Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Gain Weight

Eating for Weight Gain

  1. 1
    Determine how much more you need to eat to gain a pound. To gain a pound, you'll need an excess of 3500 calories above your resting metabolic rate (RMR) — that is, you have to consume 3500 more calories than you burn.[1]

  2. 2
    Calculate your RMR. Your resting metabolic rate is the amount of calories per day that your body requires to maintain your existing weight. Here's how to figure it out with the Mifflin - St. Jeor formula[2]:

    • Convert your weight from pounds to kilograms. Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. The result is your weight in kilograms.
    • Convert your height from inches to centimeters. Multiply your height in inches by 2.54. The result is your height in centimeters.
    • Plug your information into the formula. The basic formula is RMR = 10 * weight(kg) + 6.25 * height(cm) - 5 * age(y) + x. For men, x = 5; for women, x = -161.
    • Understand that the formula calculates how many calories you would burn if you spent the entire day resting. You probably burn a few hundred more than your RMR during the course of a normal day — this is just a rough estimate to get your weight-gain diet started.
  3. 3
    Account for your activity level. Since you (hopefully) do not sit still in bed all day, you must account for the calories you burn through activity. Once you have your BMR, use the Harris Benedict Formula below to determine your total daily calorie needs depending on your activity level. To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor:
    • If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : BMR x 1.2
    • If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : BMR x 1.375
    • If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : BMR x 1.55
    • If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : BMR x 1.725
    • If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports and physical job or 2x training) : BMR x 1.9
    • For example, a 19-year-old woman who is 5’5” and 130 pounds would plug her information into the calculator and find out that her BMR is 1366.8 calories. Then, since she is moderately active, exercising 3-5 days per week, she would multiply 1366.8 by 1.55, to equal 2118.5 calories. That is the number of calories that her body burns on an average day.
  4. 4
    Evaluate how many additional calories you need to add to your diet. Now that you have an idea of how many calories your body burns in a day, you can calculate how many more you need to gain weight.

    • Aim for one or two pounds per week. More than that could lead to a cycle of crash dieting, in which you gain and lose weight quickly.
    • At first, try adding 500 calories a day to your diet. For instance, if you need 2300 calories a day to maintain your current weight, strive to consume 2800 calories daily. This should be an extra 3500 calories over the course of a week, which will lead to one pound of weight gained.
  5. 5
    Eat three meals per day, as well as two snacks. Eating on a regular schedule can help you make sure you're getting enough calories every day. Aim to have generously-portioned breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as two snacks in between.
  6. 6
    Focus on hefty foods. You don't have to exclusively eat high-fat foods to gain weight. Actually, you'll gain weight more steadily and safely if you adjust your diet slightly to include denser foods and extra condiments. Consider these options:

    • Drinks — Try protein shakes, juices or whole milk. Avoid diet sodas.
    • Breads — Hearty and dense breads, such as whole wheat, oat bran, pumpernickel and rye, are more nutritious than white bread. Cut thick slices and spread generously with peanut butter, jam, honey, hummus, or cream cheese.
    • Vegetables — Look for starchy vegetables (potatoes, peas, corns, carrots, winter squash, beets). Avoid vegetables that are mostly water (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, green beans, cucumbers).
    • Fruit — Choose dense fruit (bananas, pears, apples, pineapple, dried fruit) over watery fruit (oranges, peaches, plums, berries, watermelon).
    • Soups — Go for hearty cream soups instead of broth-based soups. If you have trouble with edema or high blood pressure, you may want to avoid store-bought soups that are high in sodium.
    • Added oils — When you're cooking, add a generous amount of oil to your food. The healthiest oils are unrefined (extra virgin) oils such as olive, coconut, canola, palm, and (of course) butter. Less healthy but still acceptable sources of oil are those high in omega-6 fatty acids (pro-inflammatory) such as safflower, sunflower, and peanut oils. Unhealthy oils that contain trans fats include shortening and soybean oil (aka vegetable oil).
    • Spreads — Spreading delicious calorie-rich toppings on toast, crackers, pitas, and any other carbohydrate source is an excellent way to increase caloric intake. Some good high-calorie spreads are guacamole, olive oil, cream cheese, hummus, butter, nut butters, sour cream, cheese slices, and mayonnaise. For even more calories, mix these with shredded meats like chicken or fish.
    • Supplements — Some nutritional supplements are designed specifically for weight gain. Investigate brands and products that are suggested for people suffering from illnesses that lead to weight loss, such as Crohn's disease or hyperthyroidism.
  7. 7
    Avoid trans fats. Trans fats can increase belly fat, as well as inducing unhealthy insulin levels[3]. Steer clear of margarine, shortening, packaged snack foods, and processed meats.
  8. 8
    Eat more protein. A lack of protein in your diet can lead to the loss of lean body mass, even if you're consuming excess calories[4]. Here are some foods to consider [5]:
    • Boiled soybeans
    • Soy or whey protein powder
    • Peanuts or peanut butter
    • Steak or hamburger
    • Chicken
    • Tuna

Building Muscle to Gain Weight

  1. 1
    Start weight training. Building muscle through weight training will not only convert your extra weight into lean body mass, but it will also stimulate your appetite. Consider these points before you begin:

    • The extra muscle will increase the speed of your metabolism, so you'll need to consume more calories to maintain or gain weight.
    • During the first month of weight training, you may experience tremendous gains if you are faithful to your schedule. However, also expect this to level off after this initiatory period (known in the bodybuilding world as a plateau). You overcome this by re-evaluating your weight and muscle mass, while altering your diet to include more food and heavier weights.
    • When you start a new training routine, you will often experience extreme muscle soreness, called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).[6] This soreness is completely normal and should not prevent one from keeping to their weight training schedule. It goes away in 3 to 5 days.
  2. 2
    Lift heavy weights for maximum muscle gain. To achieve hypertrophy (or large muscles), you should be lifting weights that are as close as possible to the maximum you can handle [7].

    • The weights should be so heavy that you hit "failure" (or the physical inability to lift again) after 12 or 13 reps.
    • Use forced reps. With the assistance of a spotter, you can do 2 or 3 more lifts after the point of failure. Forced reps increase the stress placed on muscle fibers and overload the target muscles, making them work harder than ever. Have your training partner assist you in the last few lifts.
    • Up your weight as soon as you need to. If you can do 15 lifts without hitting failure, you need more weight. It's vital that you keep increasing the weight of your lifts so that you can stave off plateauing.
  3. 3
    Supplement your diet with more protein. A protein-rich diet can help you gain mass while you're weight training[8]. Try to eat a meal that's heavy on protein shortly after you finish exercising.
    • Avoid "rabbit starvation"[9], which can result from increased physical activity coupled by a diet focused almost exclusively on lean protein. Make sure your diet still has plenty of fat in it.


  1. 1
    Don't get your hopes set on gaining weight in one spot by eating more. The way your body distributes fat is largely determined by genetics, and can't be changed by diet alone. If you usually gain weight in your stomach but you want to gain it in your butt, your best bet is to build your gluteal muscles instead of trying to eat more.
  2. 2
    See a doctor. If you can't gain weight in spite of following the above steps, schedule an appointment with your family physician. You may have a medical condition that prevents your body from absorbing fat or building muscle.

  3. 3
    Weigh yourself at the same time each day. Because your weight can fluctuate throughout the day, try to set one time at which you'll step onto the scale. Many people prefer to weigh themselves first thing in the morning, before eating breakfast.

  4. 4
    Avoid binging. Cycles of binging (or overeating) and fasting have been shown to have negative effects on glucose and insulin levels, as well as potentially damaging metabolic processes over a long term [10][11]. Instead of pigging out at one meal because you want to consume as many calories as possible, try to spread that intake out over the entire day.

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