Dieting is not only for weight loss but a planned diet can be helpful for people who want to gain weight. In society, we come across a group of people who are active enough but their height and weight ratio put them under the Lean/Underweight category. Scientifically if BMI (Body Mass Index) is <18.5Kg/m2 then they categorize as Underweight. Nutritionally they are normal but due to their lean physique many times experience feeling exhausted or due to less immunity frequently fall sick.
Remember it’s not a disease that can be corrected. Being underweight is more common among girls and women compared to men. Firstly it is important to understand the reason behind the condition. It can be due to family history or food habits or wrong lifestyle weight loss due to any specific disease or it’s a case of an eating disorder.
As soon as we say weight gain; 2 different thoughts come to our mind is, it a muscle gain or overall weight gain? These are two different perspectives. Practically for gaining weight calorie intake throughout the day should be more than your daily calorie expenditure. Concerning this topic, people have a lot of myths. Let’s sort out them!
I am not gaining weight so why are the restrictions?
For weight gain purposes, the quantity and nutritive value of the food need to be understood. Wrongly eaten food will lead to weight gain but is not in a healthy way. People should gain weight in a healthy manner which means an increase in weight due to an increase in muscle mass and not fat mass. For this sometimes keep aside your likes and dislikes. Food taken with a positive mind will show its effect.
I cannot eat a large quantity at one time.
Its common complaint and solution is eating calorie dense food at short intervals of time. Calorie dense food provides more nutrition in less quantity. For example, instead of taking plain milk, make use of a date milkshake or any fruit milkshake with added dry fruit powder Or instead of plain chapatti go for cheese paratha or potato or any mixed veg paratha.
Do I need to take salads or fruits as I am trying to gain weight?
Although being too skinny you need essential vitamins and minerals. Most of these nutrients you will get from fruits and vegetables. Of course, the timings and should be after meals or in between two main meals. The weight gain diet will have a list of fruits and vegetables that should be eaten frequently.
Is it necessary to have Non-veg food for weight gain purposes?
There is no rule as such but understand the logic behind it rather than following it blindly. Non-vegetarian food sources contain high biological value proteins. It means they have all the essential amino acids required by the body. All non-vegetarian sources are low in carbohydrates and high in proteins which give a person early satiety. So people who consume these foods experience faster weight gain than vegetarians.
Is there any requirement of doing exercise for weight gain?
Physical activity should be an important part of everyone’s life. Only the thing to understand is for weight gain guidelines will differ from those for weight loss. Strength training exercises will help the individual build muscles stronger. Lean/Underweight people should spend less time on cardio exercises like running on a treadmill, jogging, cycling, swimming etc. Rest in between any exercise is important for people who want to gain weight.
Another group of people goes to the gym to build muscles or bodybuilding.
Their role models are Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, and John Abraham and for this, they are ready to do anything. Crash diets like a zero fat diet, a very high protein diet, or a keto diet are very commonly heard. Sometimes experiments with our own bodies can be harmful. Our body doesn’t adapt to such diets very easily so many people, later on, develop side effects. Any diet you follow should be palatable and easily digestible. Indian Dietetic Association has decided on the requirement of all essential nutrients. Our body needs a minimum amount of fat in a daily diet so zero fat like diets don’t long last.
In this area also people have some myths regarding muscle building. Let’s clear them.
Women can build muscles?
Biologically men and women have different body structures and hormones which help in muscle building. Also as per their abilities, they can handle weights. Any lady doing strength training will increase her muscle mass. So just don’t compare and do exercises for burning fats and building muscles stronger.
Need of supplements for building muscles:
Many times diet only cannot fulfill the increased requirement. Supplements like creatine, fat burners, and BCAA or Whey protein shakes need to be consumed. One thing that needs to be understood is while planning a diet, calculating nutrients and calories from food as well as supplements is important. The proper planned diet helps in faster bodybuilding.
Combination of exercise is important:
There is no magical diet that will reduce fat from a specific body area. For building muscle cardio as well as weight training are important. Exercise along with a strict diet will give results faster.
How much muscle gain is expected?
People make faulty claims about faster and bigger muscle gain. However, most have been fooled into believing that a large percentage is a muscle when most of it is due to an increase in glycogen stores, body fat, and water. When it comes to muscle gain there is no dramatic technique that will allow you to pack on more muscle naturally. It’s better to stay focused and realistic by training hard and eating meticulously.
Average men can gain between 0.25 and 0.5 pounds of muscle per week (or about 1-2 pounds of muscle gained per month).
Average women can gain between 0.12 – 0.25 pounds of muscle per week (or about 0.5-1 pound of muscle gained per month).
So every human being is different and so is his diet. Neither weight gain nor muscle gain is easy. Only you should be ready to make an effort. Consistency is key to long-term success.