weight gain diet tips

weight gain diet
weight gain diet

If losing weight is a matter of eating less and exercising more, then the opposite must be true for gaining weight, right? Not so fast: going on a weight gain diet isn’t as simple as stuffing your face with pizza, hamburgers, and cookies at every opportunity. 

While guys who are considered “hard gainers” — those who have a fast metabolism and find it harder to put on weight, especially muscle — have more leeway in choosing the foods they eat on a weight gain diet, they still shouldn’t ignore the potential drawbacks of eating too much unhealthy food. 

Not only will the wrong types of food promote fat gain instead of muscle gain, but it can have long-term negative effects on one’s health. A proper weight gain diet for hard gainers, or ectomorphs, will incorporate a variety of healthy foods in addition to the exercise that keeps the body sharp.  

Weight Gain Diet: The Fundamentals

At the fundamental level, gaining weight is a matter of consuming more energy than you expend. We measure the amount of energy contained in our food by calories. A calorie is the amount of energy required to heat one gram of water by one degree Celcius. 

Calories are, therefore, a measure of heat, or energy. The number of calories in your food determines how much energy it contains. Think of the human body as a machine: it takes in energy from a power source (food) and expends that energy to function. In order for your machine to get bigger, you have to give it a surplus of energy so that it can use it to build new tissue and enlarge existing tissue.

Note that when it comes to nutrition, most references to “calories” are actually references to “dietary calories,” or kilocalories (kcal). One kilocalorie is equal to one thousand calories; when we talk about the number of calories in a given serving, we’re actually talking about the number of kilocalories in that serving.

Weight Gain Diet: Eating the Right Foods

Pounding down several hamburgers a day will probably make you put on weight, even if you’re a hard gainer. But as mentioned before, it’s not really healthy. The weight that you gain will likely be in the form of fat and such junk food can cause long-term health problems. 

Instead, stick to healthy foods that can still help you consume large amounts of energy; these foods are called “calorie-dense” foods since they pack a lot of energy into a small amount of food. Examples of calorie-dense starches include potatoes, rice, oatmeal, bread, and pasta. Foods high in both protein and calories include peanut butter (and nuts in general), cheese, and meats. Since protein is important for building muscle, you’ll make sure you want to consume enough protein in your diet. 

Even meats that contain saturated fat, such as most red meat, are helpful to a hard gainer. Those cuts of meat are more calorie-dense than lean cuts and they also contain healthy unsaturated fats. Still, some research points to adverse side effects from heavy long-term consumption of saturated fats, so include them in moderation.

It’s true that to undertake a successful weight gain diet, you simply need to consume more energy than you expend through exercise and through your body’s normal functions. However, that’s not an excuse to pig out on donuts and ice cream every day. Those foods may be very calorie dense, but you’ll only be doing your waistline (and your health) a disservice.

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