How Can I Put on Weight Through Proper Nutrition and Build Muscle?
Although America has seen its population's waist size grow larger over the past several decades, there are still many people out there who continuously utter the phrase, “I can never gain any weight.” While this complaint may fall on many deaf, and possibly annoyed ears, it is still a statement worth exploring. Since so many American's find it familiar to substantially put on weight if they aren't careful on a weekend vacation, why can others eat all they want with no consequences? In order to understand this inquiry, it is first important to investigate why some cannot seem to gain any weight.
While there are many health risks of being overweight, there are also very serious risks from being too thin. Protein deficiencies, from not consuming enough protein sources from food in the body cause lower muscle mass and weak hair, teeth, and skin within people. Those who cannot put on weight also have weaker immune systems, bone health and difficulty regulating hormones. People may be thin for a variety of reasons besides genetics or the because of the phrase, “I just have a fast metabolism.” Some are just more active than others, some have little appetites, and others have fluctuating weight due to illness and the side effects from drugs. In any of these cases, if one is losing weight not of their own volition, something is wrong. However, there are many ways that weight can be put on in a healthy manner that have the right balance of protein sources, carbohydrates, and unsaturated fats.
Very simply, if one consumes more calories than he or she expends in a day, weight gain is imminent. However, if the goal is to put on weight healthily, then each extra calorie must also be filled with nutrients. Foods that are high in fats and processed sugars provide empty calories to the body. Those people who believe they can eat anything they want without any repercussions also tend to store more fat in unflattering places. Alternatively, some of the best foods that are high in calories and in nutrients come from plant fats. These include nuts, peanuts, seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, avocados, hummus, and oils. While animal fats also provide similar nutrient and caloric benefits to the body as plant fats, they also are high in saturated fats which could increase cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Those who have a history of these two diagnoses should focus their diet more on low-fat dairy and lean mean products. A snack that includes cheese and fruit on whole grain crackers provides full calories, protein, calcium, and vitamin D and will help put on weight.
Other great ways to add calories to one's diet include consuming meal replacement drinks/bars, and natural fruit smoothies. Nuts such as almonds and peanuts can be eaten with many different meals as a crunchy boost of calories and nutrients. When sprinkled on top of soups, salads, whole grain cereal, or dessert, you receive the extra protein source, fiber, healthy fat, and calories.
Many young athletes wish to gain weight in order to put on extra muscle to win in the trenches or hit moonshots. While proper strength training is important, nutrition is of equal significance in terms of reaching one's goal of gaining weight and muscle. Carbohydrates are the main energy source that your body uses in the form of glycogen, which is used to supply energy for bursts of power during a strength training workout. When the glycogen begins to run out, your muscles no longer have the fuel it needs which makes carbohydrates an essential part of building muscle and gaining weight. Where good carbohydrates such as whole grain products provide the energy, protein helps with a muscles recovery and growth. Consuming protein bars or a post-workout whey protein shake is necessary for muscle to recovery and growth. A protein shake before bed is another way to help gain weight and put on muscle.
Meals should also be increased to six to eight times a day depending on your individual goals. A lack of appetite is a reason that many that have difficulty putting on weight so it may be daunting to think about coming up with six nutritional meals throughout the day that satisfy your body's needs and taste buds. But if gaining weight is your goal, you have to consistently eat no matter how strenuous it may seem. There are several helpful tips to use if you can't force another bite down your throat. In order to tolerate the abnormal amount of food being ingested, you could also use your favorite spice, herb, or condiment to help with the taste. Many dressings have high fat contents, but if used moderately can help add those extra pounds. Although it is important to drink a lot of water every day, it along with other liquids can help make you feel fuller than you actually are. Instead of continuously drinking with the meal, try and separate the two acts as much as possible. Drink beverages a half-hour before and after your meal. Additionally, an easy way to add extra calories to your day would be to drinking high calorie juices instead of water Doing any type of light cardio exercise, such as walking, is a great way to let your body know that you need more nutrients through consuming food. The beauty of trying to gain weight is that there is some wiggle room in terms of the calories one must consume during a day. If that low-sodium turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread doesn't wet the pallet, then it is perfectly fine to substitute one of the meals with your favorite comfort food in order to put on weight and build. However, you cannot use this small amount of leeway as a crutch and substitute every meal with the dollar menu. Instead, foods like yogurt, fruit, nuts and healthy fats are the more nutritious alternative to high calorie/low nutrient foods like fast food, chips and candy to put on weight.
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