For athletes struggling to gain weight, eating can feel like a chore. Athletes should apply the same effort to proper fueling as they give to their training...however, gaining weight doesn’t have to be exhausting! I’ve developed a performance weight gain manual that you can find here. You can also learn more tips on how to promote healthy weight gain by watching my 2-minute video here.
Healthy Weight Gain Tips:
Eat frequently, ideally every 3 hours, and have a snack right before bed.
Add coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil (healthy fats) to vegetables, potatoes, meat etc. (1 Tbsp = 120 calories)
Add sliced avocado to sandwiches, smoothies, meals (1/2 an avocado= 161 calories)
Nuts and nut butters make an easy snack and are calorie dense. Add peanut or almond butter to toast, or pair with bananas and apples.
Choose higher calorie/higher protein cereals and granola that are low in added sugar. Have 2 cups (about 2 servings) with milk or yogurt.
Avoid low-fat foods such as fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese, PB2, granola bars.
Add oats and peanut butter to smoothies and shakes. (1 cup oats = 300 calories, 2 Tbsp peanut butter = 200 calories)
Add seeds (sunflower, flaxseed, chia seeds) to oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, etc. 1 Tbsp = 80 calories. Here's a recipe for muesli which has seeds, nuts, and dried fruit added for a high-calorie breakfast.
Use whole wheat bagels instead of bread for sandwiches (Carbs in 1 bagel = Carbs in 4 slices of bread)
Do not try starting a weight gain program during season. Should always try and make body composition changes during your off-season. Meet with a sports dietitian to determine specific carbohydrate, fat, protein, and calorie needs.
If you are serious about gaining muscle, you need to plan ahead to always have the right foods available and at the right times to optimize muscle growth. Keep healthy snacks in your gym bag, locker, car, etc. to make sure you are always prepared.