Most health professionals, governing bodies and media outlets are focused on weight loss. Therefore, sound information on how to gain weight healthily is thin on the ground. Yet, weight gain for ectomorphs can be as difficult as weight loss for endomorphs.
Just as crash diets are frequently dangerous for those desperate to lose weight and mostly aggravate weight problems, so ectomorphs should be careful about how they go about gaining weight. Weight gain requires time, effort and patience, and must not come at the expense of your good health.
Some ectomorphs have a metabolism that means they are able to eat what they want without gaining weight. However, with regards to health, ectomorphs are not immune to the dangers of overeating. Therefore, it’s important that your diet is fairly balanced. Meeting your energy demands through fast food is definitely not on the cards.
COMMON REASONS WHY YOU MAY NOT BE GAINING WEIGHT
There’s no chance of gaining weight if you are not eating sufficient calories. Use the weight gain calculator, to calculate the calories you require to gain weight.
If you are otherwise healthy, there are two common reasons you may not weigh as much as you would like:
- You simply require more calories than normal to maintain and gain weight. For example, if you have been suffering with weight loss, you probably require more calories than “normal” just to maintain your weight. This problem is easily addressed by simply increasing your calorie intake incrementally until you either experience weight gain or weight maintenance, depending on your goals. For example, you may require 300 calories above “normal”. Still, before you start, calculate the average daily number of calories you consume to ensure that you have not inadvertently been eating less than recommended.
- You may be extremely adept at matching how many calories you burn to match your incoming calories (e.g. through inadvertently moving more, or even unconsciously eating less later on). Ergo, no weight gain. With age metabolism slows down and you’ll find it easier to put on weight.
You will not know which group you fall into until you start your weight gain program. The best way of meeting your calorie demands is by eating small meals regularly spaced (approximately every 3 hours) throughout the day. That would equate to approximately 6 meals for men and 5 meals per day for women looking to gain weight.
MACRONUTRIENT RATIOS FOR WEIGHT GAIN
In terms of macronutrient ratios, a standard diet is ideal, that is a high carb diet. Carbsshould make up about 50 – 60% of total calories. Therefore, if your calorie requirements are 2500 calories per day, you would require 60% of that to be in the form of carbohydrate.
2500 total calories x 60% = 1400 calories of carbohydrate per day
A high carbohydrate diet does not mean a diet high in refined foods such as cakes, burger, sugar-filled drinks and alcohol. Since you are eating more, you need to keep you food as unrefined as possible, sticking to whole foods. Stick to complex carbs such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- Brown pasta
- Wholemeal bagels
Protein is important to gain muscle mass. Approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight should suffice. Say you weight 150lbs, you would require approximately 150 grams of protein. Then you can calculate to how many calories 150 grams of protein amounts. 1 gram of protein is equal to 4 calories. Therefore:
150 grams of carbs x 4 = 600 calories of protein
To create an athletic physique stick to lean sources of protein (i.e. low on saturated fat):
- Lean steak and mince
- Eggs whites
- Protein shakes (Replace no more that two meals with a protein or weight gain shake per day.)
The remaining calories should consist of fats. Fats are very calorific; 1 gram of fat is equal to a whopping 9 calories! Most of your fat intake should come from healthy fats.
If you can, give trans-fat a complete miss and limit saturated fats. Foods high in saturated fats clog arteries, increase cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease.
Instead, go for fat rich in omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9. Excellent sources of fat are: Oily fish Avocados Flaxseed oil Nuts In tandem with your extra calorie intake, you need to exercise.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST:
If you don’t exercise you’ll gain more fat and less muscle, which is unhealthy and unlikely what you’re trying to achieve. Keep you cardio workouts to a healthy minimum and focus on weight training to build your muscle mass. Eat five to six small meals per day.