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How To Gain Weight With A Fast Metabolism (The Healthy Way)

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Article Summary:

  • You learn a quick definition for fast metabolism
  • Understand the factors of a fast metabolism
  • Learn how to gain weight the healthy way
  • Explore the differences and similarities between males and females, and get some tips
  • Get your recommended food list for healthy weight gain

Let's talk about how to gain weight the healthy way when you have a fast metabolism.

The common desire to lose weight overshadows the desire of many to gain weight, but healthily gaining weight takes as much effort as losing weight. Whether struggling with being underweight or wanting to add muscle, gaining weight is a challenge that’s often solved with unhealthy practices. According to recent research, more than two-thirds of the American population is either obese or overweight. Yet, being underweight poses similar health risks to being obese.

Individuals with a high metabolism burn food energy at a rate that’s faster than usual. Such individuals need more food to help them develop and gain weight. A fast metabolism can be normal for some people. However, that can often lead people to make unhealthy dietary decisions. Meaning, poor nutrition may seem like it’s okay because a person with a high metabolism doesn’t gain weight easily, but poor eating habits can still lead to poor health. It’s best to always follow healthy eating patterns for optimal health. When discussing the goal to gain weight, even with a fast metabolism, healthy eating is paramount.

Quick Definition: Fast Metabolism

We hear the word metabolism all the time, but it can be helpful to briefly revisit what it actually means.

Many people use digestion and metabolism as if they are interchangeable. It’s important to understand that your digestion refers to how your body processes food. When you digest your food, you are processing food and eliminating waste.

Metabolism refers explicitly to how your cells utilize the energy you have absorbed from food during the digestive process.

This process is not just for exercise and physical exertion. Your body needs energy for basic functions like breathing, circulation, cellular growth and repair, hormone regulation, and more.

Factors Of A Fast Metabolism

While it’s challenging to keep tabs on your metabolic rates, there are signs that can help you decide whether you have a fast metabolism.

Several factors can affect your metabolic rates, such as genetics, your size and body composition, sex, hormones, drugs, diet, and age. Also, your metabolic rate is subject to change over time, depending on your age, lifestyle, and overall health.

Gaining Weight The Healthy Way

While it’s possible to gain weight with a fast metabolism, you have to follow good steps so as not to compromise your health. Gaining weight the healthy way is creating a balance between your body’s fat and muscle mass. To achieve this, you have to eat healthy food and lead a healthy lifestyle.

There are several ways to gain weight without negatively affecting your health now and in the long run. Let’s take a look.

Beat your body’s daily calorie needs

For you to gain weight with a fast metabolism, you have to exceed the number of calories your body burns each day. When you exceed your body’s caloric needs, your body stores off the excess as muscle mass and fat.

Try using a calorie calculator to help you keep track of your daily consumption.

Best practices dictate that you aim for 300-500 more calories per day than your baseline maintenance level. There are some who aim for 700-1,000 calories above your maintenance level. Decide what is best for you. Just be sure to eat calories that are good for you. Obviously, eating more calories is not permission to eat more junk food. 

Embrace protein

One of the fastest ways to add body mass is by eating plenty of protein. Protein is the building block of muscle. By eating more protein, you help ensure you’ll gain muscle, not fat.

As a pro tip, keep in mind that high-protein foods are filling and can reduce your appetite. Eat high-protein foods with some moderation and with every meal to help you in good moderation to gain weight fast.

Best practices dictate that you aim for 0.7–1 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you have a calorie intake that is above the baseline maintenance level, more protein intake is acceptable.

Examples of high protein foods are legumes, nuts, oats, broccoli, lentils, pumpkin seeds, brussels sprouts, and quinoa.

Some people choose to use protein supplements. However, most protein supplements are whey powder, which is a dairy product. Those who are lactose intolerant, who avoid dairy products because of the risks associated with the antibiotics and hormones that most dairy products contain, or who are looking for high-quality, plant-based protein supplements may want to consider going with blue-green algae. This nutrient-rich superfood is known for its high protein content.

Turn up your carbs and healthy fat intake

While many people who are trying to lose weight would do the opposite, trying to gain weight means increasing your balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fat intake.

Healthy high-carb foods – yes, there is such a thing – would be foods like quinoa, oats, buckwheat, bananas, sweet potatoes, beetroots, oranges, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, kidney beans, and chickpeas. Eating a diet with refined carbs isn’t healthy, but a whole foods high-carb diet is precisely what you need if you want to gain weight.

The same goes for a high-fat diet. When you choose the right foods, some fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, can be a good choice. In fact, several superfoods have high fat, and that’s okay. Examples of healthy, whole foods that are high in good fat include avocados, dark chocolate, nuts, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and full-fat non-dairy yogurt without added sugar.

Lift weights to build muscle

There is quite a bit of competing advice out there about whether more reps with lighter weights or fewer reps with heavier weights are better for gaining muscle. Some even say you don’t need to use weights at all to gain lean muscle.

Work with your personal trainer to find the best muscle building routine for you. The key is to make sure you are actively working toward gaining muscle every day.

When you gain muscle, you help ensure that the calories you are taking in are used to build muscle and not fat.

Lifestyle can help you gain weight

Your lifestyle plays a significant role in your overall health and wellbeing. Adjusting your lifestyle to keep you working at your optimum as much as possible will make it easier for you to digest and metabolize your food correctly.

Get enough sleep. An increasing number of studies are reinforcing the need for quality sleep that lasts the night. The best amount of hours may depend on your body, but measuring your sleep with a smartwatch or monitor can help you understand your sleep patterns and whether you are getting enough sleep. Poor sleep or lack of sleep has been linked to unhealthy weight gain and obesity.

De-stress. It’s true that stress reduces your cognitive abilities, affects your sleep, has a negative impact on your digestive system, and hinders your ability to maintain a healthy metabolism. Stress increases cortisol levels, which can make it challenging to build muscle and lose fat, which means it’s a problem for people who want to gain weight in a healthy way.

Eat regularly. Many people who are trying to lose weight will participate in intermittent fasting. However, intermittent fasting is a weight-loss tool, not a weight gain tool. Those who are trying to gain weight need to eat regularly. That means at least three meals every day and healthy snacking.

Drink water. Healthy weight gain means getting enough water. This doesn’t often make it on the radar for those who are trying to gain weight because water is calorie-free. Still, you need to stay hydrated to keep your body healthy so it can process your calories, build muscle, and to maintain a healthy immune system.

Tips to Help Males and Females With A Fast Metabolism Gain Weight

From a biological standpoint, men and women are very different. Our skeletal systems are different. Our muscular systems are different. Our hormones function differently. Our brains are different. And the ways we gain, lose, and carry weight are different.

Fat storage. Firstly, women and men store fat differently. Assuming a healthy body mass index (BMI), women are generally in the 20-25% body fat, while men are in the 10-15% body fat range. Additionally, men tend to carry tummy fat, whereas women tend to carry their fat on their hips.

Since the idea is to gain weight healthily, watch your body fat percentage. And watching the location of fat on your body can give you key indicators about whether you are taking the right steps to gain the right amount of fat, or whether you need to make adjustments to your diet and workouts. 

Fat gain and loss. Second, women and men lose and gain fat a little differently, both in the short- and long-run. Because men tend to have more lean muscle tissue, they are better able to burn more calories and body fat, even at rest.

While this can be helpful when it comes to losing weight, it can also sometimes make weight gain more difficult for men. The solution for men is to remember to take in more quality calories.

Hormones and fat. Lastly, hormones play a role in metabolism and how the body will gain or lose fat. While higher levels of testosterone and less estrogen in men contributes to their ability to lose more weight more quickly than women, it can make it difficult to gain weight in the long run. Higher estrogen in women can add to the difficulty women experience from puberty to menopause, losing weight.

This hormone tendency means it’s important for men and women with normal or high testosterone or low estrogen to not only watch calorie intake. Hormone levels emphasize the need to eat protein and use your workouts to focus on adding muscle, so you avoid adding fat and gaining unhealthy weight.

Weight Gain Food List

Here is a comprehensive list of some foods that would provide the right calories that would help you gain weight with a fast metabolism.

Healthy protein: quinoa, hemp seeds, low-fat/sugar non-dairy yogurts and milk, tofu, tempeh, edamame peas, beans, lentils, most meat alternatives, such as veggie burgers.

Healthy fats: nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, cacao, tahini, peanut butter, nut butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut milk.

Healthy whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats, farro, millet, barley, buckwheat, red rice, black rice, amaranth, bulgur, freekeh, triticale, sorghum, sprouted grains, whole grain bread, and whole-grain pasta.

Fruits and vegetables: dates, prunes, raisins, peanuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, peas, lentils, root vegetables, brussels sprouts, lima beans, leafy greens, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, pumpkin, summer squash, cabbage, celery.

Summing It Up

For those with a fast metabolism, gaining weight can be a difficult task. However, it is something you can achieve with focus and commitment. Choose the right foods rather than focusing primarily on calorie intake. Work on gaining muscle, rather than gaining fat. Build a lifestyle that encourages healthy weight gain. And give yourself time. Changes like this may happen in spurts and will undoubtedly take time.

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