How Many Calories Should I Eat To Gain 10 Pounds —The number of calories you need to eat everyday to gain 10 pounds depends on your activity level and your goal for gaining weight. The more active you are, and the bigger you want to get is the more calories you will need. Gaining 10 pounds in a month is easy with the right Know how To gain Weight Guide. Follow a few easy steps here and you will be adding those pounds in no time.
How to Gain Weight
Weight gain is primarily driven by eating more calories than your body burns on a consistent basis.
But it takes energy to store energy. In other words, your body burns calories digesting food and storing this food as either body fat or muscle. In contrast, losing stored body fat/muscle releases energy for use. This is why excess calories are needed to gain weight and cutting calories is an effective approach to losing weight.
With any weight gain, the goal is typically to increase lean mass while limiting gains in body fat. This is because muscle provides numerous health benefits, whereas excess fat is really just energy reserves, and high amounts of body fat are associated with less desirable health outcomes.
Fat vs. Muscle Weight
Muscle is what helps keep us strong and healthy as we age. It is closely linked to recovery from injury and illness, and may even play a role in preventing obesity and diabetes. Moreover, strength training has been linked to stronger bones.
These positive effects are partly due to the fact that muscle is more metabolic than fat. One pound of muscle burns 4.5 to 7 calories per day, whereas one pound of fat may only burn a couple of calories. Your lean tissue makes up approximately 10 to 20% of your total daily calorie needs compared to only 4 to 5% for body fat.
In addition, muscle also serves as a storage place for key nutrients – like glycogen (aka carbs), water, and amino acids. Thus, having more lean tissue means you process and store your calories more efficiently, and that your higher weight and output allows you to eat more calories in general.
For many, adding muscle means you can eat more food and look more fit – a highly desirable result. More lean muscle mass can also make it easier to maintain fat loss.
So how can you ensure you gain more muscle than fat? Ultimately it comes down to nutrition and training.
How Many Calories in One Pound of Fat?
Storing dietary fat as body fat requires little energy – so one gram of stored fat provides about nine calories per gram (similar to what 1g of fat eaten supplies) or 4,000 calories per pound.
Carbs and protein, on the other hand, require a little more energy to be stored as body fat – nine calories consumed results in only 7.35 calories stored, or 3,300 calories per pound. The average of these two is where the understanding that it takes burning or cutting about 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat comes from.
How Many Calories in One Pound of Muscle?
It takes even more energy to build and store muscle mass through muscle protein synthesis (MPS). An estimated 2,500 to 2,800 excess calories are needed to gain one pound of lean mass. Of course, this number is highly dependent on individual factors like level of training, starting body composition, genetics, and overall diet.
What Weighs More, Muscle or Fat?
Because fat supplies more energy per gram than muscle and takes up more space, some may interpret this as fat weighs more than muscle. And because muscle is denser – one pound of muscle takes up 18% less space than fat, some would argue the opposite. But either notion would defy the laws of physics since one pound of anything still weighs a pound.
Gaining muscle will not make you weigh less, but it may make you look and feel leaner overall. Muscle growth often means your weight will increase – which is why MPS requires excess calories, even if you end up looking smaller and denser in the process.
Can You Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?
At higher levels of body fat, your body can be in a calorie deficit and still build muscle, as long as strength training and higher protein intake is incorporated. This is because your body will use fat stores to fuel itself. Of course, this is difficult to achieve and can take longer than focusing on muscle gain or fat loss alone. It is also not an ideal approach for everyone.
How to Gain 10 Pounds Quickly
It is best to eat healthy nutrient dense food if you are looking to gain weight.
The best method of weight gain is to eat a healthy diet of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, dairy products, olive oil, nuts and seeds. When increasing your caloric intake, you can expect to gain 1 to 2 pounds per week.
How Is Underweight Defined?
Having underweight can put you at risk of various health problems, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Body mass index (BMI) is a screening tool that provides a rough idea of whether a person’s body fat is too high or too low.
To see if your weight is below normal, go to an online BMI calculator and simply put in your height and weight. A BMI of less than 18.5 denotes an underweight condition, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 denotes normal weight and a BMI of 25 to 29.9 denotes an overweight condition.
Watch children for signs of having underweight, advocates the Cleveland Clinic. Notice how clothes fit your child. At bath-time or at the beach, see if his or her ribs stick out prominently.
If you or your child has underweight, a doctor can prescribe a weight-gain program. However, just like a weight-loss program, it should involve a healthy, balanced approach, advises the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Although junk food can lead to weight gain, it won’t meet the body’s nutritional needs. Something else to consider is that even if eating extra sugar, fat and salt results in weight gain, it can still harm your health.
Healthy Approach to Weight Gain
Underweight is often unrecognized as a nutritional problem. Unless it stems from an eating disorder, the best solution is for individuals to eat more calories than they burn. “Calories should come from a nutritious, balanced, energy-dense variety of foods,” says Brill.
Gaining weight in a healthy way is harder than most people imagine because the goal is to gain mostly lean body mass in muscle rather than body fat. In addition to increasing calorie intake, this objective is accomplished by getting at least 60 minutes of exercise per day.
“When reasonably increasing caloric intake, you can expect a healthy rate of weight gain, which is 1 to 2 pounds per week,” says Brill. “It takes an excess of about 2,000 to 2,500 calories per week to support the gain of a pound of lean muscle.”
The best way to gain weight is to slowly increase your intake of healthy foods. Buying expensive supplements isn’t necessary — it only requires a little forethought.
Most Americans don’t get enough fiber, vitamin D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. They’re also deficient in the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. With this in mind, Brill recommends making a special effort to increase your consumption of higher-calorie healthy food sources of these vitamins and minerals.
Weight Gain Tips
Brill offers some tips to help get you on your way to gaining weight in a healthy manner:
- Eat larger portions of healthy foods. Examples include nut butters, which are a high-calorie source of protein and nutrients; fish varieties like tuna and salmon; nuts; low-fat dairy products, such as cottage cheese and yogurt; and lean cuts of turkey and chicken.
- Instead of drinking low-calorie beverages like diet soda, opt for no-sugar-added 100-percent fruit juices such as pomegranate and cranberry juice.
- Add liberal quantities of healthy fats like olive oil to your diet.
- Instead of eating a low-calorie refined-grain cereal, such as Kellogg’s Special K, which contains 117 calories in 1 cup, eat a higher-calorie whole-grain cereal like Post Grape Nuts, which has 208 calories in a 1/2-cup serving.
- Include a few high-calorie snacks between meals. An excellent choice is a nutritious shake or smoothie made with real fruit and fat-free milk with added peanut butter, nonfat dry milk and ground flaxseed to increase calories and nutrients.
- Get in the habit of eating three meals per day, along with several high-calorie snacks.
How to Gain Muscle Mass
Athletes and people with underweight who are interested in increasing muscle mass often want to know how much gain to expect and how long it will take. “The answer depends on many factors: the resistance training program in which they participate, prior weight training experience, genetics, gender, motivation, diet and use of anabolic agents,” notes Brill.
Brill’s formula for a successful resistance training program to maximize muscle mass is:
- Engage in an intensive weight-training regimen designed to result in increased muscle mass.
- Work hard to overload the muscles, pursue progression in the gym and permit adequate recovery time.
- Adopt a healthy balanced diet that includes enough calories, carbohydrates and protein.
Causes of Thinness
Various factors may cause thinness, says the American Academy of Family Physicians. People who have jobs that involve heavy physical activity will burn more calories than those who are sedentary. Poor appetite or a loss of weight could also stem from diabetes, digestive problems, thyroid conditions and cancer.
Certain medications like chemotherapy can cause nausea and weight loss. Depression and stress can change eating habits, and an obsession with body image can lead to eating disorders.
Additional problems can result from thinness in the elderly. These include dental issues, dementia, lack of mobility and failing vision.
Underweight Health Risks
According to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, health risks of low body weight include heart irregularities, bone loss and nutritional deficiencies. Other effects are delayed wound healing and a higher risk of infections due to impaired immunity. Warning signs of low body weight are loose skin, lethargy, loss of muscle bulk and depression.
Thin people may get anemia due to inadequate intake of iron and folate. Low weight also causes dry skin and thinning hair. The American Academy of Family Physicians adds that thinness in women may lead to irregular periods, a lack of periods and infertility.
Another risk of having underweight involves challenges in recovery from surgery. In a case-controlled study published in Arthroplasty Today in March 2017, researchers explored how low weight affects recovery from knee repair surgery.
After comparing 27 people with underweight with 81 average-weight people, the scientific team in the Arthroplasty Today study found the former had a higher incidence of infections in the surgical site and a need for blood transfusions. The results indicate what problems can result from impaired immunity and wound healing associated with having low weight.
5 Ways to Put on 10 Pounds of Lean Muscle FAST·
The following content is a part of our STRONG & FAST functional training program collaboration and video series led by Olympic athlete Ryan Hall. Tune in all month long for exclusive training, nutrition, and lifestyle content courtesy of Ryan Hall to help make you unbreakable.
Former long-distance runner and two-time Olympian Ryan Hall gained a whopping 50 pounds of muscle since his retirement from competitive running in 2016. That’s a lot of muscle to gain, and it wasn’t just because of his new strength training routine.
“The first word that comes to mind when I’m asked about how I bulked up so much is nutrition,” he says. “I don’t even like talking about training with people without talking about nutrition first, just because nutrition is that important.”
Now, you may not be looking to add as much muscle to your frame as Ryan did, but if do think that adding five, 10, or 15 extra pounds could be beneficial to your fitness pursuits — like a Spartan race or DEKA event — you’re probably right. More muscle mass and strength will help you crush obstacles and make you more injury resilient.
Here, Ryan breaks down his process for packing it on.
What (and How) to Eat to Gain Muscle Fast
1. Eat More Than You Think
According to Ryan, the first step to building muscle and strength is being in a caloric surplus. That means consuming more food than your body requires to maintain its current weight.
“Your body can’t make something (like more muscle) out of nothing,” he says. “You need enough calories and the necessary amino acids to build with.”
Ryan suggests trying to be in roughly a 300- to 500-calorie surplus when you finish the day. To find out your exact caloric needs, there are plenty of calorie calculators available online.
2. Load up on Protein
The debate over how much protein you actually need to build muscle goes back and forth, and it’s usually anywhere between 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day to upwards of 1.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. For Ryan — and from his own experience — he’s a proponent of making it a top priority macro for building mass while still keeping it simple.
“What worked for me has been taking in about 50 grams of protein every three hours,” he says.
However, because everyone is different, he recommends working with your physician, a registered nutritionist, or a dietitian to dial that in. Sounds like a lot of protein? Ryan agrees, and thus relies on shakes to hit that number.
“I use a ton of grass-fed whey protein, as eating this much protein is difficult to do when I’m on the road and find it challenging to find good sources of protein,” he says.
3. Increase Your Meal Frequency
To get in that calorie surplus, the old “three square meals per day” concept probably won’t hack it.
“I love eating tons of small meals throughout the day, as I see this as a constant flow of needed nutrients for my body to build with,” he says.
So in between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Ryan aims to get heavy snacks that include a quality source of proteins, fats, and carbs. The ex-marathoner also makes sure to give his body plenty of carbohydrates pre-, during, and post-workout to give him energy during bouts of exercise while also supporting his body’s recovery process in the hours following.
4. Carb Up After Your Workouts
Carbohydrates are a very important macronutrient, especially in pre- and post-workout situations, Ryan says. In fact, a nutrient-timing position stance published in the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that the consumption of carbohydrates along with protein within 30 minutes of finishing a workout have been shown to increase “glycogen re-synthesis.” In other words, it helps the body recover from the bout of exercise.
“I take in roughly 200 calories of simple sugar during the workout so I have maximal energy to pour into my workouts, and roughly 300 calories coming from simple sugar along with a whey protein shake post-workout,” he says.
5. Drink Your Calories if Necessary
Sometimes eating enough solid food or calories — especially when it’s quality food — can be difficult for Ryan.
“I would recommend drinking a fair amount of your calories if you need to,” he says.
His favorite way to do that is to add maltodextrin (a flavorless white powder complex carb that you can purchase online) to his protein shakes, along with liquid coconut oil.