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What should I eat to gain weight and remain fit?

Q: I am a 29-year-old male wanting to gain weight. Please prescribe me a diet for my bodybuilding routine. What should I eat in the morning, before going to the gym, in order to gain weight? Is oatmeal good for gaining weight?

A:Body-building involves a lifestyle. Regular, intense and goal-oriented training sessions combined with a good approach to eating, will promote the development of a muscular physique you desire. What you require is discipline, patience, persistence and consistency. First of all, you should eat smaller meals, 5-6 times per day, 2½ -3 hours apart. This will keep your metabolism going and keep your muscles fed with nutrients required for growth. These meals will consist of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Generally speaking, each meal should contain between 25-50 g of protein. Considering your statistics if you are trying to promote lean muscle mass, you should ingest 1 g of protein per pound of body weight. If you are training hard, you need more protein. Sources for protein include lean meats, fish, egg whites, low fat paneer, dahi and whey protein. Avoid fatty meats and try to grill or use a tandoor for your meats and do not fry them in oil or ghee. Remember to include proteins in each meal. Your carbohydrates should include chapatti, rice, bread, potatoes, other cereals, grains, pasta; and include most fruits and vegetables, most vegetables and leafy greens. You require complex carbohydrates from whole grain cereals (chapatti, whole wheat bread, jowar roti, bajra chapatti, etc.) and complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. Minimise rice, sugar and other simple carbohydrates. The oatmeal you mentioned can be taken as a pre workout meal with skimmed milk. Fats are also a necessity, but should come from the following sources: rice bran oil, flax seed oil, nuts (almonds are best) and fish oil. The diet is very simple. For every meal, choose a portion from the protein group, the complex carbohydrate group and the veggie carbohydrate group. A good rule of thumb is that a serving size for your protein and carbohydrates should be about the size of your fist. Have a serving of fats at 2-3 meals per day and only have simple carbohydrates like fruits, first thing in the morning at breakfast, and immediately following your workout. Its critical to have a post workout shake with whey protein and a simple carbohydrate like a banana. Bring it to the gym with you and have it within 15 minutes after the workout. Many people frown upon protein from vegetable sources viewing it as inferior to animal based proteins. However, along with supplying the body with a valuable source of protein, plant foods also contain micronutrients, phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and fibre that you will not find in meat. To gain weight rapidly, eat 1 gram of protein for each kilogram of lean body weight. Thus, if you weigh 75 kg and have 12% body fat, eat 75 g of protein every day. Start off on the lower end of the scale and work your way up. A wide range of vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts provides all the protein you need. Soybeans are also a good source of protein.


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