Wait! What? GAINING?! We were just talking about being wary of being SKINNY.
I know I focus a LOT on LOSING WEIGHT, or ADDING MUSCLE, in my talks about “FITNESS”, but I also realise that there are many out there who just CAN’T gain; that they don’t WANT to be “skinny” they want to be FIT & Curvy, but struggle to add that lean MASS. Yes! For some skinny-minis, they’re consider it being either genetically CURSED.
Perception is always dependent upon which side of the mirror you’re on.
Some people are what we in the fit-biz call “hard gainers” – those who try & try and eat & eat and can’t gain weight, typically it’s the less-than Chisled males, who tend to be upset about this, but some women feel more Olive Oyl and less Natalia Vodianova, with their “less than slender” physique.
I’ve included a few KEYS to weight gain & some way to AVOID! (*Sadly, I can not GUARANTEE immediate, not identical results for everyone… it’s just not POSSIBLE to promise it!)
HOW TO GAIN (SAFELY)
1. EAT MORE… INTELLIGENTLY
Break it down. EAT MORE – You need to eat an increased load of calories to gain weight. (*Ask your friends trying to lose “the last 5”, it’s snacking and idle eating, leading to intake of surplus calories that leads to holding on or adding weight.)
Here’s the kicker …INTELLIGENTLY – You need to be smart about what you’re putting in, in surplus. Weight management is all about Calories IN vs. Calories OUT, but Calories COUNT when you count calories. Don’t just binge on fast food, junk and trashy over-processed foods. Eat more whole and healthy foods. WHY? So your body can USE THE CALORIES, properly, while storing them. You don’t want to be trapped being SKINNY FAT – thin frame, looks great in clothes, but without coverage, the limbs/form appear flabby. The danger, you potentially have the innards of someone who is fat.
2. Eat your Meals More Often Throughout the Day
Regardless of WHY you want to gain weight, eating meals or substantial snacks (think mini-meals) more often is the way to pack more calories into the day. Just like trying to control calorie intake on the LOWER end, eating before you’re ravenous, makes you choose better. Whether you need to eat MORE or LESS.
To gain weight, the snacks just need to be a little more “hearty”. Try to eat five to seven times throughout the day, with each meal (or at least three of them) containing protein, starch, vegetable[s], and fat. When trying to gain lean mass, add some additional carbohydrates (*starches, grains) and protein. e.g. Turkey Sandwich, swiss cheese, tomato, on whole grain bread.
3. GAIN MUSCLE!
I say this to my “skinny mini” clients, if you want to gain WEIGHT, why gain FAT? Muscle is heavier AND it looks BETTER under the skin! Think about it: Athletes who want to add mass need to add sufficient additional calories, focusing on protein intake, along with proper strength training to make sure they gain weight in the right places. Nutritional experts advise athletes to eat protein-rich snacks such as a high-protein energy bars, low-fat chocolate milk, or a protein shake immediately after weight training to give muscles the necessary post-workout fuel. I’m not saying you jump into an intense BULK program. But throwing in a body-pump or circuit class, along with Zumba, will HELP not HARM.
LADIES: before you GO THERE… WOMEN LIFTING WEIGHTS DO NOT INSTANTLY BULK INTO SHE-HULKS! Trust me! I do 7-8 lift sessions PER WEEK, and I STRUGGLE to add mass. That beautiful lean physique you see in the health mags come from WEIGHT TRAINING! Don’t be afraid to pick up some heavy numbers! Keep in mind: Avid exercisers who are not trying to build muscle mass also need frequent healthy snacks to fuel their physical activity and to maintain or gain weight, they just don’t supplement their daily calories with protein surplus.
For those of you who find it hard to be HUNGRY. (*EN: I just… I don’t even know what that feels like. SMH… I’m ALWAYS HUNGRY – but I digress)
Here are some tricks of the trade that can help stimulate your appetite:
Taking a little walk before eating.
Choosing your favorite comfort foods may help.
Whet appetite with spices and herbs to enhance flavor.
Liquids, including water, can fill you up. So drink liquids separately to help make room for nourishing foods.
Fruit can rouse your appetite, especially when blended into an easy-to-tolerate smoothie.
If you don’t want to, or more likely CAN’T spend ALL DAY nibbling. Choose foods that give you more BANG for your BUCK!
Foods highest in calories and nutrients are foods with fats, especially plant fats.
Plant fats such as nuts, peanuts, seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, avocados, coconut, hummus, and oils are great sources of healthy fats loaded with nutrients and calories.
Animal fats provide nutrients and the same amount of calories as plant fats, but they also contain saturated fats, which can increase LDL (bad) cholesterol, so you need to be wary of over filling your diet with meats. Especially if you’re not typically making lean-cut choices. Choose plant fats and smaller amounts of lower-fat dairy and lean meat animal fats, so your weight gain efforts don’t increase risk of heart disease. e.g. pair cheese with fruit and whole-grain crackers for a boost of protein, calories, calcium, and vitamin D.
You also get a little more lee-way than your “fluffier” friends, who may be watching their intake from the other end of the scale. You can drink high-calorie juices as well as water throughout the day, and you have the option to choose high-calorie condiments such as mayonnaise, ranch, thousand island, and Caesar salad dressings.
Meal replacement drinks and smoothies are very convenient. To pump up their calories, add fruits, powdered milk, oats, hemp, chia, flax or (Non-GMO) silken tofu.
Eat nuts by the handful or sprinkle them on top of soups, salads, cereal, desserts, and casseroles for added protein, fiber, healthy fat, and calories. Granola, loaded with nuts and dried fruits, is a concentrated source of nutritious calories, especially when eaten with full-fat Greek-style yogurt, which is higher in protein
Hope this helps!
xo – Mia