While most people are more concerned about losing weight, there are certainly a good amount of people out there who need to put on weight. That’s not to say that they need to put fat on, rather they need to put on the right kind of weight in the form of muscle mass. What many people don’t realize is that putting on the right kind of weight can be just as difficult as losing fat.
It requires maintaining a healthy diet and putting in tons of hard work at the gym to get the numbers on the scale to go up. If you’re one of those people that need to put on the right kind of weight, we’ve got a few helpful tips for you.
Figure Your Calories Out
To put on muscle weight, you don’t want to be over eating and you certainly don’t want to be under eating. You want to be eating enough calories each day to maintain your weight throughout the process and slowly increasing that number as you put weight on. As a rule of thumb, women typically need anywhere in between 1,800 to 2,000 calories daily to maintain their weight depending on their level of activity.
On the other hand, men usually need 2,500 calories. There are several tools on line that can help you do this, but if you want a more precise number, you can visit a doctor or a dietitian. As the weeks go by, you can start increasing your caloric intake by a few hundred calories to match the calories that your muscle gain requires.
Eat Smart Calories
Just because you’re trying to put on weight doesn’t mean you can eat whatever the heck you want. Doing so will guarantee that you gain fat, not muscle. Be smart with your calories and eat well rounded meals and snack that are high in protein and composed of nutrient dense food versus empty calories.
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t be making protein your main source of calories to put on the right kind of weight. In fact, your protein should make up just 20 percent of your diet. 50 or 60 percent of your diet should be comprised of healthy complex carbohydrates while the remaining 20 – 30 percent should come from healthy fat sources like nuts and avocados.
Eat Smaller Meals Through Out the Day
As you put more weight on, you’ll wind up needing more calories to sustain your growing muscle mass. Forcing yourself to eat until your way past your stomach’s comfort level will just make you sick and it’s definitely not a great feeling. Instead of stuffing your face until you can’t handle it anymore, divide your calories into five smaller meals throughout the day.
This also ensures that your body stays fueled. It’s also important to plan your meals wisely. For example, you should eat more of your carbohydrate allowances before a workout rather than after one.
Get in Extra Servings of Healthy Fats
When you’re putting on weight, calories are more important than feeling full. As such, finding ways to add extra heart healthy fats to your diet a fantastic way to increase your calorie consumption without having to eat until you’re about to burst. Some great fats to add to your diet include coconut oil, avocadoes or olive oil.
You can add these healthy fats to your home-made salad dressing, a smoothie, a morning dose of bullet proof coffee or to a dish of grains. For example, a great way to sneak in more healthy fat is to toss your rice, couscous or other grains in some healthy oil, herbs and spices.
Not only do you get tons of extra flavor into your meal, you also get the calories from the oil. Having nuts on hand for snacking is also a great way to get in healthy fat and their calories without having to hurt your stomach in the process. Walnuts are particularly great as they pack a mean punch of calories at 200 calories per handful.
Amp Up Your Resistance Training
Pretty much everyone we know agrees that working out is the most enjoyable part about putting on weight. Sure, it can feel tedious at first, but as your body grows accustomed to putting in the hard work at the gym, you’ll eventually start craving it. Resistance training is particularly important to gain muscle mass and so is adding heavier weights to your routine when the lifts start to get easy. Just remember not to overdo it.
A good rule of thumb is to work out no more than 4 times per week. Your work outs should only consist of 2 to 3 sets per body part so heavier weights and fewer reps is key to a successful workout. Also make sure that your workouts don’t last more than 60 minutes. Bonus? Lifting heavy is actually the healthiest way to gain weight.
Make Sure You Refuel After Your Work Out
Your post-work out meal is significantly more important than your pre-work out meal. It’s crucial that you eat a high-protein snack packed with at least 25 grams of protein within 30 minutes of your work out. You should also make sure that you eat a full meal no more than 2 and a half hours after your work out.
Eating in this manner ensures that you get the maximum benefits out of your training. This may seem excessive to you, but trust us, it’s critical to refuel in this manner. Lifting weights and pumping iron breaks down muscle tissue. The muscle breakdown is understandably much more significant when you’re lifting heavy weights.
Your body relies on the protein that you fuel it with after your work out to rebuild that muscle and build more muscle on top of that. Some great high protein snacks to add to your repertoire include cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, single serving packs of nut butters, yogurt and turkey roll ups.