Most people who diet do so specifically to lose weight – I know that’s where my interest in nutrition came from. However, there are some people who actually want to gain weight rather than lose it. While this is mainly men, some women want to gain a little weight too because they feel that they are too skinny and want to get some curves.
The trick with gaining weight is to try and increase muscle size rather than just gain lots of fat. The best way to do this is hit the gym and do some exercise – especially strength training and lifting weights. Lifting weights stimulates your muscles to grow but then you also need to eat correctly to give your muscles the fuel they need to get bigger and stronger. All the exercise in the world will not work unless you eat right too…
Whether you are a man who wants to build bigger biceps or a woman who just want more curves, here are a few guidelines on how to gain weight safely and healthily.
1) Eat more protein
Muscles are predominately made out of protein, “The Power Of Protein“. Exercises breaks your muscles down and they grow back bigger and stronger between workouts. However, this only really happens if you provide your body with enough protein.
You need about one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight so if you weigh 150 lbs. that’s 150 grams. Ideally this should be spread over several meals so you get around 30 grams per meal.
2) Eat more food – but only a little!
Gaining weight can be all too easy if you eat way more than you need to. However, when you gain weight fast, almost all of it is going to be fat. This is NOT a good idea. Instead, you want to gain weight slowly – say 0.5 lbs. per week at the most. That way you’ll be more likely to gain muscle.
To achieve this, increase your food intake slightly for a few weeks. If you gain weight too fast, cut back so you aren’t eating so much. If you aren’t gaining weight at all, eat a little more.
Easy ways to do this include having an extra snack, healthy snack ideas, before you go to bed, making your portions a little bigger, or having a glass of milk or protein powder shake with your main meals. Once you reach your target weight, cut back a little to avoid gaining too much fat.
3) Continue to eat healthily
Many people who want to gain weight make the mistake of thinking they can eat anything they want – even very unhealthy junk food. While junk food contains lots of calories, your body needs the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in healthy food to grow properly. You also need fiber, protein, healthy fats and good carbs to gain weight. Don’t try and gain weight while eating a very low carb diet – it’s virtually impossible. However, it is a good idea to keep your sugar intake low and generally avoid processed foods.
You could just increase your junk food intake to gain weight but I promise you that you’ll end up gaining more fat than muscle if you do. Eat healthily for the best weight gaining results.
Low Carb Recipes
4) Eat little and often
If you are used to eating just a couple of meals a day, gaining weight can be really hard because those two meals are going to have to be much bigger than usual. As a result, you may not feel very hungry and if you aren’t hungry you won’t eat enough to gain weight.
Get around this problem by eating more meals per day – maybe four or as many as six.
This helps spread your food intake out throughout the day which makes it easier to eat more and also keeps your body constantly supplied with calories, protein, and all the other things it needs to grow.
It’s especially important you eat an hour or so before and then just after exercise to a) give you energy for your workout and b) kick start your recovery. Protein bars, make your own or buy healthy protein bars, and protein shakes, my favorite recipes here, are ideal at this time.
Not everyone wants to gain weight but those who do often find it very difficult. The only way to successfully gain weight is to treat your diet like your workouts – do it consistently and make sure you always try your best. If you are exercising hard but aren’t gaining muscle, I guarantee you that it’s your diet that’s the problem. Make sure you work hard in the gym AND in the kitchen and you will get the results you want.