Most people are trying to lose extra pounds, but there is another subset of the population looking to gain weight, especially muscle. Gaining weight the healthy way is tough because it doesn’t involve binging on junk food and skipping exercise sessions. In fact, it involves more diligence because you have to focus on eating more portions, more often. That means you need a lot of healthy food and time to prepare it! Follow these tips to maximize your gains the healthy way.
1. Include More Healthy Fats in Your Meals and Snacks
Healthy fats pack in more calories per serving than most other foods. Options such as nut butter, olive oil, and avocado make for easy additions to any meal to increase the calorie content. The goal is to increase the calories with less food so that you don’t have to eat as often to reach your calorie surplus for gains. For example, you can easily add nut butter to meals and snacks such as apples and oatmeal.
2. Eat 5-6 Meals per Day
Healthy weight gain comes back to the idea of increasing your calorie content for the day. An easy way to do this is to simply just eat more often. Aim to eat something 5-6 times per day and you will most likely pack in extra calories that will help with muscle growth and weight gain.
3. Eat as Much Healthy Food as You would Like
Don’t put limits on how much you can eat! If you’re eating healthy fats, complex carbs, lean protein, fruits, and veggies, you should be able to eat until you’re full to gain weight in a healthy way. Of course, if you’re consuming donuts and cake then you should most definitely watch what you are eating as that would cause an unhealthy weight gain. If you want to put on muscle, then focus on a surplus of healthy food.
4. Lift Weights
It’s no secret that lifting weights increases muscle growth and muscle weighs more. Your weight will increase, but you won’t look overweight as muscle is more dense and compact than fat. Muscle is by far the healthiest form of weight gain, so incorporate weight lifting into your routine to see the gains.
5. Don’t Perform Cardio as Often
Cardio burns off excess calories. In the case of healthy weight gain, you are trying to have a surplus of extra calories. The last thing you want to do is cut down on the calories that you are working hard to consume. Focus more on activities such as walks as opposed to intense interval training that burns a lot of calories. You can still run, but just make cardio more minimal and light compared to the amount of weight lifting you do.
6. Always Eat when You’re Hungry
Don’t try to skip meals or snacks. If you’re hungry, you should most definitely eat in any circumstance, but especially when you are looking to gain weight.
7. Add Protein Shakes into Your Diet
If you throw a few protein shakes into your day, you can drink up a lot of extra calories in the form of protein and fat. Try mixing a protein powder with milk, protein powder, and a nut butter. You can even throw some spinach or bananas into the mix to boost the nutrition.
8. Avoid Processed Foods and Empty Calories
Chowing down on junk food is not a healthy way to gain weight any way you look at it. Yes, it adds calories, but the point is to continue to be healthy and feed muscle, not fat. Make sure that all of the food you consume offers some nutritional value. Of course, an occasional treat makes a balanced diet, but it shouldn’t be the main component of your meals.
9. Fill Extra Calories with Nutrition, Not Junk
Look at your eating plan as a way to not only maximize calorie content, but to add nutritional boosts into your meals and snacks. Junk food will create weight gain in the form of fat, and nutritious foods will facilitate more muscle growth and better overall health.
10. Continue Exercising, but Adapt Your Routine
It’s important to continue to exercise when trying to gain weight. You want to have a surplus of calories at the end of the day, but you can do this by balancing your routine with more weight lifting and less long distance cardio. You’re still moving, but in a different way that still benefits your health.