After a big outcry against fat shaming, people finally realize that it’s not okay to criticize anybody for being overweight. But is the same true for people who are thin? Probably not. If you’re a skinny person trying to gain weight, you know all too well that you’re going to be mocked if you say anything about it.

The truth is that for some people, gaining weight is just as hard as losing weight is for others. If you are trying to add muscle and pounds, clean eating and exercise is the way to go. Here are some tips for how to use clean eating and exercise to gain weight.

Change the way you eat

It’s tempting to eat a bunch of junk food to try to gain weight. That’s not a good idea because it puts on fat, which is the wrong kind of weight. You want to gain lean mass, and to do that you have to eat clean foods and healthy fats. You also need to eat more, and more often. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Force yourself to eat more than you are now. This may be hard at first. The best way is to add a couple of snack meals each day that are made up of good fats. Avocados, nuts and seeds and nut butters are a good choice.
  • Use olive oil, coconut and unsalted butter in cooking.
  • Eat fatty proteins like beef, egg yolks, salmon and sardines
  • Make it a goal to have one third of the food on your plate a healthy fat. Then add an additional fat serving like an egg yolk, half an avocado or a piece of cheese.
  • Add a high-calorie shake each day. You can boost your shake by adding coconut oil or milk, cream, or nut butters.

Change the way you exercise

When you’re trying to gain weight, you need to be smart about your exercise program. You don’t want anything to erase the gains you make. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Never exercise while you’re hungry. If you don’t fuel your workout, your body will turn to stored fat and muscle. Make sure you’ve eaten at least three good meals before you go to work out.
  • Once you’ve finished exercising, make sure you eat a big meal. Right after you work out is when your body is best able to absorb the food you feed it to build muscle. It’s a great time for a recovery shake.
  • Do strength exercises. Studies have shown that if you lift 3 to 4 reps of heavy weights, you boost the hormones that help to build muscle.
  • Make sure you rest between reps. This is important because you don’t want your heart rate to raise too much. Elevating your heart rate causes a higher calorie burn.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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