There is only one magic formula to gaining weight and it requires that you eat more calories than your body burns. If you are finding it difficult to gain weight despite the fact you think you eat a lot, it is possible you are not creating a calorie surplus. If you are struggling to gain weight, these tips can help you understand what may be happening.
Why You’re Not Gaining Weight
If you are naturally skinny, you may think you can eat anything you want without gaining. You may claim you have a fast metabolism or that you simply don’t digest food the way heavier people do. You may believe you are constantly stressed which can lead to weight loss or that there is some medical condition that leads you to stay thin. However, there is truly only one explanation for staying thin and that is that you aren’t eating as much as you think you are. Track your calories for one week using an app like MyFitnessPal or something similar. It is highly likely you will find that you are not gaining weight because you are eating fewer calories than you are burning.
Somatotypes: Is Your Body Type Important
Your body type does play a part in how easily you gain or lose weight. People with high metabolisms do exist and it is possible you are not gaining because you are very active. Many people who have difficulty gaining fidget more than those who do not, research indicates. If you have a small frame, you may still have difficulty gaining because your body is not built to be big. Even if you have a small frame, have difficulty gaining due to activity or your metabolism is higher than others, if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. The key is to eat more calories than you burn consistently in order to see results.
How to Gain Weight
There are several ways to increase your calorie intake in order to gain weight. You can add more calories to each meal or add additional meals. Add calorie-dense food to your diet such as dried fruits, nuts or pasta. Blended food digests easier than food you have to chew, so add smoothies to your diet. One of the best smoothies includes oats, milk, banana, peanut butter and whey protein. Just as overweight people underestimate what they eat, skinny people overestimate what they eat. Track your calories each day to see what you are consuming. Consider a fitness tracker, such as a FitBit or Garmin, to track both calories and activity each day. Add squats and deadlifts with free weights to your workout to help you gain.
The Importance of Nutrition
Eating more calories than you burn will help you gain weight, but not just any calories. You want to be sure to choose healthy options, like whole grains as well as lean meats and dairy. Start by adding 500 calories per day than you are burning. If you are not gaining as you’d like, add more calories, but do so slowly to avoid building belly fat. You need to be consistent as it is the daily average calorie intake that determines true weight gain.
You Need to Eat More Protein
Increase the amount of protein you eat each day, such as chicken, fish and eggs. Add 1 gram of protein per pound of body-weight per day to build muscle and for recovery. Some of the best protein options include steaks, ground round, chicken breasts and thighs as well as tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines. Eggs are good source of protein as are dairy products like milk, cottage cheese and yogurt.
Top Protein Sources:
Eat More Meals Throughout the Day
Small meals are easier to manage than large meals, so aim for six to seven small meals per day rather than three. Start by waking up earlier and eating breakfast. Too often, skinny people eat nothing for breakfast which means they are getting no calories before noon. You need at least eight hours sleep, so that leaves you only 16 hours to eat each day. Start with breakfast around 7 AM, adding a snack 10 AM. Lunch should be around 1 PM, another snack around 4 PM and then dinner around 7 PM. Keep in mind these are not large, more than 1,000 calorie meals, but smaller meals that are between 500 and 700 calories.
What You Should Eat
Choose foods that are high in calories and nutrition. Although vegetables are healthy, they do not have many calories. Keep vegetables in your diet for their nutritional value and fat-burning properties, but if you want to gain weight, you also need to add foods like nuts, dried fruit, dairy, grains, potatoes, fats and meat. Try to avoid junk food even though it is high in calories. McDonald’s food is calorie-dense, but also contains significant amounts of fat, sugar and sodium. Although eating chips, cookies, fries and ice cream may add calories, it can lead to extra fat around your belly. That does not mean you can never eat at McDonald’s or enjoy a cold beer every now and then. The best rule of thumb is 90 percent quality food and 10 percent junk food.
Lifting helps trigger muscle mass building in your body so you want to include lifting weights in your workout. Lifting also increases your appetite helping you to eat more. If you eat more than you burn, lifting keeps food from being stored as fat. Use free weights which are more effective and safer than machines. Include compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench press and rows. Always try to lift more than you did in your last workout and be sure your form is correct. Your body needs rest, so don’t do more than three full body workouts each week.
Supplements for the Skinny Guy
Blending food in liquid form helps you digest it more quickly. You can make your own weight gainer shakes by combining:
- 100g Oats
- 1 Banana
- 1 tbsp Peanut Butter
- 300ml Whole Milk
- 2 scoops Whey Protein
Mix everything in a blender for 1048 calories, 120g carbs, 80g protein and 28g fat. Avoid processed weight gainer shakes as they are often full of sugars. If you aren’t a fan of smoothies, simply drink whole milk.
These tips and suggestions are designed for people who have difficulty gaining weight when working out. For more tips on workouts, nutrition and weight, subscribe to my YouTube Channel.