Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.


By Stephenie Karony

Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Gain weight with
careful calorie boost

Question: How can I gain weight?

Answer: This is a question that I don't often receive. But in fact it can be as hard for an underweight individual to gain weight as for an overweight person to lose it.

Generally, there are two types of underweight people, those who are below their normal weight and are still healthy, and those whose below-normal body weight can cause significant health problems. I'm assuming you're in the first category, a healthy individual trying to put on some pounds.

People in this category range from athletes trying to meet the team's weight requirements to people who want to be more shapely.

Usually, people who have a very difficult time gaining weight are genetically predisposed to thinness. In other words, they're thin by nature. Keep this in mind when you implement the following weight gaining strategies.

The first thing you'll want to do is start counting calories. For one week, record how many calories you eat daily. After you have a clear picture of your daily calorie intake, add 500 calories a day to that total. It adds up to 3,500 calories per week, which equals a one-pound weight gain.

Increasing the amount of food you eat is a must if you want to gain weight.

Eat high-calorie nutritious foods, but stay away from high-fat foods like cheese, ice cream and red meat. Increase your intake of complex carbohydrates, vegetable based proteins, fatty fish, and low-fat dairy foods. Avoid, as much as possible, simple carbohydrates such as cake, soda, cookies, and candy. These foods may be high in calories, but they're low in nutrients.

A protein shake made with protein powder, fresh fruit and fruit juice and some yogurt is a calorie-dense, between-meals snack that's packed with nutrition. Another easy and healthy way to add nutritious calories to your diet is to drink fruit and vegetable juice in place of, or in addition to, other beverages.

Eat three full meals a day (don't skip breakfast), and have two to four snacks between meals as well.

To gain muscle weight, not fat, you must lift weights. Strength training has to be your primary form of exercise. Strength training builds stronger, denser muscles.

Gaining weight, like losing weight, is a slow process. If you stick with the above recommendations (eat more, eat more often, eat healthier, drink more calorie-dense beverages, eat more high-calorie nutritious meals, and lift weights), you're sure to see results in a few weeks.

Q: What is a stress fracture, and how can I tell if I have one?

A: A stress fracture is a series of very small breaks on the surface of a bone. These breaks occur when forces on the bone exceed the bone's own strength, With repeated stress, the bone reaches a critical point at which it can no longer withstand the strain, and a stress fracture occurs.

Stress fractures are hard to diagnose because the breaks are not initially visible in X-rays. Eventually, new bone tissue begins to form, which appears as a cloudy area in the X-ray, although this doesn't usually occur until several weeks after the exerciser experiences pain in the affected area.

People who exercise a lot, or who abruptly increase their training frequency, intensity or duration, are the most likely candidates for a stress fracture. About 50 percent of all stress fractures occur in the tibia, the inner front leg bone that runs from the ankle to the knee.

Health Events

Stephenie Karony is a certified health
and fitness instructor, a personal trainer and the author of
"Body Shaping with Free Weights." Send questions to her at
P.O. Box 262, Wailuku Hi. Her column appears on Wednesdays.

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin