The Skinny Girl’s Guide To Gaining Weight And Looking Good

Sick of reading about weight loss?

If you are reading this than I am sure, like me, you are sick of reading articles and seeing adverts about how to LOSE weight and look great. It really gets to me that there is such a fine line. If your overweight it’s wrong and if you are underweight it is wrong, yet there is nothing in magazines about how to gain weight for women. Yes there are people out there that do not enjoy being ‘skinny’ and want to gain weight which can be an extremely hard and frustrating process. The only support I have come across has been aimed at men who want to ‘get big’ and ‘bulk up’.

Within this blog, I will be posting information about the best places to shop for the smaller figure, as well as an exercise regime to bulk and tone up and which foods you should be eating in order to put on the weight, so good luck 🙂

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The Skinny Guide To Shopping

Lacking confidence in the way you look does not only affect the way you feel, but it affects the way you live too; unable to enjoy social events and even going out to buy a new outfit can be such a stressful thing.

Gaining weight will take a long time to show but do not let this make you give up. In the mean time, here are a few tips on dressing for your figure:

There are so many shops out there which cater for the larger ladies, yet there is nothing for those of us who struggle to find great fitting clothes.

  • Boohoo.com is a real help for the smaller sizes. When you go on the home page, there is a drop down menu under ‘shop’ with a category for sizes 4 and 6 which you can click on and see everything in those sizes.

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  • Missguided.co.uk and Asos.com also sell size 4 and XS sizes which you can select when choosing a category of clothing.
  • New Look Teen section is great. I have bought a few things from here as they go up to age 14-15, and even age 11-12 is an adult size 6 so you are guaranteed to find the right size.  A lot of the clothes are the same as those sold in the adult section so you don’t need to worry about looking like a child, also they are about 20% cheaper and you will get a following 20% off with a student card so it is a win win situation.
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Images taken from Newlook.com

  • Topshop and Miss Selfridge; I am fans of both of these shops as they also support sizes 4 ans 6, as well as selling a range of petite clothing.
  • Hollister is a great place to buy shorts, leggings and jeans. They go down to a size 00 which is equivalent to a UK size 4. All of their clothes come in XS so if you have the money then this is a great place to buy the basics. Try and check out their clearance shelves which are usually hidden away at the back of the stores for a great discount.
  • Ebay- Asian clothes are always smaller due to their naturally smaller physiques, so have a look on ebay in the ‘store’ section. The only down side of this is that you can’t really return the clothes and they take around 15-24 days to arrive.

Eat More, More Often

  • In order to gain just 1lb a week, you need to be eating an extra 500 calories a day
  • Aim to eat 5-6 meals a day, splitting food into 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 20% fats. These meals should include 3 large and 2-3 small meals around 2 and a half to three and a half hours apart, any longer than this and your body will start burning muscle for energy.
  • Dairy products are high in protein, calcium  and saturated fats. Try adding cheese to your meals as this is an easy way of adding calories. Drinking milk is a great and easy way to add protein which will not only make bones stronger, but will also strengthen muscles. Other foods include beans, pulses and peas. Yoghurt, cheese sticks, milk shakes, muffins, dried fruits and cereals. Bananas and peanut butter on bread are convenient and powerful at adding calories.
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Image created on polyvore.com

  • All calories count, so choose nutrient dense foods and high calorie snacks over junk food such as-For carbohydrates, eat potatoes, rice and pasta as these are all also very high in starch.

Fluids:

  • Aim to drink around 8 glasses of water a day.
  • I’ve already mentioned milk but try making milkshakes with 700 ml of milk and add ice-cream of any choice.
  • Fruit smoothies can be easily made at home, try having one a day. They can be made out of fresh fruits like bananas and strawberries etc. Add in wheat germ for fiber, a tablespoon of flaxseed/fish oil, and 1/3 cup of all egg whites for extra nutrients.

20130313_185628[1]20130313_190540[1]     To make this smoothie:

       450g strawberry yoghurt

                      2 bananas

                40g white grapes

                200ml apple juice

  Blend together for a minute or two and serve 🙂

Food Supplements

Don’t give up! A lot of people get frustrated and give up when you do not see results instantly; it may take a few months for the weight to actually show, so just keep persisting and keep a regular workout schedule. (I will help you with this in the next post)

Other than eating the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, food supplements will also help, or example:

  • Protein shake/ weight gain powders. There are many out there and van be very costly. People’s initial thought is to buy these from a shop such as Holland and Barrett. Do not do this, they are about triple the price of others you can buy online. I recently purchased this ‘Muscle and Strength’ powder from http://www.myprotein.com/

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  • I chose the hard gainer extreme powder in vanilla flavour and add 700ml of milk to it. There are some negative reviews about the fact that it does not mix well, but i place the powder in the glass, along with strawberry flavoured milkshake powder, add enough water to cover it then using a tiny whisk, mix it together. I then add the milk and whisk again. This seems to work perfectly and you can also add ice cream for extra calories. Another alternative is mixing it in with hot chocolate and adding marshmallows.
  • This protein powder cost me £29.39 for 2kg, plus a £2.47 delivery charge which arrived very quickly. For those of you that are interested in purchasing similar products, here is my code which will get you 10% off: MP18157815

http://www.myprotein.com/sports-nutrition/hard-gainer-extreme/10615587.html

  • Here is a website you might be interested in looking at which explains more about protein powders.

http://www.gainmusclemass.net/protein-powder-for-women/

  • Creatine is used by a lot of body builders and athletes  as it makes you gain weight and your muscles grow. It mainly adds water weight to your muscles and therefore helps you gain weight. It comes in pill form and can also be bought on the website i provided above.
  • Take vitamins containing calcium and/ or iron supplements, as well as vitamin D supplements.
  • Try cooking with oils and adding them to your meals as these will add calories too. You need to choose ones that are good for your heart such as extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil, almond oil, and canola oil.

Exercises To Bulk Up

I hate how people believe that the gym is just there for losing weight, when the majority of men go to bulk up and build muscle… well so can women.

A lot of women are afraid of getting too big and muscular like men, when actually this is nearly impossible to do without the use of steroids. This is due to the fact that women do not produce the same testosterone levels as men which is what allows their bodies to become so big and bulky, so DON’T WORRY!

I am a member of ”The Gym’ which is a franchise all over the UK. Fees start from £10.99 a month and there is no contract involved other than a £20 joining fee. The facilities are excellent with clean showers and toilets and there is also access to sunbeds. The Gym is very popular so can get very busy between 5-7pm so if you go before or after these hours then you should be fine.

http://www.thegymgroup.com/

The best exercises are ones done with free weights rather than using machinery,  which target your large muscle groups and stimulate the maximum muscle fibres. These include squats, dead lifts, bench presses, barbell rows, pull ups and bar dips.

Here is an example of what to work out on each day:

Day 1: Chest/shoulders/arms
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Back/legs/waist 
Day 4: Rest 
Day 5: Chest/shoulders/arms
Day 6: Rest 
Day 7: Back/legs/waist 
Day 8: Rest

 When doing the big lifts, I would start with 15 kg and if you can do 10 to 12 repetitions of the exercise very easily then increase the weight, but if you struggle to do 8 then decrease the weight. If you feel any sharp muscle pains or joint pain then stop straight away, but it is normal to feel sore on your rest day, just do not over do it if you are still sore by the time you should be working that muscle group again.

Bench Press

  1. Lie back on a flat bench. Grip the bar so that your arms create 90-degree angle between the forearms and upper arms during the exercise.
  2. Lift the bar from the rack, hold it straight over you with your arms locked. This will be your starting position.
  3. Breathe in lift down slowly until the bar touches your middle chest.
  4. After a brief pause, push the bar back to the starting position as you breathe out. Focus on pushing the bar using your chest muscles. Lock your arm,  hold for a second and then start coming down slowly again.
  5. Repeat for 3 reps of 8.
 

Barbell Squat

  1. Using a squat rack, set the bar on a rack to just below shoulder level.
  2. Step under the bar and place it across your shoulders slightly below the neck
  3. Position your legs shoulder width apart with your toes slightly pointed out. Keep your head up at all times and maintain a straight back.
  4. Hold on to the bar using both arms at each side and lift it off the rack
  5. Begin to slowly lower the bar by bending the knees and hips; maintain a straight posture with the head up. Inhale whilst you do this and continue down until the angle between the upper leg and the calves becomes slightly less than 90-degrees.
  6. Exhale as you raise the bar by pushing the floor with the heel of your foot as you straighten the legs again.
  7. Repeat 4 sets of 15.

Deadlift

  1. Stand in front of a loaded barbell.
  2. Keep your back as straight as possible, bend your knees, bend forward and grasp the bar with overhands, shoulder width apart.
  3. Start the lift by pushing with your legs while simultaneously getting your torso to the upright position as you exhale. In the upright position, stick your chest out and contract the back by bringing the shoulder blades back.
  4. Bend the knees while simultaneously leaning the torso forward at the waist while keeping the back straight until you reach the floor.
  5. Repeat 3 sets of 8.

Barbell Row

  1. Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip that is slightly less than shoulder width. Rest the bar should on top of your thighs with your arms extended and a slight bend in your elbows. Your back should also be straight.
  2. Exhale and use the sides of your shoulders to lift the bar, raising your elbows up and to the side. Keep the bar close to your body as you raise it. Continue to lift the bar until it nearly touches your chin.
  3. Lower the bar back down slowly whilst inhaling.
  4. Repeat 3 sets of 8

Bar Dips

  1. Stand between a set of parallel bars. Place a hand on each bar with your arms locked.
  2. Flex the elbow, lowering your body until your arms break 90 degrees.
  3. Reverse the motion by extending the elbow, pushing yourself back up into the starting position.
  4. Repeat as many times as possible.

Another exercise you can do is whilst up on the bar, raise your legs out in front of you in a pike position and hold for three seconds before lowering them back down to the ground. You should repeat this as many times as possible.

Once you have completed your work out, it is very important to eat a good meal and bananas and/or a protein shake straight after due to the muscles being like a sponge and absorbing the nutrients straight away. This also benefits your recovery time hugely.

I got all of these ‘how to’ guides and videos off this site: http://www.bodybuilding.com/

Take a look as it has all the exercises on here and other useful tips