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From a soldier who is attending Army Ranger training in two months,
“I am pretty lean now with about 5% body fat. I think I need to gain few pounds before I go to Ft. Benning. I cannot afford to lose much weight as it is and I know people lose 20-30 pounds during Ranger School sometimes. -- help!”
If you have the weight to lose, you will lose it at Ranger School. The bad news, if you are lean, you will lose muscle, so bulking up to 10-12% body fat will not hurt you. You just have to do it smart and NOT let the added weight affect your PT and running scores. To accomplish weight gain while still on a rigorous cardiovascular training cycle, you have to add more calories -- plain and simple.
In Ranger School, food intake is seriously limited (1-2 meals a day). In addition, ruck marches spanning over 15-20 miles in a day will cause you to lose significant amounts of weight in both muscle and fat.
The workouts you are doing in the Ranger/SF Fitness guide are designed to build muscle, speed and endurance. It is up to you whether you gain or lose weight. To gain 1 pound a week, it takes an additional 2000 calories a week. Break it up into days, and you only need to eat an additional 300 calories a day to gain a pound a week. Depending on your overall caloric intake, you can use this program to either lose weight or gain weight. Think of weight gain as saving money -- at the end of the week, if you do not spend more than you make then you have a surplus on money. The same goes for food calories and exercise. If you have an additional 2000 calories at the end of the week that you did NOT expend -- YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT.
How to gain weight!
You probably know this already, but weight gain is something that isn't easy to achieve. People who cannot gain weight usually have a fast metabolism which makes gaining hard. The key to weight gain is to do everything BIG. You have to eat big and lift big in order to get big. This is your new motto! A lot of people think weightlifting is the key to gaining weight. It is an extremely important part, but your diet is just as important. In fact, you can still do your calisthenics (PT) workouts and run and still gain weight too -- as long as you eat BIG.
I am not a big fan of supplements other than some protein drinks after workouts and vitamins. Do not take Creatine to prepare for ANY military training. See the Creatine article at the Stew Smith Article Archive.
So, to put it as simply as possible, there are 5 simple steps to how to gain weight:
1) Count how many calories you eat in a normal day. Don't change anything, just eat like you normally would and count how many calories you consumed. This is an extremely important step, so try to be as exact as possible. Also, weigh yourself.
2) Starting the day after you counted calories, eat 500 calories MORE than you normally do. Pretend that you counted calories at 2000 for one day. For the rest of the week, you would now eat 2500 calories a day. Instead of eating 3 big meals a day or eating all day all the time, spread those calories out over 5-6 smaller meals. Eat one meal every 2 and a half to 3 hours. To get big, you have to eat big! Remember that.
3) Weightlifting! Get in the gym and lift or PT using all
your major muscles groups to promote growth. This is another important step to
how to gain weight, so make sure you are doing it correctly. Also rucking
utilizes the bigger muscles groups of the body like legs, butt, and lower back.
This will spur growth to those muscles as well -- this is where you should see
your greatest increase in weight.
5) Here's an important one. At some point, you will stop seeing weight gain. At this point, you will have to eat even more. So, when you stop gaining for at least 2 weeks, it means it is time to start eating an extra 250 calories a day. Every time you see you haven't gained weight for at least 2 weeks, add an extra 250 calories -- UNTIL you have reached your goal. NOW, even more important -- KEEP WORKING OUT….Do not just eat to get big. Lift and PT to get big!!!
More tips for how to gain weight (extremely important!)
Stay away from fat! Even though weight gain is your goal, you don't want to be gaining fat. Get rid of the chips and candy. No more fast food, nothing fried. Stick to high protein / low fat foods like tuna fish (and other seafood), chicken breast, turkey, ham, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Do not eliminate fat -- just try to limit the amount of fat calories to protein calories you ingest.
WATER! Drink water! Drink around a gallon a day, more if you can. Yes, that's a lot of water, but it's water that will give you the energy you need to gain weight! Below is a list of foods you want to eat to gain weight:
Foods that will assist with weight gain:
Whole or 2% Milk -- Milkshakes -- Salad Dressing -- Mayonnaise
Cheese -- Burgers -- Raisin Bran Cereal -- Oatmeal
Crackers -- Croissants -- Peanut Butter and Jelly
Club Sandwiches -- Bagels -- Cream Based Soup -- Prime Rib Steak
Porterhouse Steak -- Ice Cream -- Chicken -- Ham Steak
Fish -- Peanuts -- Beans, Peas -- Potatoes --Carrots
Click on this link to find a chart detailing meal options for a weight gain regimen
Eat these in moderation if you are trying to lose weight, but add additional helpings if you are trying to boost your caloric intake to 2500-3000 cals per day in order to gain weight. If you want to lose weight you have to drop your calories to 1500-1800 calories a day in addition to exercise.
Fatigue and hunger are challenging issues you will have to handle at Ranger School. But making sound decisions and remaining calm while tired and hungry adds to the true test of leadership. The Ranger Course produces a mentally hardened soldier, who possesses abilities to operate on land, air, and sea. After the 61-day course, he is authorized to wear the Ranger tab.
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program - Check out this workout to help you recovery from weight loss after Ranger school
Good luck with your weight gain and your Army Ranger School challenge. Thanks for your service past, present, and future Army Rangers. If you have any questions about fitness and preparing for military and law enforcement schools, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the StewSmith.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at StewSmith.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at email@example.com.
BOOKS / eBOOKS / DVDs
BOOKS / eBOOKS / DVDs
Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
The Special Operations Workout
The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT Team Member
The Combat Swimmer Stroke DVD
The Pre-Habit Workout DVD
Clinic DVD for Navy SEAL PST
The FBI Special Agent Test Clinic DVD
The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:
Fitness for All Levels of Fitness
The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program
Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program
Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach
The Busy Executive Workout Routine
NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook
The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1 Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SWCC Workout
Air Force PJ / CCT Workout
The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts
New - Army PRT and CRT
The USMC IST and PFT Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT
The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts
The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout
The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB
The State / Local Police Academy Workout
The Fire Fighter Workout
Some Titles Above available in Print Softcover Format