Responsible weight gain, sounds funny, but it is a serious problem especially with junior and senior high school athletes.
I was recently asked this question from one of our newsletter subscribers and I see the problem all the time.
Weight gain for most of us is not in the plans, however for our athletes, it is very important for their performance as well as survival. Athletes often want to get bigger and too many of them feel they can eat what they want and still grow. They can grow, however the objective should be to add muscle not body fat.
One of the first places they turn to are the weight gain powders. It is true that most are not getting enough meals throughout the day, so a calorie shake can be very beneficial, however, if it has too many calories you will add fat. Most weight gain powders will contain at least 1000-2000 calories each. More is NOT better. In general most high school athletes need no more than 400-500 calories in each meal. That is why we want them to eat 4-6 times a day. If they are trying to gain muscle the meals should be on the 500 calorie side if they are trying to loose body fat they should be in the area of 300 calories each.
Our kids are still growing and under a tremendous amount of stress between school, training, growing and life in general. They need at least 1200 -2000 calories a day just to meet general growing concerns.
The high calorie meals or drinks will not be used by the body just because it is good for them; any calories the body does not need will convert to waste or stored as fat, even fruit. So for weight gain drinks, cut the portions down save money and make it last longer.
In general most athletes need more protein in their diet, not just calories. They will generally require 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. If they weigh 150 pounds they need 150 grams of protein which is 600 calories of protein. That may sound like a lot, however, if they are trying to gain muscle and consuming that many grams of protein they would also be consuming 3000 calories a day or 500 calories each meal 6 times a day. That is 20% of their diet from protein. Each meal contains 30 grams of protein. You cannot skip one meal then double up the next, remember extra calories will store as fat or produce waste.
If they are training and drinking plenty of water, that is responsible weight gain.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions from your coaches and schools, before it is too late. Please pass this along to your coaches and other parents to help keep our kids safe.