Weight Gain is not necessarily as easy as it sounds, and for ‘hard gainers’ it can be difficult. Although focus is largely placed upon obesity, being under weight can also cause health problems for many people.
Just as with losing weight, gaining weight needs to be done in a safe, natural and healthy manner.
Common reasons for needing to gain weight include:
Genetics play a role in physical build, and it is important to be aware of your body type to set achievable goals;
There are three body types;
Ectomorph (Slim and predisposed to not gaining fat)
Mesomorph (medium, athletic build)
Endomorph (large and predisposed to gaining fat)
For example someone who is naturally tall and thin may find it much harder to gain weight than someone who has lost a lot of weight due to illness, or has an endomorph body type.
Essentially to gain weight you need to regularly consume more calories than your body uses each day through activity and Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).
It is important to set a target to work towards, a good weight gain speed is about 1kg per month.
For that you’ll need an extra 350kcal per day and it is best done as part of a healthy, balanced diet. 350kcal could be obtained from approximately 300g of cottage cheese or 4 slices of brown bread.
However, to gain weight healthily, there are many other factors that need to be considered.
Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a measure that most people can use to check if their weight is healthy for their height.
This will ultimately let you know if you are over weight, under weight or a healthy weight.
For most adults, a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is ideal. If your BMI is below 18.5, you may need to consider gaining weight.
Getting adequate vitamins and minerals along with all the other nutrients is essential for weight gain. If some are missing this can result in lethargy, illness and slower than expected gain in health weight.
The table below details RDA (recommended Daily Allowance) of food and nutrients for adults aged 19-50 years.
For adults over 50 years old quantities remain the same apart from Iron, which reduces to 9g from 14.8g.
|Calories||2200 - 2500|
|Fat (g)||55 - 78|
|Saturated Fat (g)||24 - 27|
|Cholesterol (mg)||< 300|
|Sodium (mg)||1500 - 2300|
|Fibre (g)||31 - 34|
|Vitamin A (microgram)||600 - 700|
|Vitamin C (mg)||35 - 40|
The Eatwell plate is used to provide a visual representation to show
you how much of what you eat should come from each food group.
The Eatwell plate does not show specific nutrients such as fibre; but instead gives a overview of the foods we should be eating in the correct ratios.
This forms an important aspect of not just healthy weight gain, but of a healthy diet in general. Too much of any one nutrient is bad, with a balanced diet being a more sustainable, natural and effective choice.
Although saturated fats should be largely avoided, there are also many ‘good’ essential fatty acids (EFAs) in foods such as salmon, flaxseed oil and raw nuts.
While the good fats are essential for optimum health, the saturated fats should be avoided due to their low percentage of good nutrients in relation to their high calorie content. These foods include red meats, cakes and deep fried foods.
Protein is essential for healthy weight gain as it helps support muscle growth. A common mistake made when trying to gain weight is consuming high quantities of calorie dense food such a bread without also consuming a balanced proportion of protein rich foods This results in a phenomenon known as ‘skinny fat’ , which is not only unhealthy but also unaesthetic.
Rich protein sources include fish, eggs and meat.
This group contains foods such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream. They are very high in vitamins A and D, calcium, fats and protein and a effective tool for fast weigh gain.
Fruit and vegetables are loaded with fibre, vitamins, minerals and good healthy carbohydrates. You should aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
Carbohydrates are the main providers of energy for the body and are important for weight gain. Examples include whole grains and potatoes.
To allow your body to absorb and use all the calories you ingest, you must reduce your meal size, but increase the frequency of your meals. Dividing your calories in to smaller, more frequent portions allows the nutrients to be absorbed and utilised more efficiently.
The ideal meal frequency for gaining weight would be to eat around six small meals spread out evenly throughout the day. This ensures that your body always has nutrients at hand for growth.
Although exercise burns calories, it’s important to include some form of activity five days a week and combine this with some resistance training.
This is to ensure your bones are kept strong and your muscles toned resulting in growth that is proportionate and atheistically pleasing.
One of the most important aspects of weight gain is to ensure you are eating ‘real food’. This means cutting out processed foods, or commonly referred to as C.R.A.P foods;
Artificial Colouring and Sweeteners
How you choose to gain weight will dictate how successful you are; with proper nutrition and exercise anybody can achieve healthy and sustainable weight gain.
Alpha Genics main objective isn't to sell supplements (surprised?). It's actually to support our customers in achieving their goals and help improve their health.
Now, we cant realistically achieve this just by selling you our weight gain stack (although it helps!). Instead, we supply advice on aspects that underpin healthy weight and general health.
There's more to achieving healthy weight that eating food! Our comprehensive information database offers advice on subjects including lifestyle, supplements, health, exercise, nutrition and much more...
Company Registration Number: