If you’re trying to put on some muscle, chances are you’ve come to understand that you must eat more than you burn. Calories in > calories out = weight gain.
Maybe you’ve even done some research and calculated that you need a whopping 4000 calories a day. You strategically plan and divide your meals out but there’s one problem:
It’s becoming more of a chore to eat.
You’re stuffed but constantly forcing down more food to hit your caloric needs. Food is becoming boring. You no longer enjoy your meals. You have no appetite anymore. Eating in essence has become a chore. You become demoralized and wonder:
Is there an easier way to eat all this food?!?!
The answer is yes. Believe me, as a professional mixed martial arts fighter, I have had to move up weight classes many times. The process of forcing yourself to eat when you’re already full is not fun. Over time however, I have learned some tricks that helped make things much easier. So lo and behold, here are 4 easy tips that can be implemented to see an IMMEDIATE increase in your appetite.
Increase Your Appetite Tip #1: Lift weights
Aside from starving yourself, nothing will increase your appetite like strenuous strength training. Try to lift as early as possible within your schedule. This will rev your body’s metabolism and leave you craving for food all day long.
Generally, the higher the intensity and volume, the hungrier you will become. For the purpose of increasing muscle and appetite, I would recommend focusing on the compound lifts doing at least 3 sets of 6-12 reps per exercise.
Increase Your Appetite Tip #2: Avoid fluid intake before meals
In general, drinking right before or with your meals is something I strongly discourage (which I will get into another time). Drinking water right before your meal can create the empty filler effect, leaving your stomach with less room for actual food. I would recommend drinking 30-45 minutes prior to eating. This will give your body plenty of time to absorb the water.
Timing your water intake can drastically affect your appetite
But what if I’m thirsty and need to drink while I eat?
Ok fine. It’s not the end of the world. Drink a few sips with your meal but save the rest for after…
Increase Your Appetite Tip #3: Chew gum or suck on a lemon
This is a little trick that I’ve used in the past with great success. Basically, by chewing gum or sucking on something sour (No, sour keys are not ok for those wondering… ), your body will begin to produce saliva. This starts the digestive process in the gastrointestinal tract but because no food is actually coming in, it will just leave you hungry. Chew gum throughout the day or if you don’t like the chemicals, try a healthier alternative by puckering up and sucking on some lemon wedges.
Yes chewing gum and sucking on a lemon are interchangeable 🙂
Increasing Your Appetite #4: Cut down on cigarettes and caffeine
Both nicotine and caffeine have been shown to reduce appetite. If you’re a smoker, try to cut down or eliminate completely. As for caffeine, you don’t have to cut it out – just reduce the amount and only consume at appropriate times. Try switching from coffee to tea or lowering the total cups in a day. If you must have some caffeine, give yourself a boost before weight training in the morning.
Cigarettes and Caffeine, the deadly appetite suppressant duo.
For the final bonus tip, I have to be brutally honest…there will always be a degree of discomfort associated with putting on muscle mass. You are forcing your body to eat more than it is accustomed to. It’s just a matter of reducing the discomfort to a tolerable level.The sooner you can accept this fact, the faster you can start making progress. Putting on proper weight takes time and discipline but these little tricks can make the process much more bearable.
So to summarize everything again: Lift in the morning, don’t drink right before your meals, chew gum or suck on lemon wedges (NO SOUR KEYS!), and try to cut out cigarettes and caffeine. Remember, forcing yourself to eat more and bulking up is a temporary process. You won’t have to do this forever. Follow any or all of these tips and I’m sure that your appetite will go up