After the big slimming mania the question arises for others how to gain weight in a healthy way? In other blog posts we talked about different diets like the Keto diet and how to lose weight in a healthy way. This is a problem that affects many people but there is also the opposite. People trying to gain weight. It doesn’t matter if you are underweight or just want to work on your body to look better. Nevertheless, we will briefly discuss the topic of underweight and find out what it really means to be underweight. Furthermore I will show you some tips how you can increase your calorie intake without much effort. What you have to pay attention to when training and especially that you do it all in a healthy and natural way.
What Does Underweight Really Mean?
What is underweight measured by? The body mass index (BMI) calculates a number on the basis of your data that you can use to orient yourself. Anybody whose BMI is below 18.5 is defined as underweight. This means that the body has too little mass to function properly.
You can use this BMI calculator to find your own body mass index. Be as honest as possible (don’t cheat ;))
As opposed: over 25 means overweight and over 30 obese.
Even if the BMI is a rule of thumb, you should not rely too much on it because there are some problems with it. As you have seen, the calculator only uses your size and weight. But it doesn’t calculate your muscle mass. Muscles are heavier than fat which means a bodybuilder would probably be considered overweight. A person who has always been very skinny can still be healthy even if the BMI says otherwise.
How to Gain Weight the Healthy Way
If you want to gain weight, it’s very important to do it right.
It’s easy to gain weight when you eat a lot of sugar and fat. But is this the right way to go?
If you are already underweight, you need to make sure that your weight gain is not only body fat but muscle mass.
A study shows many underweight people make the leap to normal weight but their gain was unhealthy and led to type 2 diabetes, heart problems or other weight-related health problems.
That’s why it’s extremely important to eat a healthy diet, even when you’re gaining weight.
Eat More Frequently to Gain Weight
Though you may not take in the target number of daily calories at first, you should eat three meals a day and snack in between and after dinner, no matter what.
I recommend eating six times per day and eating about every three hours. A snack is 100 to 200 calories, and a meal starts at 500 calories.
But be careful you don’t snack too much so you still have appetite for your real food.
Also make sure that you consume food that has little volume but many calories. You can eat more of them before you feel full which increases your calorie intake.
And again! Snacking does not mean chips, donuts and soda!
Eat Plenty of Protein
The most important ingredient for healthy weight building is protein.
Studies show that during periods of overfeeding, a high-protein diet causes many of the extra calories to be turned into muscle.
On the other hand, protein is also very satiating, which means you can eat much less. This often makes it difficult to consume the calories you need to gain weight.
Try eating between 0.7 and 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight every day. This way you are not over-eaten and still have enough material to build muscles.
Build fish, meat, eggs, nuts and legumes into your diet. If you have a problem covering your protein needs, you can also use protein supplements such as protein shakes.
Even if eating a lot of protein sounds like a diet like the Keto diet, you should not give up carbohydrates because they offer a lot of calories.
Drink Your Food
While we’re on protein shakes. There are also good ways to drink your calories. No! I don’t mean soft drinks and other drinks with a lot of sugar!
Make yourself some delicious smoothies with fruit and nuts and consume them between meals. Energy-dense liquids are an easy way to take in more calories without feeling too uncomfortably full.
Eat More Calories Than Your Body Burns
Losing weight is easy in theory. Take less calories to yourself than you consume. It’s the same with weight gain.
Eat more calories than you burn. But what does more mean?
Here is a calculator you can use to find out what calories you need.
- 300-500 extra calories provide for a slow weight gain
- 700-1000 calories above your consumption will help you increase your weight quickly
But make sure that the calorie calculator is a bit inaccurate because every human is different. So try something until you find the sweet spot.
Cut Back on Cardio
If we assume that you are not the top runner but still run regularly it can also prevent you from gaining weight. Cardio burns relatively many calories which – if you want to gain weight – is rather a disadvantage because it is difficult to get these calories back in.
If you still don’t want to go without your cardio try to track exactly how many calories you burned and get yourself a snack to get back to your goal.
Rely On Strength Training
To make sure that the excess calories go to your muscles instead of just your fat cells, it’s absolutely crucial to lift weights.
While intense body weight training strengthens your muscles and stokes your fat-burning engine, if you want to gain healthy weight, we recommend focusing on strength training (3-4 times a week) with more weight and fewer repetitions.
And don’t forget to eat plenty of protein after your workout.
Healthy Snacks For In Between Meals:
- dried fruit
- nuts and nut butter
- veggie sticks with avocado hummus
- homemade granola bars with dried fruit or dark chocolate
- chocolate smoothie
- protein shakes
Want a Break from Reading? Try our Fitness Quiz and test your Knowledge!
Consider this your permission slip for the midnight munchies.
A lot of healing and regeneration happens while we sleep, so eating before bed can give your body the nutrients it needs to do the work.
And by that I don’t mean the chips while you’re watching TV. Healthy snacks as mentioned above are the solution.
Summary: How to gain weight healthy
The bottom line is that every body is different and every body has a sweet spot at which it feels comfortable. It can be very difficult to cross this point and gain weight, but as with many things: Consistency is Key.
If you regularly lift weights and make sure you consume enough protein and calories, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to increase your weight if you stick to it.