Believe it or not, some of us actually would like to gain weight. It can be difficult for some due to genetics, eating habits, or stress levels. Especially when you are on an intense training regimen, proper nutrition is key for whatever you fitness goals are. It is just as crucial whether you are trying to lose weight or gain weight. But there is not so much sound information on how to gain weight through healthy foods. Weightlifters everywhere have goals. For many of the youngsters out there it is to put on muscle and size. The best way to maximize this effort is through proper nutrition.
We all hear about calories and the effect they have on our weight progression. Sure, we want to eat more calories than we burn if we are trying to gain weight. But where those calories come from is crucial. We don’t want to stack up on junk food for our calories. We want to gain weight in a healthy way through nutrient dense foods.
Step one is going to the gym and lifting weights. Without this step, the food you put in your body will turn into fat rather than muscle. In other words, there is really no reason to want to gain just fat unless told otherwise by a doctor. The people I’m referring to in this article are those who are trying to gain muscle and size. Fat does play an important role in this but the goal is to gain muscle.
Let’s start with the Don’ts first…
- Don’t use junk food as your primary source of calories
- We want our calories to come from foods rich with protein, carbs, and/or fats.
- Stay away from highly sugary foods.
- Sugar isn’t good for us regardless so it’s always a good idea to cut out as much as possible. Plus, filling up on sugary foods takes away from nutrient dense foods that should be eaten instead.
- Don’t do too much cardio.
- Yes, cardio is obviously important. But our goal here is to gain weight. I’m not saying cut out cardio, but cut back on it instead. Never completely get rid of it since cardio is an essential part of our overall health.
- Don’t fast
- This should be obvious. Fasting helps countless people get control over their weight issues and is a healthy approach to the day. However, once again our goal is to gain weight so avoiding food is not an effective strategy.
- Don’t get stressed out
- Stressing ourselves out leads to weight loss due to high levels of cortisol levels. Make sure to have time for yourself to clear your head and get rid of any stress.
- Eat a lot
- This is an obvious one and there’s no way around it. We need to eat a lot if we want to gain weight. Cook double for what you would normally cook for yourself. As long as the foods are rich in protein, calories, carbs and healthy fats, then the more you eat the easier it will be to gain.
- Eat vegetables
- Yes, our goal is to gain weight here. But our ultimate goal is really to be healthy. So, don’t neglect your vegetables. You’ll be healthier and your body will function more properly in the gym and every day.
- Drink lots of water
- It is always essential to drink plenty of water every day when it comes to building up muscle.
- Get plenty of sleep
- Our bodies need sleep to recover. Plus, too little sleep can lead to too much stress which will cause cortisol levels to rise and force us to lose our appetite and progress.
- Supplement with protein
- Taking a protein powder or mass gainer can help you if you’re struggling. But I only advise this path if you have a hard time through diet and exercise alone. Make sure to get high quality supplements and don’t skimp out on what you buy. With most health supplements, you get what you pay for.
From a nutritional standpoint, that’s all there is too it. Whether your goals are to gain or lose weight, it all boils down to nutrition. Again, never follow this protocol without exercise because you will gain mostly fat and not muscle.
There are lots of reason why people want to gain weight. For some it’s for sports, for others it’s to pack on muscle and size to look and feel good. Whatever the reason, this protocol shouldn’t be followed over a long period of time. I wouldn’t follow these steps for no longer than 6 months max. Once you reach your weight gain goals, it’s better to go back to a normal diet and maintain your weight rather than packing on more pounds. By trying to continue to gain weight past what is considered healthy for your body, it will neglect you from other health benefits. However, it is harmless in the short term. If you have any weight gain tips, drop them below in the comments or reach out to me directly.