Gain Weight Safely -- A How to Guide
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October 10, 2009 (Updated October 11, 2009)

By Allison Burgess, Contributing Columnist

Every once in a while we hear about movie stars who have
to put on weight for their upcoming Hollywood role. You
might read quotes from them saying how fun it was
devouring half a dozen donuts in one sitting without a care
in the world. Many readers might think, “How nice to be
paid to gain weight...” But there are everyday people out
there who, believe it or not, struggle to gain weight and do
so healthily. How do you gain weight fast? More
importantly, how do you put on weight safely?

While constantly being bombarded with tips on how to lose
weight, it can be frustrating for someone who is looking to
do the opposite. Whether you feel you are lanky, desire a
fuller figure, or want to build weight for sports reasons,
this article pulls together the most effective strategies for
addng pounds to your frame.

The good news is that, there has been some important
research in this area.  Many of the studies have concerned
the question of how to maintain or increase muscle mass
for astronauts who of course experience weightlessness.
What diets work for them and others who have to be
inactive for long periods of the day sitting at desk jobs?
Which exercises are most effective for gaining weight or
muscle mass?

Based on medical research, here are the best strategies for
gaining weight in the form of muscle mass safely.

Set a Target Weight. First of all, a target weight needs to
be set. Once you know your ideal weight goal, you can
start to monitor your progress. According to the
Health Service in the UK and other medical authorities, you
should stick to an average weight gain of two pounds
(about 1 kilo) per month. That's a lot.  It takes an extra
3500 calories to gain a pound over your
metabolism, so gaining 2 pounds a month means you have
to take in an extra 7000 calories a month, or approximately
230 calories a day.

Select Nutrient-Rich Foods. The most important step is
the selection of the right foods. Nutrient-rich foods such as
whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas should be a
substantial part of your diet. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat
dairy products, and lean protein sources such as fish,
turkey, chicken and
quinoa would also fall under this
nutrient-rich category.

Make Snacks a Priority.  It's important not to skip snack
time. Nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, etc.)
make great snacks for a person looking to pack on pounds
smartly. Other options include peanut butter and jelly
sandwiches, fresh vegetables with
avocado dip, and
cheeses. The Mayo Clinic cautions that those who are
underweight should choose fruit smoothies, juices, and
shakes over nutrition-empty sodas. (Read more about the
health benefits of avocado.)

Hit the Gym.  A key tip: Do not shy away from the gym.
Although exercising might seem counter-productive in the
process of gaining weight, it is still an essential component
of every person’s daily routine. What is important is the
type of exercise you choose. Many have heard that muscle
weighs more than fat, and it is indeed a fact that you can
keep in mind when you are choosing workout routines. For
persons looking to gain weight,
resistance training (weight
lifting) is the best option.
Weight training builds muscle and
adds on pounds. Remember that muscle also burns more
calories, so don’t forget to stock up on healthy, nutrient-
rich snacks for post-workout consumption.

Get Enough Sleep and Rest. Last but not least: Don’t
forget to rest! Accordng to the
University of Massachusetts,
high quality sleep and sufficient rest in general is
essential to the success of a weight-gain plan. If you are a
person who is always on the go, you are burning extra
calories just by living your daily life. Do not cut out natural
aeroboic actions (walking to lunch, for example), but do
take time to sit and relax.

Use Amino Acid (Leucine) and Carbs Wisely. Several
studies have found that people can increase or maintain
muscle mass by increasing the amount of amino acids they
consume and controlling their carbohydrate intake to a
fixed ratio. In a 2004 study by researchers from the
University of Texas Medical Branch found that people who
supplemented their other wise healthy diets with additional
amino acidws (16.5 grams) and carbohydrates (30 grams)
maintaine dor added muscle mass. The extra amino acids
and carbs were eaten every 5 hours at 8:30 in teh morning,
1:30 PM and 6:30 PM.  Even though th epeople in teh study
were confined to bedrest, they were able to maintain lean
leg muscle mass completely. This study suggests adding
amino acid supplemnation, perhaps in the form of protein
(whey) drinks, and carbihydrate supplementation can help
you gain weight healthily.

After setting a target weight, monitoring food
consumption, exercising accordingly, and finding time to
relax, you will start to see the pounds start to appear.
Remember, as they say, “patience is a virtue.” You’ll get

You're just getting started. Find our more valuable
information on weight management:
Six Pack Abs-Step By Step
Plan /Ideal Breakfast to Lose Weight/ Diet and Exercise --A Simple
Plan for Life / Foods That Shrink Your Waist  / Why Waist Size
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