The concept of a weight gain diet plan kinda goes against the “norm”, considering the amount of folk that are chasing the goal of weight loss: that is, in order to gain weight, you must eat more calories. For people who are naturally skinny or have body types that just seem to stay the same size no matter what they consume, a weight gain diet plan is one of the keys to getting the lean, muscular, and defined look you’ve always wanted.
Eat More Calories?
Absolutely! The reasoning behind this is that the body will gain weight if it consumes more energy than it expends. The first question that might spring to mind is how many calories is enough? That’s a good question. Each person’s metabolism varies, so it may take a bit of trial and error to figure out how many calories per day is optimal for you.
However, there are some general guidelines to get you started. You can tweak your calorie intake according to the results you desire.
Guidelines for a Weight Gain Diet Plan
1) First and foremost, your diet should contain whole foods that are high in calories but nutritious as well. (more on this in a minute)
2) You’ll want to consume 5-7 meals/snacks per day. Essentially, you should eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours throughout the day. Eating within 15-30 minutes after waking up is ideal to begin your day.
3) Make sure you vary the foods you eat each week or else you’ll quickly grow bored and begin looking for foods that have no business going into your body. Meals don’t need to be real involved, but they should be tasty, nutritious and something to which you look forward to every three hours or so.
4) Include a pre-workout meal each day. Everyone’s schedule is different, so if you can’t fit in an actual sit-down meal prior to your workout, consider a protein shake or some other excellent source of protein. Combine your protein with 1-2 portions of a low-glycemic carbohydrate. The combination of the protein and carbohydrates work together to prevent your muscle from breaking down during your workout and will consistently deliver essential amino acids throughout your body. You’ll also gain energy from the carbohydrate which will enable you to work harder throughout your exercises.
5) Protein – eat between 40-60 grams of protein at each meal. That number seems like it’s off the charts, doesn’t it? However, if you’re putting your body through a strenuous bodybuilding regime, your body needs the extra protein so it doesn’t go into survival mode. In short, if your body doesn’t get the protein it needs from the foods you eat, it will take the required protein from your muscles, which means you’re defeating the purpose of gaining weight and muscle altogether.
6) Carbohydrates – the best range is between 60 and 80 grams of carbohydrates at each meal. Carbohydrates are the body’s energy source! Make sure your body has the energy it needs, or again, it will deplete your existing muscle and you’ll be back to the starting line.
7) Eat fat at every meal. Yes, fat! Allow me to clarify this point. Include between 20-30 grams of healthy fats at each meal. You’ll want to have a balanced intake of monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and saturated fats. Avoid trans fats at all costs!
8) Stay hydrated throughout the day. Drink water as soon as you awake and continue drinking water throughout the day. The optimal amount is at least 64 ounces per day.
9) Vegetables should be included with every meal. Vegetables naturally contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that are vital for muscle recovery. The alkaline levels in vegetables can also help prevent bone loss. The antioxidants help the recovery process immensely by actively healing muscle cells that have been damaged.
10) Eat both whole foods and drink liquids to get your calorie intake throughout the day. Whole foods should equal roughly 60% of your caloric intake whereas liquid food sources should equal the remaining 40%.
Best Foods for a Weight Gain Diet Plan
What are the best foods to consume when you’re bodybuilding and trying to gain weight? Proteins should be lean, whole, and complete. Examples of these types of protein would include salmon, orange roughy, tuna, Omega 3 eggs, sunflower seeds, milk, lean turkey, chicken and beef, and yogurt, and cottage cheese.
Nutritionally sound sources of carbohydrates would be foods such as whole grains, potatoes, bran, buckwheat, brown rice, cornmeal, oatmeal, beans, and whole grain pasta. These are all examples of complex carbohydrates which are also high in fiber and have a low-glycemic index. This type of carbohydrate will release energy slowly to your body and will help with endurance as well as keeping you energized for extra difficult workouts.
Good fats (not trans fats) to include in your diet would be olive oil, flax oil, cod liver oil, other fish oils, sunflower oil and safflower oil. Raw nuts also provide a good, healthy source of acceptable fats.
Vegetables are easy to incorporate into your diet. Make sure to have several veggies prepped and ready to grab and go when needed. Divide your vegetables into 2 serving portions so they’re ready to toss into your meal when you’re cooking at home.
There aren’t significant differences between men and women when it comes to gaining weight while bodybuilding. The basic principle remains the same: consume more energy (calories) than you expend. Yes, everyone’s caloric intake will vary slightly depending on each individual’s rate of metabolism.
- Eat 5-7 meals/snacks per day that contain lean protein, healthy carbs and healthy fats
- Stay hydrated
- Veggies should be eaten at every meal
- Eat MORE calories, not less
If you’ve been a naturally thin or downright skinny person all of your life and desire to have a lean, muscular body, if you put the effort in – you can gain weight! Be sure the weight you gain is the “good” kind – not the fatty, unhealthy kind of weight.
Persons who are of good health, suspect of their health or are aware of any conditions, physical deficiencies or diseases should always consult a physician before undertaking any eating or exercise program. Mandy Gibbons and Virtual Fitness Trainer disclaims any liability or loss in connection with the above program or advice given in this article.