by Julia Denner (Runtastic Nutritionist) & Dennis Fajt (Underweight Nutrition Consultant)
Today, more than 1.9 billion people are overweight worldwide. Many can’t imagine that there are actually people who would like to gain weight but can’t. Putting on a few pounds is a real challenge for some people who are underweight – especially if they want to do it in a healthy way.
Tip 1: be patient!
This is perhaps the most important tip: it doesn’t matter whether you want to gain or lose weight, you have to be patient. Change doesn’t happen overnight.
If you want to gain weight in a healthy way, you have to consume more calories than you burn every day (caloric surplus).
How it works: Calculate your daily calorie requirement and add an additional 200-300 calories.
It is really important that you have a caloric surplus every day, not just once in a while. This is the only way to gain weight in a healthy way.
tip 2: Quality over quantity
To be able to eat as much as you want… that is all well and good. But you still need to eat a healthy diet if you want to gain weight fast. Burgers, fries, and soft drinks are full of calories, but they also contain lots of saturated fats, salt, and sugar. You are better off focusing on nutrient- and calorie-rich foods to gain weight:
avocadoslegumes whole-grain productsdried fruitpotatoesricemeat fishnuts and seeds
Don’t forget to also eat enough fruit and vegetables to cover your micronutrient requirement. When you focus on gaining weight, high-calorie foods should be a priority.
tip 3: Eat regular meals
In order to increase your weight, you don’t have to eat your daily calorie requirement in three main meals. Five or six regular meals (spaced out throughout the day) are easier on your stomach and keep you feeling full. Plus, you should avoid skipping meals and you should always have some snacks on you in case you get hungry while on the go.
Healthy snacks for in between meals:
dried fruitnuts and nut butterveggie sticks with avocado hummushomemade granola bars with dried fruit or dark chocolateguacamolechocolate smoothie
Tip 4: GRADUALLY INCREASE PORTION SIZE
If you try to start eating enormous meals from one day to the next, it won’t work. Gradually increase your portion size every week instead. This way your body can get used to larger meals slowly.
After a few weeks, you will be able to eat considerably more. If you add high-calorie foods to your meals as well, you will significantly increase your calorie consumption and gain weight that way.
tip 5: Light products? No thanks!
Stay away from products labeled “low-fat” or “light”. At the grocery store, make sure to buy the regular fat version. Also, foods naturally high in fat like avocado, nuts, seeds or high-quality vegetable oil should be a regular part of your meal plan. They fill you up and provide you with plenty of nutrients and calories.
tip 6: Track your calories
Log everything you eat and drink: a food tracking app helps you learn more about your eating habits. Perhaps you can squeeze in a few more calories here or there? Or maybe you forgot to eat breakfast yesterday?
TIP 7: RELY ON STRENGTH TRAINING
Exercise is very important for gaining weight. Intense bodyweight training strengthens your muscles and also stokes your fat-burning engine. Endurance sports like running or biking are also important for your health, but they burn a lot of calories without really stimulating muscle growth.
If you want to gain healthy weight, we recommend focusing on strength training (3-4 times a week) with more weight and fewer repetitions. This is the most effective way to experience muscle growth. Try using the adidas Training app Workout Creator to put together an all-body strength training workout that fits your intensity level and time schedule. You can do it at home or in the gym.
If you do choose to work out at the gym, the fundamental exercises are the most important. The best exercises for muscle growth are:
Before incorporating these exercises into your training plan, have a physical therapist or fitness trainer show them to you to make sure that you are doing them correctly, so you won’t get hurt.
Eat plenty of protein after your workout. Healthy, high-quality protein sources include chicken, eggs, tofu, legumes, and nut butters. This will help you gain muscle. Combining protein and carbohydrates is also a good idea.
Just like being overweight, being underweight can be quite a struggle in everyday life. Gaining enough healthy weight can prove to be pretty challenging. The important thing is to stick with it and give your body the time it needs to change. We wish you lots of success on your journey!
What matters is that you:
Eat high-calorie, nutritious foodsEat regularly and slowly increase your portion sizeCut back on endurance exerciseFocus on muscle growthDon’t give up, even when it gets tough!
If you apply these tips for a longer period of time, nothing will stop you from gaining weight.