Tips for healthy weight gain

Fit & Training door thijs

Losing weight can be challenging, but gaining weight can be just as hard. Earlier this week the topic of weight was discussed, and why you don't always have to be skinny to be fit. For the majority, the fact that some people are trying to gain weight might be a shock, but it turned out that there are a lot of Fit Girls (and guys!) out there with the goal of gaining those last few pounds (even if it's just for the big, round booty ;) ). This raised a lot of questions regarding weight gaining, bringing us to today’s topic: what are the best ways to gain weight in a healthy way?

No matter if you’re trying to gain weight because of health issues, the desire to build muscle, refueling during an intensive workout or simply to defeat the ‘skinny genes’; these tips will help you reach your goal in the long-run. Prepare your stomach for some crazy amounts of healthy (and good) food! Are you ready to gain some extra weight? You better be hungry…

1. Consume more than you burn 

The process of gaining weight is as simple as that of losing it. Burn more than you consume, you lose weight. consume more than you burn, you gain weight. It's as simple as that. There are several ways found online to calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which will give you an approximate amount of calories your body needs to maintain weight. If you do sports, take into account these burned calories as well. Now, the trick is to add approximately 500 calories to your daily amount in order to gain weight in the long-run.

For example: I burn only 1700 calories at rest. Given the fact that I want to gain weight, I add another 500 calories. This makes a total of 2300 calories. But wait! We’re not there yet. Let’s say I run today, and burn a total of 500 calories. This means I have to add this number again to the total, resulting in 2800 calories a day in order to gain weight. Now, you’ll be surprised how challenging that can be.

Have you tried to gain weight already but is your weight not changing? Re-calculate what you approximately eat a day and add another -/+ 500 calories to this amount. If you’re ‘naturally skinny’ it could be that your body does not even respond to 2500 calories a day at rest. For your body to gain weight, it might need 3000+ in order to slowly increase weight. Your body isn’t a machine and every body functions differently. Therefore it is important to listen and see how your body reacts to different amounts. If you have not gained a single gram after 1 week, consider increasing your intake.

 2. Do not only focus on quantity

While gaining weigh, it is important to take into account the nutritious value of the calories you’re consuming. When your goal is to reach a significant amount of calories every day, it can be tempting to go for the (saturated) fat, sugary and caloric meals. This, however, is one of the worst mistakes you can make.  Feeding your body with ‘unhealthy’ food is in fact feeding your body with empty calories. Instead, go for the foods that are real health-bombs: vitamins, minerals and nutrition’s are all essential for a balanced, strong and healthy body. 

3. Food anywhere, everywhere

Let’s be realistic: every calorie you put in your mouth will bring you one step closer to your goal. Grab every chance you get to feed your body with a nutritious and healthy meal or snack. Of course it is not the intention to keep eating until you feel sick, but carrying some extra food with you ‘just in case’ you feel like eating is always a smart idea. Try to eat multiple times a day. Having somewhat smaller, but more caloric meals during the day will make it easier for you to reach your calorie goal than when you’re having only 3 meals a day which will keep you full all day long.

4. Protein, protein & more protein

Given the fact that you’re reading this article here, already means there's a big chance that you’re a real Fit Girl. Are you exercising on a daily basis or is your aim to build muscle? Than protein will be your best friend during this journey. In order to gain weight on the right places while building muscle and to feed your muscles with the necessary post-workout fuel, protein is there for you! Make sure you give your body the food it needs by having enough protein-rich snacks and at least one protein source during every meal.

Last but not least: allow yourself to indulge every once in a while. Honestly, a few extra 1000 calories from the McDonalds won’t do you any harm. You’re aim is to gain weight, something the ‘BigMac’ and ‘McFlurry’ would love to help you with. As long as you make sure your ‘basic’ intake consists of healthy, nutritious choices, you can allow yourself to enjoy some unhealthy choices too every now and then.

What are your tips on healthy weight gain?