The general rule of thumb in fitness is to consume a deficit of calories if you’re looking to lose weight, and a surplus if you wish to gain weight.
Although losing weight is not an easy task, having to gain weight is not a walk in the park, either, especially for individuals with fast metabolism. This includes a large number of individuals who were athletic in their growing years and still maintain a level of fitness in adulthood.
Fast metabolism is also a trait of individuals who have active jobs or play sports frequently. And yes, these are mostly the same people you see constantly stuffing themselves with food without gaining so much as an inch.
What is fast metabolism?
Metabolism is a series of chemical reactions happening within the body that create and utilize energy for basic human functions and activities of daily living.
Metabolism is largely genetic. However, having a more active lifestyle boosts metabolism. It is also affected by other factors such as body composition, age, sex, lifestyle habits, diet, etc.
Just as metabolism can be sped up by increasing activity levels, it can also be slowed down by a sedentary lifestyle and even further by a lack of exercise.
Although having a faster metabolism than others feels like a free pass to eat whatever you want, there are healthier ways to go about it.
How to gain weight the right way
The journey to gaining weight could prove to be exhausting, whether you increase food uptake in every meal or simply just eat more meals. Nobody likes leaving the dining table feeling like a stuffed turkey. Here are some pointers to help you put on that mass without feeling like it’s too much.
Create a calorie surplus
Rule number one, as discussed above, is to have an increase in calories in your diet. Simply adding 300 to 500 calories a day is not enough. You need to be consuming more calories than your body burns in a day, including calories burned during exercise. Yep, that’s a lot of calories. Fear not, as these can easily be dispersed throughout the day.
Using an app to track your calorie intake can prove to be super helpful.
Eat more nutrient-dense meals
We’re talking involving foods that are high-carb, high-protein, and high-fat. While protein is what replenishes the muscles and adds mass to them, a deficit of carbs in the body will impair muscle growth as the body will rely on the energy stored in muscle tissues to fuel itself throughout the day.
Examples include eggs, pasta, rice, meat chops, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts and seeds.
Consume healthy snacks throughout the day
Be sure to slip in healthy snacks throughout the day. And we don’t mean packed fried food or sweets. These snacks could be fruits, nuts, a sandwich with nut butter spread, a smoothie, etc.
Smoothies are a great way to get additional calories in without having to feel too full or uneasy. Simply blend together the ingredients of your choice with milk for a filler that is highly nutritional and satisfying.
A common recipe for a nutrient-dense smoothie:
- Whole banana
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 cup milk
- 5 - 6 almonds
- 1 tbsp. peanut butter
- 2 - 3 dates
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 3 tbsp. pre-soaked chia seeds
- 1 scoop whey protein (optional)
Perform strength training 4 to 5 times a week
Most people will advise against cardio if you’re trying to gain weight. However, cardio is not all about burning fat, and is essential to keep your endurance at its peak and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Once or twice a week, or 10 minutes every day after strength training is good enough.
Strength training is essential to ensure excess calories are utilised to build muscle instead of getting deposited as fat around the body. Be sure to progress in the weights you are lifting so your muscles continue to grow.
Consider taking protein supplements
To gain weight, 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein is recommended to be consumed per kilo pf bodyweight. The range depends on your activity levels. The higher they are, the more will be required. For example, a fairly active person weighing 60 kilos (132 lbs) would need to consume approximately 120 grams of protein daily to gain weight.
These targets can be made easier to reach by taking supplements in the form of whey protein or creatine monohydrate, which aids in building muscle.
It is definitely hard to gain weight, but the process is not impossible. Nobody starts off with a perfectly built body. All bodies are different and can be trained to become the best version of themselves.
So load up on those calories and hit the weights. Be sure to track your progress over time with regular weigh-ins and measurements. This will help you follow your routine with more ease!
Q. Do you struggle with gaining weight?
Yes, I do.
Kind of the opposite.