yoga outdoors

Yoga, a form of low intensity exercise which won’t cause excessive stress on the body or a high calorie burn. Photographer: Focus on Images.

I know most people are wanting advice about the opposite: how to lose weight. Over the years, however,  I have come across people who are wanting to gain weight. The most common examples are teenage boys wanting to look a little less skinny and people recovering from a sickness or stressful period in their lives which caused them to lose weight. Here are my top healthy weight-gaining tips:

  1. Avoid intense exercise. When trying to put on weight, avoid intense resistance training sessions and high-intensity exercise such as interval training, boxing, long cardio sessions and cross fit, but don’t stop exercising altogether. I don’t believe the weight-gain benefit outweighs the potential health benefits that can be gained with exercise. Some low-intensity forms of exercise which I would encourage include yoga, walking, stretching, resistance training (with plenty of rest between sets and exercises), Pilates and body balance classes.
  2. Eat energy-dense foods. Energy-dense foods are those that are relatively high in calories per gram (calories are how energy is measured in food). Usually, energy-dense foods don’t contain much fibre or water and you can eat quite large amounts of them without feeling full. I encourage you to choose foods which are energy-dense but still healthy; that is, not processed or full of toxic ingredients which will make you feel tired and increase the likelihood of you getting sick and developing diseases. Examples of energy-dense healthy foods include nuts, seeds, dried fruit, smoothies (try my energy dense banana smoothie), peanut butter on toast, full-fat dairy products like cheese, yoghurt and milk (if you’re not lactose intolerant), a big bowl of cooked oats (with toppings like sliced banana, chopped almonds and honey), homemade potato chips (just chop potato and drizzle with coconut oil and sprinkle with himalayan salt and cook at 200C until done) and healthy homemade cakes, muffins, biscuits etc. (try some of Teresa Cutter’s recipes).
  3. Manage stress. Allow time for rest and relaxation. It is very stressful and unhealthy for your body if you are always rushing and  trying to do too many things at once.

Unless you have a medical condition these tips should help you to gain weight without eating processed food and living an unhealthy lifestyle. If you are genetically of quite a small build with a fast metabolism, it can take time to gain weight, so be patient.

I’d love to hear how you go if you implement these tips into your lifestyle!

Holly x