There is a misconception that a lean body signifies good heath. This is not entirely true. Many people may be underweight due to heath related issues, or malnutrition. Underweight people may suffer various illnesses since the body does not function optimally. One is considered underweight if he/she has a body mass index (BMI) lower than 18.5. This is the estimated body mass required to sustain optimal health. Conversely, above 25 is regarded as overweight and above 30 is regarded as obese. If you are underweight, then you may want to add a balanced level of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat, and not a cluster of unhealthy belly fat. It is therefore essential to eat healthy foods and live a healthy lifestyle to avoid cases of type 2 diabetes and other heart deceases common in many normal weight people.
Eat Lots of Protein
Protein is one important ingredient in gaining weight healthily. Muscle is made of protein, and without it most of those extra calories may end up as body fat.
Studies have shown that high protein diet cause lots of the extra calories to be converted into muscle during periods of overfeeding.
For effective weight gain, aim for 0.7-1 grams protein for 1 pound of body weight (or 1.5 – 2.2 grams protein per kilogram). One may go above that for high calorie intake.
Foods rich in protein include fish, meats, legumes, eggs, nuts, many dairy products etc. You may also use Protein supplements if you are not able to get adequate protein in your diet.
Eat More Calories than your Body Burns
For fast weight gain, caloric surplus (calories in > calories out) is necessary. This is the calorie calculator and determines whether you gain weight or not. If you want to gain slowly and steadily, you should aim for 300-500 and for fast weight gain then aim for about 700-1000 calories above the level required for your maintenance.
Eat More Energy-Dense Foods
It is very important to eat whole, single ingredient foods most of the time. However, these foods are generally more filling than processed junk foods hence making it difficult to get in enough calories. Use plenty of spices, condiments and sauces to make them more palatable.
Eat More Fat & Carbs
Eat plenty of foods rich in carbs and fat at every meal. Also ensure that you eat at least 3 meals a day, and throw in energy-dense snacks where possible.
Lift Heavy Weights
The excess calories you take should go to your muscles as opposed to your fat cells. It is therefore very necessary to lift weights. Set aside at least 2-4 days a week and ensure you consult your doctor in case you have skeleton or any medical issue. Start with small weights and increase over time or as may be instructed by your gym instructor.
In addition to the above methods, one may need to develop the following daily habits to gain weight more effectively: Not taking water before meals, drinking lots of milk, eating more often, using weight gainer shakes, having quality sleep, serving on bigger plates, taking creatine, and adding cream to coffee. It is proven to be very difficult for some individuals to gain weight. This is because the body has a particular threshold of weight. Your body will resist any attempt to lower or raise this threshold by regulating accordingly your metabolic rate or your hunger levels. Essentially, gaining weight requires persistence and consistency.