MESQUITE, TX—Singlemindedly focused on his goal of adding inches to his stomach, thighs and hips, area resident Darren Steifler has for more than five years been an avid weightgainer.

Weightgaining enthusiast Darren Steifler rests in between sets of abdomen-building toffee crunches.

"I've worked hard and really seen results," said the 295-pound Steifler, 38, who describes himself as "much happier and more well-rounded" since beginning his weightgaining regimen in April 1994. "I've bulked up significantly. And people are definitely noticing the results."

Steifler, who weighed just 165 pounds when he began, said he advocates an all-out approach to weightgaining.

"A lot of guys think that three big sessions a day are all you need to get big," said Steifler while doing a set of 20 fork lifts. "But you've got to keep at it all the time."

Steifler keeps his workout varied throughout the week, "blasting his abdominals" with multiple sets of chili-cheese fries one day, then "packing his glutes" with a hardcore Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey session the next.

Cardiac fitness is also important. "I usually do 30 toffee crunches, followed by at least 40 chip dips—enough to really 'feel the burn' in my heart," Steifler said. "If you do it right, you feel it in your whole chest for hours. Then I use a high-quality dietary supplement, such as Tums or Rolaids, to keep it all from coming back on me."

Steifler also stressed the importance of rest. "When you're on a serious weightgaining regimen, you have to make sure to give your body plenty of down time," Steifler said. "I'd recommend sitting on the couch at least seven hours a day, ideally 10. You really want to avoid any empty calorie-burning."

One of the best things about weightgaining, Steifler said, is that the average person needs no fancy equipment to get started.

"Sure, you see a lot of guys who buy expensive La-Z-Boys and join supper clubs, but you really don't need all that," Steifler said. "All you really need is some fried chicken and a basic kitchen chair or couch. You honestly can do it all right from your own home."

Steifler's wife of seven years, Denise, said she is impressed with her husband's new body.

"I could see the change in him right away," Denise said. "Some girls don't like the bulked-up look, but I just think there's more of him to love."

Though Steifler is pleased that Denise is supportive of his weightgaining efforts, he would rather she not take up the sport.

"It might sound weird, but I don't really like the look of female weightgainers," Steifler said. "That kinda stuff really turns some guys on, but I just don't think it's feminine. To me, it just looks gross."

Still, Steifler wholeheartedly recommends his hobby. "You'll be surprised how soon you see results," Steifler said. "Don't expect to see significant gains right away, but if you stick with it, within a year, you'll hardly recognize yourself."