Henry wants to bring readers along on his fitness journey and share what he has learned so far.
What Are the Fastest Ways to Gain Weight?
Have you been skinny your whole life? I have, and it's not always fun. For some reason it's totally taboo to call someone 'fat', but it's totally fine for people to say 'you're so skinny!' Fortunately, I have put on a bit of weight since high school, and there are things that can help.
There are a few ways to gain weight fast that are affordable, easy to incorporate into your routine and work pretty effectively, but they all require a certain level of planning, dedication and intentionality. If you're not one for sticking to a plan, it's going to be tough for you.
This article is written to go over a few of the quickest ways to gain weight, and we'll offer a few of the best practices to add pounds to your frame in short order. Please keep in mind that these are all merely suggestions that have worked for me, and the advice of a doctor or nutritionist is probably more effective than anything I have to offer. That said, I've done my research and I know what has helped me achieve a comfortable body weight.
Let's get started and look at a few of the best ways to put on weight quickly!
1. Figure Out How Many Calories You Need
So how many extra calories do you need to put on weight quickly? First, understand that everyone is different and things might be different for you.
The basic idea is that to gain a pound, you need to add an extra 3500 calories to your diet2. So that's around 500 calories per day over the course of a week.
Let's say you're just breaking even, energy-wise. That means you just need to add two glasses of milk and two tablespoons of peanut butter to your diet every day to gain a pound a week!
2. Eat Lots of Cheap Foods
Food is the primary component of weight gain. While this may seem rather self-explanatory, it's often overlooked by people who tend to focus on exercise, or by someone who thinks they're getting enough nutrition when in fact they're starving their bodies.
I'd recommend that the best way to gain weight quickly is to create a meal plan and stick to it. You'll need to track what you're eating and the calories associated with that food, so you have a general idea of how many calories your body is taking in.
There are a few foods that can help. You want to include cheap foods to gain weight fast that are also reasonably healthy. Here are a few examples.
Milk is often hailed as a great food to gain weight fast because it's cheap and easily obtained. It's also rich in calories, especially if you're buying the higher fat content varieties.
One cup of whole milk contains just under 150 calories, and it also has 8 grams of protein and around 30% of your recommended calcium intake. That means it's a nutrient-rich source of energy.
The great thing about milk is that it's pretty easy to add to your diet without feeling bloated or overwhelmed. Drinking a litre of milk each day will add around 600 bonus calories to your diet, which is often enough to tip the scales and make you start gaining weight.
Milk is also an easy way to gain weight fast because it's inexpensive to buy. A carton of milk costs just a couple of bucks, making it very sustainable as opposed to nutritional supplements.
Milk does contain some saturated fat, so don't go too crazy on it, and make sure to include some exercise and activity into your routine.
Another great way to gain weight fast is to add a couple of servings of rice to your routine. Rice is one of the most nutritional grains on the planet, and it has an energy density which is basically unrivalled. It's also surprisingly inexpensive to buy, and it's an easy side to add to just about every meal.
One cup of cooked white rice has about 240 calories. It also contains iron and some protein, but it's primarily a carbohydrate, so make sure you have a good protein and veggie to go with it.
Eating rice is one of the quickest ways to gain weight because it's really easy to prepare and store, and it makes a great addition to virtually any meal, so there's no excuse.
Add it to a wrap or burrito to make it more nutritious, or just add a couple of cups to your plate in any situation. A bowl of rice with a nice sauce can make a delicious 'between meal' snack (I prefer a Thai coconut sauce on rice, but that's just me!)
If you do end up including rice in your diet, I'd definitely recommend a rice cooker. They make your life a lot easier and you can just set it and it will pop when done.
According to the USDA1, Peanut butter is an excellent source of calories and healthy fats, and it's also one of the cheapest foods to gain weight around due to its nutritional density. And who doesn't like peanut butter?
Two tablespoons of peanut butter include nearly 200 calories, and that includes 16 grams of fat. That might seem like a lot, but remember that your body requires at least 10% of its nutritional intake to be in the form of fats.
Peanut butter is a superfood because it has high caloric value, and fat content, and it's also a good protein source so it makes a great post-workout snack. Each tablespoon contains at least 8 grams of protein, as well as some fibre.
On the whole, adding a few scoops of peanut butter to your daily diet is a great way to gain weight quickly and inexpensively.
3. Try Nutritional Supplements
Another option that will be very effective is adding a nutritional supplement to your diet. They come in a number of forms and styles and finding the one that works for you is a matter of testing them out and finding something you love.
Despite what you might think, weight gain supplement powders don't actually taste that bad anymore! Some of them are downright delicious, and a couple of smoothies might end up being the highlight of your day.
There are many kinds of nutritional supplements out there, and all are effective ways to gain weight pretty fast. Here are a few categories.
Meal Replacement Powders
Meal replacements are intended to replicate the nutritional value of a full meal, or at least come pretty close.
I wouldn't say any meal replacement powder comes close enough to outright replacing a balanced meal, but if you treat them as what they are, a supplement to augment your regular eating habits, they can be really effective.
Meal replacement supplements are first and foremost packed with calories. They should also contain a good deal of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, but they shouldn't be treated as a 'protein powder', because that's not their focus. They're meant to increase your total caloric intake beyond a certain threshold.
Protein Powders and Shakes
Protein shakes are well known, and they're common practise for anyone who is hitting the gym in order to put on weight quickly. They're great because they boost the amount of protein you're getting each day, meaning your muscles have the building blocks to repair themselves.
Protein powders are not an out-and-out perfect way to gain weight fast, but they can help if you're already doing routine exercise. If your body doesn't have enough protein it will be hard for your muscles to grow.
I'd definitely recommend protein shakes as a fast way to gain weight if you're already doing exercise on a routine basis. If you're not exercising, you should start!
There are a few other supplements that bodybuilders tend to add to their diets. Things such as creatine, which helps bind water to your protein cells, can help you to add pounds and increase your energy, but you must continue taking it for it to be effective. I don't personally use creatine.
If you're exercising regularly, you can take some amino acid supplements that can help, such as branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs. They're meant to help synthesize protein quickly. They are included in many protein powders.
I'd also recommend taking a few vitamin supplements since vitamin deficiencies can really hinder your progress.
Create a Quick Weight Gain Routine and Stick With It!
Whatever the case, you need to create a workable routine and stick with it in order to put on weight quickly.
If you're not eating on a regular basis, or if you're just 'flying by the seat of your pants', you won't be able to gain as quickly as if you use a meal plan.
Create a simple chart with all the days of the week on it, separated into breakfast, lunch and dinner. Track like a maniac! Don't just write down what you've eaten, look up how many calories you've consumed! Make sure you're exceeding your daily recommended intake by a considerable amount.
If you have any questions or just want to say hello, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom! Thanks for reading!
- National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, US Department of Agriculture.
- 12 Healthy & Cheap Foods to Gain Weight, by Will Henry, Gaining Weight 101.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions or other easy ways to gain weight?
Namwase halima on June 26, 2019:
Am grateful for this Advice , I should try it out
Health Wig on October 11, 2017:
I am trying to gain weight but very often failed to do that. I am little light weight so I need more weight. I have read your post and it looks very useful and I need more technique to do that without harming anything. If possible right more information for me, please. This one is also very good. Thanks
Ndile on October 26, 2016:
Thanks a lot. I have to try this as well.
William Wansbury on April 06, 2016:
Thanks for the advice.When you say ´´Make sure you're exceeding your daily recommended intake by a considerable amount´´ what amount should I be looking at? Regards.
cates on September 28, 2015:
i just red your article, i hope it will help me gain weight fast. More Power!
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on July 25, 2015:
Great tips on how to gain weight real fast with some basic foods. Voted up for useful!
Noor Shaikh on October 08, 2014:
ThoughtsWriter from America on May 21, 2014:
I appreciate that these tips are healthy and cheap. Thanks!