How Gaining Weight Can Be Healthy
Weight gain tends to have a negative connotation, but did you know that it's actually crucial to building muscles and strength? Let us look into bulking and the science behind it.
If you're trying to gain weight, it's not just what you put in your stomach that matters, but also how you do it. While eating healthy food is important, it's also important to set your goals properly.
Clearly, diets are not as simple as eating nothing but healthy food and expecting to see results. Different methods of eating your meals can have a significant impact on the physiology of your body.
Let us tackle how to gain weight and how to avoid being overweight in the process. The term for this is bulking.
No, this isn't as simple as eating a lot of food all at once. Bulking is a lifestyle best suited for those who want to put on a few pounds of weight for health reasons. Nowadays, healthy weight gain is a grossly underrated aspect of fitness. Nonetheless, just as not being overweight is important, it's also vital (especially for those who prioritize strength and bulk training) to gain weight.
Science of Bulking
Muscles need a lot of protein and calories to stay healthy, so if you're feeling tired and look scrawny, weight gain should be a top priority.
While bulking, you will be eating at a caloric surplus. In other words, you'll be eating over your daily limit. The caveat for this is that you need to have a lot more protein and fiber in your diet to account for the fat. Lifting and high-intensity muscle workouts are a must for this style of eating.
The science behind this is simple. When you lift, you tear your muscle fibers and all that extra protein you just ate will then start to work — helping you build stronger muscles. This is not something you can achieve if you are eating under your caloric needs. Eating a surplus of calories means that you get the necessary energy for the day plus the extra protein and nutrients for your muscles. Keep in mind that eating at a caloric deficit will not ever help you gain muscle.
What to Eat
Bulking prioritizes muscle gain over everything else. For that, you need a high amount of protein and fiber in your diet. The purpose of the protein is for muscle-building, while the fiber is there to ease digestion.
Eating a lot of food tends to raise blood sugar levels, which is what gives us that "stuffy" feeling. Fiber speeds up digestion so you can eat more food sooner. What's important to remember is to not just eat ALL protein and fiber. Carbohydrates are still crucial to this diet because protein foods alone cannot satisfy your caloric needs.
Here are some food items that are helpful during a bulk:
- Nut Butters (almonds, peanuts, etc)
- Chicken Thighs and Breasts
- Lean Ground Beef
- Green Veggies
- Butter (Yes, butter!)
- Olive Oil
When bulking, avoid processed food when you can. Saturated fats have a lot of calories but very little nutritional benefit, which means you'll just get fat instead of strong. This is especially true if you eat a diet of fast food.
In addition, the cooking method is also important. Steaming and boiling guarantee a lower calorie count while grilling, roasting, and frying tend to go for higher calories. To make sure you reach your caloric intake while bulking, eat small snacks throughout the day. And make sure to supplement all of this with moderate to heavy exercise.