Even though many people are concerned with fat loss, there are a number of people who are actually underweight and have trouble gaining weight. If you are a member of this smaller group of people, then read below to learn the most important steps you need to follow to gain weight the healthy way.
Even though body fat has a bad reputation, carrying a certain percentage of fat is very normal and necessary, in order for our body to function, heal and even grow properly. Stored energy in the form of fat is used during intense physical activities, it helps with reducing inflammation and plays a role in brain development.
That being said, too much body fat does exactly the opposite for your health. This is why you need to gain weight the healthy way. This means you need to add muscle as well as a bit of fat to your frame, but not too much fat.
Eating junk foods and sugars will almost always result in weight gain, but you will be depriving your body of real nutrients the body needs. Even if certain individuals can tolerate junk food and don’t gain weight, the salt, sugars and trans fats in junk foods will cause harm to the individual’s health in the long term.
How to gain weight the healthy way
Eat multiple times a day
If you have read our posts you know that we do not advocate high frequency meals for supporting muscle or losing weight. But when somebody is having a tough time gaining weight, eating 4, 5 or even 6 times a day is one of the most important things they can do.
People with weight gain problems are usually not big eaters so they will need to distribute portions evenly throughout the day to prevent stomach problems. Even if you do not feel hungry, sit at the table when it’s time. Also be sure to eat mostly healthy foods. Skip foods like pizza, fries and other deep fried foods and add lean meats, whole grain breads, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
Sample distribution of meals every 3 three hours:
7:00 – Breakfast
10:00 – snack 1 (MH)
12:00 – Lunch
15:00 – snack 2
18:00 – Dinner
21:00 – snack 3
When it comes to snacks, try to make them high protein snacks instead of conventional snacks. Protein shakes can also be used as snacks.
Workout with weights at least 3 times a week
Regular exercise is one of the most important steps to gain healthy weight – muscle mass. Weight training is essential to muscle growth and it contributes tremendously in gaining and maintaining quality muscle mass.
However, going to the gym and casually flapping with 5lb weights won’t help you gain weight. As with weight loss, you will need to follow a specific training plan. The trick is to really tax your muscles with relatively heavy weights (weights that allow you to do 8-10 repetitions with strict form until failure).
Be sure to check some of our strength and muscle gaining articles if you want to build some muscle.
Beginner Weight Training Guide (Workout Included)
8-Week Muscle Building Program – Beginner/Intermediate Routine
Upper Lower Split Routine For Strength and Mass
Pay attention to recovery after your workout
Recovery is crucial for muscle regeneration. Taking away the right of your body to renew its forces will soon get you in a dangerous trap. These few things will help you (of course, right after a proper diet) :
Good night’s sleep (at least 7 hours a night)
Sauna and massage
Drinking more water (at least 2-3 liters per day)
Nutritional supplements for strength and recovery
Eat more calories than usual
When you are trying to gain weight, your daily calorie intake should be higher than what you normally consume. This doesn’t mean that you should go all out on the food and eat till you feel sick.
In fact increasing your daily calories by 400 to 600 will do the job. It is believed that this is the optimal number of calories for muscle growth and minimum fat gain.
Train the whole body
One huge mistake people make is only training their torso – arms, shoulders and back, because over time the body will become disproportional – a solid top resting on skinny, underdeveloped legs.
Weak legs are a major prerequisite for injuries at every stage of your training. Correct your training program so that it engages absolutely all muscle groups with special accent on the large ones (legs, back, chest).
Incorporate compound movements (which involve multiple muscle groups and joints during execution) and avoid isolation exercises. Good examples of compound movements are:
– Bench press
– Chin ups
– Overhead press
– Push ups
– barbell/dumbbell rows
Increase the protein intake
As we said earlier, you should consume more calories than usual. It’s preferred, however, that these extra calories come from the consumption of protein-rich foods, vegetables and fruits, rather than foods like bread, pastries, pasta and cakes. Prefer meat, fish, cheese, eggs, beans and so on..
Be patient to gain weight the healthy way
Good results are never achieved overnight. Hoping that you will gain weight the healthy way in a short time is unreal. Even if you follow everything we wrote about before exactly, 3-4 lbs per month is the maximum you can expect.
Keep in mind that every person is different. Some individuals can achieve their goal only after 12 months of work, others will require up to 3 years. Never give up.
Believe in yourself
Last but not least – believe in yourselves to the last breath. Even if it seems impossible and incredibly difficult to find a way and proceed. If you do not see the result, although you are working hard, you are not working hard enough. Eat more, lift more and move forward.
We are far from thinking that with these 8 tips the topic of weight gain is completed, but they are probably the most important ones, and following them will ensure you a successful start.