Indian Men and Weight Gain

 My friend Kabir Singh Kochhar of Delhi, India. His Workout: Basketball, weight lifting and dancing with me to Hookah Bar :)
 My friend Kabir Singh Kochhar of Delhi, India. His Workout: Basketball, weight lifting and dancing with me to Hookah Bar 🙂

How do I gain weight? This is a fitness question that I get asked frequently by men, specifically Indian men. A large percentage of desi men have a lot of trouble gaining weight and are often unhappy with their lean (well, honestly skinny) physique. A combination of genetics, fast metabolism, diet and lack of weight lifting/athletic development are generally the cause. What is ironic is that it seems Indian men suffer from only two issues, not being able to gain weight and putting on weight too easily. I’m focused on the former today.

To get straight to the point, in order to gain muscle mass and weight one must eat significantly more then he does now and start a serious lifting or strength building regimen at least three times a week. Scores of fitness gurus will tell you to up the protein and lower your carbohydrates intake with meat, shakes, creatine and other yucky supplements. I disagree. Body building can be done on a mostly vegetarian diet. However, it takes a bit of extra effort and care about what you are exactly eating.

Personally I have gone through the tedious process of shakes, bars, supplements and intense weight lifting to go from a skinny Indian girl to building a body of armor that whipped serves and forehands at speeds of over 120 miles per hour.

Here is the background of a guy, Siddharth (from Bangalore)  who had asked me to help him gain weight and my advice to him.

Hello Neha

I am Siddarth based out of Bangalore India.

My current body details are-

Height- 173 cm (5’6″)

Weight- 54 kg (119) 

I am lean and thin, as i have a fast metabolism.

My current diet is as follows

Morning 9:00 am – 3 slices of beard, one omellete.
Morning 10:00 am- one glass of milk of about 200-250ml.

Midday 12:00 pm- One glass of juice mixed fruit.

Afternoon 13:30 pm- Lunch 3 chappatis, one cup of dal, rice curry and rice and Yogurt.

Evening 17:30 pm- Noodles one small bowl with a cup of coffee.

Night- Rice, Sambhar (south indian dish) fish curry and curd.

Occasionally on weekends about once a month

Lunch – Rabbit/Mutton/Chicken/Deer/Duck meat/ with rice, dal, curry.

Or Seafood lunch like crab,fish with curry and rice and yogurt.

Dinner and breakfast would be same as everyday.

Exercise

Currently i do not do any sort of exercise apart from swimming or soccer for about two hours on weekends evenings.

I would like to go to the gym and start working out to get a better body.

My goals are

1.To gain about 5-6 kg

2.To build muscle over my entire body.

3.To get stronger and bigger thighs, and legs, arms chest, abs back and core.

So that is pretty much about my diet and goals

Please help me out with a diet plan and exercise regime.

A bit about myself.

I used to play soccer for college but now i am not into any sport. I have a job in a software company but hobbies and passion are scuba diving, snorkelling, and gymming.

Thanks for time in reading this mail hope it is comprehensive information about myself. 

At first glance, it looks like Sid is eating a ton! His diet is very high in carbohydrates and he severely lacks physical activity. However, he might just have a fast metabolism. A specific and scientific diet plan would be difficult for Sid to follow with his background and habits. Instead of inundating him with a new structured lifestyle, I opted to give him simple guidelines he could follow without too much adjustment. Using his typical daily diet I asked him to make a few minor changes, adding and subtracting some food choices every day. For example, I asked him to reduce is 3 pieces of bread to two and have one more egg instead. His 10 am glass of milk should be supplemented with a handful of unsalted nuts and a banana. During lunch he must replace his rice with 2 cups of daal. His snack is to be replaced by a combination of boiled eggs, nuts, milk and bananas. We slowly increased his calorie intake. He also started doing basic body weight exercises from my YouTube fitness videos: Click here to see my video.

About 3 weeks later:

Hello Neha,

I have been eating on the lines you told me and i have gained about 1.5 kilos .I am also eating meat regularly do you think I need go to gym and seek help from a fitness trainer.

I have been doing the exercises you have showed me on youtube. * I am not a personal trainer nor a dietitian. My advise comes from training to be a pro athlete since age 9 and working with some of the worlds best fitness experts. 

I assured him that meat is not required but a regular weight lifting routine is key. A combination of body weight exercises (pushups, pullups, sit ups, dips, lunges), high endurance sports (basketball, swimming, football, tennis) and weight lifting (chest press, squats, hang cleans, back) is REQUIRED. 

2 months later

Hello Neha,

I have been working out regularly and put on about 3 kilos in the last 3 months. I have made slow progress. My target is to add about 7 kg by the end of this year.

Although it is very hard for me to assess his progress without seeing Sid and what he is actually eating/doing, there have been some results. Discussing his specific weekly gym routine is the next important step  so we can expedite his results.  Gaining pure muscle mass will help put on the weight and build he desires. 

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Neha Uberoi Khangoora

Neha Uberoi Khangoora is a former professional tennis player, social entrepreneur and health and wellness advocate. She is the co-founder of South Asians in Sports (sainsports.com), a network of South Asian professionals who work in the sports industry.