A man gains weight by eating more calories than he burns daily. But don't just chow down on donuts and pizza. Eating healthy protein, dairy, whole grains and starchy vegetables will help you look and feel healthier when you need to put on pounds.
A man gains weight by eating more calories than he burns daily. While any extra calories will make you pack on pounds, getting your calories from sugar and unhealthy fats will cause you to gain fat, which does nothing for your health or appearance.
You're also still vulnerable to the health complications that come from too much sugar, refined grains and saturated fats, even if you're not technically overweight. Eating healthy protein, dairy, whole grains and starchy vegetables will help you look and feel healthier when you need to put on pounds.
Weight Gain Goals for Men
If you're currently eating enough to maintain your weight, add 250 to 500 additional calories per day to gain 1/2 to 1 pound per week. Muscle is harder to gain than fat, so adding more than 500 calories is likely to just raise your body fat, not make you stronger and more solid.
If your body has the characteristics of an endomorph — a tendency to carry more body fat, especially in the abdomen — add just 250 calories, because you gain fat weight easily. If you're more of an ectomorph — long, lanky and unable to gain a lot of weight — aim for the 500-calorie daily surplus to see results.
You may need to play around a little with adding calories as you observe how your body reacts — don't get fixated on an exact number. Also remember that some body types won't bulk up as readily as others; you can still get healthier and stronger even if you're naturally thin.
If you're gaining weight as recovery from trauma, surgery or a serious illness, talk to your doctor about your calorie goals.
Foods to Choose for Healthy Weight Gain
While you need the fiber and nutrients from watery varieties, such as:
- sweet potatoes
- winter squash too
Whole grains, such as
- brown rice or dense
- whole-grain breads
- are superior to white varieties — they contain calories
- but also feature optimal amounts of fiber
- naturally occurring nutrients
Snacking for Weight Gain
A skipped meal or snack is a missed opportunity to take in calories. Along with your three meals per day, have two to three snacks — one between breakfast and lunch, another between lunch and dinner and something just before bed or after a workout.
Optimal snacks contain nutrients and calories. A turkey or peanut butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread; cottage cheese with raisins; a bowl of granola with milk; or a smoothie made with a banana, berries, protein powder and milk are all options.
Drinks with calories, such as milk or 100 percent fruit juice, are other possibilities.
Exercise to Gain Muscle
A consistent weight-training program assists your nutritional efforts to gain weight. Target all the major muscle groups, which include:
- the chest
Flank steak, beans or legumes, poultry and fatty fish — such as salmon — contain the amino acids you need to support muscle growth and recovery from workouts. Eating healthy protein, dairy, whole grains and starchy vegetables will help you look and feel healthier when you need to put on pounds. Eating healthy protein, dairy, whole grains and starchy vegetables will help you look and feel healthier when you need to put on pounds.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Healthy Weight Gain
- CNN: How Should I Eat to Gain Muscle Mass?
- Today's Dietitian: Underweight: A Heavy Concern
- American Council on Exercise: How to Eat and Train for an Endomorph Body Type
- American Council on Exercise: How to Eat and Train for an Ectomorph Body Type
- Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images