Weight loss isn’t always the goal—there are times when you might want to gain a few pounds, instead. If you’re underweight, your doctor may advise you to gain weight to reach a healthier level. And if you’re also looking to bulk up (gain muscle) for training or a sports team, for example, you will also need to go up on the scale, as muscle weighs more than fat.
No matter the reason, you’ll want to gain weight in safe manner, just as you would if you were on a diet plan for weight loss. Here’s how to make sure you’re going up in weight in an efficient and healthy manner.
Just as weight loss, you don’t want to increase your weight in pounds too rapidly, as it can tax your system and be bad for your health. Plus, if you gain too quickly, you may not sustain the increase once you adjust back to your normal diet and fitness routine.
And that weight gained might consist more of fat than muscle too, especially if you’re dramatically increasing the number of calories you’re eating and not lifting. So, aim to gain slowly, with a pound or two a week, rather than too much too soon! It takes 3,500 calories to gain a pound, so if you’re looking for a pound or two a week, divide the extra calories up for the seven days. Don’t start eating an extra 5,000+ calories a week!
Eat Healthy Food, Not Garbage
If you want to take in more calories to gain weight, don’t make all of your meals consist of greasy fast food or baked goods and sweets—you want to still eat nutritious foods, just in larger quantities.
So, aim for high-fat foods, like nuts, avocado and fish, protein, like beans and legumes and animal meat, and fresh fruits and veggies. You should also eat whole grains, like brown rice and quinoa, over refined carbs, as found in white bread and processed goods. Increase portion sizes a few hundred or so for meals and snacks for the day.
Eating nutritious foods will keep you body and brain sharp and help you gain lean muscle rather than excess fat on your body. And you will keep your blood sugar in check, as well as your heart health.
Go For Weight Training Over Cardio
If you’re looking to gain weight, try and gain muscle to make up those extra pounds, rather than just plain fat. Hit the weight room and strength train. If you’re looking to gain weight and eat more, you want to still include exercise. And if you do more weight work than cardio, you’ll likely bulk up better and gain muscle and weight rather than shed pounds through plain cardio.