Basketball players constantly ask me how to gain weight. I respond by telling them that instead of focusing on weight gain, they should try to build muscle instead.
If they only wanted to gain weight, they could instantly add ten pounds to the scale by throwing on a weight vest. Or they could eat a diet of pizza, burgers and milkshakes, which would add unwanted fat and make them slower and decrease their conditioning.
If you want to gain weight by building muscle, the only way to do it is through hard work and increasing the amount of basketball nutrition you take in throughout the day.
Lifting weights breaks down your body and creates the stimulus to build muscle, but you actually don’t get stronger and gain weight until you eat quality food.
Increasing the intensity of workouts without increasing the amount you eat is a recipe for frustration and injury. The only way to gain functional weight is by consuming more nutritious fuel than you burn.
If building muscle is as easy as just eating more, why doesn’t every player have the basketball body they want? It turns out that eating large quantities of healthy food is difficult to do for long periods of time.
Anyone can consume a lot of calories in one day or one week. But gaining muscle weight requires months of dedication.
So the real key to building muscle is forming new eating habits. Just like brushing your teeth, eating enough food has to become part of your daily routine.
For those players looking to pack on muscle, here are the three steps I take each one of my athletes through when giving nutritional consultations.
CHOOSE ONLY 1 HABIT
If you’re anything like me, when you get motivated to change, you want to do everything at once. I’m willing to wake up at the crack of dawn to eat breakfast, drink Power Shakes, prepare complicated dinners and even eat veggies.
The problem with being overzealous is that it’s usually short lived.
In his book, The Power of Less, Leo Babauta shares the importance of shrinking the change and only working on one habit at a time. If you want to be successful, sometimes doing less is actually more. His research shows:
When you commit to changing only one habit, you have an 80% success rate.
When you try to change 2 habits at once, your success rate drops to 35%.
When you try to change 3 habits, your success in any one of the three drops to 10%.
Resist the temptation of doing too much at once. Pick one habit and commit to doing it every day until it becomes part of your schedule.
So which habit should you choose first?
Start with the easiest habit that will produce change. Success breeds success, so pick a habit that you’re 100% confident will fit into your schedule.
If you choose something too difficult, you’ll end up failing in the long run.
Below is a list of muscle building habits to choose from. Some of the habits might appear easy to complete, while others might be seem impossible. Look through the list and select a habit that you know without a doubt you can do every day.
If you’re not 100% confident that you can add the habit to your daily schedule, you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Go back and choose one that you know without a doubt you can successfully add.
MUSCLE BUILDING HABITS
- Make A Bigger Breakfast.
- Add A Power Smoothie.
- Eat A Post-Workout Meal.
- Include Protein in every meal.
- Eat a Bigger Lunch.
- Keep a Workout Journal.
- Cycle Calories Based on Your Training
- Create and Follow a Sleep Routine
- Improve The Quality Of Dinner
- De-Stress for 20 minutes
These aren’t the only Muscle Building Habits, they’re just the ones I start out with when prescribing changes to my players. Feel free to add to the list based on your personal needs.
If you want to see what I include in my smoothies, check out this 30 second video:
PROGRESS EVERY 2 WEEKS
Since it can take months to gain just a pound of muscle, it’s important to break down your large goal into a series of smaller, process-oriented goal. By switching up your habit every two weeks you allow time to build the change into your daily life while keeping things fresh.
After the two weeks is up, choose another habit that you’re 100% confident you can do. Even when you adopt a new habit, you’ll still want to continue doing the previous habit.
Overtime you won’t have to think about making breakfast or packing snacks. These are the actions that ensure long-term success.
I’ve found that two weeks is the perfect amount of time for athletes to get comfortable with a skill. By the end of two weeks, they’re hungry for a new challenge. Even if they weren’t able to master the habit, I still give them a new one to practice.
It’s important to track your weight on a weekly basis to see how your actions affect the scale. Make adjustments to your meals to ensure they’re getting you closer to your goal.
WHAT’S YOUR COMMITMENT?
What habit are you going to implement for the next 2 weeks? Reading this article isn’t enough to improve your performance or help you build muscle. You need to take action!
Choose one of the muscle building habits from the list and make a commitment to practice every day for the next 2 weeks.
If you want to track your progress, check out “The Magic Of A Goal Map” and download your free Goal Map!
Is there a habit I should have added to the list? I’d love to hear your comments below!