While most folks are busy watching what they eat, staying away from carbs and going on the South Beach diet, others are trying toput weight on, and there are many reasons they might want to do that. Some younger people haven’t filled out after puberty and want to kickstart that process, some may want to beef up for a sport or to lift weights and others just don’t like the way they look and want to change their image. Whatever the reason is for wanting to put on weight, this process should be done in a controlled and healthy manner and after consulting your doctor or a dietician.
1) Eat a lot of good things –
You need to eat a ridiculous amount of calories (probably 3500+ per day) if you want to gain weight, but you want to make sure most of those calories are GOOD calories. You could easily get 3500 calories eating Taco Bell and Twinkies, and drinking Mountain Dew, but that will just make you fat. If you want to build muscle, you want to eat healthy calories that are loaded with good protein, good carbs, and healthy fats…which brings me to my next point:
The following foods are rich in (good) calories
Peanut butter: Spread soft, salty peanut butter on bread. It gives you about 192 calories in addition to being very high in protein.
Energy bars: These are loaded with nuts and oats which are good for you. One bar packs around 500 calories, which is healthy and makes for a good breakfast.
Cheese: One serving of cheddar cheese packs 69 calories. Cheese is concentrated milk, so it is high in protein and calcium, fat, cholesterol and cheese calories.
Oil: Adding extra fat to your food is an easy way to add calories. Oils are good for your health and will add those much needed calories too.
Bananas: One banana contains approximately 100 calories. Not only are they rich in carbs and nutritious, they’re also great for workout fuel.
Yogurt: The healthy fruit-flavored, fatless yogurt can give you as much as 118 calories. Include it in your daily diet for quick weight gain.
Protein = building block for your muscles. Chicken, fish, meat, eggs, milk, almonds, peanuts. Eat lots of this stuff, all the time.
2) Carbs will help you put on weight, but it won’t be muscle –
pasta, brown rice, wheat bread, oatmeal, etc. will help you put on weight, but a lot of that weight will be fat. Every meal should have vegetables and fruit. If you just eat protein, your body will resort to using it for energy rather than building muscle. I learned this the hard way in college; four years of exercising and three protein shakes a day got me NOTHING. Unless you’re eating tons of good fats (almonds FTW), good carbs (fruits and veggies), and protein, you won’t be gaining weight.
Compound exercises are your friend– Concentrate on complex, compound exercises that recruit as many muscles as possible: bench presses, dumbbell presses, squats, deadlifts, pull ups, chin ups, and dips. Do these exercises, and concentrate on lifting as much weight as possible. Don’t worry about triceps extensions, shoulder shrugs, bicep curls or crunches. All of the compound exercises listed here use every muscle in your body, and when you overload your body with calories and protein, those muscles will grow. Don’t worry about isolation exercises until you’re up to your goal weight and ready to tone down.
3) Let your muscles rest –
Never exercise the same muscle two days in a row. Your muscles get rebuilt (larger) during your days off, so never exercise the same muscle before it’s ready. I usually wait at least 48 hours before I hit the same muscle again.
4) Sleep –
you need to be getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night for maximum gains. Your body is doing nothing but lying there and building muscle while you’re sleeping. If you are only getting 6 hours or less, you’re not going to get all the benefits of your exercising and diet. I know it’s tough, but those 3AM raids on Runnyeye need to be put on hold for a few months. SLEEP.
5) Make it part of your routine –
It’s okay to skip a workout here and there, but it is NOT okay for you to skip a meal if you’re serious about weight gain. You need to be always eating. It sucks, it’s practically a full time job, but it’s what you have to do. Eat.
6) Realize you will put on some fat –
with all of this eating, you are going to be putting on some fat along with your muscle. That’s okay! Figure out what your goal weight is, and then add another 5-10 lbs on top of it. Once you get to that weight, cut back on the carbs in your diet, do more sprints, and keep exercising: you’ll shed the fat quickly and be left with a killer figure. Eat all the vegetables you want, but cut back on breads, pasta, rice, and oatmeal.
7) Stay away from pills and supplements-
These products make hollow promises and at best are a waste of money and at worst potentially harmful to your health. The best way to get the fuel you need to build muscle is by eating well. Before you take any kind of supplement at all, even if it’s just a vitamin pill, talk to your doctor
8) Stay healthy-
- Chew the food properly to improve digestion and to keep from choking. Chewing your food until it’s almost liquid will take the burden off your digestive organs and increase the likelihood that most of the nutrients in the foods that you eat make their way into your bloodstream.
- Drink lots of fluids that supply nutrients and calories: milk, fresh fruit juice and energy drinks are good examples.
- Include 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. It is best to consume fruits in their natural form to get all the nutrients.
- Make sure you get enough rest. You should be getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night for maximum weight gains because your body is doing nothing but lying there and building muscle while you’re sleeping. If you only get 6 hours or less, you’re not going to get all the benefits of your exercising and diet. Your body is at work while it sleeps — oxygen moves to the brain, growth hormones are released, and your bones keep on developing, even while you’re resting.