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Gain Weight and Build Muscle
Naturally thin people may be the way they are due to their genetics or poor food intake which means they feel fuller faster, prompting them to eat less or either a hormonal imbalance or a high metabolism which metabolises the food they eat. they eat instantly thus increasing the overall requirement for calories and other nutrients. According to the BMI range (Body Mass Index), a BMI below 18.5 qualifies as underweight. Although they are a growing minority, underweight people can be at risk for health problems such as nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis especially in women, lowered immune systems and fertility problems in women, just to name a few.
“Eat as much as you can” is common advice one gets when trying to gain weight, especially for someone who has always been skinny and lanky. You may be gaining weight, but that may not be the best indicator of how healthy you are. Body composition is a better tool to ascertain your health and fitness along with weight. It’s a measure of how much of your weight comes from lean mass, which includes muscle, bone, connective tissue and water, and how much comes from fat. It is commonly noted that although weight and BMI are well within the normal range, fat composition is very high, suggesting that fitness levels are not appropriate and this makes the individual susceptible to various metabolic diseases.
It may seem strange, but it is possible to lose weight without actually seeing a change in weight. This happens when you lose body fat while gaining muscle. Your weight may stay the same or even increase, even if you lose inches, a sign that you’re moving in the right direction. Similarly, during weight gain it is again possible that the individual is gaining weight with an increase in fat mass and not muscle mass, indicating that weight gain is not happening in the right way.
Here are some healthy ways to gain weight if you are underweight:
1. Eat more frequently: If you feel like you can’t eat multiple foods at once, it would be wise to eat five to six smaller meals rather than three main meals.
2. Increase Your Calorie Intake: Determine your daily calorie needs with your BMR and gradually increase the number of calories (see where you get them from).
3. Snack Smart: Calorie-rich snacks such as nuts, cheese, dried fruit, hummus or guacamole with whole wheat bread, peanut or almond butter with bread, smoothies and milkshakes will help you get calories with other nutrients.
4. Pay Attention To Fat: Avoid saturated fats from butter, margarine, ghee, salad dressings like mayonnaise and thousand island dressings, and full-fat dairy and dairy products. They’re not good for your heart. Instead, use vegetable oils that contain the good fats. You could add extra olive oil to salads, soups, and breads (don’t go overboard).
5. Don’t go overboard on protein: Medical research shows that consuming more protein could actually harm your body. Eating more protein and increasing your calorie intake will add up to fat mass in the body and cause stress on other body systems. So, consume protein in moderation (15% of your total daily calorie intake). Lean chicken and fish are the best choices when it comes to animal protein.
6. Take out the trash: Avoid sweet and processed foods. Your weight gain will mainly be fat gain which will increase your risk of diseases that result from consuming them.
7. Remember to exercise: Exercise, especially weight training, helps build muscle and thus gain weight. Exercise also helps stimulate appetite.
No matter what your reason for gaining weight, it’s important to focus on the nutritional profile of calorie-dense foods and not just the amount of calories in them. Eating more calories shouldn’t give you a license to binge on junk foods that contain only empty calories and no other nutrients. Eating more calories from the right foods along with a monitored exercise program will ensure that the weight you gain is muscle weight and not from fat.
A qualified nutritionist plays an important role in formulating a good weight gain diet. It would be able to provide the right nutrition for body building with an appropriate percentage of the macronutrients carbohydrates, proteins and fats in order to maintain the desired body composition. If one does not have the means to visit a qualified fitness and sports nutritionist in and around one’s place, there are various nutrition companies offering online nutrition services for the same.
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