When it comes to gaining weight, there are many myths and misconceptions floating around out there. In our food-obsessed culture, we’re so bombarded with stories about the newest weight loss trends, diet pills, and detoxes, that we sometimes forget about those who wish to gain weight.
We recently featured an article about how eating certain foods can help you meet your goals. In this follow-up article, we’ll focus on providing you with some other healthy ways to gain weight (and they’re not all food related). We’ll show you how gaining weight isn’t only about eating more food – it’s about forming new habits you’ll use the rest of your life.
But first of all, what is a healthy weight?
There’s been a lot of discussion among researchers in recent years about what constitutes a healthy weight. Probably the most commonly referenced scale for classifying a healthy weight is called body mass index (BMI) – a score that’s calculated using only your height and your weight.
This is problematic for many reasons. First of all, the result doesn’t take into account your muscle or bone density, nor does it consider the specific measurements of your waist, chest or hips. Because of this oversight, an athletic person with a high percentage of muscle mass might end up scoring “overweight” or even “obese” on the scale, whereas someone who doesn’t exercise at all might qualify as “normal.”
Nowadays, there are several more accurate ways to measure your body composition, including comparing your specific measurements and your height or testing your body fat percentage (check out our article on muscle weight to see a list of ways it can be tested).
Our take? We recommend talking to a registered dietician or your doctor so that they can assess your health. And, most of all, don’t let your BMI score get you down too much. If you exercise regularly, it could very well be inaccurate.
Our 5 tips for healthy weight gain
Increasing your food intake is undoubtedly the most important part of gaining weight, but there are also other changes you can make that’ll help. Take a look at these healthy ways to gain weight and start making things happen.
1. Get plenty of sleep
Ah, slumber. Believe it or not, sleep is important when it comes to gaining weight, especially if you wish to gain muscle too. The benefits of taking a rest are vast. In addition to potentially helping with memory and allowing the body to recharge, it can also help you achieve your weight gain goals.
2. Do bodyweight exercises
It’s an old myth that you need to have access to free weights or a gym to put on muscle weight. In fact, all you need is your bodyweight, enough space to plank and jump, and a little motivation.
Here at 8fit, we can attest to the power of bodyweight exercises – it’s kind of our specialty after all. Even so, if you have access to a gym or have weights at home, feel free to incorporate those into your weight gain plan.
3. Get your (healthy) snack on
One great thing about the process of putting on weight is that you can munch all through the day. We like these easy pick-me-ups:
Almond butter on whole-grain toast
A handful of nuts and dried fruit
Cheese and whole-grain crackers
4. Bulk up with extras
Having pasta? Grate a bit of fresh parmesan cheese over your plate. Getting burritos? Go for the extra guac. Baking potatoes? Okay, you probably get the picture. An easy way to add extra calories to your meal without making it feel larger is by upping the toppings. The food will still look like it’s around the same size, but will actually be a larger volume.
Even just a dash of oil atop your salad will add a good bit of calories – olive oil contains 119 calories in just one tablespoon!
5. Weight gain supplements: Necessary or nah?
Here’s the thing – supplements that promise massive gains without hard work are often nothing more than hogwash. Your best bet? Eat a wide variety of foods so that you don’t need to take supplements at all. Instead of spending a fortune on different pills and powders, try to get your vitamins and minerals in their natural bioavailable form (meaning your body can put the nutrients to use properly) free from sketchy fillers, binders, and chemicals.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not trying to say that all supplements are harmful. Sometimes they’re useful, especially if you know that you’re deficient in something specific (perhaps you follow a restrictive diet like keto). All we’re saying is that it’s a good idea to check the labels on any supplements you purchase and look out for nasty chemicals. Try to take any big claims with a grain of salt, and be sure to research if it’s from a reputable company.
We’ve got your back
Did you know you can select an 8fit meal plan that’s made solely for gaining healthy weight? That’s right, folks. Our coaches have thought everything through so that there’s no need to second guess whether or not you’re eating the right things.
In addition to meal plans customized to your diet – don’t fret, there are options for paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free lifestyles and more – and workouts tailored to your personal level of fitness, you’ll also join a community of people all over the world who are changing their lives for the better.