ask our dietitian your question todaygain muscle not fat

question-answer-color-v-2Hello, I’m 22 years old and I weigh 92 pounds. I wish to gain a few pounds; I know I need to eat more than I do. Recently, I started to work out in order to gain weight… can you guide me? How should I start my exercises and diet? …Thanks. – Jennifer


To approach a healthier body weight, you’ll need to maximize food calories while building lean tissue. This will also help add a little fat, which I’m assuming you need (good for cushioning, vitamin storage and normal menstruation). Bulking up will take some time, but you can get there with a little patience and practice!

How can I gain 10 pounds to put on more muscle?

Maximizing calories doesn’t equate to just eating more volume – it means choosing energy dense foods so you get more in every bite. Here’s how to do it:

  • drink calorie-laden beverages (lemonade, juice, smoothies, hot cocoa, chocolate milk, shakes)
  • opt for dried fruit, bananas, grapes, tropical fruit instead of melon or citrus
  • choose bagels, tortillas, refried beans, mashed potatoes, and risotto
  • push the puffed cereals aside and eat granola or Cracklin’ Oat Bran
  • pick real cheeses and regular ground beef
  • enjoy desserts, chocolate and breaded/fried foods
  • snack on nuts
  • select starchy vegetables like corn, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash
  • be sure all your dairy items are full-fat (made with whole milk)
  • replace water with milk or broth in cooking
  • sauté with oil or butter instead of steaming
  • make sure everything has a topping/condiment (honey, syrup, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, avocado, cream)

The Blue Print for Building Muscle

To add bulk to your frame, weight-bearing exercise should be your focus in the gym. Alternatively, traditional aerobic activities are going to burn more calories and negate your hard work eating. Weight-bearing exercise works to stimulate your muscles to get stronger (thus grow) as muscles adapt to handle a heavier load. The key is to perform fewer repetitions at a higher weight, giving your muscles a little more stress. For guidance on a program or routine, check out our articles on using free weights and resistance machines or see a Pro Results trainer.

Don’t forget the importance of sleep. This restful period allows your body to repair cells and generate new tissue. It is also during sleep that growth hormone is released. Shoot for 6-8 hours nightly.

So, to summarize how to gain weight: eat, workout, sleep, repeat.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition? Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below.

To learn how to follow the “Ask Our Dietitian” Q&A CLICK HERE!

Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.




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