Weight gain program for females / skinny women [ COMPLETE GUIDE 2022]

Gaining weight for a naturally skinny woman can be just as hard as losing weight for others. Although most people think ‘how lucky we are’ or they ‘wish they could have the same problem’, these are actually ‘skinny-shaming’ phrases, and are just as inappropriate regardless of the person’s size or shape.

Commenting on other people’s looks, health, or eating habits and making an assumption about what we see is a much deeper topic than just going around and commenting on someone’s looks, especially if no one is asking for an opinion.

Being a skinny girl sometimes can feel like being caught in the body of a little child who never went through adolescence.

Being a thin woman can be frustrating for those who are not naturally gifted with feminine curves. It takes time, knowledge, discipline, and dedicated work to start gaining muscle and weight.

But here’s the good part, in this article you will discover all the fundamentals on how to gain as much lean muscle mass as possible, without extra fat gain. Get ready to finally take off your boyish look and skinny body, and get some decent curves in all the right places.

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What you will learn in this Ultimate Guide for growing glutes

Why you are skinny and not gaining weight?

There are three basic body types, and in order to form a correct fitness approach for you and your individual needs, it’s good to understand to which group you belong.

Understanding your body type is not black or white, because each group can sustain characteristics of another type. But despite that, knowing the basic characteristics of each type will help us to design and create a specific approach in your fitness, diet, and lifestyle plan for you.

If we fail to identify our body type, this can be one of the reasons why we are slow or not even achieving our fitness and well-being goals.

There are 3 basic body types, and they are determined by your genetics, i.e how lean, strong, or how much body fat you naturally have.

Ectomorph body type (this is you)

The characteristics of this type are: low percentage of body fat, less muscle mass, lean and longer extremities

Challenge: gaining weight and building muscle, lack of feminine attributes

Examples in real life: models, runners, dancers

Diet: eating more calories, especially protein, and implementing supplements that will help to gain weight faster (more details below)

Workout: resistance training, LIIS instead of cardio (more details below)

Endomorph body type

The characteristics of this type are: a higher percentage of body fat, more muscle mass, curvier physique, straight hips, shorter extremities

Challenge: easily gain weight, but struggle to lose it

Example in real life: powerlifters

Diet: reduce carbohydrate intake, more vegetables, fruits, balanced intake of proteins and good fats

Workout: cardio-HIIT, LISS, weight training

Mesomorph body type

The characteristics of this type are: considered ideal body type, athletic and sport type, strong, longer limbs, they easily get and lose weight

Challenge: ideally, they don’t have challenges like the other types

Example in real life: volleyball, boxing, martial arts, swimming

Diet: they have the best metabolism, they can eat almost anything they want

Workout: combining both, cardio and resistance training, to maintain themselves.

Your workout routine is one of three key elements that have to be applied in your muscle gain journey. Later we will talk about the other two, but for the moment, let’s see why strength training (lifting weights) will faster stimulate your muscle growth.

Unfortunately, to start gaining weight, occasionally resistance training or weight lifting will hardly develop muscles in the right places, and for that reason, it’s important to build consistency in the execution of your workout routines.

When trying to gain weight and build muscles, skinny women need a hypertrophy kind of training that will stimulate muscle growth consistently. That means that you are supposed to train a minimum of 3x a week with no exception and perform 3-5 series of each exercise with 10-12 repetitions.

In order to induce the hypertrophy process in your muscles, you don’t need to spend over an hour, 30 minutes of a well-structured exercise plan is more than enough.

If you are a complete beginner, working out at home with just your own body weight (bodyweight training) is sufficient to start building muscle, strength, and form. Even more, before starting any weight lifting program, learning how to perform exercises correctly, with a mind-muscle connection, and in a safe way is one of the first steps of safely gaining weight.

And lastly, what could boost up your motivation and help you not skip your workout days, is that skinny women can notice their first results and gain weight fast week by week if they are sticking to the plan.

So next time you’re considering canceling your workout session for the next day, remember that for every training you do, your muscles will react in an amazing way creating more muscle fibers and more curves for you.

I bet you’ve heard, read, and/or got advice that you could eat anything because you are a skinny girl, so your body will store all those calories in the muscles and in minimal fats. But, that is not entirely true. There are two bulking or weight gaining terms that you should know to understand what will happen if you eat clean or fatty food.

Anyone who wants to gain weight/muscles, we say they are on bulking program. That means eating more calories over some period of time while the person is training.

There are two ways of bulking, or we could say eating: clean/lean bulk (eating) and dirty bulk (eating).

CLEAN BULK

Clean or lean bulk is a smarter and safer way to go; you will eat nutrition-rich food that will fuel your body and muscles, you will store minimum fat and you will boost your metabolism.

Now, that doesn’t mean at all that you can not treat yourself to some bad fats and sugar during the week, bulking is not black or white. You can eat burgers, fries, chips, sweets, etc., but not every day and never dominantly if you prefer to build lean, quality, and long-term muscles.

If your question now is how often you could treat yourself with burgers and the like, eating junk food two or three times a week in one of your meals will not significantly affect your muscle gain progress.

DIRTY BULK

In dirty bulk, there is no difference between good and bad food. The food is just food, and you should eat as much as possible, almost anything that comes within your reach. With dirty bulk in a shorter period of time, you can gain some impressive numbers on scale and centimeters, but you have to be careful if you don’t want to gain more fat than muscles.

For that reason is important to have a proper diet, balanced food intake, and to understand the side effects of dirty bulk, and why maybe clean bulk, in the long run, is safer and more effective for you.

There’s no reason to restrict yourself from junk food entirely, but junk food is called that way for a reason. As you know, junk food is very processed and full of empty calories.

In the longer run, this can result in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance will significantly change the entrance of nutritive ingredients into the cells (it will be more difficult), which means more fat storage, and the potential occurrence of diabetes.

 

Now that you have learned the benefits and dangers of clean and dirty eating, it’s up to you to decide which way you would like to go on your bulking/gaining weight journey. And, if you still have questions about eating, don’t worry, we have just started. There will be more on the topic of food later in the text. And all in a way that you can understand and start applying today once you finish this article.

If you have been trying to get weight for some period of time, and you have been following all advice when it comes to food and workout, but there’s no progress, consider consulting with your doctor to do some blood and hormone tests to check your overall health.

It’s likely possible if there’s no progress on the scale, mirror and size of your clothes are staying the same, that maybe there are some other health problems that have to be taken care of first.

There are some medical conditions (hyperthyroidism, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, eating disorders, celiac disease, depression, stress,…) and medicines (antibiotics, chemotherapy,…) that can slow down or complicate your weight gain process.

For that reason, before you lose hope and think that you are doomed to stay forever in this skinny body, go to a check-up with your doctor, and consider including in your weight gain process professionals such as nutritionists and personal trainers that will save you time, money, and nerves.

Unlock the door to gaining weight

Now that you know what are possible mistakes that are slowing down your weight gain process, it’s time to discover which conditions must be met in order to start gaining weight.

Eating more food is not enough for gaining weight; it’s just one of the three key elements that must be implemented to start building a curvier physique.

It’s important to mention that well-meaning advice like ‘just eat more food’ or ‘take that cheeseburger‘ does not guarantee you that dream look from your imagination. 

Sure, you need to eat more, but eating food is not just about putting more food into yourself and depriving your metabolism; but instead, understanding what to eat, when to eat, how to increase your caloric intake gradually, what is caloric intake: surplus (suficit) or deficit, how to measure daily caloric intake, what supplements can help you, etc.

To add lean muscle mass, and to transform from skinny, thin women into women with feminine curves, you need to implement weight gaining trio into your daily routine:

  1. Eat more nutrient-rich food

  2. Eat more proteins

  3. More resistance training

Let’s see what are the tipping points of each of these three, that have to be met in order to build your curvy, healthy, and aesthetic body and to once and forever say goodbye to the flat background and narrow hips.

Diet for weight gain

One thing is clear now if you want to go for long-term results in gaining weight, that will not affect your health and physical look in a way you don’t want it to – we want to focus on a healthy way for muscle gain.

When it comes to diet, let’s keep it simple, and let’s start with two important factors: how much food you should eat and how much protein. In this part of the article, you will learn some basic terms about calorie intake, how you can track, calculate and adjust them over time.

Very often we can hear people saying: “I don’t feel my glutes while performing my exercises” and the reason for that can be skipping pre-workout activation, not focusing on mind-muscle connection and a ‘dead -butt syndrome’, a.k.a. weakness of glute muscles due to a sitting lifestyle.

Glute activation exercises are the first step in growing your butt and developing stronger glute muscles. You will learn how to activate your glute muscle, you will finally feel ‘the burn’ and you will establish that mind-muscle connection. And skipping that part in your glute routine will delay your desired butt results.

So, before hitting your main glute routine, warming up your glutes with activation exercises will help you to grow your butt faster.

In your next glute training, before going to compound movements, try these 4 movements to warm up your gluteal muscles:

How much food should I eat

Depending on the goal you want to achieve, calorie intake will be different if you want to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain your existing weight.

Since our focus is on gaining weight here, a skinny girl should be eating more than her body spends, in other words, she should be in a caloric surplus.

Your goal here is not just to gain weight, but to develop muscles and gain muscle mass. So you have to understand how many calories and what calories your body will need in order to store this extra energy in muscle mass. And of course, in order to do so, let’s see how you can provide your body with enough calories, that will finally be stored in all the right places.

For starters, let’s see what it means to eat more, less, or enough to maintain results.

➡ When you are in a caloric surplus (eating more than your body needs), your body will store these extra calories and energy, you will start to gain muscle and fat.

➡ If you are in a caloric deficit (eating less than your body needs), the body will reach for other sources of energy, it will start to use fat and muscles to produce the energy it needs.

➡ Once you reach your ideal physique, you will switch to a balanced caloric intake.

 

So let’s sum up:

Caloric surplus = muscle and weight gain

Caloric deficit = losing weight

Balanced caloric intake = weight maintenance of current weight

 

As we mention before, beginners who are starting their weight gain journey are in a better starting position because their body is not used to this kind of regime and their muscles haven’t gone through their full growth potential. With a balanced diet and a good workout plan, you will be seeing some amazing changes in your body and in how you feel week after week.

Another good news is that if you are a naturally skinny girl, according to some researchers, your body is naturally more prone to gain muscles instead of fat (1, 2).

If you are not seeing changes (you can’t seem to gain weight) you should increase your caloric intake. For that reason, it’s important that you are following your progress (measuring on the scale, with a measuring tape, and taking photos) every week and adjusting calorie intake according to your results.

So let’s see what are some ways that you can use to track your daily and weekly caloric intake that will finally bring you the results you desire.

In the next chapter, we will discuss two methods that can help you approximately define the daily caloric intake you should be consuming in order to gain weight.

How to calculate calories

Counting calories is an old-fashioned way to follow your progress, hard to maintain in the long run, and may be difficult to understand for people who do not want to be in professional fitness.

I believe that for ladies like you, who have a pretty hectic life, you want a system that will support your way of living. So let’s talk about two ways of calculating calories that can help you on your journey.

There are two ways that we will elaborate in this text, and they are intuitive eating and calorie tracking.

INTUITIVE EATING for gaining weight

Intuitive eating means eating when you feel hungry and stopping when you feel full.

It’s followed by a biological urge that tells your body – you need food, such as growling in the stomach, fatigue, lack of energy, weakness, headache, etc.

Although it sounds like something natural to all of us, unfortunately, many people are experiencing that their food biological clock has changed. And all that can be a consequence of an unhealthy lifestyle; not eating when we’re feeling hungry, emotional eating, following new-age diets gurus’ advice, eating processed food, eating late, and so on.

If you already practice intuitive eating and is not something new to you, eating intuitively to gain weight means continuing eating in the way and rhythm you do, but simply adding more or less food depending on your weekly results – are you getting weight from week to week.

Now, we are going with the assumption that you are in calorie balance, i.e. you are eating enough amount of food that is keeping your body weight the same (balanced). That means you are not in a caloric deficit or suficit. So your next thing in gaining weight is starting to eat more calories.

Since we are advocates of lean bulk here, reminding you that doesn’t mean you will eat as much as you want and whatever you want, but rather the right kind of calories.

In order to start gaining lean muscles mass, you should be eating around 200-300 extra calories per day. That was supposed to assure you to gain approximately 0.5-0,7 kg per week.

Important!

Let’s be clear, this method will work for you only with the assumption that you already have consistent food intake throughout the day. Here’s an example: every morning you are having breakfast, coffee and eggs, for example. For lunch, you are taking some proteins, carbs, and/or fats. And then you have dinner. It’s important that you have regular meals throughout the day. Then, if this is your regular rhythm, you will add to your eating routine some caloric snacks in between.

If your routine is changing from day to day, and sometimes you are skipping some of your main meals but taking, for example, some caloric snacks, unfortunately, intuitive eating with the goal of gaining weight will not work.

Consistency in meals and weekly monitoring of progress is key here.

CALORIE TRACKING for gaining weight

If intuitive eating doesn’t sound like the best option for you, especially if you don’t have an established routine for your meals, maybe calorie tracking is better at the moment.

The reason why I’m saying ‘better at the moment’ is that the calorie tracking method is not a sustainable way of living for ladies, and people in general, who are not in professional fitness and training.

This can be your temporary option while you are still in the phase of learning and understanding how the weight gain process works.

To know how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis to gain weight, we will need to use some simple math formulas. But, also let’s not forget that calories are a very delicate topic since it is very unique for every person and it depends on many factors.

To calculate daily maintenance calorie intake, you will find a lot of different formulas on the internet. It’s important to mention that these are mostly approximated values. If you want to know what are your caloric needs 100% correctly, it’s best to start working with a dietitian or nutritionist.

But for now, to understand all this process of gaining weight, the knowledge that you will get here is more than enough to understand some basic principles of gaining weight and to start this journey.

Specifically, if we are talking about skinny women who are trying to gain muscle and weight, we will need to calculate your daily maintenance calorie intake (balanced caloric intake).

 

To calculate your Maintenance calorie intake you can use this formula:

a) Maintenance Calories Intake = current weight (kilos) x 29

b) Maintenance Calories Intake = current weight (pounds) x 13

 

After you have the sum number, you need to consider your current lifestyle and maybe you will need to do some adjustments if you are meeting some of these conditions:

  • If you are not being very active throughout the day; you wake up in the morning, go to work by public transport or car, reduce the multiplier value to -1. For example, that would mean that now instead of 29, you have 28 (if you are cunting in kilos) or 12 (if you are counting in pounds). If you are walking to your job or riding a bike, you don’t need to change the multiplier number and can skip to the next condition.

  • If you are doing any sports, going to dance class, yoga, riding a bike, jogging, doing strength training, or muscle building workouts; any activity, add to multiplier +1 for every hour you spend active during the week. For example, if you are training 3 times a week for one hour, you will add 3 to 29 which will be now 32 (or 16 if you add 3 to 13).

  • Now do the math again and you will get the approximated number of your maintenance calories intake. So let’s say you are active 2x a week, your formula will go like this:

–> Current weight in kg X 31

— > Current weight in pounds X 15

 

After you have your approximated daily caloric intake, this is your maintenance caloric intake. To start gaining weight and building muscles, we need to add 200-300 kcal per day so you are in a caloric surplus.

If you are not gaining weight from 0.5 g to 0.7 g a week, add another 200-300 calories per day. If you are gaining more than 1 kg or more a week, decrease your calorie intake by 100-200 calories. The goal is to gain healthy weight and add lean muscle mass.

How much protein should you eat to gain weight?

Proteins are building materials (blocks, sort to speak) of your muscles, and for that reason, we need to take care of sufficient protein intake. Together with weight training, calorie intake, and protein intake, you are meeting all necessary conditions to stimulate muscle growth.

According to the American College Of Sports Medicine (ACSM), a person who is on a weight gain program should go for 1.2-1.7g of protein per kg per day. But be reminded that once you reach your weight and mass goals, your daily protein intake will decrease to maintain your level, which is around 0.7 – 1g of protein per kg per day (3) (this also depends on your level of activity after you get off of weight gain program) which will be enough protein to maintain your results.

And what about when you should take your proteins?

Despite much research, it’s still not determined when is the best moment to take proteins, but it’s certainly more important eating enough protein throughout the day.

That means, in order to achieve maximum hypertrophy and growth of your muscle, it’s recommendable to consume proteins in each of your main meals.

If you are finding it hard to consume that amount of protein, especially if you are not eating meat, protein powder and protein alternatives are options that you can go with.

Where can I find protein-rich food?

Your daily protein supplies can come from animal and/or plant-based foods.

Animal protein sources you can consume through:

  • dairy products: cottage cheese, cheese, greek yogurt, skim milk

  • eggs

  • beef

  • poultry – chicken, turkey

  • fish.

Plant-based protein sources you can find in:

  • legumes – peas, beans, lentils, peanuts

  • nuts and seeds – chia seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pistachio, walnuts, hazelnuts

  • whole grains: wheat, quinoa, rice, millet, oats, buckwheat

  • other: broccoli, asparagus, corn, brussels sprouts, and artichokes.s

Can high protein intake be harmful to your kidneys?

Is a high protein diet healthy for your overall health and your kidneys? This is still a relevant topic between dieticians, physicians, personal trainers, and the fitness industry in general.

The daily amount of your protein intake depends on your overall health, body size, your nutritional status, and your kidney function.

After years in the fitness industry, experimenting with food, and reading and learning on this topic, I will try to sum up the most important thing you have to know when it comes to HP (high protein) diet.

If you are a healthy individual and you don’t have any kind of health or kidney problems, a high protein diet will not affect your kidney health. Even more, a high protein diet is not for a lifetime, it’s until you achieve your desired muscle and curves results. Once you’re there, your daily intake of protein will switch to maintaining.

One thing that I definitely recommend you to do on yearly basis (especially if you haven’t done it so far), even if you are young or in mature years, is to check your kidney function regularly. You can do this before going on a diet if you have never checked them, just to be sure you are 100% healthy.

To sum up, a high protein diet is not harmful to a healthy person.

On the other side, if you have any kidney problems, diabetes, or another medical diagnosis in your family history or your own, a high protein diet can affect your kidneys’ health and function. (4,5) In that case, before you go on a weight gain program, it’s important to consult experts such as your family doctor, specialist, nutritionist, and dietitian.

Other muscle-gain food

Except for protein sources, for gaining muscle it’s also essential to have a diverse and balanced diet. A balanced diet means no restriction, but rather eating all the tasty and healthy food that will support your muscle gain process and build healthy habits for a lifetime.

With different sources of proteins, other food groups that you need to eat to support muscle gains, and that are good for your overall health, are healthy fats, whole grain carbs, vegetables, and fruits.

Here are some ideas of what to eat to gain muscle in a healthy, yet effective, way:

  • Homemade smoothies – you can get very creative here; add some banana, protein powder, nuts, mix everything in a blender and you will get a super healthy snack high in healthy calories. Smoothies are a very good option for a super fast and healthy breakfast or after-workout snack.

  • Rice, brown rice – a great source of carbs, easy to prepare, and you can even find it in stores in small packs. It’s also a great option if you are in hurry, you just put it in a microwave, top it off with something to make it tastier, and enjoy. Some of the toppings that you can add to make your rice taste better (after some time eating rice can become boring) are cheese, eggs, peanuts, or tomatoes.

  • Dried fruit – is a great alternative for takeaway when you are on the go; plus, you can combine them too with yogurt and oats.

  • Sweet potatoes – rich in minerals (A, C, B6), vitamins (iron and calcium especially, which are very good for women who suffer from intense menstrual bleeding and muscle cramps) taste much better than normal potatoes.

  • Avocado – very calorie-dense food, delicious taste, and rich in healthy fats. It can be combined in many ways; in sandwiches, pasta, omelets, salads, wraps, sushi, and so on.

  • Whole-grain bread – everyone loves a sandwich, so why not enjoy a healthy one that will help you grow your muscles. Instead of normal bread, rather choose options that are rich in seeds and contain whole grains. You can combine whole-grain bread with different sources of proteins, instead of salami, and the tasty and healthy fats that we have mentioned.

  • Oats and cornflakes with toppings – instead of instant oats that are refined and full of sugars, rather choose oats alone and then combine them with some dry fruits, for example. You can eat them with yogurt, milk, protein powder,…

  • Dark chocolate – you can enjoy sweet food even on a gain weight program. Add dark chocolate to your cereal plate, make some dessert, or make a fruit bowl with dark chocolate topping.

How to track your weekly weight gain progress?

It’s very important once you start to gain muscle, that you are tracking your progress every week. This approach will help you to know if you are going in the right direction or if there are certain corrections and adjustments you need to make.

For example: If you are not getting weight, you will increase your calories by another 200 kcal. If you are gaining too much weight (more than 1kg a week), eat 100kcal less, or eliminate one snack, for example.

Here are some simple ways of tracking your weekly progress:

  1. Choose one day in the week, always at the same time, and at the same conditions when you will measure yourself. That way, you will have the most accurate results with less oscillation. For example, it can be every Sunday, in the morning, after breakfast, and only in your underwear.

  2. At the beginning of the process, take pictures of yourself in underwear from the front, side, and backside.

  3. Measure yourself on the scale (also without clothes, preferably in the morning after going to the toilet) and write down the numbers with a date.

  4. Measure the diameter of your upper arms, chest, waist, hips, and both legs separately with measuring tape. You can do this every week or every two weeks.

According to these results, adjust your diet if needed.

 

What Are The Best Food Supplements To Gain Weight?

Fitness supplements can help you gain weight and muscle mass and provide you with extra calories and proteins, especially if your schedule is busy and you are struggling to maintain a caloric surplus or to ingest a certain amount of protein throughout the day.

As you know, your muscles are built from protein, so, therefore, in order for muscle tissue to grow, your body needs to be provided with proteins that can come from food or supplements.

Here are some of the supplements that can support your muscle growth and/or provide your daily dose of protein:

  • PROTEIN SHAKE – a great postworkout supplement that you can also take before your cooked meals and to supply your muscles with the necessary daily dose of proteins. You can find them in vegan variations (especially for diary-free ladies) and with different tastes.

  • GAINERS – gainers are very rich in carbohydrates, protein, and some can contain amino acids (BCAAs). They can be a great help in gaining weight and can help you to stay in a caloric surplus. You can find them in different tastes and they can be great sources of calories when you are ‘on the go’.

  • PROTEIN BARS – protein bars are rich in minerals, fats, vitamins, and proteins. They can be very tasty and are a very practical post-workout snack, perfect for a busy lifestyle. Just be sure to choose those with less refined sugar.

  • CREATININE – a very safe supplement supported by many researchers (6) and found in your body as well as in some foods. Creatine comes in white powder and is a very good supplement that will increase your sport and fitness performance, strength, and, finally, muscle growth. We recommend you creatinine monohydrate (it is the most researched and safest) and at the beginning (first week) the so-called loaded dose will be higher, around 20grams a day. After a week you usually switch to maintain a dose that is around 3-5 g a day.

Are skinny girls supposed to work out?

After we cover calories and protein intake, in order to maximize your results, but minimize fat gain, one can not expect to gain muscle and build their dream body and feminine curves without a proper workout routine.

Thin women shouldn’t avoid weight training and lifting weights, this is a key to their transformation and a crucial element to store all these extra calories in their muscles instead of in fat cells. But, there are some things to have in mind when building muscle and choosing your way of moving preferences.


  1. SKINNY WOMAN & SKINNY LADIES SHOULD DO DIFFERENT KINDS OF CARDIO

Cardio is important for your health, cardiovascular system and muscle strength, but for skinny women, not every cardio is efficient cardio if you are trying and struggle to gain weight.

Specifically, I’m talking about running here. For skinny ladies who are trying to build muscle, much better options to get your weekly dose of cardio are longer walks and 10 minutes of some cardio workout before your main resistance training. Some good alternative options that you can do as your pre-workout or warm-up session are LIIS or walking (cardiovascular exercise of low to moderate intensity that you are doing over some extended time), jumping rope, cycling, or rowing.

If you are training to gain weight, long runs are not the best option for you. You will spend a lot of calories and muscles, and for that reason, always go for some cardio alternatives that are more efficient in your case.


  1. LIFT WEIGHTS

Lifting weights is crucial for skinny girls who want to gain muscles and weight. Even if you are eating healthy and you are in a caloric surplus, that is not enough to gain lean muscles mass. Instead of building muscles, all these extra calories will go into storing fats, and I believe that is not your goal. For that reason, in order to stimulate muscles growth, and to direct these calories into building blocks for your muscles, lifting weights is crucial for your weight gain progress.


  1. PRIORITIZE CORRECT FORM OVER HEAVYWEIGHTS

Lifting weight is one of the ‘holly grails’ when it comes to building muscles, but keep in mind that first, you will need to learn how to do all these exercises and movements in a safe way. When we say you need to start lifting weight, but you have never done something like that, that doesn’t mean you will go to the gym and start using all the fancy machines and lift heavy weights immediately you go on a weight gain program.

If you have been reading this article carefully, complete beginners react very well to any kind of resistance training, even if that includes your own body weight. If you are new to this, I suggest you start with some home program or in the gym but first focus on learning basic movements patterns. Once you know how to perform movements correctly, and how to activate and feel the working muscles, your progress and transformation will go faster.


  1. TRAIN ALL MUSCLE GROUP

Many women, including me at the being of the fitness journey are focusing only on the muscle group we want to see changes and growth. Usually, for skinny girls that are glutes, and for men it’s back and arms. While ladies are focusing on doing loads of squats and lunges, men are doing push-ups, pull-ups, and variations of the same. With such an approach we can do more harm than good, and over time we can develop many disbalances in our bodies (from our posture, ‘dropping hips’,…) and disproportions such as ‘chicken legs’ or strong lower body but weak core; tightness in the hamstring, hips, inner tights, pain, injuries, etc. So for that reason, I can not emphasize enough how important it is to train all of your body, not only specific muscles group. In the end, you will not have only a strong and sexy body and curves, but a body that is strong and functional on all levels.


  1. HAVE A WORKOUT PROGRAM

If you are a beginner, most likely your fitness journey will go like this: you will go to the gym or start from home, first you will do some random moves that will come to your mind that you find or saw on the internet or on YouTube. Then you will realize some moves are not working for you or you can not do them, and you will start to research a little bit more. You will find some exercises on Youtube and the internet, you will copy them, but without knowledge, if that is a good choice for you and if the way you are executing the exercise is correct. Maybe you will experience some muscle soreness and inflammation, and you will think you are doing good.

But, after a month or less, you start to feel like you are not making progress; not in your physique, nor in your training. Maybe you will start to convince yourself that there is no hope for you.

For that reason, it is important to plan your workout and follow your progress over time. Working with professionals or a personal trainer who will program a workout routine that is specific to your goals and needs.

When you have your workouts planned, you are: saving your time (in less time you can do more) and money (you don’t need 10 different programs in order to achieve results). You can track your progress and improvements from month to month, you are achieving your goals faster, your training is safer and with less chance of injury, you prevent overtraining or skipping training, you are not going for excuses because you don’t know what to do, you are staying motivated.


  1. TRAIN MINIMUM 3 DAYS A WEEK

You don’t have to spend hours and hours in the gym to see results, that is one way to burn out. You shouldn’t be training either with ‘all or nothing’ moto, because fast you will get tired of the rhythm you set up for yourself.

Instead of such regimes, focus on building and developing long terms healthy habits. It’s healthier and better to go slower to your destination than to give up halfway there because you started too fast.

In other words, consistency is key to your long-term success. If you are a beginner, you don’t have to start immediately to train 5 times a week. 3 times a week is absolutely decent number to see first results and progress. With this rhythm, is more likely you will really start to love your fitness routine and build a habit for a lifetime, instead of being disgusted with it when you haven’t even really started.

After some time, you can increase the frequency of your training (4-5x/week if you want), but in order to keep seeing results, and not overtrain yourself, you will have to distribute your training differently to assure your muscles rest.


  1. FOCUS ON MIND-MUSCLE CONNECTION

Mind-muscle connection refers to intentional muscle contraction of the muscle that is being activated. Let’s take the squat, for example. When performing a squat, the intentional mind-muscle connection would mean thinking about your glutes when you are lowering down in the squat and feeling the stretching of your muscles. And then when you go up, squeezing of your glute muscles intentionally on top.

When you focus on the mind-muscle connection, you gain more strength and hypertrophy in the muscle. One of the indicators of good mind-muscle connection is feeling the ‘burning’ sensation in the working muscle.


  1. REST

It’s well known that muscles are growing when they are resting. For that reason prioritize good rest and sleep to give your muscles enough time to recover and react to training. Overtraining your muscles will result in opposite effects, which is why it’s important to rest and plan your workout frequency.

If we are talking about numbers, 8 hours of sleep is needed to give your body quality rest and for it to restart. And when it comes to muscles, your muscles need about 48 hours to recover from the training.

How many kilos can I gain per week?

If you manage to hit caloric surplus, on weekly basis you could gain up to 0.5 g – 0.7 g a week. It’s important to track and measure your weekly progress because if you are going more than 1kg per week, that means you are gaining and storing more fat. If you would like to stay on lean bulk, and if you are gaining around 1kg or more per week, decrease your caloric intake to 100-200kcal per meal and continue tracking your weight.

For how long should I do the bulking program?

Going on a bulking program is individual for every person and how long it will take mainly depends on how fast you will achieve your results and how satisfied you are. But, if we are talking about weeks and numbers, usually weight gain program lasts a minimum of about 8 weeks to see some progress and results. Of course, if you are still not reaching your desired results, you can decide (or your personal trainer) to go for another 4 to 8 weeks, which in total can last for 16 weeks.

One thing that you should keep in mind, the longer you are on the bulk program, you will gain more fat. But, as long you are satisfied with how you look and how you are improving your workout sessions, you can keep up with it.

Once you hit your desired results, stay active and switch to maintenance calorie intake.

Benefits of gaining weight on your health

Being underweight can be equally serious as being overweight. Both conditions can trigger some serious medical conditions and affect your overall health in the long term.

Some of the following medical issues that an underweight person can face are osteoporosis, irregular menstruation, risk of premature menopause, general depression of the immune system, overall tiredness, mental and physical fatigue, skin, hair, and teeth problems, anemia, eating disorders, anorexia, and so on.

Gaining weight and staying healthy doesn’t have to be a hard, exhausting process. If you learn how to bring yourself into the physical and mental state of wellbeing, and you learn how to make it a lifestyle, you will gain long-term mental and physical benefits and a load of confidence.

When you eat well, rest well, and train well, your body and mind pay it all back to you.

Once your body reaches homeostasis, as a result of an active lifestyle, good nutrition, and rest, you will become stronger in every sense.

You will become and feel:

  • Enjoy your body, and feel absolutely sexy and feminine in your own skin

  • Strong, confident, healthier, and more energized

  • Feel more attractive in your own skin

  • You will be rarely sick

  • Your body will naturally produce more collagen which will make your skin and muscles look younger and tighter

  • You will reduce the risk of some medical conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, depression, cancer

  • You will increase your fertility

  • You will improve your metabolism and digestion

  • Slow down the aging process in general, including premature menopause

  • You will become more mobile and stable, especially if you getting closer to your fifties when the risk of fall is becoming higher and your bones can break easily

  • You will improve your bone density and muscle mass (both, especially muscle mass after the thirties, start to decrease)

There are plenty more benefits of gaining healthy weight and maintaining it over the years, but these ones will be more than enough to keep you motivated to stay persistent and to try to become a healthier and stronger version of yourself every day. I truly hope this article helps you with that.

Most important take-outs for skinny women to gain weight

In order to gain weight and build a curvier physique, thin women and skinny girls should:

  • implement all three weight gaining elements into your daily routine: eat more nutrient-rich food, eat more proteins and incorporate resistance (weight) training into your daily routine

  • get to know and understand your body type characteristics and why a certain way of exercising will work better for you

  • make sure to be in caloric surplus every day and track your progress on a weekly basis until you catch the rhythm. To stay in a caloric surplus, you are supposed to add 200-300kcal more per day, to your maintenance caloric need

  • you are supposed to gain 0.5 – 0.7 g per week when you are on a weight gain program. This will assure you to gain less fat and more muscles tissue. If you are gaining 1kg or more than 1kg per week, consider decreasing your caloric intake for 100-200kcal to assure as more possible lean muscle bulk

  • if you have been following all advice when it comes to food and workout, but there’s no progress, consider consulting with your doctor to do some blood and hormone tests to check your overall health

  • American College Of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests consuming about 1.2-1.7g of protein per kg per day if you are on a weight gain program

  • If you are a healthy individual and you don’t have any kind of health or kidney problems, a high protein diet will not affect your kidney function. What I can recommend you to do on yearly basis (especially if you haven’t done it so far), even if you are young or in mature years, is check your kidney function regularly. You can do this before going on a diet if you have never checked them, just to be sure you are 100% healthy

  • Choose one day in the week, at the same time, and at the same conditions when you will measure yourself. For example, it can be every Sunday, in the morning, after the toilet, and only in your underwear. That way, you will have the most accurate results with less oscillation and you will know do you have to adjust your caloric intake accordingly

  • Food supplements such as protein powder, gainers, proteins bar, and creatinine can improve your fitness performance, results and, are a good way to provide you with extra calories and proteins, especially if your schedule is busy, if you are struggling to maintain a caloric surplus or to ingest a certain amount of protein throughout the day

  • Resistance training is important for your muscle growth, but, there are some things to have in mind when building muscle and choosing your way of moving preferences. Make sure to choose the correct cardio for you, to learn proper technique instead of immediately going to lift, train all your body, have a plan, learn how to establish a mind-muscle connection, train a minimum 3 times a week and take time for rest

  • You can be on a weight gain program from 8-16 weeks. After you achieve your desired results, keep staying active and switch to maintenance calorie intake

  • Gaining weight and staying healthy doesn’t have to be a hard, exhausting process. If you learn how to bring yourself into the physical and mental state of wellbeing, and you learn how to make it a lifestyle, you will gain long-term mental and physical benefits and a load of confidence.

References:

1.Composition (lean and fat tissue) of weight changes in adult. Danes Berit Lilienthal Heitmann 1, Lars Garby

2 Perspectives on body composition. Gilbert B Forbes 1

3 Kalantar-Zadeh K, Fouque D. Nutritional management of chronic kidney disease. N Engl J Med 2017; 377: 1765–1776

4 The Effects of High-Protein Diets on Kidney Health and Longevity. Gang-Jee Ko, Connie M Rhee, Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, Shivam Joshi

5 High-protein diet is bad for kidney health: unleashing the taboo Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh , Holly M. Kramer and Denis Fouque 

6 International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Richard B. Kreider, Douglas S. Kalman, Jose Antonio, Tim N. Ziegenfuss, Robert Wildman, Rick Collins, Darren G. Candow, Susan M. Kleiner, Anthony L. Almada & Hector L. Lopez

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