the issue. Get up, get to the gym, and get it done! Pick another day or two during the work week that you can hit the gym or do auxiliary stuff at home. You need to lift heavy weights, so the gym is where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. The stuff you can do at home will just be “sides” to the main dish.

          Well, my man, I hope this helps point you in the right direction. If you haven’t done so already, I’d highly recommend that you get my program The Fat Loss Code to be able to keep you progressing, keep you accountable, and keep adding weapons to your arsenal to help get the results you want. Take care!

          Reply
  • Tim
    29 Jan 2015, 11:51 am

    Hey Shawn, great show! One of my favorites so far and I would definitely like to hear more of this type of content.

    Question – you mentioned people looking to put on size need more carbs, ideally from nutritious sources. My question is, about how much? Should I be eating a carb such as a sweet potato with every meal or is once a day good? Where do you draw that line?

    Thanks in advance!

    Tim

    Reply
    • Shawn
      3 Feb 2015, 5:30 pm

      Tim, great question. If you are wanting to add size, then it’s CRUCIAL that you get in a nice whack of carbs in the 2 – 3 hour post-workout window. For example, 30 minutes post-workout have a protein shake (HempForce is my choice) with water and maybe 20 to 40 grams of carbs in the form of fast-digesting sugars. I’d use honey and mix in right in with the protein. The protein is important because the insulin will open up the cells on your muscle tissue to shuttle in amino acids too. An hour or so later I’d have a LARGE sweet potato with a protein entree and some veggies. Shoot for another 80+ grams of carbs here.

      If you want to gain weight, but minimize the fat gain, I’d only do this post workout. However, if you’re pushing it to add size a bit faster, I’d add in more smart carbs to other meals during the day as well.

      Reply
      • Tim
        4 Feb 2015, 12:54 pm

        Thanks for the answer Shawn! I started implementing the honey in my hemp force protein shake and I love it!

        I’m going to eat smart carbs in two of my three meals per day and see how that goes. I want to gain some size but also don’t want to overdo it. Also, I’m blessed in the sense that my body does not put on fat easily – so I’m better able to minimize fat gain even when I do eat more carbs.

        Keep killin’ it man!

        Tim

        Reply
  • Belle Bea
    9 Feb 2015, 7:57 am

    This show couldn’t have been better timing for me. I quit eating sugar about 1 year ago (to help manage migraines) and I am now trying to reduce grains in my diet to improve some disgestive issues. As a result I have lost 7lbs (I’m 42, 5ft 7in and now 126lbs).

    Despite feeling better in a number or ways, I have been suffering ‘brain fog’ and a number of the symptoms you described in this podcast. Although I don’t think I am underweight, I know that I am eating less as I just don’t feel as hungry. I used to always wake up starving, and I couldn’t comprehend how people could go without breakfast. Now I can go to 11.00am easily before feeling hungry.

    I do add a bit of raw honey or a banana to my smoothies from time to time, and if I eat any more sweet potato’s I may start to look like an orange Mr Potato Head. Can you recommend any other smart carbs that would suit a low grain/low sugar diet?

    Thanks as always for sharing your amazing knowlege.

    Reply
  • Josh
    13 Feb 2015, 10:45 am

    Could you list the recipe for the weight gain shake? Any other variations to mix it up from time to time?

    Reply
  • Jeff S.
    6 Mar 2015, 12:10 pm

    Hi Shawn! First off your knowledge, energy and delivery are what separates your show from the rest of the pack! You provide great perspective and I always enjoy listening to you deliever your message.

    I am one of the “lucky” ones that has the blessing/curse of a ridiculous metabolism, which is continuing to go strong well into my 30s. I have always tried to gain good weight and increase my weight from 165 to 180-185. The weight gain shake you recommend in this show (one of my favorites and saved on my phone, and in my evernote) sounds like the next step for me. With that said, adding to Josh’s request above, can you please provide the recipe for this shake? Looking up the colostrum that you recommend, that is no cheap item…but you sometimes have to pay to play. Can’t wait until my (nursing our newborn son) wife finds out that I will be taking in colostrum too! HA HA!

    Thank you and stay blessed!
    Jeff

    Reply
    • Shawn
      11 Mar 2015, 3:14 pm

      Haha! That’s awesome Jeff. Ok, here’s the recipe for you guys, and thank you SO MUCH for the amazing compliments man. I truly do appreciate it.

      12 to 16 oz of unsweetened almond milk
      1 HEAPING tbsp of colostrum powder
      2 free range eggs
      2 to 3 scoops of HempForce protein
      1/8 tsp of cinnamon

      Blend and enjoy

      Reply
  • Lina
    23 Mar 2015, 1:53 pm

    Hey Shawn,
    great interesting topic as always!

    What about cortisol in all this? I LOVE exercise! Now you mentioned cortisol levels in a few shows, and how it increases during exercise.. See, I have had a very stressful year (mentally/work/emotional) now i am feeling much better, and getting back to my work out routine – though what happens is i feel I gain weight and feel in general heavy, sore and if i had inflammation in my body!??
    Still, i am not an athlete. A normal week would be something like:
    60min box 1-2 times/week
    30min running interval 1 / week
    30min jogging 1/week
    10min core 2/week
    So like 3-4 times per week + active work (managing cafe) 5d/week + i am biking/walking at least 30min per day to work.

    I am so curios to learn more about this fine balance on exercise, resting and the stress and high cortisol.. Now I have just been walking, and some yoga for 1 week – i don’t want or need to gain weight, now i want to loose some in stead but feels like my body just want to rest.

    Thank you so much man,
    peace !!

    Reply