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Dec 6 / Jeremy & Kim

Healthy Ways to Gain Weight

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Healthy ways to lose weight

For some, gaining weight is just as much of an uphill climb as losing weight.

Here at the Self Health Atlas we recognize that not everyone is trying to lose weight.  We know many people who are trying to find healthy ways to gain weight.  They are the ones who get tired of being called the “lucky ones” since they stay thin no matter how much food they eat.  All too often these ‘hard-gainers’ get frustrated and resort to eating the fattiest junk food they can find in the hopes that they will put on a few pounds.  Being chronically underweight or simply struggling to put on a few extra pounds in the right places can be quite frustrating for some people.  Let’s look at some of the healthy ways to gain weight.

As hard as it may seem to believe at times, the simple weight gain calculation does still apply to you.  To gain weight, calories consumed needs to be greater than calories burned.  We’re sure you already knew this, but we need to start with the basics.  If you are struggling to put on weight then you need to attack both sides of this equation.

Healthy ways to consume more calories

The healthy way to gain weight by consuming more calories is to increase your caloric intake with foods that are high in nutrients and essential vitamins.  This means consuming a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, while still avoiding too much sugar and all trans fat.  High nutrient, high calorie foods that you can easily add to almost any meal include eggs (yes, this means the yolk, too), milk, and cheese.  These three ingredients can be added to many recipes to help add calories and nutrients at the same time.  For example, all three of those ingredients can be added to make calorie rich mashed potatoes.  Eggs and blue cheese can be added to ground beef for all sorts of great meat dishes, including home grilled hamburgers.  Add nuts and avocados to your salads and snack on handfuls of almonds throughout the day.

Other easy, but healthy calories that can help you gain weight can be found in nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter.  Try to fit in an almond butter sandwich for a mid-afternoon snack.  Liquids can also be a good source of calories.  Fruit juices taste great and can provide healthier nutrients along with the calories, just be wary of fruit juices with added sugar.  It is also good to note that mixed fruit juices tend to have higher calorie content than single fruit juices.

If you tend to get full too fast then try to eat more frequent smaller meals.  Also try not to drink any fluids right before a meal as the liquid can take up valuable real estate in your stomach.

Healthy ways to gain weight through exercise

If you follow the advice above then you should be consuming quite a few additional calories throughout the week.  This is at least half the battle.  Next, you need to look at establishing an exercise routine that will help you convert those calories in to healthy weight.  Some may ask why you should work out at all.  Wouldn’t it be better to just stay as sedentary as possible to ensure you are not burning calories?  Well, sure, we suppose that you could choose to do that, but then all of the weight you do put on will be pure fat. Maybe a little bit of fat on your bones will help you look more filled out, but you also have a lot less control over where that fat decides to store itself. What if it all goes straight to your belly or thighs?  On the other hand, if you develop an exercise routine that helps convert those extra calories to muscle, then you have a lot more say where that extra weight goes, not to mention that muscle weighs more than fat.

The best type of exercise for weight gain is resistance training.  You want to stay away from cardio and focus on building muscle fibers.  Resistance training has many forms.  You can do body weight exercises, use free weights, or weight machines.  Limit your weight routine to no more than 45 minutes.  Focus on compound movements that use multiple muscle groups such as squats, hang cleans, and military press.  Try to do resistance training two to four times per week.  Repetition ranges should be kept between 3-6 repetitions per set, but always try to lift greater total volume from week to week.

For more information on resistance training read our posts on Weight Lifting for Beginners and our review of the Best Workout Programs for Building Muscle.

Work hard, eat hard

For some people, putting on some additional pounds is a top priority.  The guidelines above should help ensure that you utilize only healthy ways to gain weight.  You want to make sure that you are not sacrificing your health for a few pounds.  Work hard, eat a lot more of the right foods, and you should see your weight go up gradually, but consistently.

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  1. Raymond-ZenMyFitness / Dec 6 2010

    Funny that I probably never considered how people should put on weight I’m always focusing and talking to people about losing it .. it’s another art in itself to make that happen

  2. Cai - / Dec 11 2010

    Just found your website and Ive published a link on my fitness website back to this article. Check it out at

    Quake Fitness – Connecting Fitness and Health Blogs!


  3. I’ve struggled with both gaining weight and losing weight in the past. I think I’ve finally found a good way to lose weight and now, using the tips from Visual Impact, think I’ve found a way to gain weight. It beats the standard bodybuilding bulk and cut for sure! That system never fit well with me.

  4. Justin / Dec 13 2010

    I see that you find blogging inspiration through visitors that pass through your house. 😉

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