Ironically, while the vast majority of the population is overweight and needs to lose weight, a small but meaningful percentage of the population actually wants to gain weight. The thing is, while gaining weight is easy (just chow done a ton of high calorie junk food!) if you want to gain muscle mass and not rolls of fat, you need to think about nutritional quality and not just quantity.
A Healthy Weight Gain Diet Plan
Here is an overview of the kind of (relatively) simple diet plan on https://www.discovermagazine.com/sponsored/best-testosterone-booster-supplements-2020-list that you can use to gain weight. Suitable for both men and females alike these steps encompass both eating regime as well as suitable supplements that you should consider.
Create a calorie surplus – if you want to gain weight, you need to eat more food and that means creating a calorie surplus. You can’t build weight (be it muscle or fat) out of nothing so you need to supply your body with an abundance of calories and nutrients. Most weight gain dies tend to fail to create a significant enough calorie surplus and if you aren’t gaining weight, you aren’t eating enough.
If your weight is static, you are probably in energy balance – your food intake is equal to your energy output. Add an extra snack or small meal per day and monitor your weight for a week. If you still aren’t gaining weight, increase the size of your extra meal or snack or, alternatively, add another. Continue adding meals or increasing their size until you see a slow but meaningful weekly increase in your weight.
Fill up on healthy, high-calorie foods – it can be all too tempting to fill up on donuts and ice cream in an effort to gain weight. While the extra calories are useful, the sugar and processed fats are not healthy.
Instead, seek out foods that are naturally high in calories AND provide a lot of nutrients. Nuts, coconut milk, butter, whole eggs, beef, avocados, seeds and potatoes are all good choices.
Use weight gain shakes – if you find that you are unable to eat enough, adding weight gain drinks or weight gain bars to your diet can make it much easier to get results. Weight gain drinks and bars are high in protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats and can make creating your calorific surplus considerably easier.
You can drink a weight gain formula or bar at school, at work or anytime that food is not readily available. Be aware, some products contain too much sugar to be considered healthy so seek out weight gain powders that are not heavily sweetened.
For those of you that are into cooking then you can do a lot worse than this excellent ebook that covers weight gain diets. It’s geared towards muscle building – and after all lean muscle is what you want, (rolls of body fat is not what you want)! Check it out here.
Use smart weight gain supplements – while there are no specific vitamins for weight gain, in addition to weight gainers, there are several other supplements you can use in your quest to gain weight. Creatine, hormone optimizers, amino acids, protein powder, pre-workout formulas, ZMA and carb drinks are all useful if non-essential supplements that can help you gain weight.
Remember, however, unless you are following a nutritionally sound weight gain diet, even the best supplements will fail to deliver results.
Integrate a Weight Gain Workout Plan as Well
If you are not careful, by focusing on ‘eating’ part of gaining weight to the exclusion of exercise you stand the risk of – yes – putting on weight, BUT NOT the right kind of weight: you want lean muscle but not extra adipose tissue (aka fat)! Being overweight is not the name of the game. So here is an outline of a weight gain workout plan that’ll do the job!
Focus on “big” exercises – triceps kickbacks and calf raises are good exercises but are not much use for building lots of muscle and gaining weight. Instead, base your weight gain workouts around squats, bench presses, deadlifts, overhead presses, barbell rows, barbell curls, pull-ups and dips. These exercises work multiple muscles at the same time which is the key to muscle growth and weight gain.
These exercises also trigger the release of testosterone and growth hormone – substances that are vital for muscle growth and weight gain.
Cut down on your cardio – there is no point following one of the many weight gain diets around if you then spend a whole lot of time burning off the extra calories by doing excessive amounts of cardio. In simple terms, doing a lot of cardio while you are trying to gain weight is a waste of time, food and probably money!
Save your cardio for when you are trying to drop fat and get lean. If you absolutely must do some cardio, limit yourself to three 20-minute sessions per week.
For some good workout plans that’ll work to increasing your body weight by the addition of muscle there are a few good resources. One of my favorites is this one called MuscleMaximizer by Kyle Leon. Kyle is an elder in the muscle building field and has over the years received a lot of critical acclaim for his workout programs as well a his approach to this field of human endeavor. See here for more details.
Slow down! – when it comes to gaining weight there is an old adage that contains some very useful advice…
Don’t run – walk
Don’t walk – ride
Don’t stand – sit
Don’t sit – lie down
In other words, save your energy for your training and for recovering after your workouts. Playing soccer with your mates, walking around the mall with your girlfriend and going jogging will all use valuable energy that would be better used gaining weight.
Sleep “big” – sleep is when your body repairs itself and grows so sleep is essential for gaining weight. Make sure you get at least 8-hours per night for best results. Break the usual rule of not eating before bedtime and make sure you consume plenty of protein, healthy fats and slow acting carbs an hour or so before you retire to ensure your body has all the nutrients it needs to build muscle while you sleep. If you don’t fancy eating so close to bed time, consider a weight gain formula or weight gain bar.
Resources – Recommended Reading for Weight Gain
Cooking and eating for weight gain and muscle building.
Workout plans for weight gain and muscle building.
Gaining weight can be hard work and anytime you miss a meal, you miss an opportunity to pack a little more weight onto your body. Losing weight, by comparison, is easy – just skip a few meals and exercise a little more. However, gaining weight requires organization, discipline and resolve – especially if you are one of the unlucky ones who seldom feels hungry. Seek out high-calorie but nutritionally-dense foods to help you gain weight healthily.
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