While most of the population obsesses over weight loss and fat burning, there's another group of people that's trying to gain weight. Whether you want to bulk up in the gym or would like to add some curves to a thin figure, trying to gain weight can be just as frustrating as trying to lose it. If you're having trouble, there are some things you can do to help pack on the pounds.
High-calorie foods and liquids
An easy way to add extra calories is to include high-calorie condiments like salad dressings, mayonnaise and butter. Eat a meal before you go to bed to minimize the fasted state you naturally enter during sleep. Set a clock or watch to remind you to eat at planned times.
Consult a dietician or physician before making any changes to your diet. If you're underweight, it could be a sign of a health issue. Slowly increase your daily caloric intake so your body can adapt to the higher volume of food.
Eat calorie-rich, nutrient-dense foods every two to three hours. If you're thin, you may have trouble eating large meals, so try to take in a steady stream of calories by grazing throughout the day. Avoid the urge to chow down on cookies and chips -- all high-calorie foods are not created equally. Granola, nuts, peanut butter and trail mix are good examples of healthy foods with a lot of calories. If you take in a surplus of 500 to 1,000 calories each day, you should gain 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Drink liquid calories. Adding calorie-dense liquids in place of water or diet drinks can be an easy way to add calories to your diet. Don't load up on sugary soft drinks and bottled juices, though. Instead, drink whole milk, fresh juices and smoothies made out of milk, yogurt and fruits. If you add shakes or smoothies, space them at least 30 minutes from your meals so you won't be too full to eat or drink.
Add resistance training. If increasing your calories isn't enough, you can amp up your weight-gaining efforts with resistance training. Performing three to five sets of eight to 12 reps per exercise will help you put on weight by adding muscle. Avoid long cardio sessions and make sure you supplement your resistance training with additional calories -- not only will training burn calories, but your body will need extra calories to build muscle mass.
Things You'll Need
- Personal Nutrition; Marie A. Boyle and Sara Long
- How to Gain Massive Weight!; Randall Magwood
Jessica Bell has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. She has served as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Bell holds an M.A. in communications and a B.A. in English.