If you’ve been looking to gain weight, specifically muscle mass, then we at 8fit can lend you a helping hand. The first rung on the ladder to making that successful lifestyle change is equipping yourself with the proper knowledge. That doesn’t mean you need to become a certified coach or nutritionist. We’ll show you some ways that you can start making a difference in your life with our top four weight gain tips. A weight gain app may well get you closer to your fitness goals, so take a look at our top tips and our criteria on how to decide on an app!
How to gain weight in 4 steps
1. Eat more calorie-dense foods
It probably goes without saying, but to gain weight, you need to eat more. Anywhere from 200 to 500 more calories per day is a great start. If that sounds daunting, try slowly building up your calorie intake over time. One way to do this is to eat several small meals a day rather than three large ones.
Instead of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you could spread your calories out over five or six meals. When we say meal, we don’t necessarily mean a full-on dinner kind of meal. You could count an egg with mashed avocado on whole-grain toast as a meal, and something smaller like muesli with yogurt as another. Play around with it and have fun trying out new flavor combinations and sampling new cuisines.
Though calories dense, it’s best to steer clear of junk food. Instead, stock up on high-calorie, fresh nutrient-rich foods. If you need a little inspiration as to what kind of foods to opt for, here are a few of our favorites:
Unsweetened nut butters
Almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter – you name it! If you’re trying to gain weight, nut butters are your friend. They’re delicious, creamy and full of calories and protein, so you really can’t go wrong there. Just make sure to read the label and select the unsweetened and non-hydrogenated kinds.
Drizzling even just a little bit of oil over your food is an excellent way to add calories to your diet. Mix things up by trying flavorful varieties like walnut oil or olive oil infused with garlic. Organic, cold-pressed oils are the healthiest options as they maintain the nutritional integrity of the oil. Also, when cooking it’s best to select oils with a high smoke point like avocado oil, coconut oil, and peanut oil.
Dairy products (full fat!)
Do you love cheese? Well, you’re in luck because cheese happens to be a very calorie-dense food. That doesn’t mean you should go out and gorge on fondue. Keep in mind that not all cheese is created equal. Aim for organic and minimally processed whenever possible (i.e., from your local farmers market versus packaged slices or “cheese” spreads). In general limit cheese if you are at risk of heart disease or have high cholesterol.
If you want a snack that’s super portable and packs in a lot of calories, dried fruit is an excellent choice. There’s a lot more than raisins to choose from. Try dried apricots, pineapple or cranberries for a tasty treat that’s nice and sweet. Avoid the types with added sugars, syrups, and preservatives and pair with a meal or protein-rich snack whenever possible. However, if you’re prediabetic or diabetic, limit the dried fruit on your list, as the high fructose content will destabilize your blood sugar levels.
Interested in knowing more? Read our in-depth article about healthy weight gain foods.
2. Strength train
To ensure that you put on muscle instead of fat, be sure to exercise during your weight-gain journey. There are so many different exercise methods out there to help you increase muscle mass. Here are few highly effective ones:
These are our favorite exercises here at 8fit. Why? Because you need nothing more than your body and some space to get in a serious workout. It’s just as effective as working out with equipment — only way more affordable. Take 8fit Pro for a spin for bodyweight exercises that help you achieve your weight gain goals (plus hundreds of nutritious recipes tailored to your preferences!).
Examples: Squats, push-ups, burpees, planks, lunges
If you want to increase the difficulty of your bodyweight workouts, add free weights into the mix and prepare to feel the burn. There are an array of different varieties out there including dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells, so you’re sure to find something that suits your workout style. Form is critical when using weights, so make sure to choose a weight you’re comfortable with, so you can execute the exercises with control and proper form to avoid injuries.
Examples: Deadlifts, bicep curl, bench press, tricep kickbacks
Resistance bands are a good option for beginners looking for a portable solution. They’re usually super affordable and come in several resistance levels ranging from easy to extra heavy. They’re the perfect addition to your bodyweight routine. If you want to gain muscle weight, make sure to keep leveling up in difficulty as you progress.
Examples: Glute bridge, lateral band walk, supinated clamshell
If you have a gym membership, then you can also give the strength training machines in the gym a go. Unlike the other exercises, using machines can be more of a commitment as you must visit the gym to get in your workout unless you can afford a home gym system. Also, it’s best to get a professional trainer at the gym to show you the ins and outs before taking on any machines you’re unfamiliar with, to avoid injury or ineffective exercising.
Examples: Cable biceps bar, horizontal seated leg press, hanging leg raise
If you want to dive in deeper than check out 8fit’s very own Coach Tor’s article on the benefits of strength training.
3. Get enough sleep
You really can’t underestimate the power of sleep, even when it comes to something like gaining weight. After all, rest is where the magic happens – your body builds muscle while you’re getting your Z’s in. Not only is sleep integral for muscle growth and repair, but it’s also a must for reducing your stress levels. Less stress means lower cortisol levels and a healthier, well-functioning metabolism.
You may want to have an easily digestible snack containing protein before bed, as according to new studies, that’s when the body experiences the most amount of muscle hypertrophy, aka an increase in muscle mass. Also, certain amino acids (building blocks of protein) like tryptophan can help you feel relaxed and sleepy. So, next time you think about skimping on sleep, think again!
4. Be patient
Just as with any significant change in life, healthy weight gain takes time. It can take a while to form new habits, especially when it comes to health and fitness. The good news is that if you stick at it, soon enough the changes you’ve made will eventually become second nature.
Remember, success isn’t always linear. You will have ups and downs, and there will be times where you don’t stick to your plan. Don’t let that get you down – when you fall off the wagon, get back up! Let the potholes on your road to success be just that — potholes.
How do apps help you gain weight?
In this day and age, technology plays an increasingly important role in our lives. So why not take advantage of it when it comes to your fitness goals? If you’re in the market for a weight gain app that suits your needs, take a look at our checklist below to make sure you choose one that ticks all the right boxes.
- Nutritious meal plans and recipes
A good weight gain app includes meals that are optimal for reaching your goals. Ideally, you’d have a meal plan with exact specifications so that you know how much you should be eating during the day, taking into account all meals, as well as post-workout foods and snacks. Created by certified nutritionists, when it comes to 8fit meals you know you’re in good hands.
- Strength building exercises that you can do anywhere
Alongside a meal plan with approachable recipes and portion size guidance, a good weight gain app will feature an extensive library of exercises. It’s vital that it has a visual demonstration showing you how to do each exercise, as well as step-by-step instructions and tips regarding proper form, so there’s little risk of injury.
- Reasonable goals
It’s also vital that you set yourself up for success, by setting realistic goals that you can indeed reach. Make sure your weight gain app has you progressing at a steady speed – the training plan should be gradual in approach.
- Reliable information
Finally, any good weight gain app has the feel as both a trusted source of information and an informed friend you can count on. If you need straightforward, unbiased advice, you should be able to turn to your app. After all, you’re undertaking a significant lifestyle change and planning to follow the app’s recommendations.
You deserve more
When it comes to downloading a weight gain app, don’t settle for less than you deserve. With the 8fit Pro app, you’ll benefit from all the advantages we listed above, from exercise for muscle gain to dependable health and fitness information and training tips.
Our meal plans are all created by certified nutritionists, and you’ll only get workouts designed by expert fitness coaches. For weight gain, weight maintenance, weight loss or general wellbeing, 8fit is your one-stop shop for health and fitness. Sign up for 8fit Pro as change starts now.