I’ll admit the desire to gain weight is rare these days, but there are lots of reasons why a person might want to pack on a few pounds. Reasons include:
- You’ve lost weight due to an eating disorder or illness
- You want to obtain a curvier, more mature figure (women)
- You want to look stronger (men)
- You’re genetically predisposed to be underweight and want to achieve a healthier weight
Being underweight can be a serious problem, and the fact that we are constantly bombarded by diet pill advertisements and stick-thin models doesn’t help. Keep reading for advice on how to add weight naturally.
Healthy ways to gain weight
There are right ways and wrong ways to add on weight. What you don’t want to do is eat a bunch of junk food. While this will almost certainly lead to weight gain, you could also experience side effects like digestion issues, acne, nutritional deficiencies, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
Fat has a bad rap, but not all fats are bad. Here are a few reasons we need fat:
- Storing calories as fat helps your body function, heal, and grow
- Stored energy from fat enables you to exercise and get through strenuous jobs
- Fat plays an important role in brain development
- Fat prevents blood clots and inflammation
- Fat contributes to healthy skin and hair
Add healthy calories
The easiest way to add on weight is to eat more calories than your body burns. This method doesn’t require exercise, but you will need to hit the gym if you’re interested in building muscle (more on this below).
What to eat to gain weight fast
Eat high protein foods like eggs, meats, fish, legumes, dairy products, and nuts.
Eat energy-dense foods like dried fruit, grains, tubers (like potatoes), peanut butter, avocados, trail mix, granola, and soybeans.
When you eat, take advantage of sauces, condiments, and oils. Aim for three (or more) meals per day with plenty of carbs, fat, and protein. If the idea of large meals doesn’t appeal to you, you can increase your caloric intake by eating several smaller meals throughout the day.
Bulk up: train, don’t exercise
Cardio burns calories and promotes weight loss, but strength training can help you gain by building muscle. If you want all those excess calories to build muscle instead of fat, it is vital that you lift weight – and we’re not talking about 15 pounds.
It’s important to lift heavy. Challenge yourself and increase the weight as you grow stronger. Aim to hit the gym 2-4 times each week.
A few exercises we recommend:
- Bench press
- Barbell pullover
- Bent over BB row
- Leg press
- Seated dumbbell shoulder press
- Upright row
If you’re not familiar with weight lifting, ask a friend or personal trainer to help you out. It’s easy to hurt yourself when lifting heavy weights, so it’s important that you’re doing exercises properly.
Utilize a weight gain diet chart
Weight gain diet charts can be helpful, but you may want to speak with a dietician, doctor, or personal trainer before you start to make sure the chart syncs up with your goals.
A weight gain chart will show you when and what you will eat each day.
Sample entries would look like this:
Before breakfast snack (7am-8am): A coffee with heavy cream and sugar
Breakfast (8am-9am): Two slices of multigrain toast with butter; omelet; fruit juice
After breakfast snack (10am-11am): A whey protein shake or glass of whole milk
Look online for weight gain charts.
Additional tips on gaining weight:
- Don’t drink water before you eat
- Eat extra meals and snacks whenever you can, especially before bedtime
- Drink whole milk
- Eat protein bars/protein shakes
- Add heavy cream to your coffee
- Use larger plates
- Get enough sleep
- Eat your meats/proteins first and your veggies last
- Don’t smoke cigarettes
- Moderate beer intake can also help you gain, but make sure to drink responsibly
How to gain weight in a month
If you want to put on weight fast, take our food and exercise advice along with a fast weight gain supplement.
This one is great for people with weak appetites and/or people who struggle to finish large meals. It is designed for athletes and gives you a massive energy boost.
One serving of Serious Mass is essentially an entire meal. A single serving contains 50 grams of protein and 250 grams of carbs along with vitamins, minerals, and creatine (to promote muscle development).
Downsides: the scoop size is huge. Users recommend splitting one portion in two or three shakes throughout the day instead of trying to down it all at once.
MET-Rx Meal Replacement Bars
If the idea of a big tub of powder isn’t appetizing or convenient, try a meal replacement bar instead. The MET-Rx meal replacement bar is a quick and easy solution that is efficient and inexpensive.
Each MET-Rx bar is full of healthy nutrients. You can eat a bar as a meal replacement, or if you’re trying to add weight fast, as a snack between meals.
MET-Rx bars are a good combination of fiber, energy, and protein (32 grams). Each bar contains 400 calories, including 41 grams of carbs. Users say MET-Rx bars taste great with milk and are ideal as a post-workout snack.
Gaining weight: men vs women
Men and women do not add on weight the same way. You’ll want to take this into account when you make your weight gain plan. Men typically consume more calories than women, but women tend to burn more calories than men when they exercise.
However, a female’s body stores between 5 and 10% more fat than a man’s body, which is why women tend to burn off less fat when they exercise. This can be frustrating for men trying to gain weight, but good for girls trying to gain.
The dangers of being underweight
People who are underweight sometimes suffer from malnutrition, which can lead to problems including:
- Delayed growth and development
- Fragile bones
- Weakened immune system
- Fertility issues
- Hair loss
A few more reasons you might be underweight include: eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, thyroid problems, Celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, cancer, and certain infections like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
If you are losing large amounts of weight without trying, it’s important to visit a doctor so he or she can check for medical conditions.
For most people, it’s much easier to gain weight than to lose weight. But believe it or not, it really is very difficult for some people to add on weight.
Each person has a unique “set point” where his or her body feels comfortable – and your body will do everything it can to keep you at that particular weight.
Whether you’re trying to gain by trying to get over your set point or lose weight by trying to get under your set point, the key to success is consistency.
If you eat more calories and start to put on weight, your body might respond by boosting your metabolism and reducing your appetite. These effects can make gaining weight difficult. Just remember, the process is a marathon, not a sprint. Gaining or losing weight takes time.