This is a question that many people ask: how to gain weight in a healthy way?
Although several methods exist and everyone has an idea of how to gain few pounds, yet it must be done in a healthy and right way. The idea is helping you climb the number on the scale without putting your health at risk!
To gain weight the basic rule is always the same: Eat More! That is, consume more calories than you spend. But to do this in a healthy way, the first thing to do is to eat healthily!
You should never eat fast foods, sweets and other high-calorie foods for the sole purpose of boosting your calorie quota for the day. If you do so, you will mainly gain fat, and nobody wants to end up with the fat belly!
Here is a list of foods that help you to gain weight in a healthy way:
- Solid proteins of good quality: chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, crustaceans, tofu, etc.
- Rich carbohydrates: whole rice, wholemeal pasta, whole grains, wholemeal bread, protein bread, oats, legumes etc.
- Good lipids: olive oil, oilseeds, egg yolks, fatty fish
- Vegetables at will: they are full of vitamins and minerals. Eating different vegetable is important!
- Fruits: Source of vitamins and carbohydrates – do not neglect them (but do not overdo it either!)
Among the key macro-nutrients in muscle development are proteins. Make sure to consume enough protein to support your weight gain and the development of your lean mass. It is common to say that a diligent bodybuilding practitioner should consume 2.2g of protein per pound of body weight. It is not an exact calculation but make sure that your protein intake is sufficient to achieve your goal. If you are unable to consume enough protein during the day, a good solution may be to add a protein powder shakes to your diet, consisting of whey for example.
Be careful, however, not to fall into the excess. Too much protein intake will have no benefit in terms of muscle growth, but may also be harmful to your body.
If you are struggling to gain weight despite a healthy diet and adequate protein intake for your physical activity and goals, increase carbohydrates! Indeed it is the “carbohydrate factor” that one will have to play to raise the balance.
Depending on your metabolism increase carbohydrates more or less slowly/quickly. In general, the best advice is to increase them very gradually. For example, start with an increase in the order of 30 to 50 grams per week, and if you still struggle to gain weight, continue to increase them week by week. The master word here is patience!
As a number of carbohydrates increases, be sure to consume them “smartly”. So place them at strategic times during your day. The best time to consume them is during breakfast, and around the training. At breakfast, they help you to be prepared for the day and allow you to have an intake after the period of fasting caused by sleep.
Before training, they are the source of energy for your session and will allow you to push harder, run longer etc. After training, when they are consumed during what some call the “anabolic window” they make it possible to redo the stocks of muscular glycogen, to cause a peak of insulin and in this way participate in the development of muscle mass. Moreover, forget the famous saying “no carbohydrates after 4 pm“: if you do training in the evening, you can perfectly consume after your session, even at 10 pm!
Of course, you can also place your carbohydrates at other times of the day such as lunch or snack. If you are unable to increase your carbohydrate and protein intake due to your lifestyle or work, consider adding a protein snack such as our Oats & Whey bars to your bag when you leave your home in the morning!
Make a routine of eating regularly, every three hours or so to keep your metabolism high enough (and therefore not to promote fat intake) by distributing your intake more regularly, but especially to be on eating Enough during the day! For example, you can make 3 main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) as well as 2 or 3 snacks (which you can place at your convenience mid-afternoon, mid-afternoon, training).
One of the keys to the success of a healthy and controlled weight gain remains in the mirror: learn to visualize changes in your body. Weight will invariably increase with your weight gain, but the balance is not the only way to control your weight gain, nor the best! Indeed the mirror will be of greater use to you since it allows you to control the evolution of your physics in a visual way.
An effective way to combine lean mass intake and fat loss is cardio, although many bodybuilding practitioners advocate the practice of any kind of cardio could ruin their efforts to gain weight. But the cardio also has its importance in the phase of gaining mass. Not only that, but it can be beneficial! Indeed, the practice of cardio in HIIT (high-intensity interval training) also called fractionated high intensity not only helps to burn fat but can also stimulate muscle growth.
HIIT is a type of training where you provide a very intense or maximum effort for a short period of time, then you cycle over a short period of rest, before re-enchaining on an intense effort and so on. Several studies have shown that HIIT increases the production of testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin sensitivity, making it possible to benefit in gaining weight even more from the carbohydrates consumed after training.