How to gain weight with these simple steps without getting fat is one of the most frequently asked questions on this blog (mostly men but a few women too!). When I started I was 150 lbs at best before I got serious about weight gain. In just under 5 months, I put on 30 lbs of lean body mass (and I didn’t use weight gain bars) and am able to maintain 190 lbs . Here’s the overview of what foods that help you gain weight and what you must do if you want to how to gain weight the healthy way: (for a more aggressive approach, take a look at John Kiefer’s Carb Backloading)
How to Gain Weight
Have you ever asked somebody who’s trying to gain weight what they eat?
I did. And the response I received was shocking.
“I just eat.”
That’s what he said. I just eat.
You MUST know how many calories a day you need for your weight gain goal. This doesn’t mean you need to count calories every single meal and carry around a calculator. It simply means you need to have somewhat of an idea of where you are and how you will get there. Sporadic eating is not my recommended method of how to gain weight.
This person desperately wanted to know how to gain weight and every time I saw him the gym he had some excuse as to why it wasn’t working. Usually it was related to his metabolism or that the weight gainer he wanted wasn’t in stock at GNC.
Let me tell you…
If you want to learn how to gain weight quickly without sending your BMI to the moon (not that I’m a fan of said indicator), you have to eat foods that help you gain weight and ENOUGH of them. Furthermore… if you want to gain weight fast without getting fat, then you bulk with the same principles as if you were on a cutting diet. Choose high calorie foods when given a choice. But keep in mind, if you truly want to gain healthy weight, this isn’t advice to stuff yourself with junk or overeat constantly. You’ll gain weight alright but it won’t be the kind you want (muscle!)
In my years of experience, when I bulked up and gained weight and fat, the biggest mistake I made was not tracking what I ate using some type of calorie counter to get a rough estimate of my situation. I always tracked my diet when I was on a calorie restricted phase (that was a given) but when I wanted to gain weight I just ate everything I could including the use of a weight gainer and the overuse of high protein foods. The path I initially took was not and is not the ideal one for how to gain weight.
Have you ever felt that way?
The simplest concept of how to gain weight is ,you need to eat more than your usual maintenance calorie intake but not so much as to just store the excess calories and get fat. And you need to eat consistently and ensure you are weight lifting to build muscle mass. You do not need enlist the help of weight gain supplements unless you just cannot eat enough calories given your situation. I find in most cases, people are just too lazy to eat correctly but there’s always an exception to the rule.
That should have been your “ah -ha” moment.
If you seriously want to now how to gain weight and muscle, this isn’t your cue to eat everything under the sun. In order to gain weight, lean mass and not get fat, you need to eat just over what you body needs to maintain. In this manner, you’ll provide your body with all the calories it needs to build muscle but you won’t give it so much as it stores the excess as fat. This is in conjunction with a weight training program that is progressive and demands your body grow (build muscle).
With any advice like this, you will gain some fat but you want to minimize the storage. Otherwise, the next time you get your check-up the doctor will probably give you a lecture on the BMI (I put little faith in that and I’d ask him for a body composition check!)
[ Remember that anything in excess, even protein, can be stored as fat. ]
The key is to gain healthy weight and minimize the fat gains.
Tip 2: Grocery Shopping for Those Seeking How to Build Muscle
If you are wondering how to gain weight, then don’t have bare cupboards. Go to your kitchen right now after reading this section and take a look at what you’ve got in stock.
Gain weight foods could be items like whole-grain breads, vegetables such as avocados and potatoes, kidney beans, and high protein food selections like lean red meat, poultry and fish.
Bare cupboards = Not the Weight Gain Diet You’re Seeking!
Bodybuilding doesn’t have to break the bank. Many times you can get bulk items for much cheaper than you think. Packages of tuna, turkey, chicken legs, pasta all are great bulking items that don’t cost a ton of money.
Perishable items like fruits and sugary laden items and condiments are usually things that cost the most. Even though they qualify as high calorie foods, you’ll want to avoid eating a bunch of processed junk.
Tip 3: Essential Meal Planning Tips for How to Gain Weight the Healthy Way
Part of performance nutrition is eating 5-6 times a day. Every 2-3 hours you should be consuming a meal consisting of a lean protein, fibrous/starchy carb and potentially a healthy fat.
If you really want to know how to gain weight, you might need to eat 5-6 times a day! And it needs to be consistent. This means no skipping meals. Some people can eat less often and get the necessary calories. In my case, having a 1500 calorie meal just wasn’t my style. I like breaking them up into smaller meals, so I’m essentially grazing but getting my nutrients and am fueled up for a workout.
Eating 3 times a day full of bacon and eggs might have worked for some of the past legends but it probably won’t do you any good.
Keeping your system flushed with nitrogen (protein) will ensure you keep all the muscle you are working to build and that you are consuming slight excess calories to gain weight. One of the concepts I like about eating smaller but frequent meals is that it keeps my hunger at bay and I can consume my daily calories when I need them instead of huge meals where I feel stuff.
If you eat a big dinner but skip snacks and have light breakfasts, that is part of the problem. The difference between those who know how to gain weight comes from people who are consistent in their eating and don’t skip meals.
Failure to plan your meals ultimately means you won’t be eating enough to gain weight and that is a big flaw in a weight gain diet (consistency and planning).
Tip 4: Nutrient Variety is Key
It happens to the best of us trying to learn how to gain weight fast… We get used to eating certain foods and we don’t budge. For a weight gain diet, this can be a killer as it drastically limits the number of calories you can eat. Plus, you will limit the nutrients and vitamins you will be able to intake. Both are essential to gain healthy weight.
Did anybody ever tell you that nutrients (and a variety of them) are essential to gain muscle? If so, lucky you have such informative friends.
Tip 5: Essential Meal Timing
While it might be socially acceptable to eat just 3 times a day, that is not acceptable for those who are serious about putting on lean muscle mass. You’ve heard all the benefits of performance nutrition and eating 5-6 times a day but re-read this…
Quality muscle gain without putting on fat requires a higher metabolism (Hint: weight lifting!) AND an excess number of calories. In order to do just that, you need to eat frequently. That means 5-6 times a day (or more).
Tip 6: Eat, Eat and Eat [ did I mention eat ]
Don’t feel hungry?
Eat. Now in most cases, that is against the current movement but in reality, if you want to put on quality mass you have to eat regardless of your hunger levels. Eating based on your mood is not the path to gain healthy weight.
Countless people tell me they cannot eat like a 200 lb bodybuilder.
DUH! That’s because they are not a 200 lb bodybuilder (yet).
Once they eat more, gain muscle mass, they will be and it will seem like nothing to eat like a 200 lb bodybuilder. This doesn’t mean stuffing yourself with high calorie foods that are junk, gorging on food or getting sick. It means eating more and more gradually over time in order to prime your body for more frequent meal times. Slowly start adding more food to your portions until you’ve nailed your perfect gain weight diet based on your calorie needs.
All this means to you is…
A higher metabolic rate (No, not thru the thermodynamics of food but that pesky weight lifting you will be doing) and more calories! The two critical components of how to gain weight without the excess fat.
: Additional Tips on How to Gain Weight :
- Drink plenty of water. With your additional meals and workouts, you’ll want to ensure you are properly hydrated.
- Engage in a weight lifting program. Building muscle is a priority during your bulking phase. Since you will have plenty of energy from your carb sources, you should be fueled and primed to get some of the best and most intense workouts of your life. Now is an opportune time to build muscle.
- Limit your cardio workouts. Cardio workouts are a tool. Use it sparingly depending on your metabolism. If you feel like you aren’t putting on weight, reduce the amount of cardio you are doing. If you feel like you are putting on a bit too much fat, increase the cardio.
- Take weekly weight and body fat measurements. By taking a weekly measurement, you can see if the weight you are putting on is fat or muscle.
I sincerely hope this helps some of you seeking answers to how to gain weight.