Weight is constantly a hot topic of conversation with weight-loss articles topping the scales as some of the most highly searched-for content on the internet. But on the other end of the spectrum lies a group of people with the opposite problem – they just can’t gain weight – so how do you put on weight if you’re battling a high metabolism?
The connection between metabolism and weight
Before we jump into some solutions, let’s first take a look at exactly how our metabolism impacts our weight. Every one of us has a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which tells us how many calories we burn at rest, but the frustrating thing is that some move faster than others. A fast, or high BMR, simply means that you burn more calories in your resting state than normal, making it harder for you to keep weight on and to build muscle.
So how can you gain weight with a high metabolism?
With a high BMR and fast metabolism, your body is burning more calories every day doing nothing at all. This combined with normal daily movement and an average amount of exercise means that you need to eat a lot more calories to maintain your weight and even more calories to put weight on, but it’s a little more complicated than just eating extra-large portions of junk food.
Try to eat more healthy foods
Although soda, ice cream, pizza, and cake are calorically dense foods, using them to gain weight can ultimately cause you more harm than good as they are loaded with sugar and saturated fat. If you want to gain weight healthily then you need to try and eat a balanced diet loaded with fruit, vegetables, lean protein and carbs in the right proportions. Some healthy foods are more calorically dense than others, such as nuts, avocado, dried fruit and beans and so on, so do some research into healthy calorically dense foods if you want to limit the amount you need to eat. Here are 10 high-calorie healthy foods:
- Nuts and nut butter
- Dried fruit
- Chia seeds
- Granola (sweetened with dates or honey)
- Rice pudding
- Dense bread such as rye or pumpernickel
Try to eat more meals per day
For many people, eating enough calories of healthy food can be a struggle and so it’s often easier to split your meals into 6 rather than 3. Try to eat 3 large square meals per day and then eat a high-calorie snack in between, this will make it a lot easier to eat the required amount of food without making yourself feel sick and is often less wasteful than overfilling your plate 3 times a day and then having to scrape half back into the trash. If you’re really struggling with eating enough volume of food then you may want to try high-calorie protein shakes or Weight Gainer Supplements.
Make sure to eat enough protein
We know you’ve probably heard it a hundred times before but if you’re trying to gain muscle mass while also gaining weight, then you will need to make sure that you are eating enough protein. The general rule of thumb is to try and eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, but if you are trying to gain muscle then you may want to increase this. Experts at the University of Harvard have recommended that individuals looking to increase muscle mass look to gain between 15-25% of their daily calories from lean protein sources, so don’t be afraid of adding a little extra to your plate. Some lean protein sources to try include:
- Chicken breast (without the skin)
- Fish such as tuna, salmon or cod
- Eggs (especially egg white)
- Tempeh or tofu
- Cottage cheese
Lift weights rather than focusing on cardio
Cardio exercises such as running or cycling will work against you when you are trying to gain weight because they are a form of aerobic exercise and burn a lot more calories. Weight training, on the other hand, is anaerobic, using fewer calories while also helping you to build muscle which will help to increase your weight. For best results, try to do short sets of exercises rather than long sets and train 2-3 times a week with a rest day in between to allow yourself time to recover.
Being underweight can be just as difficult for a person to deal with as being overweight, and it’s important to understand that weight gain, especially while building muscle, can take time. Be consistent and you will see results, but remember than rapid or persistent weight loss can be a sign of underlying health conditions that you may want to be seen by a doctor.