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22. 4. 2012.

Healthy weight gaining

When it is about weight, the most of sports active people maintaines weight or decreases it. Some even want to gain few pounds. Some very skinny athletes wish to gain some mass to cover bone constitution. For them food is mission, not cure. These people mostly hate their bony look, so they eat a lot hoping that they will get few pounds needed for normal look, according to their view.

How to increase weight?

Theoretically, to gain 0.5kg, 500 calories more than normal amount should be eaten. Some people gain their weight very hard and they need more calories than the other ones. In the research where test group was fed for a month with the goal to gain 5.5kg, they made to gain only 3kg(Webb and Annis, 1983.). Researchers were confused by contradiction. What happened with calories that were not turned to bulk or spent due to faster metabolism(that products 9% more energy)?
In other study(Sims, 1976.), 200 prisoners that didn’t have obesity in their family, volunteered in overeating. The goal was to gain 20-25% of normal weight(some 15-20kg) through overeating. In the period of more than half year, they ate a lot and trained minimally. However, only 20 of them made to gain weight targeted. From them two did it easy(in their family nobody had diabetes or obesity). One prisoner of 66kg tried to gain 6kg in 30 weeks but he couldn’t. Newer researches show that body can adjust metabolism to keep genetically determined weight. If you are hard to gain weight, take a good look into your genetics. If other members of your family are skinny and slim, you have probably inherited genetic predisposition for thinnes. Your body can be changed at some limits through nutrition, weight training and years; but don’t expect miracles.
Most of athletes believes that the best way to gain mass is protein nutrition. That is not correct. Too big amount of proteins will not be stored as muscle. Half kilos of meat slice will not be turned into bigger biceps. You need additional calories, and they must be from carbohydrates, not from proteins. Muscles are fed with carbohydrates to be able to maintain power training. Muscle fibers are thickened through weight training and other exercises with load, and simple protein storage.

How to balance nutrition for weight gain

The best would be to follow the pyramid that is featured for normal nutrition. Muscles are completely refilled with glycogen when we eat 6-10g per kilogram, and body uses less than 0.5g of protein per kilogram in the growth period, the main nutrition goal is to satisfy needs for carbohydrates and proteins. After that you can balance calories with some fat and extra carbohydrates.

Food type
Calories percent
g/kg for desired weight
as addition
only to balance calories

Till today, researches didn’t show that protein powders increase body weight. The only reason why is that supposed is to represent additional calories.

How to increase calories intake?

If you are too busy, you may have hard time to find time for additional calory intake. If you mostly eat outside, bring the package of food. You may eat often per day if that is suitable for your way of living. Have the food at the reach of your hand and eat when your opportunity is seen. Or you may try next:
  • Before sleep eat additional meal, for example sandwich with peanut butter and glass of milk.
  • Eat bigger portions for lunch.
  • Eat food with more calories.
If you eat compact and broth food(for example rice instead of cornflakes), more space will be available in gaster and you will have less unpleasants.
When you choose food, have in mind that fat are the most concentrated shape of calories. One spoon of fat has 36 calories, and one spoon of carbohydrates has only 16 calories. Most food that is rich with proteins contains a large amount of fat, so these food also have a lot of calories. However, some fat types, like saturated fats in cheese,beef, chicken pox, butter and ham are harmful for health. Try to limit these consummations of food concentrate on healthy fats that are founds in nuts, almonds, olive oil,non-rafined peanut butter, and fatter fish like salmon and sardine. Eat more carbohydrates, and less fat. Too many fat food will feed gaster, but not muscles.
Following food and drinks can help you to increase food intake:
Cold cereals. Choose broth cereals(instead of cornflakes), for example moesli or grains. Add nuts, sunflower seeds, grapes, dried bananas and other fruit.
Warm cereals. Instead in water cook on milk and you already have more calories. You can add little bit more milk in powder, margarine or peanut butter, nuts, sunflower seeds, wheat grains and dried fruit.
Juices. Apple, grapefruit, cranberry, and most mixed juice(example orange-banana-apricots) have more calories than alone grapefruit, tomato or orange. To increase the number of calories in frozen juice from orange, add less water than in recipes.
Fruit. Bananas, pineapple, grapes, dates, dried marellas and other dried fruit contains more calories than water fruit like grapefruit, plum and peas.
Milk. To increase milk calory value, on one cup of 2% milk add ¼ cup of milk in powder. Or try to prepare instant products like NesQuick. Prepare them, put into refrigerator and use when needed. That will be a lot cheaper for buying of fluid supplements that are also based on milk with additional vitamins.
Tost. Place  peanut butter, margarine, jam or honey.
Sandwiches. Chose thicker integral bread(with seeds) and eat bigger and fater pieces. Place moderate amount of mayonnaise or margarine. Load sandwich with tuna salad etc. Peanut butter and jam are cheap and healthy choice.
Pasties. Pasty from dried beans or oats have more calories than chicken and beef if not cooked with much vegetables and meat. Pasties that are made of conserved vegetables(for example tomato) add milk in powder, margarine, parmesane and crocket. If you have high blood pressure, buy pasties with less natrium or put less salt when you cook it.
Meat. Though beef, pork and lamb have more calories than chicken and fish, they have more saturated fats. Eat less and choose pieces with less fat. To increase calories, you can add olive oil to the chicken or fish, or you can add wine with pieces of bread.
Beans, legumes. Lens, pasty of dried peas, peas chilli and other types of beans are not only rich with calories, but a great source of carbohydrates and proteins.
Vegetables. Peas, corn, carrots, pumpkin have more calories from broccoli and other water fruit. Add margarine, cut almonds and non-fat cheese. Water types can be cooked on olive oil.
Salads. Low calory green salad can easily turn to a meal if you add cheese, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, chosen vegetables, nuts, tuna, grapes, non-fat meat, crocket and oil dressings.
Potatoes. Give them margarine and milk in powder. Though you can put a lot of cream and fat, think one more time cause you add saturated fats, too. Better alternative are low percentage fat additives.
Desert. You can enjoy as much as feed the body. Try cakes with oat cereals, cakes with figs, chocolate pudding, fruit compote, non-fat frozen yoghurt or frozen dried fruit desert. Cakes with blueberries, corn bread with honey, bread made with banana and other sweet types of bread, rolls and cakes can be more than dessert.
Snacks. Afternoon or evening snack is a great way to increase number of calories. If you are not hungry, just remember that food is the cure to increase weight that you must take. Healthy is fruit yoghurt, non-fat cracker cheese, peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, salt crackers, rolls, graham cakes, pizza, peanuts butter, milk shake, instant drinks for breakfast, hot cocoa, mixed fruit, bananas, dried fruit and sandwiches.

Patiency is good

Additional 500-1000 calories will help you to increase weight. Include into your program weight training to build muscle mass, and not bulk. Consult with coach or other expert. You can measure body composition, to be sure that muscles are increasing, and not fat. Non-trained males give 1.5kg per month, and about 10kg per year. That is done slower in trained athletes.
If you don’t gain weight, check if someone in your family is naturally slim. If everybody are slim, accept your weight and focus on coordination and motoric features.
Most people gain more weight with ages. Your time will probably come. Young slim athletes usually become fater when they finish carriere and start to work.

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