How To Gain Weight With A Fast Metabolism


Some might roll their eyes when they hear someone say they have difficulty gaining weight.

Many of us wish we had the same problem.

However, being what the strength training community calls a “hard gainer”–someone with a fast metabolism who has difficulty gaining weight and putting on muscle–can be just as frustrating as someone who gains weight very easily.

To gain weight with a fast metabolism, you need to consume more calories than you burn in a day, called your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).

Unfortunately, if your goal is putting on muscle mass, this requires more calories than it takes to put on fat. It’s unfair! But that’s how the body works.

However, just like weight loss, the weight gain journey requires some forward planning, patience, and creating sustainable routines to help you reach your goal.

Tips for How to Gain Weight With a Fast Metabolism

If your goal is to gain weight and you have a fast metabolism, we recommend not just consuming junk food to reach those calorie goals. 

Whether you want to gain lean mass or are bulking, you should do so slowly by eating healthy foods and making sustainable lifestyle changes.

A graphic entitled "How to Gain Weight With a Fast Metabolism" with icons corresponding to statements like "eat calorie-dense foods" and "eat smaller meals throughout the day"

Eat Calorie-Dense Foods

To gain weight, you need to be in a calorie surplus, increasing your caloric intake above your maintenance by consuming more energy-dense foods.

This means consuming more carbs and fat alongside lean protein.

But to do so healthily and increase lean muscle mass (i.e., without gaining excess body fat), don’t just eat processed junk foods.

Though this would help you reach your calorie goals, you may gain more fat than lean muscle. This can even lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Choose nutrient-dense and high-calorie foods that contain healthy fats, such as nuts, nut butter, eggs, avocado, and dairy products. 

Healthier oil options include olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.

Along with some cooked or raw vegetables, you should consume complex carbohydrates such as rice, oats, potatoes, beans, legumes, and quinoa.

Eat Smaller Meals Throughout the Day

The fatigue from eating so many high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods can come on quickly, especially if you’re trying to cram all your calories into just three meals a day.

Frequent meals are more efficient when increasing your daily calories and can prevent fatigue.

Think like a Hobbit, and break up your meals into three main meals with smaller calorie-dense snacks or meals throughout the day. While you may not need all seven meals, adding a second breakfast and elevenses is enough to start!

Eat Lots of Protein-Rich Foods

To gain weight and lean mass, you need to consume plenty of protein to promote consistent muscle growth.

The standard rule for an active person looking to gain muscle is to consume about 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight per day.

To reach this level of protein intake, you can solely consume animal- or plant-based protein. 

But if you’re having difficulty reaching your protein goals this way, try combining protein supplementation into your diet.

Try whey protein, plant-based protein powders, or protein bars. You can also supplement with creatine, a tried-and-tested way to increase muscle mass at the cellular level. Some people also use mass gainers or weight gainer shakes. These high-calorie shakes have a lot of protein, carbohydrates, and fats that can make it easier to hit your daily calorie goals in one fell swoop.

Workout Regularly and Follow a Resistance Training Program

If you consume excess calories and remain sedentary, studies confirm you will almost certainly gain more fat than muscle, which is not a healthy way to gain weight.

So, regardless if you’re gaining weight to put on muscle mass or just gain weight in general, you need to put those excess calories to good use.

You should follow a strength training program that uses resistance by lifting weights, bands, or machines to gain muscle.

Doing weight training frequently throughout the week with heavy weights and prioritizing rest and recovery in between will burn calories but also promote muscle growth.

Make Important Lifestyle Changes

To gain weight with a fast metabolism, you need to get enough calories and make lifestyle changes that will make it easier for your body to hold onto muscle mass.

Getting enough sleep is essential to healthy weight gain and sustained muscle growth with a fast metabolism.

Sleep helps our bodies recover better after working out, leading to more significant muscle growth over time.

While you should be drinking water regularly regardless of whether you’re gaining or losing weight, you might want to wait to drink until after your meal so you don’t get too full before you’ve finished your food.

Lastly, while this isn’t for everyone, consider tracking your calories for the first few weeks or months of your weight gain journey. 

This will help give you an idea of exactly how much you’re eating and make it easier to adjust if you find you aren’t gaining enough weight at the desired pace.

Causes of a Fast Metabolism

Many things influence our metabolism or our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the rate at which we burn calories. Put in even simpler terms, this is the minimum energy required to function.

Our metabolic rate is partially due to genetics and other things outside our influence, such as age and sex.

But there are also lifestyle factors such as activity levels, how often you eat, muscle-to-fat ratio, and smoking, which can impact your metabolism, too.

So, if you are older, don’t exercise, skip meals, are heavily restricting your caloric intake, and have a low muscle-to-fat ratio, you are more likely to have a slow metabolism. 

On the other hand, people with a fast metabolism typically are younger, have a higher muscle-to-fat ratio, and are very active. 

This is why, as we gain muscle, it can get harder and harder to put on more muscle mass without increasing your caloric intake.

Women also tend to have a slower metabolism, while men generally have a faster metabolism.

Reasons You Might Want to Gain Weight

There are many reasons why people might have a weight gain goal.

Some want to gain muscle mass to achieve aesthetic, health, or strength goals.

For the ladies, more muscle leads to better long-term bone health! Since osteoporosis is more common in older women, this is a great reason to work out and maintain muscle mass throughout your life.

Others may have trouble gaining weight or have a history of undereating, which can be detrimental to your health.

Being underweight can negatively affect your bone health, hormone levels, and fertility, cause skin, hair, and teeth problems, and lead to lowered immunity. Being underweight when you’re young can also stunt your growth.

How to Determine How Many Calories You Need

You need to determine the number of calories your body burns daily, or TDEE, and add calories to that number to gain weight. To find this number, use an online calorie calculator.

These calculators aren’t foolproof (each one will give you different answers), but they can give you a good idea of where to start if you have no idea how many calories you need to consume to gain weight.

Most calculators require you to input your body weight, height, sex, activity levels, and age.

Using a specific formula, most will provide you with your BMR and suggested daily calorie intakes to lose, maintain, or gain weight.

Err on the side of caution when deciding how many calories to consume. Start with 500 extra calories per day and track your progress over the next four weeks.

If you’re not seeing any progress–either on the scale or in how your clothes are fitting–increase your calories and see if it helps.


Is it harder to gain weight with a faster metabolism?

Yes, it can be harder to gain weight with a fast metabolism. People with a fast metabolism have a higher Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). If you want to gain weight and you have a high BMR, you need to consume more calories than you burn in a day to put on weight and increase your protein intake to prioritize muscle growth.

This can be difficult for some individuals as it can require consuming more calories than you’re used to, especially if you’re sticking to a healthy diet to try and gain lean mass.

How to gain 10 pounds fast?

You cannot achieve healthy weight gain overnight. Yes, you might be able to gain 10 pounds in a few days by consuming an unhealthy amount of calories, but it’s more than likely just going to be water weight, not muscle.

To gain weight healthily, focus on eating nutritious foods, getting good sleep, and working out regularly following a strength training program.

How do you fix a fast metabolism?

You would need to adopt a more restrictive diet and lifestyle to fix a fast metabolism. Exercise less, eat fewer calories, eat less frequently, and consume more carbohydrates and fats. This is essentially the opposite of everything required to gain weight healthily.

For most people, this will not align with their health, strength, or aesthetic goals, and for those who want to gain weight, it might send you in the opposite direction entirely.

Why is my metabolism so fast?

Your metabolism is determined partially by genetic factors and partially by lifestyle factors.

Your parent’s genetics, your age, and sex all influence your metabolism. Younger people and men generally have faster metabolisms.

Lifestyle factors such as your activity levels, how often you eat, muscle-to-fat ratio, and smoking can also impact your metabolism.

What are the signs of high metabolism?

Here are some signs of a high metabolism:
• Struggle with weight gain
• Have difficulty maintaining weight
• Lose weight quickly
• High energy or hyperactivity
• A faster heart rate and increased breathing
• Elevated body temperature, even at rest
• Increased appetite
• Irregular menstrual cycle
• Insomnia
• A lower percentage of body fat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *