With an abundance of resources and expertise available regarding how to lose weight, there are many who seek rather how to gain weight for women in order to continue or attain healthier habits – or just as a matter of personal preference. Some women who are considered underweight may inquire measures of how to gain weight in order to prevent possible health issues that could arise. There are also women who may struggle with gaining weight because of an accelerated metabolic rate that prevents one from doing so at a desired pace.
What ever reason you may have, gaining weight should be done healthily and for your best interests. Keep in mind that it will not happen overnight, gaining weight is a process that takes time much like with weight loss. It must be approached in a balanced manner.
Here is how to gain weight for women- the healthy way:
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1. Increase your calorie intake – and not through junk foods
At the beginning of your regimen should be increasing your calorie intake to the point where you are at a consistent caloric surplus. This means consuming more calories than you burn off. The number of calories varies depending on your height, age, weight, and gender. However, generally 300-500 extra calories above your recommended daily consumption will help to add a few extra pounds. If you have a fast metabolism, lean towards the higher number of extra calories to consumer per day. Additionally, you should aim for a steady plan of at least three meals per day, and a couple of healthy snacks in between.
While it is okay to treat yourself every once in awhile, try to avoid gaining weight through junk foods (processed foods, sodas, chips, etc.), as this can lead to adverse health effects. Instead, consume mostly nutrient-dense and whole foods that will promote healthy weight gain – lean cut meats, nuts, and potatoes, are just a few examples. You can learn more about what to include in your diet to gain weight here.
2. Protein is key
How to gain weight for women naturally can be achieved with the help of protein. It should be one of your primary sources of nutrition when trying to gain weight. Protein can come from beans, eggs, seafood, supplements, and more. They are a necessity in the maintenance of healthy body functions, including muscle and tissue repair.
Protein consists of necessary amino acids that are used by the body for various functions. Amino acids also aid in the growth and development of muscles. Consuming more protein in your diet will allow for an increase in muscle growth during exercise, which benefits your overall body mass. Be careful to not over-consume in protein though. An excess of protein can also cause negative health effects. Just make sure you are in alignment with your recommended daily nutritional consumption.
3. Exercise to build muscle
Your diet is going to help you gain weight, but exercising is an essential part as well. Exercising will help you to build muscle mass, a contributing factor to your overall weight gain. It will also allow you to shape and tone where the added pounds to go. You’re going to want to focus on strength-based exercises, with not as much of a heavy focus on cardio. Cardio can cause an excess of calories to be burned which can undo progress when trying to maintain a caloric surplus.
Try to come up with a routine workout, setting a couple of days out of the week to exercise and a few rest days in between. Squats, lunges, and dumbbell lifts, are just a few exercises you can do at home. At the gym, go for the weights and strengthening equipment, increasing your load and repetitions as you progress. Gradually increasing your repetitions and weights will help to further compound and build muscle mass.
4. Try weight gain supplements / shakes
There has been dispute on whether or not weight gain supplements and shakes genuinely work, and yes, they actually do. It is all about finding which one is right for you, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Supplements and shakes regardless of price tag, have been found to produce similar results for weight gain and muscle growth. They can be very beneficial if you have a difficult time getting enough protein or calories in your diet. These additions will help to give you those extra calories and are packed with other beneficial nutrients to help you gain weight. Here are some supplements to consider.
5. Get extra calories through snacks and beverages
In between meals, snacking is something we all like to do. If you are trying to gain weight, healthy snacking can be a favorable way to consume some extra calories. Chia seeds for example, are small edibles that can be added to yogurts and smoothies, yet are packed with nutrients.
There are an abundance of other tasty yet healthy snacks that can provide you with extra calories and a source of nourishment. Milk, smoothies, and shakes can also serve as an additional source of beneficial calories, still leaving room for your main meals.
6. Get adequate rest
Rest allows for our body to recharge. It is especially important after exercise as it gives time for our muscles to recover and build for growth. This is also why it is recommended that you shouldn’t work out everyday as it will cause fatigue not just for the body but for the muscles as well. Getting adequate sleep also concedes the release of certain growth hormones that help our body to remedy tissues and again, advance growth in your muscles.
Rest days after exercise are also going to benefit you in how to gain weight. Adding a rest day in between the days of your workouts, will again give your muscles time to rejuvenate leading to healthy growth.
7. Stay consistent
If you want to see results, you’re going to have to stay consistent. Locate a health and fitness tracker or application to keep track of your progress and calories. If it helps, you can also take photos of your progress for motivation. Set short-term goals and work towards those first, and then your long-term goals.
If you find it difficult to stay consistent due to a busy schedule, set shorter intervals of workout times. As you make your diet for weight gain and exercise routine habitual, your body will become adjusted to your new ways and it will become easier to stay on track.
1“Protein Directory: Find News, Features, and Pictures Related to Protein.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/diet/protein-directory.
2“How to Gain Weight Fast and Safely.” Healthline, Healthline Media, www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-gain-weight.
3“Why Is Sleep Important?” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 7 June 2017, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why.
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals or experts. What is written throughout the content of our website is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical or professional advice. What you choose to do with the information provided is at your own risk and discretion. Before making any significant changes to your diet and / or lifestyle, be sure to contact your health practitioner.