It does not matter whether you want to increase your muscle mass or simply want to not resemble a twig anymore, gaining weight can be as much of a challenging task for some individuals as losing weight is for others. Indeed, trying to maintain a healthy diet while concurrently bulking up your body requires a ton of hard work.
Below are five “good gain” rules you can follow for gaining weight while still optimizing your health.
5) Do not let more than 4 hours go by without eating anything.
Since it is similar to an engine that is always turned on (your brain and muscles are working, your heart is always beating, blood is circulating non-stop), your body requires a continuous supply of energy. Whenever you skip meals, you are actually stripping your body of the fuel it needs to keep functioning. The result is a dip on energy reserves, which unluckily includes muscle mass. If you want to prevent your body from squandering off tissues, you should be eating regular meals that are spaced about 3 to 5 hours apart from each other. Meal timing is especially critical if you are trying to gain new muscle tissue. Try keeping a food journal as it helps in keeping track of your eating patterns.
4) Eat several foods at once.
Make it a goal to consume at least three food groups. Instead of a handful of nuts or a banana, try topping some slices of whole-grain toast with almond butter and a few banana slices. Pair it with a glass of organic skim milk or any milk substitute. A wider variety of food groups will provide your body with a more extensive spectrum of healthy nutrients throughout the day.
3) Consume healthy dense foods.
The perfect way to obtain nutrition without having to consume large quantities of food is to pick nutrient-loaded foods that pack a lot of protein, fat or carbohydrates into a small serving. One great example is dried fruit. With the water extracted, the portion shrinks by around 75%, turning a cup of grapes into a quarter cup of raisins. Always be sure though to choose those dried fruits without added sugar or preservatives. Another nourishing snack you can make are dark chocolate chips, minced dried fruit and chocolate chips folded into almond butter. Spoon out one-inch portions, roll them into balls then wrap them in waxed paper. You can snack on these power-packed nutrition balls throughout the day.
2) Drink your food.
Because they are not as filling as solid food, liquids are a good choice when you are trying to gain healthy weight as they provide nutrition without the stuffed or bloated feeling. Some good choices include organic skim milk (or other milk alternatives like hemp or organic soy), 100% fruit juices or smoothies. Smoothies are ideal as you can mix in all kinds of healthy stuff like nut butter, wheat germ, protein powder or carrot juice.
1) Eat right before bedtime.
When we sleep, that is our body’s time to heal, repair and regenerate itself. As sleep is the perfect time for building muscle mass and lean tissue, it is a good idea to eat a healthy snack before hitting the snack to ensure a fresh supply of nutrients which your body can use to heal itself. One great option that will not make you feel too stuffed is a small bowl of 100% whole-grain pasta salad with chopped veggies, protein-rich beans, chicken breast, organic crumbled cheese and a small dose of vinaigrette made with extra-virgin oil.