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Gaining Weight the Smart Way

Posted Sep 01 2011 9:30am

Funnily enough some people want to gain weight rather than lose it.

What most don’t realise is that there is a difference between gaining good weight and simply gaining weight – this article is going to outline some ideas for gaining good weight in the way of muscle, strength and bone density rather than fat. Too many people are impatient in their search for a healthier more muscular physique and try to gain weight in a hurry using gainer shakes, junk food or by simply force feeding themselves – all of these methods are ineffective and destructive to the body.
The reasons for gaining weight may simply be adding muscle but it can also extend to those who are recovering from an illness or need the strength for a certain activity.

1. Be conscious of what you eat -  I have a strong belief that if we eat real and wholesome food our bodies have a very hard time converting excess to fat – usually it will dispose of it as either heat or waste from the body. Therefore it is so important to eat lots of whole foods when trying to gain weight, especially unrefined carbohydrates. Nothing builds muscle like a diet high in Oats, Brown Rice, Beans, Potatoes, and other root vegetables. They are not only rich in vitamins and minerals but provide your muscle tissue with the building blocks they need to grow lean and metabolic muscle. Complex carbohydrates paired with some protein and fat is by far the best way to add lean mass to your frame.

2. Exercise with weights - To gain good weight resistance training is essential. The more muscle stimulated the more likely the food you eat is then funnelled into the muscles for repair and growth rather than put into fat cells. This is thanks to the improved insulin sensitivity that doing resistance training provides – I like to recommend doing some kind of weight bearing exercise 1-3 times a week for someone looking to take full advantage of this effect. Focus on full body workouts like these……  and don’t over do the cardio – sure if you enjoy running go out for the occasional run but do not make cardio a staple of your training regime.

3. Eat  lots – yet listen to your body. Sometimes we are ravenous and other times appetite can waiver, be body aware and realise when these times are. If you are hungry eat, doesn’t matter if you have just eaten or the pangs come at odd times – just make sure you focus on eating high quality of food each time you eat and it is hard to go wrong.
Your appetite along with tiredness (indicating its time to rest) is probably the most important signal our body gives and we should have awareness of. We must also learn to follow our instincts – if you feel like something sweet go for some fruit. Other times you may feel like eating meat and starchy foods or something else filling and satisfying, give into these cravings and eat what your body is asking for.

4. Sleep - We grow and repair when resting not while we are awake. Be sure to get plenty of rest and sleep – this will not only allow for the correct hormonal release which promotes muscle growth and fat burning but it will make you feel better. Try to get into a good rhythm with sleep, going to bed and getting up at similar times most of the week.

5. Don’t be too Healthy - it is hard to gain weight when eating purely healthy foods, so don’t be afraid to eat pizza, cake or other ‘off limit’ foods especially if you have been training hard. These foods are great every now and then to get in calories – which can sometimes be the thing our body needs the most to function and feel good.

So this guide is not only for those trying to gain weight but also those just trying to eat and live well. Eating lots of high quality and nutritious food is always a solid plan for anyone to follow regardless of their goals.

After all gaining weight is usually as simple as feeding your body enough food – this is easy to accomplish if you are eating junk all day but with undesirable results. It seems that processed food in excess confuses the body and causes weight gain in all the wrong places. Unprocessed and whole food on the other hand do not, even in abundance.

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