Gaining weight is seldom covered in popular fitness literature. I guess that makes sense considering most people are trying to lose weight, not gain it.
Maybe you want to gain more mass and stay lean. Maybe you are too lean and need to put some fat and muscle on your frame. No matter your goal, the principles below will help you regulate the kind and amount of weight that you gain. And you can stay healthy doing so.
Three Rules For Clean Weight Gain:
- Consume more calories (from clean sources)
- Become best friends with fat (the right kind)
- Use a blender to make “mega shakes” (with clean ingredients)
While there are many aspects to gaining weight and being overall healthy—like sleep, water consumption, stress, etc—we won’t get into those here.
To get a general idea of the number of calories you are currently taking in, you need to track your current calorie intake for a few days.
Don't Skip This: You need to know where you are at now so you can know where you need to be.
How To Eat More Calories:
- Track your calories for at least 3 days. Take the average.
- Set a target "daily calorie goal” that is 300-500 calories above this average.
- Spend the next week forcing yourself to eat 300-500 more calories a day to reach this goal.
Fat has been demonized in our society. And ironically, we are fat because of it.
We are fat because we stopped eating fat.
Without going too far down this rabbit hole, just know that fat needs to be a HUGE part of your diet. It should make up somewhere between 40-60% of your total calorie intake.
Here are some of the best Paleo-Friendly Fats:
- Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc
- Pastured animals: beef, bison, game, etc
- Coconut in all forms (MCT, Oil, Milk)
- Pastured Unsalted butter. Kerrygold unsalted is my favorite
- Unheated olive oil
- Organ meats from healthy animals
- Raw, Organic nuts/seeds (in moderation)
- Egg yolks
I’m sure you’ve heard of using high-calorie shakes for weight gain—especially if you are a hard gainer.
And yes, shakes work…. when they are done right.
Below is a general “shake” template. Mix up your ingredients and always adjust to "taste." There are no hard and fast rules for making shakes other than having some combination of liquid, fat, and protein.
1. Include a bunch of healthy fat (2-6+ TBSP):
- Wild MCT Oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Grass-fed cream (use gradually and test how you feel afterwards)
- Raw nuts/seeds butter (use raw/organic and not roasted) (link)
- Coconut milk
- Coconut flesh
- Liquid fish oil/cod liver oil
- Raw chocolate or Cocoa Powder
2. Use a high-quality grass-fed whey and/or collagen (40-60g):
3. Add 1-2 cups organic frozen fruit (always keep this in your freezer):
4. Use 4-16oz water, coffee, raw milk, unsweet organic almond milk, coconut water or other milk as a base:
5. Add in random ingredients to taste:
- Yogurt from grass-fed milk
- Raw honey
- Raw eggs
- Cooked sweet potato
- Mint leaves
- Maple syrup
- Macadamia Nuts
- Nut butter
- Desiccated liver
The key to gaining clean weight is to eat a lot of protein and prioritize whole real foods cooked at home. Eat slow and give yourself time to reach satiety.