At first glance, you may think that gaining weight is simpler than losing weight: eat (a lot) more and that’s it. But it’s not like that.
Gaining weight is really tough, especially when it comes to staying on track and eating the right things to feed yourself.
Have you ever tried starting your car’s engine with apple juice instead of gasoline? Yeah sure, that won’t get you very far. This principle also applies to the nutrients and foods you eat.
In this guide, we share the exact steps to gain weight in a healthy way. How to gain quality body mass without getting sick or being obese.
FAQ – How to Gain Weight and Muscle? ( For skinny guys )
1. I am Skinny, How do I gain weight and muscle?
We have created this guide for skinny guys, however, our guide works the same for all weight groups. But the idea to create this guide came from a real-life skinny guy, who want to gain weight and muscle.
The perfect way to Gain Weight and Muscle
Similar to losing weight, it all depends on your energy balance. The funda is if you want to gain some weight, you will need a positive energy balance. You need to consume more calories a day than you burn.
First, calculate how many calories you actually burn. Do it with this calculator: Click me. YOu can also take use a fitness tracker. The amount of calories your body requires depends on a few things: your age, gender, weight, activity level etc.
2. How many calories do I need per day?
Once you have the numbers, you need to create a caloric surplus.
Suppose you need 2000 kcal per day.
So it’s best to start by adding an extra 300-500 calories per day.
See how you do for two weeks. You can always add calories to speed things up, depending on how your body reacts.
3. Does it matter what I eat?
Yes, it does matter if you want to gain quality body weight in a healthy way. Bingeing on sweets cakes and greasy junk food add more calories, but essential nutrients will be lost.
Plus, you run the risk of adding belly fat instead of muscle mass and natural body fat (subcutaneous fat).
Did you know that even people of normal weight can suffer from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases normally associated with obesity?
How to gain weight and muscle for skinny guys? (The healthy way)
No matter what you do, your body will only be healthy when you get all the necessary nutrients!
You need macronutrients like protein, fat, and carbohydrates. But vitamins and minerals are also essential. A balanced diet with the right nutrients should always be the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
Protein is an important building block. It contributes to lean body mass (muscle mass) and will help you build muscle instead of excess fat. Good sources of protein are:
- Nuts and seeds.
- Organic and happy eggs, dairy.
- High-quality protein powder (soy or pea protein).
Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats from nuts and seeds should be integrated into every diet.
At the end of this article, you can read more about structuring meals in our ultimate checklist for healthy weight gain!
Before we talk about exercise, let’s dive into some great food options and increasing your food intake.
What are some foods to gain weight and muscle?
Gaining weight means eating more. Which can obviously be a challenge at times!
So create meals that are energy-dense but don’t fill you up too quickly. Digestion discomfort is definitely not the goal. In addition to this, you don’t want to risk losing essential nutrients simply by choosing high-calorie foods.
Let’s give you some ideas for healthy, nutrient/energy-rich foods and ingredients:
- Powerful Smoothies: Combine oatmeal, fruits like bananas and berries, nut butter, seeds, and a liquid of your choice. You can add extras like protein powder. Cinnamon, cocoa or a glass of espresso will give you many more ways to vary the flavour!
- Stewed dish/stews: they are easy to cook. Stews are meals where you basically throw all the desired ingredients into a pot and let them cook in one go. Combine whole grains (such as brown rice), legumes (chickpeas or other beans), and vegetables with broth and 1-2 tablespoons of good-quality vegetable oil. You can always add other sources of protein, extra fat (avocado, seeds, or nuts), and fresh vegetables after everything is cooked. A classic chilli is a great example too!
- Power Bars: Think healthy cereal bars or make your own! Combine oatmeal, nut butter, mixed dates, more nuts, dried fruit (like blueberries), and even pieces of dark chocolate, depending on what you like. Mix everything together to create a thick batter that is smooth enough to form bars or balls. Or press the dough into a shallow plate and cut it later. You don’t even have to bake them. An hour in the freezer will do too!
What about exercise? Too much cardiovascular exercise could make it harder to gain weight, if you are burning all the calories you have consumed!
If your goal is to gain muscle mass, regular strength training will do the trick. This helps convert calories and protein consumed into (primarily) lean mass, rather than fat.
Seek help from a certified trainer to get started. That way you won’t waste time and you won’t risk exercise-related injuries.
In addition to this, regular resistance exercises may also reduce the risk of age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia) and osteoporosis.
The Best Weight Gain Checklist
Don’t go crazy thinking that you have to implement everything at once! Get in the habit of doing one thing at a time and add more as you get comfortable with the changes.
Do yourself a favour and document the implementations you make – that way you are creating your own personal plan that you can refer to later.
To make this as easy as possible for you, we have created this list. We love lists (and we hope you do too now).
- Calculate your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) using calculators available online. This is your baseline for calorie intake!
- Consume 300-500 kcal more than you burn (more than your TDEE) per day. You can increase or decrease this excess over time, depending on how quickly you want to get results!
- Eat regularly and don’t skip meals. Set a goal of three meals a day and add snacks whenever possible or as desired.
- Increase your protein intake. Set a goal of 1.5-2 g per kg of body weight.
- Get enough sleep. Your body requires rest to build new cells and convert energy into lean body mass effectively. Lack of sleep tends to throw your habits out of balance and can manipulate your hard work. See if you can get 7 to 8 hours a night!
- Choose foods rich in energy and nutrients like nuts, seeds, and oats. Nut butters especially are great nutrient and calorie boosters and can be added to almost any meal.
- Exercise smart. Choose weight training over hours of cardio. Start training twice a week and see how it goes! Don’t hesitate to ask a personal trainer for advice and even a plan. Security First!
- Plan ahead. Pack your meals and pack your bags for work or school ahead of time so you don’t end up empty-handed at mealtime! Go ahead and plan at least 2-3 days in advance! It works like magic and it will also help you with your weekly shopping.
- Go for the 80:20 principle. Focus on a diet and lifestyle that meets all of your health requirements by at least 80%. As long as you get what you need on a daily basis, you will always have room (20%) for doughnuts or whatever you want to enjoy! A successful approach is a mindset focused on doing more of what is good for you, rather than wasting too many thoughts on things to avoid.
Maintain your gained weight
Once you reach your desired weight you have to maintain it as well. If you wish to have an article on “how to maintain weight”, leave some comments asking for the same. We will definitely share it with you soon.