We get questions all the time from 8fitters who want to know how to gain weight – especially muscle weight. There are a multitude of reasons why someone – regardless of their gender – might want to gain weight, and there are equally as many misconceptions about how you should go about doing it.
The good news is that healthy weight gain is possible if you arm yourself with the right knowledge. We’ll help you separate fact from fiction and show you how to gain weight naturally while also staying fit.
Why might someone want to know how to gain healthy weight?
It’s common to hear of people wanting to lose weight, but the stories of those who want to gain weight are less prevalent. For some people, gaining weight can be just as challenging as losing it. You may want to gain weight if:
- You’re underweight and you want to reach the optimum weight for your body
- You want to increase muscle mass
- You’re recovering from an eating disorder or an illness
- You have a fast metabolism and find yourself losing too much weight
Just because you want to put on weight doesn’t mean you should load up on potato chips, cookies and cake – sorry folks! Of course, you’re welcome to indulge from time to time, but try not to make it a habit. Instead, pack your diet full of whole grains, healthy fats, and fiber, so that you feel your best.
Healthy foods to gain weight and how to incorporate them
Snack on nuts, seeds, dried fruit and dates
These kinds of foods have a high caloric density, which means there’s a lot of nutrition and calories in even a small amount – perfect to munch on when you’re hungry. For example, take almonds – did you know that there are a whopping 164 calories in just 1 oz (≈ 28 grams or 23 whole kernels)?! Almonds are also a good source of fiber and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. A nut that positively packs a punch.
Dried fruits like cherries and raisins are also brimming to the rim with calories and antioxidants. For a treat that’s portable, all-natural and delicious, pack a couple of dates to enjoy on the go – they’re super sweet, come in an array of sizes and are packed with antioxidants and fiber.
Drink your calories
Before you run off and order a giant milkshake, we specifically mean consuming your calories in the form of smoothies and protein shakes. If you want to avoid feeling stuffed from eating more food than usual, try drinking your calories instead. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck – not only will you enjoy a tasty treat, but you’ll also get a caloric nutrient boost.
Our suggestion? Make smoothies with ingredients you love. First, you’ll want to start off with a liquid base of your choice like whole milk, almond milk or soy milk. Next, add a couple of bananas. Use frozen bananas for smoothies to get it to that perfect texture. After that, add another fruit, some yogurt and protein powder for a calorie bomb you can drink as part of your meal or as a snack.
Why not give these 8fit smoothie recipes a go?
The 8fit recipe book is full of healthy smoothies that you can add nut butter, protein powder or protein-packed Greek yogurt to. Give our Apple Pie Smoothie, Banana Berry Protein Smoothie, or Beet & Berries Smoothie a try — or pin the recipe to try later.
Blend the ingredients in each recipe together until smooth. You really can’t go wrong! Just experiment to find the flavor combinations you like the most. Feel free to substitute different fruits and swap milk for water or tea to find the combination that works best for you.
If you don’t have a blender, no worries. Make shakes using your choice of milk and a scoop of protein powder inside a shaker cup and enjoy a quick and easy drink you can enjoy at any time of day.
Add avocado to (almost) everything
Avocados are seriously helpful when it comes to gaining weight. The average avocado contains around 322 calories and is full of healthy fats, dietary fiber and nutrients. Mash up the flesh of an avocado until it’s spreadable and use as a dip, spread it on top of bread for tasty avocado on toast or slice it into cubes and add it to salads, soups or rice dishes.
Eat small amounts often
If eating large quantities all at once isn’t your cup of tea, try going for a higher frequency of small meals. So, instead of eating three substantial meals, try four or five small meals. When you feel like you’re ready, start slowly increasing your meal size. Once you get accustomed to your new eating schedule, you can go back down to three larger meals a day. Who knows, maybe you’ll like the small-meal approach.
Stock up on nut butters
Who doesn’t love the creamy texture and taste of peanut butter? Good news – as you’re on the path to gain weight, you’ll be pleased to know that nut butters are A-ok in our books. Just make sure whatever nut butter you choose is non-hydrogenated and contains nuts and nuts only – watch out for sneaky additives like sugar and palm oil.
You’ll find several varieties of nut butter in your local natural foods store, so if you feel like keeping your taste buds on their toes, try cashew butter, almond butter or even pumpkin seed butter. Add them to your smoothies and oatmeal or spread a tablespoon on whole grain toast to increase both calories and flavor.
Avoid junk foods
Just because you’re looking to gain weight doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to start scarfing down junk food. It’s still important to make sure you get plenty of nutrients by eating a varied diet that’s healthful, rather than consuming empty calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
Patience is a virtue: Gaining weight takes time
Just like most sustainable change, weight gain needs time, and it’s certainly not going to happen overnight. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away – it can take a while to implement new habits in your life and for your body to adapt to them.
Remember, this is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. For guidance, every step of the way, sign up for 8fit Pro to benefit from meal plans designed specifically for gaining weight as well as exercises to build lean muscle. Soon enough, you’ll know intuitively how to gain weight.