While many people in South Africa struggle with obesity, there are also people who struggle to gain weight. There are different ways to approach this problem, in this article we will focus on gaining weight by building muscle through exercise and proper nutrition.
Usually, you will find that people who struggle to gain weight often do not eat enough or have an extremely fast metabolism. If its the latter, then you are still not eating enough, or you would be gaining weight even with your fast metabolism. While it may be harder to gain weight due to having a quicker than average metabolism, it is still possible through proper nutrition.
Many people who want to gain weight through building muscle figure if they go to the gym every week and lift weights, they will build muscle. If only it were that easy. Going to the gym is the easy part, eating correctly is the hard part. To build muscle, you need to provide your body with the fuel it needs (food) to build the new muscle. You need to consume more calories than what your body burns in a day, and you also need to consume enough protein. At the end of the article, I will give a list of quality foods to eat to help gain weight fast.
The first thing you need to do is work out your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), this will give you an idea of how many calories your body burns a day on average. I recommend this TDEE calculator https://damnripped.com/tdee-calculator/. Enter your details into the calculator and choose your goal weight. The calculator will then tell you how many calories you should eat a day to reach this weight.
You now need to download a calorie tracking app onto your phone. Myfitnesspal and Fatsecret are the most popular ones. These apps will allow you to log what food you eat and what amounts, and will then add everything up for you. By doing this will help you keep track of how many calories you are eating a day and will make sure you reach your calorie target. Make sure to eat high-quality foods to help gain weight, the goal here is to gain weight through building muscle, not by getting fat.
Start going to the gym and make sure to follow a workout that is designed to help build muscle mass. Generally, these types of workouts will consist of reps ranging from 8 to 12 and will include 1 to 2 body parts per a workout. An important rule to remember when exercising is that longer is not better. Lifting weights from 2 to 3 hours a day will not help you build muscle faster, in fact, it will cause you to overtrain which will lead to muscle loss. Each workout should last no longer than 45 to 60 minutes.
If you are unsure of what workout to follow then take a look here.
Weigh yourself once a week and track your weight. Make sure to weigh yourself at the same time (preferably in the morning) and same day of the week. If after four weeks your weight is still not going up then chances are you are not eating enough and may need to increase your calories.
Types of food to eat to build muscle and gain weight fast
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Brown rice
- Basmati rice
- Sweet potato
- 100% Rye bread
- Wholewheat pasta
- Skinless chicken breasts
- Fish (Tuna, hake, Salmon)
- Lean cuts of red meat
- Protein powders (Whey protein)
Example meal plan
7 am Breakfast – Oats
10 am Snack – Rye bread with tuna and light mayonnaise
1 pm Lunch – Mince and basmati rice
3 pm Snack – Nuts and 2 bananas
6 pm Supper – Chicken breasts, rice and vegetables
8 pm Snack – Nuts
The above meal plan is an example only and is not meant to be followed. Only a qualified dietician can give you a diet to follow.