How to Gain Weight with a Fast Metabolism: Strategies that Work
How to Gain Weight with a Fast Metabolism
Having a fast metabolism can certainly have its benefits. However, without the proper nutrition and workout routine, gaining weight can be incredibly challenging — not only to accomplish but to sustain.
Though eating a ton of unhealthy calories from junk food or processed meals may sound like a fool-proof plan, it’s not the type of healthy weight gain that will benefit us.
Follow along to find out how to gain weight with a fast metabolism while also transforming fat mass into muscle mass.
How Your Metabolism Contributes to Weight Gain and Weight Loss
Have you ever wondered why some people who eat a ton of calories don’t gain a single pound whereas others will immediately pack on the weight after only a couple of unhealthy meals?
For the most part, our metabolism can be to blame.
The metabolism refers to our body’s ability to convert the food or beverages we consume into energy. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is used to explain the minimum number of calories our bodies require to function .
Slow vs. Fast Metabolism
A person who has a low or “slow metabolism” means that they require fewer calories to function. Oftentimes, people with a slower metabolic rate need to be more mindful regarding the number of calories they consume in a day. A slow metabolism — along with several other factors — can make it difficult for people to lose weight.
On the other hand, people who have a high or “fast metabolism” require more calories to function and are able to lose weight more readily since the body expends energy quicker than it’s being consumed. One of the major downfalls to having a fast metabolism is that you’re more likely to have trouble gaining weight .
5 Tips for Gaining Weight with a Fast Metabolism
The faster the metabolism, the harder it can be to gain weight. However, there are plenty of solutions that can help push past this barrier to help you start gaining weight in a healthy, more sustainable way.
Here are three tips on how to gain weight with a fast metabolism.
1. Increase your daily caloric intake
It should come as no surprise that in order to gain weight, it’s essential to eat more calories throughout the day. Being in a calorie surplus, meaning that you eat more calories than you need or will expend, can help you reach your weight gain goal.
So, how many calories do you need to eat in order to gain weight?
You can find out your calorie needs by using a calorie calculator. The goal for weight gain is to aim to consume 500-1,000 more calories than you burn. Though these calculators are helpful to start, you’ll only need to count calories in the beginning. Eventually, you’ll begin to familiarize yourself with a meal routine for healthy weight gain.
Benefits of eating more protein for weight gain
Protein is an essential macronutrient that can help build muscle mass and contribute to optimal weight gain — especially when combined with a high-volume resistance training program.
According to the Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein, adults should consume between 1.0 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day in order to promote muscle growth and strength gains [3, 4].
Some of the best high protein options include:
Steel cut oats
Beans and legumes
Nuts (i.e pistachios, almonds, walnuts, etc.)
If you’re struggling to get extra calories from protein, supplements like whey protein can be beneficial for weight gain.
Benefits of eating more carbs and fats for weight gain
Carbohydrates and fats are two other necessary macronutrients that can be optimized for gaining weight.
Compared to carbs and proteins which both provide 4 calories per gram, fats provide us with 9 calories per gram. For this reason, consuming more healthy fats (i.e. unsaturated fats) can help supply the body with more calories per meal .
Though carbohydrates are certainly beneficial, it’s more important to consume fats and protein first to ensure you’re getting enough calories to gain weight before filling up on carbs. For example, start with more calorie-dense options such as meat and sliced avocado before moving on to high-fiber foods such as raw vegetables.
Here are some of the best healthy fat sources that help you gain weight:
Nuts and seeds
2. Eat more ‘energy dense’ foods
Not all foods are made the same. For example, processed junk foods give you plenty of calories but little-to-no nutritional value. Unlike healthy foods, they’re packed with sugar, salt, and saturated fats that are more likely to contribute to fat gain.
Nutrient-dense foods are filled with protein, healthy fat, complex carbs, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to a well-balanced diet. The problem is, most of these foods are more filling and make it challenging to get in enough calories to support weight gain.
Some of the best calorie-dense foods that can help you gain weight include:
Nuts (e.g. almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, etc.)
Full-fat dairy (e.g. whole milk, whole-milk yogurt, aged cheese, etc.)
Whole grains (e.g. brown rice, rolled oats, etc.)
Fats and oils
3. Engage in high-volume resistance training
When you’re looking to gain weight healthily, eating a surplus of calorie-dense foods can only go so far. Exercise can help ensure that our excess calories are being used for lean muscle growth rather than being stored away in fat cells.
High-volume resistance training is essential for muscle hypertrophy and increasing body mass. The ideal training volume for building muscle mass is 6-12 reps, 3-4 sets, and heavy weights with optimal form (6).
Combining protein supplementation with resistance training has been proven to promote additional muscle mass gains beyond that of strength training alone. Research has found that during 6 weeks of resistance training, participants who were supplementing with protein increased their lean muscle growth by 27% (7).
It’s also important to note that for maximal increases in lean muscle mass, it’s recommended to avoid cardio exercises since it expends more calories and may cause you to lose weight (8).
4. Eat smaller meals throughout the day
With a fast metabolism, you continue to burn calories more efficiently throughout the day. To ensure your body remains in a calorie surplus, it’s important to eat plenty of food all day long. The problem is, we tend to become fuller faster with large meals – especially if you’re underweight.
For this reason, it’s advantageous to spread your calorie intake out with various small, nutrient-dense meals. Rather than eating 2-3 large portion sizes, eating more frequent meals and snacks 5-6 times a day can help you add a few pounds to the scale.
5. Focus on making meals more enjoyable
A common complaint we hear from people who consume more calories for weight gain is that eating tends to feel like a chore. To help you achieve your bodyweight goals, it’s important to create meals that are both fun and delicious.
The good news is, the tastiest ingredients can oftentimes have the most calories! Sauces, dips, herbs, and spices are all helpful ingredients to boost flavor and nutritional value. Add some nutritional yeast, cheese, and seasoning salt to your baked broccoli, or sprinkle some cinnamon and hemp hearts on your peanut butter toast. Not only do these ingredients make your meal more enjoyable, but they can help you gain muscle mass too!
Having a faster metabolism can oftentimes be the culprit behind weight loss. The best way to avoid losing weight and help transform body fat into lean muscle is through a combination of healthy eating and weight training.
To increase lean muscle mass, it’s recommended to eat more calories from nutrient-dense foods including proteins, fats, and some complex carbs, eat more food in small portions throughout the day, add calorie-dense toppings, and engage in high-volume resistance training. Check out our Push-Pull-Legs Training Routine if you need further guidance on resistance training.