There’s a lot of focus on weight loss but a good number of people are not happy with their weight because they feel they’re underweight. If you feel you’d like to be heavier, you need to ask yourself if you:
Whichever of the above you’re looking to do, you will need to eat more calories than you’re burning up during the day; if you want to build muscle, you will need to do some weight training too.
To gain weight, you need to consume more calories than your body uses. When your body doesn't have enough calories for energy, it uses the energy stored as glycogen in your muscle first, then your fat stores. You need to increase your calorie intake and eat enough food to cover these requirements. If you want to gain some body fat, then to increase by 1lb per week you need to add 500 calories to your daily calorie intake.
The amount of calories you need depends on your gender, age, height, weight, and activity. Use this calorie calculator to calculate the amount of calories you need per day. Then add 500kcal to gain 1lb per week.
Most foods today have the calories printed on them so you can keep a running total during the day. There are also some apps out there help, such as myfitnesspal, which makes tracking calories over the day a bit easier. Huel makes it even easier by providing all the nutrients in one product, and you can easily see what you’re getting.
It’s important that you get all the nutrients you need; don’t just stick to a few high calorie foods. There’s more information about what each nutrient does and what you need in our article The Beginner’s Guide to Nutrition.
You need to consume a balance of protein, carbs and fat and all 27 essential vitamins and minerals. Include protein sources and carbohydrates in your weight gain meal plan at each meal and snack. Fats, as long as they’re healthy fats, are more calorie dense than other nutrients, so can be a great way to obtain more energy in a smaller volume of food. This can include high-calorie foods like nuts and dried fruit, olive oil, and peanut butter.
We advise you to drink plenty of fluid every day. This can be in the form of water, tea, coffee, green tea, diet sodas or sugar-free cordial. Include at least seven or eight cups of fluid per day.
If you’re trying to gain weight, you may have to eat quite a bit of food. This can be hard to take in at one sitting. It’s therefore useful to spread your eating over 5-6 smaller meals and snacks per day, rather than three huge meals. Don’t miss meals; get a meal plan and stick to it. Eat your planned meal even if you’re not hungry.
Often when people refer to ‘gaining weight’, they actually are referring to building more muscle. To do this, a good nutrition program should be accompanied by a suitable weight training program. If you’re new to weight training, a routine doesn’t have to be complicated and you can grow muscle training just 2-3 weights sessions per week. There are plenty of weight training routines for beginners on the internet; here’s one: Initial Basic Hypertrophy Guide
Building muscle through exercise does, however, burn calories, so you’ll need to eat more to compensate for calories burned. This basic principle of having more calories than you burn also applies to fat too. It’s also useful to stay active and keep fit, so some cardiovascular exercise is advised.
Huel is high in protein with good amounts of fat and carbs, so can be a convenient way of helping you build muscle through an increased calorie intake, especially as it also contains all essential vitamins and minerals. Having 3-4 scoops of Huel 2-3 times per day, as well as other good food, will help you to gain muscle.
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