Not everyone wants to lose weight. Do you want to know how to gain weight the healthy way? Here’s your complete guide for doing it the right way with minimal fat gain.
How to Gain Weight the Healthy Way
We know that gaining .5lbs of muscle a week is a lofty but realistic goal. A half a pound of weight gain over a week means you need to eat about an extra 1750 calories for the week. That means an extra 250 calories per day. Doesn’t seem so hard, does it? Well, that’s part of the problem. Most people that try to gain weight think that’s a free-for-all. Every meal is a see-food buffet.
Changing your weight, whether you’re trying to lower it or increase it, is a function of calories. Gaining weight is not an invitation to start eating a bunch of unhealthy, processed food. The quality of your food should never change. That should be the one constant in your healthy lifestyle. Whole foods are the only way to go. The thing is, you really have to try if you want to gain weight eating healthy, whole foods. It’s just not that easy to do.
Here are a few ideas to help you gain weight while keeping the fat gain minimal to non-existent:
- Count your calories. If you thought it was important for losing weight, it’s even more important when you’re trying to gain weight. The good news? You’ll soon discover your true BMR (basal metabolic rate), and just how many calories it really takes before you start gaining weight.
- Move your carbohydrate intake to around your workouts, and have protein/fat/veggie meals the rest of the day. When in a hyper-caloric environment, you want to do all that you can to keep fat gain to a minimum. One of the key factors of this is controlling your insulin production. By maximizing insulin’s anabolic (more like anti-catabolic) effects around your workout, and growth hormone’s fat loss characteristics the rest of the day, you give yourself the best chance of building muscle while minimizing fat gain.
- Strength train. If you’re trying to gain weight without strength training, you’re going to be very disappointed with the results. Unless your goal is to increase body fat while not gaining any muscle, strength training should be the staple of your weight gain efforts.
- Implement HIIT (high-intensity interval training). HIIT is great whether you’re losing weight or gaining weight. It’s an all-around energy system trainer that will make it hard to gain body fat when increasing calories.
- Have a cheat meal. You’re already in a hyper-caloric environment, so cheat meals aren’t going to have the same degree of physiological benefits such as “resetting” hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin. However, the psychological benefits are still present, and if you can’t have a cheat meal when you’re trying to gain weight, when can you?
How to Gain Weight with a Fast Metabolism
People with a fast metabolism need to take extra steps if they want to gain weight. Luckily for them, their metabolisms keep fat gain minimal as they put on additional pounds. The key for people with fast metabolisms is to eat more calories. It really is that easy. So then, why the difficulty gaining weight?
When I tell people they need to eat more food to gain weight, the typical response is along the lines of “I already eat a lot of food”. My answer? Eat more! Hard-gainers need to stick to more calorie dense foods than the typical person trying to gain weight. The secret weapon? Healthy fats.
Here are a few ideas to easily get in the extra calories:
- Grab a few tablespoons extra of all natural peanut butter. Who doesn’t like peanut butter?
- Put a couple extra tablespoons of flax oil in your protein shake.
- Olive oil and vinegar is great to put on chicken salads.
- Drop down from 95% lean to 90% lean grass-fed beef.
- A little extra butter here or there certainly won’t hurt you. Stick it on your veggies.
- Do you like avocado? It’s a nice addition to nearly any meal.
Assuming you are already getting in enough protein ( at least 1 gram per pound of lean body mass), and carbohydrates to fuel your exercise, then fat is the next logical macronutrient you should be looking to increase. Hard-gainers can also be a little bit looser with their carbohydrate intake. By that, I mean they can usually eat them at any time of the day, and they can even have cheat meals more frequently. Still count calories though!
How to Gain Weight Fast
You don’t, at least not if you want to be happy with your body. There’s a limit to how much muscle you can put on in a given time period, and it’s very easy to out-eat this pace. The result? You end up with more muscle, but a lot more fat. Let’s put aside for a second the fact that you’ll be much more unhealthy, and realize that you will now have to diet off all that extra body fat if you want to see that hard earned muscle you worked for. Be smart (and patient) as you add the pounds, and you’ll be much happier with your results.
What about you? Are you a hard-gainer? What has your experience been like as you try to gain weight?