How Many Calories Do I Need to Gain Weight? 9 Great Tips

How many calories do I need to gain weight
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The number of calories needs to gain weight will vary depending on your age, sex, weight, and activity level. So, how many calories do I need to gain weight? Well, it’s important to be patient and not expect to see results overnight.

Gaining weight requires time and consistency. If you’re not seeing the results you desire, speak with a healthcare professional about your dietary and exercise habits to determine if there’s anything else you can do to achieve your goal weight.

9 Tips To Gain Weight:

1. Caloric Surplus Diet

A caloric surplus diet is a dietary plan in which an individual consumes more calories than their body burns on a daily basis. The main goal of this type of diet is gaining weight, typically in the form of muscle mass.

To achieve a caloric surplus, an individual needs to calculate their daily calorie needs and then consume more than that amount. This can be done by using online calculators, which take into account factors such as age, weight, height, and activity level, to determine an individual’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

Once the BMR is known, one can determine the number of calories needed to maintain their current weight and then add an additional 500-1000 calories to that number to achieve a caloric surplus. When it comes to macronutrient intake, a caloric surplus diet should be composed of mostly carbohydrates and protein.

Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy to the body during exercise and are necessary for the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Protein is an extremely essential macronutrient for muscle growth and repair.

It is important to note that all the calories are not equally created. Whole food sources such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains are nutrient-dense and provide the body with essential vitamins and minerals.

On the other hand, highly processed foods, such as junk food and fast food, are often high in calories but low in nutrition. If you consume too many empty calories, it may lead to weight gain and increase your risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

It’s also important to note that this diet should be paired with regular exercise, especially weight-bearing and resistance exercises, to promote muscle growth. Without proper exercise, one may gain weight in the form of fat rather than muscle.

Additionally, it is important for you to monitor your progress and adjust your diet as necessary to ensure that the desired weight gain is achieved without any issue.

How many calories do I need to gain weight?
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2. Calorie Intake:

A general guideline for weight gain is to consume an additional 250-500 calories per day in the beginning of your journey and then increase it to 500-1000 calories per day. However, this varies from individual to individual.

It is important to note that the number of calories you need may be higher or lower depending on your individual needs. Consuming a diet high in nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, is important for maintaining overall health while gaining weight. 

In addition to increasing calorie intake, resistance training can also help to build muscle mass and contribute to weight gain.

It is also important to note that weight gain should be done gradually, as losing weight too quickly can be harmful to your health. A rate of 0.5-1 Lb (0.2-0.5 kg) per week is considered a healthy rate of weight gain.

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Photo By: Taryn Elliott, Pexels, Copyright April 13th, 2020

3. Steps in Determining Your Calorie Intake:

3.1. Determine Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

BMR is the number of calories burnt by your body at rest to maintain basic bodily functions such as breathing and digestion. You can calculate your BMR using a BMR calculator or by consulting a dietitian or nutritionist.

3.2. Determine Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

Your TDEE is the total number of calories your body burns in a day including your BMR and the calories burned through physical activity. To calculate your TDEE, you need to factor in your activity level, which can be sedentary, lightly active, moderately active, or very active.

Once you know your TDEE, you can calculate how many calories you need to consume to gain weight. You can do this by adding an additional 500-1000 calories to your TDEE.

3.3. Harris-Benedict Equation

To determine your specific calorie needs for weight gain, you can use the Harris-Benedict equation.

This estimates your daily calorie needs to be based on your age, sex, weight, and height. Once you know your daily calorie needs, you can increase your intake step-by-step.

3.4. All Calories Should Be Created Equal

Eating a diet that is high in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates is important for building muscle mass and promoting overall health. 
 It’s important to consult a dietitian or nutritionist to determine your specific calorie needs and to ensure that you are consuming a balanced diet that promotes overall health.

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Photo By: Dmitry Zvolskiy, Pexels, Copyright May 21st, 2020

4. Nutritional Guide:

When it comes to gaining weight, it is important to focus on consuming more calories than you burn. This can be achieved by increasing your portion sizes, eating more frequent meals, and making sure to include nutrient-dense foods in your diet.

4.1. Proteins:

Protein is an essential nutrient for building and repairing muscle, so it should be a major component of your diet. All the good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, and plant-based options such as beans and lentils.

You must aim to consume at least 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.

4.2. Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are important for providing energy and promoting muscle growth. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are some great sources of carbohydrates.

Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks, as they can contribute to weight gain but do not provide the same nutritional benefits.

4.3. Healthy Fats:

Foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil provide healthy fats that can help you feel full and satisfied.

4.4. Stay Hydrated:

Dehydration can lead to fatigue, which can make it harder to stick to your diet and exercise routine.

4.5. Snacks:

Having a snack or two between meals can help you increase your calorie intake. Good snack options include nuts, seeds, fruit, and Greek yogurt.

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Photo By: Vanessa Loring, Pexels, Copyright November 24th, 2020

It’s also important to note that gaining weight too quickly can lead to health problems, so it’s important to gain weight slowly and in a healthy manner.

5. Importance of Strength Training:

Strength training is an essential aspect of gaining weight and building muscle mass. When performed properly, strength training can help to increase muscle size, improve bone density, and enhance overall health and fitness.

5.1. Increase Muscle Mass:

This is accomplished by placing stress on the muscle fibers, which causes them to break down and then repair themselves. The repair process results in an increase in muscle size, which leads to a more toned and defined physique.

Additionally, strength training can help to increase muscle density, which helps to boost metabolism and burn more calories even at rest.

5.2. Bone Density

Strength training also has a positive impact on bone density. As we age, our bones naturally begin to lose density, which can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions.

However, strength training can help to slow down and even reverse this process by placing stress on the bones, which in turn stimulates the growth of new bone tissue.

5.3. Mental Health

In addition to its physical benefits, strength training also has a positive impact on mental health. Regular exercise, such as strength training, has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve mood, and boost self-esteem.

5.4. Consistency

When trying to gain weight, it is important to remember that strength training should be a consistent part of one’s fitness routine.

It is important to start with a proper workout plan and progress gradually. One should also make sure to give their body enough rest in between workout sessions and make sure to get enough nutrients to support muscle growth.

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Photo By: Victor Freitas, Pexels, Copyright November 28th, 2017

6. Dirty Bulking Risks:

Dirty bulking is a term used to describe a bodybuilding or fitness strategy in which an individual eats a large amount of food in order to gain muscle mass, without paying any attention to the quality of the food that they are consuming.

This approach to muscle building can be detrimental to an individual’s overall health, both in the short and long term.

6.1. Excessive Gain of Body Fat :

When an individual is on a calorie surplus diet, they will gain weight, but not all of that weight will be muscle. In fact, a significant portion of that weight will be body fat.

This is because consuming a large amount of food, regardless of the quality, can lead to an overconsumption of calories, which will then be stored as fat.

This can be particularly problematic for individuals who are already overweight or obese, as it can further exacerbate health issues related to excess body fat, such as diabetes and heart disease.

6.2. Negative Impact on Insulin Sensitivity:

Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and is responsible for transporting glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, where it can be used for energy.

When an individual consumes large amounts of processed and sugary foods, they are at risk of developing insulin resistance, which can lead to a host of health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

6.3. Negative Impact on Overall Health and Wellbeing:

Eating a diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats can lead to a host of health issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

Additionally, consuming large amounts of food can also lead to digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and acid reflux.

Instead of dirty bulking, it is important to focus on consuming a balanced diet that is rich in whole foods and to engage in regular exercise to build muscle mass and improve overall health.

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Photo By: Kampus Production, Pexels, Copyright April 13th, 2021

7. Avoid Too Much Cardio:

While cardio exercise is important for overall health, it can be counterproductive for those trying to gain weight. This is because cardio burns calories and can lead to a calorie deficit, making it difficult to gain weight.

Additionally, too much cardio can lead to muscle loss, which is not desirable for those trying to gain weight. Incorporating cardio into a weight-gain routine is still important for overall health and cardiovascular fitness, but it should be done in moderation.

Instead of doing long, intense cardio sessions, it is better to engage in shorter, less intense cardio activities such as brisk walking or cycling. This will still provide cardiovascular benefits without burning too many calories or risking muscle loss.

Furthermore, it’s also important to note that cardio doesn’t only burn calories during the activity itself but also increases metabolism which makes it harder to gain weight. 

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Photo By: William Choquette, Pexels, Copyright February 26th, 2019

8. Train Every Body Part Twice a Week:

Training every body part twice a week is a common training protocol among bodybuilders and other strength athletes.

This type of training, also known as double split training”, and is characterized by dividing the body into different muscle groups and training each group twice per week.

The idea behind this approach is that by training each muscle group more frequently. The muscle fibers will be stimulated more often, leading to faster muscle growth and strength gains.

When it comes to gaining weight, there are a variety of different factors that come into play.t

One of the most important is proper weightlifting and exercise.

In order to put on muscle mass and increase your overall weight, it is crucial to engage in regular strength training. One important aspect of this is training every body part twice a week.

There are a few reasons why training every body part twice a week is so important for gaining weight.

  1. It allows you to hit each muscle group with more frequency. This is important because the more often you train a muscle group, the more opportunities you have to stimulate growth and increase muscle mass.
  2. Training every body part twice a week allows you to use a greater variety of exercises and rep ranges.
  3. By training a muscle group twice a week, you can use different exercises and rep ranges each time, which can help to prevent plateaus and keep your progress moving forward.
  4. Another benefit of training every body part twice a week is that it can help to improve your overall recovery.
  5. By training a muscle group twice a week, you are allowing for more time for recovery between sessions, which can help to prevent overtraining and injury.
  6. Finally, training every body part twice a week can also help to improve your overall workout efficiency.
  7.  By training a muscle group twice a week, you can use more volume and intensity, which can lead to greater muscle growth and weight gain.
  8. It is important to remember that proper nutrition and adequate rest are also critical for gaining weight.
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Photo By: Frame Kings, Pexels, Copyright January 29th, 2018

9. Progressive Overload:

Progressive overload is a fundamental principle in the field of strength training and is essential for gaining weight. It refers to the gradual increase of stress placed on the body during exercise in order to continue making progress and adaptations.

This can be achieved by increasing the weight, reps, sets, or manipulating rest intervals. When it comes to gaining weight, progressive overload is critical because it allows the body to continually adapt and build muscle mass.

When we first start lifting weights, our muscles are not accustomed to the stress and will experience micro-tears. As we continue to exercise and place an increasing amount of stress on the muscles, the body will respond by repairing and growing the muscles, leading to an increase in muscle mass.

Progressive overload is also important for preventing plateaus. Once the body becomes accustomed to a certain level of stress, it will no longer adapt and progress will come to a halt.

By gradually increasing the stress placed on the muscles, we are able to continue challenging the body and making progress. It is important to note that progressive overload should not be confused with simply increasing weight.

Proper form and technique should always be maintained, and increases should be made in a controlled and gradual manner.

In addition to strength training, progressive overload can also be applied to other forms of exercise such as cardio and bodyweight training.

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Photo By: Ali Alcántara, Pexels, Copyright November 30th, 2022


In order to gain weight, you need to consume much more calories than your body burns. The exact number of calories needed to gain weight varies based on factors such as age, weight, height, and activity level.

On average, a daily calorie surplus of 500-1000 calories is recommended to gain weight gradually at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week. It’s also important to consider the quality of the calories consumed, as well as adequate protein intake to support muscle growth.

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