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Where can I find tips on how to gain weight?

Find tips on how to gain weight safely and effectively.

Developing muscles is a good way to gain weight.[©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Developing muscles is a good way to gain weight.

Society often seems obsessed with weight loss. Ads touting the latest way to slim down are everywhere. But there are also people who want to bulk up to play their favorite sport or just gain curves or muscles. This article provides simple, effective weight-gaining tips and helpful resources.

Eat a Balanced Diet to Gain Weight

Just like dieting to lose weight, there is a right way and a wrong way to add some extra mass. Eating only fatty, high calorie foods will add pounds but at the expense of overall health. Instead, it’s important to maintain a diet that contains foods that are high in calories and nutrition. 

The McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana notes that the addition of 250 to 500 additional calories daily would cause a weight gain of roughly one-half to one pound per week. In order to get the most out of those additional calories, the center recommends a balanced diet of high-calorie grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meat and plant proteins.

Increase Calories to Gain Weight

The old adage that less is more doesn’t apply to weight gain. It may be best to gradually increase the size of meals and the number of meals consumed in a day. 

Begin by getting the extra 500 calories a day through increased portions of normal meals. For example, an individual who normally eat one chicken breast for dinner can add another. Try eating small snacks throughout the day in addition to normal meals. Peanuts are a great source of protein and fiber and make a delicious midday snack. The University of Michigan’s Health System recommends yogurts with added cereal, graham crackers with a lean cheese, and milkshakes made with frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream.

Exercise for Weight Gain

Eating healthier in greater portions isn’t the only way to gain weight. Although it seems contradictory to be sweating off calories, weight gain through strength-training is another excellent and healthy way to achieve this goal. 

A balanced strength-training program that focuses on the major muscle groups such as the chest, back, abdominals, biceps, triceps, shoulders, quadriceps and hamstrings can be beneficial for both overall health and new muscle development. 

For the best results, try to design a program that includes at least one exercise for each of the previously mentioned muscle groups. Some sample exercises might include a bench press for the chest, crunches for the abdominals, bicep curls, overhead tricep extensions, and leg curls for the hamstrings. 

Perform two to three sets of no more than eight repetitions of each exercise, gradually increasing the amount of weight. 

The key to healthy weight gain is moderation and balance. Work gradually toward realistic goals. For more personalized advice, consider seeing a dietician or nutrition specialist. He or she can help develop a healthy diet that’s right for different lifestyles and body types.

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