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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I gain weight?

    I am a female in my mid 20's and unlike most girls who want to lose weight, I have always wanted to put on more weight as I think I am too skinny. I eat a lot and I do not over exercise… is there any way to slow down my metabolism so I can gain weight?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Brad McGregor

    Exercise Physiologist

    Brad is an exercise physiologist specialising in musculoskeletal rehabilitation. Clients include Workcover Qld, Commonwealth Rehabilitation Services and other private insurers. He has worked with athletes … View Profile

    In the first instance it may be worth checking with your medical practitioner to rule our any pathology/ies that may be impacting on your ability to gain weight such as overactive thyroid.

    Moving on to the training side of things, there has been some good research advocating leucine as the amino acid of choice. This helps to stimulate a post-training pathway (MTOR) that leads to protein resynthesis. Rather than focusing purely on caloric intake, it is important to also consider the timing & type of calories consumed, especially relative to your resistance training sessions. Of course this is assuming that you are performing resistance training which is essential in increasing the amount of lean muscle mass.

    Good luck,


  • Anonymous

    I am 30yr old female i can relate to yr question very well as do i suffer from the same problem,I have recently been told it may be OVER WORKED THYROIDS as well as a fast metasolisem,

  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    Having worked with professional athletes I can give you some tips on how to put on weight using food first. The most important thing to remember is that if your current diet is not adequate enough to meet your needs for muscle growth, taking a supplement will not work.

    Below are my five tips on how to put on more weight:

    Tip 1 - Increasing energy intake

    • In order to gain muscle effectively, a positive energy balance needs to be achieved. This means that what you put into your body must exceed its BMR and physical activity level. Any excess energy available can then be used for muscle growth. 
    Tip 2 – Increase your meal/snack frequency
    •  This will help you to increase your energy intake without having to bulk up your main meals. By increasing your frequency of meals to 5-6 per day you will achieve a steady flow of nutrients/fuel to keep up your energy levels. 
    Tip 3 – Make sure your getting high quality protein
    •  You need to be getting in all the essential amino acids. These amino acids are found in most animal products such as lean meats, dairy and eggs. You need to include high quality protein in each meal, everyday. 
    Tip 4 – Nutrient timing
    •  Pre- and post-workout nutrition is crucial for muscle growth and recovery. Pre-workout snack should consist of moderate to high GI carbohydrates + protein to give you the fuel to get through the session. Post-workout snack needs to contain both carbohydrates and protein to aid in recovery and muscle growth (20-30 g carbohydrates & 10-20 g protein (e.g. tub of yoghurt + fruit; bowl of cereal + milk; sandwich with lean meat & salad). 
    Tip 5 – Be consistent
    •  Try not to skip or miss your meals or snacks as this will reduce your energy intake which will lead to a decline in muscle mass and growth.

    I hope this helps, for further advice seek the expert advice of an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) who can further assist with your question.

  • Melanie McGrice is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, one of the few dietitians in Australia to achieve that status. Her success has made her an … View Profile

    Hi,  In addition to Chris' great comments, I would agree that it would be worth going to your GP and getting your thyroid hormones tested as this may be having an impact.  Hyperthyroidism (when your body over produces thyroid hormones) can increase your metabolism, meaning that you burn food very quickly.

    Hope this helps!


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