Are you one of those players who’d love to build muscle and gain strength?
Do you think expensive weight gain supplements are the best way to do so? Think again…
While reading the “Bulking Up Healthfully” chapter of Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes From the Pros by sports nutritionist Nancy Clark and co-author Gloria Averbuch, I really liked the point Clark made on that issue, as well as her healthy “formula” to gain muscular mass and strength. Here are Clark’s six tips for gaining weight healthfully:
1. Eat more consistently
· You must have at least three hearty meals plus two or three additional snacks/meals daily.
2. Eat larger portions of common foods
· By eating larger portions of your standard fare, you can meet the goal of 500 to 1000 extra daily calories, needed to support weight gain.
3. Select higher calorie foods, but not greasy, fatty foods
· Excess calories from fat will easily convert into body fat, and you don’t want that to happen. Choose healthy, carbohydrate-dense foods that have more calories than an equally desirable counterpart (e.g. a banana has more carbs and calories than an apple; split pea soup is more calorie-dense than vegetable soup). Read food labels so you can make the best choices.
4. Drink lots of juice and low-fat milk
· Beverages are a simple way to increase your caloric intake, so it is a good strategy to replace part of the water you drink with calorie-containing fluids. Fruit juices and fruit smoothies are great options.
5. Do strength training (push-ups, weightlifting) to stimulate muscular development
· A well planned and supervised resistance training program is essential for you to build muscle instead of increasing your fat deposits.
6. Be patient
· Due to genetic predisposition each individual has its own pace of muscular development, and there’s nothing you can do about it. However, you can optimize your gains by applying the best nutritional practices and training to your daily life. Be patient and persistent, with time you’ll achieve your goals.
These principles are the basic ones to promote weight gain. Supplements are generally simply an expensive way to boost your calorie intake; however, they can be useful in some exceptional situations. I strongly advise you to consult with a professional before initiating a serious weight gain program.
Learn more on this topic and others of interest by reading:
Food Guide for Soccer – tips and recipes from the pros (www.nancyclarkrd.com)
Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (www.nancyclarkrd.com)
Wishing you the best performance ever,
Diogo Ferreira, RD
Sports Nutritionist, Lisbon, Portugal
“Promoting best health and performance through nutrition”