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Some active individuals are looking to gain weight, whether due to a desire for more strength and power, a medical condition (chronic or acute), or just to look and feel better. While this is a simple goal that is attainable, one has to remain smart in formulating an approach to nutrition – high-calorie junk food does not translate to quality muscle mass gain.
Step 1: Set a realistic goal for weight gain. When setting this goal, look around at your family members and keep genetics in mind. If your whole family is tall and lanky, you will likely not gain the body of a NFL linebacker. Step 2: Track your food intake for three to seven days to get an idea of how many calories you typically eat in a day. Add 300-500 calories to your daily intake through meals rich in whole grain carbohydrates, moderate lean protein, and focus on healthy fats added to the diet. It’s not as simple as eating lots of additional protein at meals. Healthy weight gain results from eating increased calories through a balanced diet and paired with a resistance training exercise program.
Step 4: Have your body composition assessed by a professional so they can track weight changes. The goal is to add muscle mass, not body fat. So frequent monitoring of changes by the same professional helps to ensure an optimal body composition is achieved during this time.Step 5: If you find your attempts are unsuccessful or your body composition changes are not ideal, contact a registered dietitian to help you achieve those weight goals. A registered dietitian can help you adjust your current eating habits and/or assist with developing an improved meal plan.
Katie Miller is a registered dietitian with dual bachelor degrees in criminal justice and nutrition and dietetics. She has served as a police officer in her previous local community, has trained with the Marine Corps, and currently trains with the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer. At the NSCA, Katie currently works as a nutrition consultant and tactical athlete coordinator.