Bulking up and packing on muscle is no easy feat. It takes time, energy, and strategy. But if your goal is to gain weight, know that it’s doable! Several exercises and behaviors are within reach that’ll help you with this valuable health goal. In this article, we’ll outline key tips and exercises to help you gain weight the healthy way.
How to Gain Weight the Right Way
Now, gaining weight is possible by simply intaking more energy than what you output. Or in other words, you can gain weight by consuming more calories than usual. But if you do that by eating two boxes of cookies per day, you probably won’t feel energized, and it’s not a sustainable way to bulk up. Our key advice you’ll read throughout this article is the importance of maintaining high levels of health and fitness throughout your weight gain journey.
So, check out the tips below for healthy weight gain ideas.
1. Hit the weights.
Unless this is your first day of researching exercises to gain weight for females, you’ve likely already heard that lifting heavy weights helps you gain muscle. If you’re new to the world of weightlifting, consider hiring a personal trainer or attending a gym class to help you get started. Pick strength exercises that target your major muscle groups. Rotate your exercise routine to allow each muscle group to recover before you hit it again.
2. Do resistance exercises.
“Resistance exercises” is a term that refers to anything that’ll build your strength and endurance. A whole wide world of resistance training is out there. The beauty of resistance training is that you can pick activities and exercises that you love. Meanwhile, your body will start to look more sculpted, and those muscles will start peeking out. Try using resistance bands, kettlebells, weighted jump ropes, free weights, or even water in your workout routines.
3. Eat more calories than you burn.
Adding exercise to your routine for the first time? If so, you’ll need to eat even more calories to account for those you burn during exercise. No matter what, you have to eat more than you expend on a daily basis to gain weight. Use a fitness app or daily calorie tracker to understand how many calories you must consume for your weight gain goals.
4. Eat healthy foods.
Let’s say your target caloric intake is 2,000 per day. Around 8 pm, you still have about 500 calories left to eat. What do you do? Reach for a family-sized bag of chips? Nope! Stick to healthy, whole foods to keep your stomach, body, and mind happy. Eat lots of lean protein, veggies, and fruits. Some examples of calorie-dense healthy foods include fatty fish, nut butter, avocados, whole grains, eggs, and olive oil.
5. Get enough sleep.
Sleep allows your body to recover. Quality sleep where your mind and body truly rest is key to transforming your weight. Also, when you add exercise to your routine, you’ll need adequate amounts of sleep to allow your muscles to repair themselves. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every single night, and try to keep your sleep routine consistent.
6. Drink plenty of water.
Good ol’ H2O! There’s a reason why hydration is a key part of every health plan. When your body’s well-hydrated, it can enhance your functions. Water helps with nutrient transportation, joint lubrication, and even protein synthesis. All of this means that hydration optimizes your efforts to build muscle and pack on pounds.
Exercises For Gaining Weight
Before we dig into specific exercises to gain weight for females, remember that it’s always best to consult a licensed health professional about weight concerns. If you have any trouble along the weight-gain journey, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention or advice. Your health and safety are top priorities here!
With that note aside, let’s take a look at some fundamental exercises that’ll help you gain muscle mass. And remember, while you add these to your weekly routine, track your calories to ensure you’re eating enough!
Weight Training Exercises
More muscle leads to a higher metabolic rate. And how do you gain muscle? By lifting progressively heavier weights. So, with each of these exercises, increase the weight as often as you can. Stay consistent with your workouts. If this is your first time strength training, take it easy to start with to avoid burnout or injury.
Want to hit large muscle groups all at once? That’s exactly what compound exercises do. These powerful moves help you efficiently work out whole sections of your body at a time. You can stick to these basic moves for a while before branching out to other exercises. Check out the list below for examples!
- Bench press
- Military press
- Barbell row
Let these movements be foundational to your workouts. For instance, you can dedicate Mondays to deadlifts, Tuesdays to bench presses, and so forth. Of course, you can add other exercises into your daily workouts to target smaller muscle groups. Those are called isolation exercises, which we’ll discuss next.
When you add isolation exercises to the mix, they really help define individual muscles. You’ll notice that your strength improves for each specific muscle. What you don’t want to do is pick one or two isolation exercises and nothing else. Instead, allow these to complement your overarching workouts.
- Bicep curls
- Tricep extensions
- Leg curls
- Calf raises
All the while, ensure that you’re eating more calories than your working off. These isolation exercises, coupled with your compound exercises and any other workouts you’re doing, add to the total number of calories you burn each day. Eat healthy, whole foods to help your body recover from these tough exercises.
Minimize Cardio Exercises
Your heart’s a muscle, too! That’s why you should do cardio on a weekly basis. That said, if your goal is to gain weight, don’t focus on extended aerobic workouts every single day. If it’s something you love, you don’t have to give it up. Just remember to factor the calories you burn from cardio exercises into your daily caloric intake.
We’ve talked a lot about using weights in your exercise routine. But it’s completely understandable if they’re not readily available to you. If that’s the case, don’t worry! You can still gain weight by eating more calories than you burn. Meanwhile, use bodyweight exercises to start building more muscle.
Here are a few excellent bodyweight exercises to gain weight for females:
What to Eat to Gain Weight
Do yourself a favor: feed your body well. This point cannot be stressed enough. On your path to gaining weight, remember that your body loves clean, whole foods. Try to avoid sugary or processed foods. When you eat foods that support your body rather than drag it down, you’ll have more energy throughout the day to fulfill your exercise routine (and much more).
Foods to Help You Gain Weight the Healthy Way
A good way to get started on your healthy weight-gain journey is to simply track what you normally eat. From there, you can tack on improvements and adjust the amount of food you eat. Try to focus on sustainable diet changes. You’re in it for the long term! When you know the number of calories you need to eat per day, start planning meals that are full of high-protein foods, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Below are some sample foods to consider.
- Red Meat
- Full Fat Greek Yogurt
- Whole Milk
- Whole Grain Bread
Before your workouts, fuel up on any of these healthy foods. Eat protein throughout the day to keep your energy up. Complex carbs make great snacks, but they’re just part of the full picture of a healthy diet to gain weight!
What If You’re Not Gaining Weight?
Have you already been following these tips, but you don’t seem to be gaining weight? If so, reassess your daily caloric intake and output. If you’re not gaining weight, then you’re still not eating enough calories. If you keep adjusting the number of calories and still do not see changes, consult a healthcare professional.
In your self-assessment, ask yourself how many calories you’re burning based on the exercises you’re doing. Are you running several miles per day or week? If so, have you accounted for all the calories you burn during those runs? Is your profession one that requires you to stand or walk all day? In that case, use a device or app to track your steps, so you have a clearer picture of your daily caloric output.
Assess Your Weight-Lifting Routine
If you’re not seeing weight-gain results, take a closer look at your exercise routine. Are you lifting weights that are heavy enough to prompt new muscle growth? You have to push yourself when lifting weights. Aim to lift weights that allow you to physically do 8-12 reps. If you feel like you can do several more reps than that at a time, then bump up the weight.
Review Your Protein Intake
Protein intake is key when building muscle. So, pull up your handy calorie tracker. What percentage of your daily food intake is protein? Your protein needs depend on your personal goals and health, but usually, protein should make up around 10-35% of your daily macronutrient intake.
Questions About Gaining Weight for Females
1. What are some exercises that can help me gain weight?
Focus on compound exercises that target major muscle groups, like deadlifts or bench presses. At the same time, eat more calories every single day than you expend. Incorporating strength training exercises into your daily or weekly fitness routine.
2. I’m a woman, and I want to gain weight. Is this possible?
While there are several health conditions that could prevent you from gaining weight, in general, most people will gain weight when they eat more calories than they burn. Unless you have a health issue like hyperthyroidism, cancer, diabetes, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, anorexia, or depression, you should be able to build your body without medical intervention.
3. What are some tips for gaining weight as a woman?
Eat more. Lift heavy weights to build muscle. Track your calories to ensure that you eat more energy than your body uses throughout the day. Make daily adjustments that are sustainable rather than looking for a quick fix.
4. I’m underweight. What can I do to gain weight?
Gaining weight is possible when you focus on increasing the amount of calories you eat per day. Consult a medical professional or nutritionist to nail down your exact needs based on your health, age, weight, etc.
The Takeaway: Gaining Weight is Easiest When You Change Your Diet and Exercise Routine
To wrap it up, eat more food and lift heavy weights to add bulk to your frame. With persistence and a bit of strategy, you can gain weight. As you follow these tips, track your progress and celebrate every pound you gained. Applaud yourself after each strength training exercise. Once you find the rhythm that works for you, you’ll start seeing more and more results.