As adults, we talk a lot about weight loss, however for many young athletes gaining weight to perform at their optimal levels is a much bigger concern. The question they face is how to do this safely, without the use of highly questionable supplements.
There are two ways to increase weight: by increasing your lean muscle mass or by increasing your fat mass.They will both make you gain weight but each route will make you look very different in appearance. This weight can also be “falsely” achieved through product that cause water retention in the muscles, another choice that we want athletes to avoid.
Training tip for weight gain: The best training to do to gain weight is resistance training (weight training) doing no more then 8 reps with heavy weights. If you can do more then 8 reps, your muscle growth will be less, so it’s a good indicator that you need more resistance.
Food tips for weight gain; There are high caloric foods you can add into your daily routine to help with healthy weight gain, such as:
- full fat coconut milk,
- full fat, organic dairy
- free range eggs
- raw nuts (without added oils and salt)
- raw seeds (such as hemp, chia, sunflower..Again make sure they are free of added salt & oil)
- extra virgin coconut oil
- extra virgin olive oil
There are a lot of weight gainer protein powders on the market to choose from, but be very careful with these. Make sure to read the labels – most contain loads of additives and unwanted ingredients (like artificial sweeteners, msg and fillers). Look for ingredients you can pronounce, natural ingredients and sugars, and select brands from a natural health food store, to reduce the variety of lower quality choices to select from.
Additional weight gain tips:
- increase your meal frequency- eat at least 3 meals and 3 snacks a day
- eat regularly, every 2-3 hours
- eat highly nutritious, high calorie snacks
- eat larger meals but DO NOT overeat
- make sure to eat high protein meal between 30-90 minutes after a workout to help build muscles
Lastly, be sure to set realistic goals for yourself and remember to get enough rest, as you are not going to make any gains in lean muscle mass if your body is over tired.