While exercise is, of course, extremely important to gaining lean weight, perhaps one of the most important determinants of whether or not you gain weight is your meal plan. Creating an effective meal plan to gain weight is one of the best ways to get the body youre working for.
How you eatwhat you use to fuel your bodyimpacts not only whether or not you gain weight but also the type of weight you gain.
Unfortunately, many people, in their quest to bulk up, don’t opt for healthy food choices and instead just try to take in as many empty calories as possible. This may lead to weight gain but not to lean, healthy muscle mass.
The key to creating a meal plan to gain weight is to choose foods that are full of nutrients and high in valuable calories, and that fuel your body in the most effective way possible.
Calories Are Key for a Meal Plan to Gain Weight
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First and foremost, it’s important to understand that calories are your friend in your quest to gain weight.
If you’re not taking in enough calories, you’re simply not going to gain weight, regardless of what other steps you’re taking. Even with supplements or a high-protein diet, without enough calories, you won’t pack on the pounds or the muscle mass.
When you determine how many calories you need, you need to look not only at your age, current weight, and gender but also at how much you exercise daily in order to understand how many calories you should be eating. You need to ensure you’re creating a surplus of calories, meaning that you’re taking in more calories each day than you’re burning.
Guidelines for Maximizing Your Weight Gain
When you begin creating your meal plan to gain weight, the first step is to plan on eating many meals throughout the day.
Eating three meals a day won’t cut it. Instead, plan to eat about six to eight meals each and every day. Smaller but more frequent meals help your body to receive nutrients continuously, which is vital for building muscle.
Also, incorporate your meals into your workout routine. This means that you should plan to have at least a snack before and after your workout. A protein-packed snack is often the best option to maximize the muscle building that you’re doing during your workout and to keep you energized. Protein can also help you properly recover after a strenuous workout.
The Role of Protein in Gaining Weight
Yes, protein is certainly important when creating a meal plan to gain weight, but it’s important to understand the role of protein, how much you need, and how it impacts your body.
One of the most common misconceptions in the world of fitness and bodybuilding is that you need to eat protein constantly in order to gain weight and build muscle.
This isn’t the case.
One of the reasons for this misconception is that people previously used their body weight as a gauge for how much protein they should be eating. In reality, only your lean muscle mass is a consideration.
The reason? Body fat doesn’t utilize protein.
If you’re eating more protein than your body requires, it’s not going to be used effectively—it will most likely just become waste.
Also, eating too much protein can prove not only useless but even detrimental to your efforts to gain weight, because it requires the most calories to burn off.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the ideal amount of protein to eat each day in order to gain healthy weight is about 15 to 20 percent of your total caloric intake.
The number one takeaway about using protein to gain weight is that you should be calculating your needs based only on your lean body mass.
Learn about serving sizes of protein. This is an easier way to calculate how much you need, as compared to keeping track of the grams of protein you consume each day.
When you’re eating large amounts of protein, you should always drink lots of water. Water is important for weight gain because it keeps your body functioning properly and also helps keep the kidneys working the way they’re meant to, since protein can put a lot of stress on these organs.
Healthy proteins for weight gain include:
Include healthy proteins in your meal plan to gain weight
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In addition to protein, a meal plan to gain weight should include a substantial amount of carbohydrates. Anywhere from 45 to 65 percent of your calories should come from carbs for optimal weight gain. Choose healthy carbs, including:
Using Vitamins to Gain Weight
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There are certain vitamins that can be useful when you’re trying to gain weight. The reasons you can use vitamins to gain weight are because they can work to slow down a fast metabolism or even to increase appetite.
While there are vitamins that can aid the weight gain process, it’s important to remember that they’re only a small piece of the puzzle and should be used in conjunction with a meal plan to gain weight.
A few vitamins that play a role in weight gain include:
Creatine: This is a supplement used by many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts because it goes straight to muscles and helps energize them for maximum workout effectiveness.
Zinc: Often, when people’s bodies are zinc deficient, it reduces their appetite. While you can take supplements to increase your zinc levels, it’s also naturally occurring in a number of foods, including meat, fish, and other seafood. These are all good types of foods to include in a meal plan to gain weight since they’re healthy proteins.
Thiamine: This is another vitamin shown to increase appetite. Thiamine is a type of B vitamin, and you can also derive it from food sources, including whole grains and meat.
Creating the ideal meal plan to gain weight is all about properly balancing protein and carbohydrates, understanding your caloric needs, and supplementing with vitamins when necessary.
As with any meal plan, it’s about strategy and learning what your body needsnot only to operate at a peak performance level but also to meet your fitness and weight goals.