Honestly, when I first started writing for MyFit Fuel, I didn’t realize there were so many women out there trying to gain weight.
However, today almost every time I tell a female friend or acquaintance about writing on fitness, this question – “How do I gain weight?” comes up a lot.
So, in this blog post, I am going to be squeezing the following topics dry- Tips to gain weight for females, weight-gain diet, best exercises for weight gain, and the best supplement to help you pile the pounds in the right places…
Just keep scrolling down…it costs no calories, I promise…
Dear skinnies, if you want to put on weight fast, just follow these two basic principles or the holy grail of weight gain to get pounds heavier in no time:
- Increase your caloric intake
- And gain lean muscle through strength training
Gaining weight safely is no rocket science just as losing weight… But the results get delayed due to myths surrounding exercise, inertia or a stubborn resistance to change.
For example, just say weight training and most women conjure up images of a female Schwarzenegger.
Women’s fear of free weights is irrational and counter-productive because women can never become big muscular ‘He–men’ by lifting weights alone as they just don’t have the hormonal heft to power muscles.
Most women weight lifters you see on television have been lifting weights for decades and have been taking outside help from steroids.
Muscle is also incredibly fast to lose. Don’t just believe me – ask them men!
But forget the optics, if you ask me the one biggest reason to gain weight is because it’s healthy. However somehow, a majority of women I’ve spoken to feel the opposite. They think putting on weight is unhealthy and being skinny isn’t.
Hey you underweight women with a BMI below 18.5, you are prone to more chronic life – altering health issues like anemia, weakened immune systems, brittle bones, thin scraggy hair, bad skin, premature wrinkling and ageing, bad nails and sometimes an inability to menstruate and get pregnant due to absence of enough fat in your bodies.
These weight gain tips for the female are for you, ladies!
And before we get to the nitty gritties of weight-gain for women, let me make one thing clear- Always go for the tried and tested methods of weight gain rather than falling into the pit of junk food diets, pills and other dangerous stuff to gain kilos.
Here now are Some of the Best Tips for Weight Gain for Females-
1) Exercise Right for Weight Gain
This is not going to sound fun, but girls, women and ladies – you have to move off the treadmill and step on the squat rack.
It’s easy to get thin women to the gym where they promptly get on the treadmill along with other women who are trying to lose weight. It’s a nice cozy female corner for sure but it will not help you put on mass.
Treadmill is a cardio exercise which will make you use up calories without increasing muscle mass or gaining muscle.
So, you should venture outside of your comfort zone right past the treadmill and ellipticals, and head directly to the free weights section.
Weight training with free weights will help you increase muscle which is the best kind of weight gain. And so will strength training which includes performing exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, bicep curls, leg curls, crunches, and chin-ups.
But do start off by lifting hand weights or using exercise bands to help you build your muscle strength before trying more extreme exercises.
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests starting with two or three sessions of strength training a week for healthy adults including women.
If you’re not ready for full-fledged strength training yet, don’t worry. Just build your muscles by doing exercises for flexibility, balance and core strength like stretching exercises and yoga. These will help you tone up and give you the confidence to graduate to strength training.
Also, consult a fitness professional who can design a strength training exercise plan tailored to your weight-gain goals.
Keep these in mind though- If you’re lifting weights like you should – select the amount of weight which makes you feel tired after about 10 repetitions. And aim to do three to four sets at the least.
Also choose six to eight exercises that work the major muscle groups in your body.
For weight gain, experts recommend compound exercises such as pull-ups on different days of the week. Try bend-over rolls on say Monday and Thursdays and follow with front squats and chest presses on Tuesday and Saturday to work your abdominals, glutes, chest, and thighs.
If you don’t know how to do the above exercises in order to gain mass, don’t worry, just click here to know the right as well as safe way to perform them.
Learn how to effectively and safely squat with weights if possible, as this is the best way to gain muscle on your lower body. It will give you the back, bottom and well shaped legs that you can show – off with pride.
Since you are straining your body and burning calories doing these high impact exercises, it’s a good idea to go for some extra protein help for maintaining and building muscles.
I suggest the Advance MFF Mass Gainer for you girls in a hurry to build muscle mass and gain weight.
This product is a special advance researched high protein mass gainer which has ingredients like Digezyme, the latest digestive enzymes technology, added Nutriose for fibre enrichment and better digestive tolerance, and 22 vital vitamins and minerals to help you achieve lean mass.
It also boasts of high protein from seven protein sources along with 167 gm carbohydrate and 60 gm protein in a rich chocolaty flavour which you will love.
You can drink this hi–protein powder with milk which will give you extra calories for weight gain.
The powder releases protein inside your body for upto eight hours after you drink it. This means it helps you grow more muscle and makes sure that you don’t feel fatigued during your strength training routine.
Advance MFF Mass Gainer also contains Creatine, Glutamine and BCAAs for better muscle repair and recovery after your workout.
The second important thing to follow is that you should focus on not just gaining body weight, but on gaining Lean Muscle Weight.
If you gain just body fat, you are unlikely to be happy about the results as the fat will deposit in areas where you least want it to. So, you will have a spare tier or two around your waist but your arms may be as scrawny as before.
This is where lean muscle weight comes in. This, girls, is healthy weight gain. Unlike body fat, lean muscle tends to distribute itself evenly all over your body and follows the instructions you give it by doing the right strength training exercises.
Similar Article: Best Supplements for Weight Gain
2) Healthy Diet for Weight-Gain
a) How much calories do you need per day to gain weight?
It’s critical for you to know the exact number of calories that you need to add to your daily diet in order to gain weight.
So here it goes- The magic number is 500 more calories a day than you burn per day.
A pound of weight equals 3,500 calories, so if you stick to the figure of 500 calories a day, it will mean one pound weight gain per week and a little over 4 pounds in a month.
b) How do you factor in 500 extra calories per day?
One way to do this is to count the calories in the extra foods you eat.
You can actually find out the calorie content of foods, online and calculate the calories you are getting by eating specific foods per day.
This is a great way to track your calorie intake.
But, if you don’t want the hassle of number- crunching, just identify calorie- dense foods and stick to them to gain weight.
c) Which healthy foods to eat for weight gain?
Most of us women don’t know which healthy foods tend to be high in calories apart from butter and clarified butter or ‘ghee’, to be able to plan our meals and snacks around them.
Just for the record, a tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories and half an avocado has 160 calories… so, any chance you get, mix these healthy fats into recipes while you’re cooking, or add them to your food at the table.
Indeed, buying and eating more calorie-dense foods is key to weight- gain in a short time.
Eat more foods that are high in both calories as well nutrients like minerals and vitamins and not just high- calorie foods like junk and colas.
Stock your pantry with these calorie-dense, nutrient-rich foods to ensure you have healthy weight-gain foods within arm’s reach:
- Peanut butter
- Olive oil
- Sugary fruits like mangoes, bananas, pineapples which offer a heftier calorie punch than other fruits
- Dried fruits as these are a concentrated source of calories
- Starchy veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, corn, legumes, and beans
- Higher-calorie grains like quinoa, brown rice and barley, as well as whole- wheat bread and pasta
- Also grab full-fat dairy products such as cheese, full-cream milk, and yogurt.
d) Protein is Key to Weight-gain
Incorporate some amount of protein in your every meal. This will help you build more lean muscle.
Protein foods include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, soya and nuts. And higher-calorie protein foods include beef, dark meat, poultry and fatty fish, such as salmon.
If you are vegetarian, go for beans, lentils, soy, nuts and seeds and dry fruits like walnuts.
Protein bars are a great way to get more proteins into your body too and are great as snacks.
Protein powders are rich in lean protein and extra calories and can be blended into foods like smoothies, yogurt, hot cereals, and others. These are great for bulking up.
Just add your favourite flavour of protein powder to a fruit juice and keep sipping from time to time to boost your calorie intake and get a protein shot.
Or whip up a smoothie and add a protein powder to prepare a great weight-gain snack due to the high protein and calorie content.
e) Fats are our best pals, dear skinny
The most calorie-dense food on earth is – you got it right- fats. Fats contain more than double the calories of protein and carbohydrates.
This is why healthy fats are your best pals when it comes to gaining weight.
Reach for olive oil, ghee, butter, coconut oil, avocados, olives, nuts, nut butters and seeds as flavour enhancers or ‘add-ons’ to your meals and snacks. This will give you more calories even if you eat smaller portions per meal.
f) Go for six small meals in a day instead of just three
Eat as often as possible to get a bigger quantity of calories each day. You can plan three meals and three snacks as well.
Take care to eat about every three hours throughout the day. Also, eat faster than you normally do and use bigger plates to increase portion size.
Drink calorie –rich milk and 100 percent fruit juices to boost your calories throughout the day or add a half-cup of nuts to your diet as a snack to get you close to the 500-calorie mark.
FYI, just half-cup of almonds yields 414 calories, while providing 15 grams of protein and if you mix almonds with raisins, you get an additional 129 calories more.
If you are a small eater, do not drink beverages at mealtime. Drink some calories with your snacks.
g) Weight gain supplements
In some cases, just the diet and exercise may not bring results as quickly as you expect. Another way to go about gaining weight fast and easy is by including some additional supplements in your diet.
Whey protein is the protein for the job. Whey protein powders can be added to your milk and smoothies and just see how this super protein contributes to your body mass and aids in muscle development.
2) Weight Gain at Home
If you are a busy woman or have a dislike for gyms, you can learn squats, sit-ups and push-ups from a certified instructor and practice them at home. You could also invest in a set of dumbbells for working out your muscles at your home.
Also, do remember to snack frequently, pack a nutrient-dense lunch, and sip protein shakes throughout the day for getting those extra 500 calories per day.
Lift weights and do light cardio like a short walk around the block as this will help stimulate your appetite.
3) Weight Gain Diet Tips
How do you add high-calorie, nutrient-filled foods to your meals? Here’s my way of doing it:
For breakfast, for example, grab some Greek yogurt and mix it with banana slices and a handful of chopped walnuts, instead of just having yogurt.
If you like having oats for breakfast, try making them with whole milk instead of water or skimmed milk and add a serving of raisins and a dollop of maple syrup.
If you prefer toast- opt for hearty whole-grain bread, toasted and topped with fattening butter.
Similarly make your lunch calorie-dense by adding a source of lean protein, like grilled chicken or cottage cheese to your salad instead of having just plain salad with your rice or ‘chapati’ main course.
Finish off your lunch with a high-calorie fruit like a mango or pineapple or a banana.
I really like mangoes as they are high-calorie, nutrient-dense fruits that works well with your lunch.
Calorie-dense snacks that you can plan for the day are cheese and crackers, fruit or whole wheat bread with peanut butter or just keep dry fruit and dark chocolate handy in your purse for munching anytime.
For dinner: pack in some protein at dinner too to help you build muscle.
Marinate an oily fish like salmon in olive oil and garlic to add some healthy calories, and serve with starchy vegetables like sweet potato and broccoli. You can add more olive oil to the dish on the table to up the calorie-quotient.
Similarly, for dessert, eat some dark chocolate for the healthy fats it contains.
So, as we’ve seen, it’s not at all difficult to plan meals around calorie-dense foods, especially for us women.
Last but not the least, set small, manageable goals for yourself – I would suggest that you try gaining four pounds in a month. And take it from there.
I have given you some very precise and easy- to- follow tips on how to gain weight for females here. Just follow them and see the difference.
Do share your weight gain experiences with us. We shall be waiting for your feedback.