Today’s culture puts a great amount of pressure on Americans to be thin. But while millions struggle to lose weight, there exists a much smaller group of “hard gainers” who are underweight and want to gain healthy pounds. That is, they want to increase their body weight without adding excess body fat.
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People looking to gain healthy weight should start by understanding the fundemental rule: You have to consume more calories than you burn. The recommended daily calorie intake for the average adult is 2,000 calories; those looking to gain healthy weight should aim for 3,000 to 3,500. The easiest way to meet this target is to eat the conventional three meals a day and supplement them with smaller snacks.
When choosing foods, pay attention to nutrition labels. Note the amount of carbohydrates, protein and, most important, calories. Though you are trying to gain weight, you’ll still want to avoid foods high in saturated fats and trans fats. Good food choices include potatoes, wheat cereals, red meats, nuts and cheeses. All these foods promote weight gain without excess body fat accumulation.
Pay attention to what you drink. Instead of water, choose calorie-dense beverages such as milk or orange juice. If you are of age, the occasional light beer or glass of wine can also provide calories and double as a reward for the work you are putting into your diet.
Exercising for Weight Gain
Daily exercise should not be overlooked, even when you’re trying to gain weight. Obviously, you don’t want to do an exhausting cardiovascular routine — that will only impair your progress. But light jogging for 20 minutes or so per day will help your body fight off fat while keeping calorie loss at a minimum.
Weight training is a fantastic option for gaining weight. Muscle weighs more than body fat and can help you pack on healthy pounds.
Try a whey protein shake after exercising. It adds calories and protein to help build muscle weight.