Coaching Association of Canada

Gaining Weight for Athletes

Four factors affect weight gain:

  • Genetics
  • Exercise
  • Food Intake
  • Rest and Recovery

Your genetic make-up will influence the effect of the other three factors. Remember, you cannot change your genetic make-up.

  • Include a progressive resistance strength-training program.
  • Ensure adequate food intake. You may need to eat more.** 
  • Ensure adequate rest and exercise recovery.

PROMOTE MUSCLE GAIN NOT FAT GAIN!
 SET REALISTIC GOALS.**

** Consult a registered dietitian/sport nutritionist to assist you in planning a nutritious meal plan.

HOW ARE YOU PROMOTING WEIGHT GAIN? TIP THE SCALES IN YOUR FAVOUR

Are you following a progressive resistance strength-training program?

Muscle gain is gradual. Rarely will an adult athlete gain as much as 10 lb. of muscle mass per year.

  • Consult a certified strength and conditioning specialist.
  • Allow sufficient rest and recovery time between workouts.
  • Get adequate sleep.

YOU NEED EXTRA ENERGY TO BUILD MUSCLE

You need more Calories from carbohydrate, protein, and fat.

Carbohydrate helps promote growth of muscle protein.

  • Choose high energy, nutrient-dense foods from the four food groups.
  • Increase portion sizes of foods and beverages.
  • At meals, choose high-energy foods first, have salads and soup last.

Are you managing your daily schedule to include time to eat?

  • Plan ahead (meals/snacks, exercise/rest)
  • Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast.
  • Eat frequently throughout the day – at least 3 meals and 3 snacks each day.

Are you drinking high-energy fluids?

  • Drink juices, milk, milkshakes, or meal replacement drinks.
  • If fluids make you too full at meals, try drinking between meals.

High energy, nutrient-dense suggestions:

  • Choose high-energy cereals (such as muesli, granola, shreddies, shredded wheat, raisin bran) or energy bars.
  • Cook hot cereals with milk.
  • Add fresh or dried fruits (such as apricots, raisins, dates, figs) nuts, seeds, or sugar to cereals.
  • Eat high quality protein foods: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, soy products, milk products, etc.
  • Buy unsliced bread and slice it thick.
  • Choose starchy vegetables (such as peas, potatoes, lima beans, corn, etc.).
  • Choose dried fruit often (raisins, dried apricots, pears, etc.).
  • Add less water than suggested to frozen juices.
  • Choose higher energy juices (such as grape, apricot nectar, pineapple, apple) or cranberry cocktail.
  • Add powdered milk/instant breakfast to milk or to fortified soy beverage.
  • Use flavoured milk or make milkshakes with ice milk/yogurt/ice cream, and fruit.
  • Add fruit and granola to yogurt.
  • Eat ice milk/sherbet/ice cream for dessert.
  • Snack on “trail mix” (nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit).
  • Add peanut butter, jam, jelly, and honey to muffins, bread, and biscuits, etc.
  • Eat snacks such as milk pudding and custards, oatmeal raisin cookies, date squares, banana bread, frozen dairy products (ice cream, ice milk, frozen yogurt), fresh/dried fruit, trail mix.

Simple SNAC suggestions:

  1. A piece of fruit and granola topped with yogurt
  2. Peanut butter and banana sandwich with milk.
  3. Meat, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with milk.
  4. Graham crackers/bagel/English muffin with peanut butter.
  5. Milkshake: milk, ice cream, and fruit.
  6. Trail mix: raisins, peanuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, banana chips, dates, pretzels, and cereal.
  7. Cheese and vegetable pizza (10" with thick crust).

DON’T BE DISCOURAGED - GAINING WEIGHT TAKES TIME! 

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