How to Gain 20 Pounds With a High Metabolism

In a country where 36 percent of adults over age 20 are obese, difficulty gaining weight is not a subject often discussed. However, for about 2 percent of the population, reports CNN Health, a healthy weight is elusive, and a high metabolism is often to blame. If you struggle to keep weight on or gain weight, a nutritious, calorie-dense diet combined with a strength-training regimen can help you pack on the pounds.

Add 500 calories to your current daily caloric intake to gain approximately 1 pound per week, which is a safe rate of weight gain. Start gradually, recommends personal trainer Jen Cassetty, adding about 200 calories to current intake for a week or two and observing the results. Increase your intake, if necessary. If you're taking in an extra 500 calories per day and gaining 1 pound of weight per week, you can expect to gain 20 pounds in approximately 20 weeks. Keep in mind that it's not an exact science; it depends on your body and also on how many calories you're burning each day.

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Choose calorie-dense foods that are also nutrient-dense. You don't want to gain weight at the expense of your health. Rather than pigging out on junk food, increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, nuts and seeds, oils and low-fat dairy. Examples of foods that are nutrient- and calorie-rich include avocados, nuts and nut butters, hummus, olive oil and dried fruits.

Eat several small meals a day instead of three large ones. You likely won't be able to take in the extra calories you need in three square meals. Either eat six smaller meals or three larger meals and two or three snacks each day. Have a small snack before bed so that your body doesn't go too long without calories. Try a banana and a glass of milk or whole-wheat crackers and peanut butter. Eat breakfast first thing when you wake up in the morning.

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Engage in regular strength training to gain lean body mass. It's crucial to strength train when you increase your caloric intake so that the calories are used to create muscle mass rather than being stored as fat. Medical obesity specialist Craig Primack recommends resistance training three to four times a week using higher weight and performing fewer repetitions.


Consult your doctor before beginning a weight-gain diet to rule out any underlying health conditions that may be the cause of your low body weight.