Posted 3 years ago

The mindset of transitioning into an improvement / push / gaining phase

It is not a secret that in order to build muscle, you will need to push your calories up to a surplus, and with that – as well as gaining quality tissue through training and recovery – will also come some body fat gain.

Of course, this is completely normal and in fact, quite healthy and necessary too, as staying lean year-round is unsustainable at best, and exhausting and damaging at worst.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop most people struggling with a weight-gaining phase. After all, you have spent months strictly dieting, sticking to a rigorous cardio and step regiment, and you have made substantial changes to your lifestyle in order to get into the best shape of your life.

How are you expected to “give it all up”? To gain weight AGAIN?

It’s by no means a straightforward process, but with the right tools and support in place, the journey is far more enjoyable than you might have anticipated it to be.

Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are some daily/weekly practices that I implement with my clients, and that can help you enjoy this phase and be happy in your body irrespective of what it looks like!

Repeat some positive affirmations about yourself before you step on the scale

It may sound silly at first but whispering (or shouting!) “My worth is not determined by this number” before you weigh yourself can have a positive impact on how you may respond to the scale reading. It helps remove the emotion attached to numbers and gives you an out-loud confirmation that you are more than just a scale weight.

Divert your focus of attention away from your appearance and place it on performance

If you are reading this, it is likely that you are trying to improve your physique by training hard in the gym and giving it the beanz. As such, you’ll love the feeling of getting stronger and being able to progress your lifts at the gym. Consider, therefore, that more food and more body mass will give you the energy and force to get brutally strong. And who doesn’t want to feel like Wonder Woman / Super Man when training?

Be grateful for what your body does for you

Remember that you are not just your body – your body enables you to BE in the world, to respond to events in the world, and to make an impact in the world too. As hippie-dippie as it may seem, if you ever find yourself criticising your appearance, write a list of things that you can ONLY do because you have a living body to inhabit: feel the sunshine on your skin? Hug a loved one? Lift heavy? Pet a cat/dog?

Of course, it’s not always this simple and some people can struggle more than others. These are just some of the techniques I implement in the coaching process with my clients.

If you would like to find out more about ways in which you can optimise your mindset during a weight-gaining phase, do feel free to reach out to me today:

You can also watch my educational video on developing a positive body image below:

Thinking of stepping on stage next year? Download our free bikini girl rotation here:

Clara Swedlund MSc MBPsS