Tips for Athletes to Gain Weight

Healthy weight gain is essential in athletes to improve their energy levels and performance. This can be achieved through meals having a high nutrient density, as well as through the intake of calorie-rich foods.
SportsAspire Staff
Athletes may find the need to gain weight to increase their muscle strength as well as endurance, and deal with their extremely stressful and demanding schedule. Healthy weight gain can be achieved by consuming healthy and energy-dense foods. An excess of 600-1000 calories are required for weight gain. However, the number appropriate for you, must be decided after consulting your nutritionist.

Ideas for Healthy Weight Gain
The dietary modifications mainly include consumption of protein-rich foods. Healthy snacks such as yogurts, cheese, peanuts, jelly, are known to be useful for weight gain. Saltine crackers along with cheese and ice cream, or a combination of banana, dry cereals, and whole milk, can provide at least 500 calories. Graham cracker squares and peanut butter, along with a cup (or eight ounces) of orange juice can be consumed.

Pumpernickel and rye-based breads, along with jam, margarine, honey, or even butter, may be suggested for gaining the desired number of calories. Choosing the right kind of cereals, also influences the objective of weight gain. For example, choosing granola instead of corn is always advisable. Eating fruits like bananas, dried fruits, dates, mangoes, and pineapple will prove to be better than fruits such as apples and grapes which have a high water content.

Starchy and nutritious vegetables like peas and carrots, as well as cooked vegetables along with margarine, almonds, and cheese, will help you to gain the essential calories. It is advisable to stir-fry the vegetables with olive oil for getting those extra calories. Chili beans, lentils, dried beans, green beans, and lima beans are also known to be good for athletes, due to their protein and carbohydrate content.

Foods containing saturated fat, must be avoided, since they increase the levels of bad cholesterol in blood. Lean meat and fish, cooked with appropriate amount of olive oil, should be consumed to obtain the necessary amount of protein and healthy fats.

Consuming milk, milk shakes, and healthy juices, along with your meals or breakfast is a good idea. Instead of eating two or three very large meals in a day, five or six small meals must be consumed. This must be coupled with a minimum fluid intake of eight cups (1 cup = 8 ounces) daily.

Some nutritious, healthy snacks which are high in calories, and can help in weight gain are:
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Pretzels with butter
  • Granola bars
  • Walnuts and almonds
  • Baked potatoes
  • Apple and cranberry juice
Athletes should also include a proper exercise routine for utilization of the consumed calories to the fullest. Here are some exercises that help gain weight for athletes:
  • Aerobic exercises like stationary bicycling
  • Resistance training exercises
  • Strength training exercises
Apart from exercising and maintaining a balanced diet, you should get 7-8 hours of sleep daily. It is essential to follow a routine, as far as the meal and exercise timings are concerned.

Disclaimer: This SportsAspire article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.