Being underweight has often been overlooked despite it also having its health consequences, just as being overweight does. Recent studies show that the global prevalence of pediatric underweight is about 8% compared to pediatric overweight that stood at about 5% (14).
The low self-esteem associated with being skinny or underweight can be overwhelming. Especially in modern times where people are so sensitive about their bodies. What then should you do if you’re underweight and also have a naturally fast metabolism? This article strives to answer your question of how to gain weight with a fast metabolism.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Who Needs To Gain Weight?
Before hitting you with the “best foods to gain weight”, it’s important to know what the term underweight means. Not everyone who appears skinny is underweight. Sure, you may want to put in some extra weight for aesthetic purposes, but who needs to gain weight?
When you’re underweight, your body mass index (BMI) is below 18.5. What this means is that your body mass cannot sustain optimal health (3). This, however, is not an all-fit-all method of determining if you’re underweight. Some people appear to be skinny but are still very healthy.
Read More: Foods To Eat To Gain Weight The Healthy Way
Underweight people are usually exposed to certain risk factors that include:
Lowered Immunity Levels
Studies show that being underweight can impair your immune functions, limiting your ability to fight infections. Also, it may lead to fractures, osteoporosis, and fertility issues (9).
Age-Related Muscle Wasting
Underweight people are at a higher risk of developing sarcopenia at an early age. This condition weakens your muscles over time (11).
A study showed that when underweight people had a knee replacement procedure, they were more likely to develop infections. This may have been caused by their inability to heal as fast as people with normal BMI. Also, the levels of preoperative hemoglobin in their body were lower. These low levels may have affected their abilities to heal wounds (12).
Other procedures where people who are underweight tend to exhibit more complications include hip replacements, coronary bypass and lung transplants (13).
This is especially common in children under the age of 3 who are underweight. Malnutrition and malabsorption associated with being underweight may deprive the brain of much-needed nutrients for development (2). When this happens, there is bound to be some delays in developmental milestones.
These are just some of the risks associated with being underweight. In the worst cases, being underweight may pose a risk of early death in men and women, as shown by this study (15).
Gaining weight is therefore not always bad for your health. The reasons associated with gaining weight may range from medical to purely aesthetic. Gaining weight is just as important as losing weight when it comes to leading a healthy life.
There are a lot of factors that will affect just how fast and effectively you gain weight. Ranging from your cellular metabolism to your dietary patterns, all play a significant role. Let’s take a look at how each of these factors will impact your weight gain journey:
How Does A High Metabolism Affect Weight Gain?
Cellular metabolism is the process where your body burns calories to provide energy (5). Some people naturally have a higher metabolic rate. This means that your body consumes calories faster than the average person, both when at rest and when active.
This is basically why certain people don’t seem to gain weight, no matter how much they eat. You’ll need more calories to maintain your body weight and an even higher amount to gain weight. Having more calories means more weight; therefore, a low-calorie diet may lead to weight loss.
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How to gain weight fast with a high metabolism is not as complicated as people make it seem. When your metabolic rate is higher than average, you’ll need to put in a little more effort to gain weight. Now, you can focus on three areas if you want to gain weight with a fast metabolism. These include: What you eat, how you exercise and the quality of your rest.
Each will play a significant role in your weight gain journey, and that’s why we’ll take a deeper look in every category. Your dietary pattern should contain specific weight boosting compositions that include:
This takes the highest priority-mainly because it’s one of the most effective ways to gain weight fast with a high metabolism. Your body requires a particular number of calories to go about daily activities. This figure varies in both men and women and can be calculated using a calorie consumption calculator (8).
Does this then mean that male and female weight gain occurs at different paces depending on their metabolism? The science is simple- a balanced consumption and use of calories maintain your body weight. Higher expenditure than consumption leads to weight loss. While if you consume more calories than you spend, it leads to weight gain.
Once you know just how many calories you spend, try to increase your intake to an extra 300-500 calories per day (8). You should, however, take caution to consume nutrient-dense high calorie foods rather than “junk food.”. Remember you want to gain weight more from your muscle weight, not fats. Sure, taking a lot of fatty and sugary highly processed foods may speed up the process, but it’ll do more harm than good in the long term.
This, however, does not mean that all fats are unhealthy. Fats are also just as essential as they provide energy and support cell growth. Of the three macronutrients, fats contain the highest calorie content per gram- 9 calories (1). The correct quantities of fat will help you achieve your goals faster while promoting your health. Healthy fats can be found in nuts, whole eggs, and fish.
The majority of your extra calorie intake should come from whole quality foods. Once in a while, throw in some treats, and you have yourself a winning formula.
Of the three macronutrients, proteins are the most vital for muscle repair and growth. So if you wanted to ask how hard it is gain muscle weight with a fast metabolism, it’s not. It’s as easy as eating more proteins.
If you’re looking to build your muscles or engage in lots of physical activities, protein is the answer. They supply essential amino acids that repair damaged muscles tissues, making them grow more robust than before (1).
These reasons make protein a priority in all your meals if you’re looking to gain more muscle weight.
Carbohydrates Are Just As Important
Despite the impression we get from workout articles, carbohydrates should not be completely cut down. When used in the right combination and quantity, they’ll also help in gaining some healthy weight.
Carbohydrates will help you recover after workouts and physical activities that are essential for weight gain. Also, they provide the energy needed for working out (1). Insufficient carbohydrate levels will make your body use up muscle proteins and fats to fuel your workouts and activities.
You want to focus more on complex carbs found in food like rice, bread and vegetables. They are slow-acting and provide minerals essential for your health. They are, therefore, important when it comes to gaining healthy weight.
An effective way to get that calorie surplus is eating more small meals in a day for both genders. When you have high metabolic rates, you may find it challenging to eat in bulk due to low appetite. Having multiple small meals is an ideal workaround to achieve your caloric goals even with a low appetite.
Also, consistency is critical if you’re a hard gainer. Eating a meal with high caloric content once a day then going throughout the day without any will balance out. Having small meals in between with high-calorie content is a sure way of increasing your calorie intake in a day.
Consider Some Weight Gaining Supplements
Weight or mass gainers have high protein and carbohydrate content. In addition to that, they have many calories that will make you reach your caloric goals even faster. These supplements also contain a lot of sugars that will help you gain fat (2). Simply put, the supplements will help you gain a lot of weight in a short time.
However, mass gainers should only be used if whole foods cannot meet your caloric requirements. Or if you have a tight schedule that doesn’t allow constant consumption of calories.
Supplements only work with the proper nutrition regiment. Their purpose is to supplement your diet, not to be your diet. There are a lot of muscle gainers on the market. If you have to use one, make sure you pick the one best tailored for your needs.
Gaining weight is not just about what and how much you eat. Your workout routines can also play a significant role in ensuring that you gain healthy weight. Let’s look at some modifications to your workout routine that may lead to gaining muscle weight.
Heavy Weight Lifting
You won’t get stronger if you keep lifting the same light weights. To get to hypertrophy, you must stay in the 8-12 rep range (2). Your body has a unique way of adapting to any environment, so don’t worry about stressing it. Challenge it, lift heavier weights, and you’ll gain more muscle and gain more weight.
Perform More Compound Movements
Simply put, compound movements will engage more muscle groups and joints in your body. This means that they will build most muscles in your body while increasing their overall strength. Good examples of these movements include deadlifts, bench press and squats (6).
Squats will target your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings simultaneously while engaging your ankle, knees and hip joints. Deadlifts engage most muscle groups in your posterior while using other muscles like your glutes and hamstrings. The goal is to increase your muscle weight while targeting many muscles simultaneously (6).
As you continue working out, make sure you increase the intensity of the challenge on your body. You could do this by decreasing the recovery time, increasing your reps or even your training frequency. Either way, increase the load and effort required. Your body will only grow when you do that.
Always Be In The Right Form
No matter what your intentions are, always be in proper form. An incorrect form may lead to severe injuries, which may derail you from the intended goal. So before you work out, make sure you’re well conversant with the exercise. If you’re not, consult your fitness instructor first.
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Cut Down On Cardio
Remember, the goal is to get and maintain surplus calories while increasing muscle weight. Cardio routines burn down a lot of calories, but you may still want to include some because it’s good for your cardiovascular system, as the name suggests. So you should either really cut down on it or stick to low intensity activities for now.
Do Not Overtrain
Excessive training will make your muscles weaker and smaller. Training a lot puts pressure and strain on your muscles. If they are not sufficiently nourished, the results will be counterproductive (10).
Gaining muscle weight does not stop at working out. It’s a chain involving what you eat, how you work out, and your rest’s quality. Always make sure that you get enough quality sleep. When you’re asleep, your muscles are repaired; they recover and grow too. So always make sure you get enough rest to complete the chain.
Ultimately, your gender doesn’t play a huge role in gaining weight if you’re someone with fast metabolism. Most articles and blogs try to distinguish between the two. How to gain weight with a fast metabolism male and how to gain weight with a fast metabolism female share a common principle.
Eat healthily, train well and rest well.
Being underweight is just as serious as being overweight when it comes to your health. If left unchecked, the health issues that arise from it can be life-threatening. The stakes are even higher when you have a higher than average metabolic rate and are underweight.
When you have a naturally higher metabolism, gaining weight can look like a difficult task. With the right combination of healthy diets, proper workout and quality rest, you’ll put on the extra weight in no time.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 4 Keys to Strength Building and Muscle Mass (2021, eatright.org)
- A Complete Guide on Gaining Weight with a Fast Metabolism (2020, gainingtactics.com)
- At What Weight Is a Person Considered Underweight (livestrong.com)
- Bone mineral density and body composition in underweight and normal elderly subjects (2000, pubmed.gov)
- Does Metabolism Matter in Weight Loss? (2015, harvard.edu)
- Five Best Compound Exercises That You Need To Start Doing In 2021 (2018, gainingtactics.com)
- How To Gain Weight With A Fast Metabolism (The Healthy Way) (2020, mylifeinfused.com)
- How to Maintain a Calorie Surplus for Weight Gain (2020, gainingtactics.com)
- Lower fertility associated with obesity and underweight: the US National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (2008, pubmed.gov)
- Overtrain If You Don’t Want To Gain (2019, bodybuilding.com)
- Prevalence of and risk factors for sarcopenia in elderly Chinese men and women (2005, pubmed.gov)
- Surgical site infection and transfusion rates are higher in underweight total knee arthroplasty patients (2017, sciencedirect.com)
- The influence of body mass index on life quality and clinical improvement after total hip arthroplasty (2012, sciencedirect.com)
- Trends in underweight and obesity: Scale of the problem (2017, nih.gov)
- Underweight, overweight and obesity as risk factors for mortality and hospitalization (2008, pubmed.gov)