In India, finding obese people is not difficult. We can say the same about finding too skinny ones. Now this is a concern because being underweight can be just as bad for your health as being obese.
There are people who are normal, which is, neither too skinny nor obese but still want to gain muscles and get big.
There are also people who are hard gainers, meaning, no matter how big they eat, their metabolism digests everything they throw at it. Do what may, their weight stays constant and visibly they are always upset. In Indian lingo, we call them as “Lakkad Hajam Patthar Hajam”. In short, give them either wood or stone, they digest all. 🙂
The Simplest Way to Gain Weight
Guys no matter whether you are clinically underweight, or a hard gainer or normal person and you want to gain some muscle weight; the broad principles remain the same. The following paragraphs tell you all you want to know.
Before proceeding we want you to understand a few terms. This will help to weed out the confusion among many readers.
Underweight: People having a body mass index, or BMI, less than 18.5. This value is estimated to be less than the overall body mass needed to sustain optimal health. This BMI scale is not very accurate as it only looks at weight and height. Some people are very skinny but totally healthy.
On the other hand a BMI value of 25 is considered overweight and above 30 is obese.
We believe that overweight and obese people should strive for reducing their BMI, actually the underweight people we are worried for. And there are valid reasons.
The Health Consequences of Being Underweight!
Research continues on different samples all over the world.
One study concluded that “underweight was associated with 140% greater risk of early death in men and 100% in women” whereas obesity had the risk factor of only 50%. This clearly shows that underweight people should gear up and get towards normalcy.
Last but not the least
Being underweight can also hamper your immune function, raise risk of infections that lead to osteoporosis & fractures and also generate fertility issues. To top it all, they may catch sarcopenia (age-related muscle wasting) and may be at a greater risk of dementia.
The Many Reasons Responsible for People Who Are Underweight
Many a time people themselves don’t know what is the underlying reason why they can’t gain weight. There are some medical reasons not out in the open. Some of the reasons are:
Eating Disorders: This includes anorexia nervosa, which is a serious mental disorder.
Thyroid problems: This shows effect both ways, that is, having an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can boost your metabolism to an extent that it can cause unhealthy weight loss. Similarly on the opposite side it can increase your weight substantially.
Celiac Disease: Leads to a severe form of gluten intolerance. Many people simply don’t know they have it.
Diabetes: India is the Diabetes Capital. Uncontrolled diabetes (type 1) leads to severe weight loss. Also those with improper information live with too less diet and as a result attract weight loss. It is better to arm yourself with proper diet restrictions and not lose weight.
Cancer: Many cancerous tumours often burn large amounts of calories and can cause someone to lose a lot of weight.
Infections: Certain infections can cause someone to become severely underweight. Impure water, unhygienic conditions often lead to frequent loose motions and ultimately the person loses weight. HIV/AIDS, parasites and tuberculosis also are responsible wherever applicable.
Depression: Many people give up hope of improving and lose interest in everything needed to lead a normal life and that includes food. Here weight loss is certain and unless this is treated, the condition just cannot improve.
Please visit your family doctor and rule out any of the above conditions before you start on our regimen.
Healthy Ways to Gain Weight
Right, so now you have ruled yourself out from the above ailments. You do not have any of them. Now let us see how you should gain weight. You may wonder why we have highlighted the word. We did that with a purpose, If you want to gain weight, then it is very important that you do it right.
You can always drink soft drinks like Cola and junk food like Samosa, Noodles, Chole Bhatura to gain weight, but it can and will destroy your health at the same time. We do not recommend you gain weight using unhealthy means.
If you are underweight, then you want to gain a balanced amount of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat, not a bunch of unhealthy belly fat.
Many desperate people do put on unhealthy weight and rid their lives with Diabetes, Heart problems and so on.
Therefore, it is absolutely essential that you still eat healthy foods and live an overall healthy lifestyle.
Now let’s look at several effective ways to gain weight fast, without ruining your health at the same time.
Also helpful: Best weight gainer for skinny guys without side effects
Eat More Calories Than Your Body Can Burn
Good news to those who like to Eat.
You need to eat more than what your body burns calories in your daily activities. If you exercise, do yoga or whatever, find out how many calories your body burns and then you should eat surplus calories to gain healthy weight. Again, you should only eat healthy food.
A normal man needs 2,500 calories to maintain his weight. But to gain weight he should eat at least 3,250 calories per day to gain roughly half-a-kilo-per-week.
A calorie surplus food (calories in > calories out) is needed. Without it, you won’t gain. It is as simple as that.
You can determine your calorie needs using this calorie calculator.
If you want to gain weight slowly and steadily, then aim for 500-700 calories more than you burn each day according to the calculator.
Calorie calculators provide rough estimates. Demographic conditions, foods available to you, your body structure, metabolism and other various factors come into play and the results may vary. The only thing to remember is to continue for at least two weeks, and weigh yourself and then decide whether you have gained 1 kilogram in those two weeks or not. If not, increase your intake by at least 500 calories and then you should stick to it. Again, do not try to gain weight too fast, it is dangerous and later you may find that you have developed some complication.
How to Gain Weight Using Proper Diet
Now we show you what to eat and how much to eat. Following these options you will gain healthy weight in a slow and steady manner, so that your body gets accustomed to all you eat and will be able to digest it easily.
1. Eat Lots and Lots of Protein
The single most important nutrient for gaining healthy weight is protein.
(All Indians eat Daal, they are all protein but ensure you eat fresh and not the ones which are heated after storing in fridge).
Muscle is made of protein, and without it most of those extra calories may end up as body fat.
Studies show that whenever you eat extra, a high protein diet causes many of the extra calories to be turned into muscle. Now you should understand how beneficial it is when you eat protein.
However, keep in mind that protein is a double-edged sword. It is also highly filling, so that it can reduce your hunger and appetite significantly. This can make it harder to get in enough calories.
If you’re trying to gain weight, aim for 1.5 – 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram. You can even go above that if your calorie intake is very high.
High-protein foods include meats, fish, eggs, many dairy products, legumes, nuts and others. Protein supplements like whey protein can also be useful if you struggle to get enough protein in your diet.
Please Note: Protein forms the building blocks of your muscles. Eating sufficient protein is required to gain muscle weight instead of just fat.
Exercising is a must else all you eat turns into fat and soon your tummy will be the first to grow. See the section on exercising below.
Recommended: Best whey protein for building muscle fast
2. Make Eating Carbs and Fat a Habit
Eat Lots of Carbs like Meat, Beans, Sweet Potatoes and Fat, and Eat at Least 3-5 times daily and try to add in energy-dense snacks whenever possible.
The problem is, sometimes we just cannot eat more.
Well, we know this is a problem and we also have a solution.
3. Make your food tasty by adding sauces, spices and condiments.
It is very important to eat mostly whole, single ingredient foods. These foods contain many calories relative to their weight.
Here are some energy-dense foods that are perfect for gaining weight:
- Nuts Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.
- Dried fruit Raisins, dates, prunes and others.
- High-fat dairy Whole milk, full-fat yogurt, cheese, cream.
- Grains Whole grains like oats and brown rice.
- Meat Chicken, lamb, etc. Choose fattier cuts.
- Tubers Potatoes and sweet potatoes.
- Other Dark chocolate, avocados, peanut butter and coconut milk.
Many of these foods are very filling, and sometimes you may need to force yourself to keep eating even if you feel full.
4. Do Not Eat a Ton of Vegetables
It simply leaves less room for energy-dense foods.
Eating whole fruit is fine, but try to emphasize fruit that doesn’t require too much chewing, such as bananas. If anything needs more chewing, our brain thinks we are having too much food and signals our body to avoid further eating.
5. Exercising is a must to Gain Weight
Most Indians are lazy and avoid exercising of any kind. Many believe that exercising is only for building body whereas the facts tell a different story altogether. To increase your appetite and transfer all you eat to your muscles flesh, exercising is a must. To gain weight fast, you not only need to exercise but lift weights also. The key word here is “fast” and you should love it.
It is Crucial to Lift Heavy Weights and Improve Your Strength
When you lift weights, your appetite will grow and so does your metabolism. To gain weight, first you increase your muscle mass and using fat, you grow in weight and size. Once you achieve both, using cardio you can shed your excess weight and retain your muscles and essential weight. This will be a very healthy body condition, wherein you will increase your weight but maintain a healthy body as well.
In order to make sure that the excess calories go to your muscles instead of just your fat cells, then it is absolutely crucial to lift weights.
Exercising Guide to Building Muscle Fast
Part 1: Grooming Your Body
- Join a gym and aim to attend at the most 2-3 days per week, not more. Do not rush and allow your body to adapt itself. Remember to give your body plenty of rest in-between your workouts and keep the weekend free (you can swim for an hour at the most on a Saturday/Sunday).
- If you are scared of lifting weights initially, try resistance training that is Pushups or Pull-ups at home to strengthen your arms and chest and then join the gym for lifting weights. Weight lifting is the one which will increase your appetite and allow the protein you eat to be transferred to your muscles.
- Those who do not want to pay to join a gym can get barbell and a set of weights and do their training at home. However when you start lifting for the first time, ensure you have someone to be with you. It is better to have a helping hand to bring the weights down, instead of injuring yourself.
Every Body Is Different and Not All Exercises Suit Everyone
You may have seen exercising videos but mind you, not everyone is suitable for all exercises you see. You need someone to discuss your progress with and only a trainer can be your best bet. Only he/she can suggest alternates when a particular exercise fails to show results.
- Each muscle group should be exercised Many people aim to bulge only a particular body part. This is not recommended at all. You may injure yourself doing it. Instead, you should spend equal time working out on your arms, back, chest, abdomen and legs.
- Target one muscle group on a day and then move on to other one the next day. Rotate between them so each group also gets exercise and rest both. For example, exercise your arms and chest today, legs and abs next day and then your back and chest the last day of the week.
- Continue for the first two months. By this time all your muscles and body parts get used to all the hardships and you can look forward to surge ahead.
- Drink at least 12-15 glasses of water daily. Muscles are made up of water and it also helps process the extra protein you consume.
- Sleep at least 8-9 hours daily. This time of inactivity helps your body to repair any torn ligaments and rebuild. Water and Sleep are the essentials of bodybuilding efforts. If you watch more TV sitting on a couch or while lying down, then it is better to forget to gain weight.
Part 2: Building on Your Initial Training
Now all your efforts henceforth will help get Muscle Mass and Gain Weight at the same time. Muscle mass is built when you put stress on the fibers in your muscle tissue by pushing them past their everyday limit. This is done by lifting enough weight and doing enough repetitions to make your muscles feel tired and sore, but not so painful that you injure yourself.
- Find the right weight for any given exercise by figuring out how much you can lift for eight to 10 repetitions before you need to stop. If you can easily do more than 10 repetitions, add more weight. If you have to stop after 5, subtract some weight. This is your starting point. Once you start from this place, you should only add weight and more reps henceforth. Staying put (not adding any more weight will not help you gain anything)
- Compound exercises are your friend. Concentrate on complex, compound exercises that recruit as many muscles as possible: bench presses, dumbbell presses, squats, deadlifts, pull ups, chin ups, and dips.Include each without fail for that overall body balance.
- It does not matter if you can only bench press 5 kg dumbbells right now. Wherever you’re starting out, concentrate on being stronger each and every time you exercise. Push yourself, get stronger, and lift more, and before you know it you’ll be ripped.
- When exercising, keep your rest between sets to a minute or less, and don’t do more than 12 reps in a set. If you rest more in-between reps, lethargy may set it and continuing ahead appears an uphill task.
- Once a set of exercise is over, take some rest and simply walk here and there. Try to regain composure and blow out your breath and breathe in again. Smile and pat your back and thank your body, it works wonders.
- As underlined earlier, give your body a day of rest before exercising again. That is the reason we advised you to workout no more than 2-3 days a week. This off day helps your body to regroup and cool off.
Reward your body either with a fruit or protein shakes.
Eat a banana and some nuts or it is best to drink either a Whey Protein shake. If you feel the later reps are difficult to reach, drink a Nitric Oxide based Protein Shake which transports more oxygen to your muscles and body parts.
Never underestimate the power of protein shakes. They boost your power and increase endurance. The drink instantly tells how good it feels. Drink it and you will soon realize.
- Munch a big piece of Cottage Cheese (Paneer) before going to bed. This slow digesting protein will aid your muscles in a big way when there is no physical activity in your sleep.
Part 3: Best Way To Gain Weight and Grow: Listen What Your Body Tells You
Slow and steady is the best slogan. Keep a watch on whether you are gaining too fast or your body is complaining more. You might be putting a lot of stress to gain weight as soon as possible. With all the grooming and protein shakes you should neither feel exhausted nor do your muscles feel sore. In fact you should be more energetic, but if that is not the case, try what your body is trying to tell.
Sometimes it is best to consider hiring a personal trainer. Within a few sessions, you’ll have a great idea of scheduling, form, intensity, and duration of workouts and excellent insight into tweaking your diet.
Guide to the Skinny Man Who Wants to Gain Muscle
Go to a gym and lift, 2-4 times per week. Lift heavy, and try to increase the weights and volume over time.It is probably best to take it easy on the cardio for now. Focus mostly on the weights.
Doing some cardio is fine to improve fitness and well-being, but do not do so much that you end up burning all the additional calories you are eating.
Please note that it is very important to lift heavy weights and improve your strength. This will help you gain muscle mass instead of just fat.
Some More Tips to Gain Weight
- Do not drink water before meals. This can fill your stomach and make it harder to get in enough calories.
- Eat more often. Try eating an extra snack wherever you can.
- Drinking whole milk to quench thirst is a simple way to get in more high-quality protein and calories.
- Drink weight gainer shakes. Sometimes it is much easier to gulp a drink with extra calories and protein than to grab a meal.
- Use bigger lunch/dinner plates. Definitely use large plates if you are trying to get in more calories, as smaller plates cause people to automatically eat less.
- Add cream to your coffee. This is a simple way to add in more calories.
- Take Creatine, the muscle building supplementwhich can help you gain a few pounds in muscle weight.
- Sleeping properly is very important for muscle growth. Sleep and get up at fixed time tells your body you are serious about weight gain.
- Always eat your protein first and vegetables last. If you have a mix of foods on your plate, eat the calorie-dense and protein-rich foods first. Eat the vegetables last.
- Smokers tend to weigh less than non-smokers, and quitting smoking often leads to weight gain.
Consistency is the Key in Gaining Weight
Initially your body will try discouraging you from excess eating. Persist and quickly your body will allow you to proceed. But when you start lifting weights, this tendency to resist will take a backseat. However, sprucing your food using sauces, dressings and condiments, you can force your mind to secrete saliva and you will be eager to eat more.
As explained earlier, lifting weights is crucial. Gradually you should lift more weights so that whatever excess you ate is digested quickly. Now your body needs nutrients to repair the broken muscles and ligaments and you can use Whey Protein, which has something known as BCAA or Branched Chain Amino Acids that help repair and rebuild torn muscles.
When you sleep at night, the body starts muscle repairing. If you sleep full 8 hours, majority muscle repair is over and your body is ready for the next bout of weight lifting.
At the end of the day, changing your weight is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take a long time, and you need to be consistent if you want to succeed in the long run.
Weight Gain is a long process. When done systematically and with right frame of mind success is assured. Rushing in seldom helps and most likely it results in injuries. If you fail, you will only blame yourself and that will be the most incorrect step.
Take one baby step at a time, groom your body, let it adapt and then surge ahead. This is the mantra for successfully gaining weight.