When someone chooses to workout, it’s instantly assumed that they’re doing it to lose weight. In fact, that’s the exact reason why most people work out – weight loss, abs, flat tummy, thigh gap; the list is endless. But, there is such a thing as working out to gain weight, increase BMI or just maintain that weight. As someone who constantly gets thrown questions, like, “Why do you have to workout when you’re already so slim,” I’d like to speak to the women out there who are constantly trying to juggle between the notions of “I’m skinny therefore I don’t need to work out” and “How do I put on weight so I don’t look like I’m malnourished?”.
It’s not so much about simply gaining weight as it is about gaining muscle, strength and remaining toned. Here’s a basic guide to what you need to know if you’re trying to put on some weight. Newsflash: It does, indeed, involve working out.
It’s a misconception that calorie intake is bad. In most cases, even when you’re working to lose weight, trainers and instructors advise you to consume your calories; albeit in managed portions. When you’re exercising to put on muscle weight, you need to increase your calorie intake by at least 500 per day. Your workout routine should entail burning fewer calories, and consuming beverages that are high on calories, as well. Ask your nutritionist to prescribe a diet that is rich in calories for you, while keeping the benchmark 500, or slightly above. The idea is to try and put on at least 1lb in a week.
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Working out tends to naturally make you hungrier. What you need to understand is that there’s a difference between fat gains and muscle gains. You’re working out to gain muscle in order to increase your body mass index (BMI). Ask your trainer to incorporate exercises and routines that work to help you gain muscle mass. Do weight lifts, push-ups; basically exercises that engage your muscles. As you continue to do these exercises, you’ll see how your strength increases on daily basis and you’ll be able to lift better, without tiring.
Unlike what your relatives and friends (and the over-friendly neighbourhood auntie) say, you don’t just stuff your face with food because ‘that’s how to put on weight‘. There’s a difference between overeating and healthy eating; even when you want to gain weight. Increase your portion sizes and meal count. Go from three large meals in the day, to 6 well-spaced out meals, with snacks and juices in between. Work on eating your food quicker than before instead of keeping it a slow process. As mentioned above, aside from increasing your calorie count, you need to include a steady mix of proteins – eggs, fish, chicken, greens, milk, cheese, yogurts; these are all high in protein and should find a way into your diet, albeit in certain portions, Use oil and, or butter while cooking food. Another misconception is that oil, butter and ghee are unhealthy for you and should be avoided completely. Controlled portions of all three on a regular basis is actually good for your overall health. Your nutritionist/dietician will help you devise the best course for you.
If you’re a smoker, you might want to consider cutting down or stopping altogether. It is a well-known fact that smoking does keep you from putting on weight; but not in a good way. It is also harmful to your energy, strength and stamina levels; as well as your muscle mass. Be more mindful of what you’re eating regularly. Reduce your stress levels by practicing meditation and yoga and cutting back, every now and then. Discipline yourself and train your mind to eat in the manner suggested in the previous point and follow whatever dietary changes your dietician suggests. Another tool you could try is meal prepping; it tends to work best when you have a dietician and health coach involved. This practice basically helps you keep tabs on the kind of food you should be consuming on a daily basis, for every meal – small, or large. It will also ensure that you’re eating healthier, mindfully and less from the streets, or from take-out.
Contrary to popular belief, working out to gain weight can actually give you the desired results, beautifully; provided, you do it right.
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