Is it true that you have observed lately that you are unable to fit in a pair of jeans? Does donning a new dress make you appear too slim? In an age where losing weight is the new trend, with individuals trying on a host of measures, adopting meal plans and trying out new yoga poses to lose weight and shed some extra pounds, gaining weight appears to be a myth. Often people with skinny muscles, thinner bones and a lean body are self-conscious and are unaware of the right means to gain weight.
It is interesting to note the process of weight gain differs significantly in both men and women. The two genders are different by leaps and bounds in the way they respond to situations, psychological behaviour, social reactions and the manner in which their brains respond to situations at hand. Men and women vary greatly in terms of their shape and skeletal formation too. While it is known that an individual puts on few kilos indulging in spicy and junk food, irregular sleep routine and lack of exercise, irrespective of gender, the process of gaining weight in a male or female body is different by the action of hormones in the body.
How the Process of Weight Gain Differs in Men and Women?
Certain differences in weight gain in males and females are characterised by the function of hormones, testosterone in men and estrogen in women. The hormones decide the storage of fats in the body and the process by which fats and lipids get absorbed in the tissues. The amount of mass gained by muscles in women is lower as compared to mass requirements of men which further impacts intake of food and energy distribution to cells and tissues.
Apart from internal functioning, external factors including food intake, amount of hydration and physical exercises are a key determinant contributing to weight gain and body mass.
Differences in Fat Metabolism:
Metabolism is the combination of chemical reactions in an organism essential to maintain the life of a cell. The process primarily involve break down of food to generate energy to carry out cellular functions, conversion of food to essential proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and some amount of carbohydrates along with removal of undigested food matter and metabolic residue from the body. Scientific studies reveal that burning of fat molecules in men occur at a rate faster as compared to women while exercising or sleeping owing to slow rate of metabolism in females. This helps women gain weight faster, but, proper diet and exercise can help maintain an adequate mass.
Function of lipids:
Lipids in chemical terms refer to molecules that are soluble in nonpolar solvents or hydrocarbons that dissolve other hydrocarbon lipid molecules that are not easily soluble in water including fat soluble vitamins, fatty acids, monoglycerides, diglycerides, etc. As we intake food, the fat molecules present in them are further processed to be stored in body tissues and generation of energy. In men, the lipids are collected in the region around visceral organs and the abdomen, while in women, lipid is stored beneath the skin. Thus, it is common to witness the accumulation of fats in the hip region and thighs of older women.
Role of Reproductive Hormones:
Testosterone present in males play vital functions as addition of bone density, burning of unnecessary fat along with tightening muscle mass. Testosterone levels maintained in optimum quantity in adult men inclusive of a balanced diet and regular workout help to reduce tummy fat and regulate body structure. Estrogen in females work differently by maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI), but the level is likely to change during pregnancy or menopause, leading to excess weight gain.
Differences in Physiological Functions:
Physiological changes in men and women are the significant reason for storage and distribution of fats in the body. Men have a higher muscle mass as compared to women, which helps them absorb fat present in food by the muscles, while in case of women, some amount of fat is absorbed by the muscles redistributing the rest to other cells and tissues in the body. The distribution of fats in turn affects the overall shape, anatomy and muscle mass in men and women. Daily exercises and weight training are essential for women to maintain their muscle mass and storage of fats in other parts of the body.
Changes in Diet:
Women tend to be more watchful of what they consume along with noticing subtle changes in weight, discussing diet plan and exercises to tackle weight more, as compared to men. So, they opt for balanced diet and healthy options like fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy products and low-fat meat, while men choose heavy meat-based options to compensate for their higher energy requirements and excess calorie requirements.
Why Should Women Build Healthy Muscles?
Building up healthy and strong muscles for women are an essential requisite as construction of strong muscles leads to the development of stronger bones, ligaments and body tissues which make you less susceptible to injuries and jerk. Building up strong muscles help maintain a better posture alongside reducing back pain.
Healthy muscles can make up for age related muscle deficiency in older women. When your muscles are strong and self-sufficient, carrying on daily tasks that involve a lot of energy and physical stress become easy while reducing dependence. Ultimately, it helps to age less and live more.
5 Exercise For Women to Gain Weight:
Gaining weight for women and girls get easy with these simple exercises that can be performed anywhere.
Squats are useful to add extra weight around your legs and back. It is an excellent exercise to build strong legs, straighten your backbone and maintain an adequate posture.
Method: To perform squats, you need to stand straight with your feet apart, more than hip distance apart, in a straight line. Keep your shoulders in a relaxed state and chest unsteady. You need to extend your arms forward and squeeze the gluteal muscles to let your pelvic region fall in symmetry with the straight line. You need to look straight and engage the core of your body. While inhaling, push the buttocks out.
Then we need to sit down as on a chair and put weight on our knees. Go down till the hip joints are lower than knees. Inhale air as you go down and slowly come back to the original state keeping torso and back erect exhaling. For best results, one can try out 3 sets of 10 squats.
While performing lunges, we need to ensure that we are doing it right to avoid excess pain. Being an effective weight gain workout, lunges can be performed anywhere and at any time. While doing lunges, make sure not to lean backwards. Lunges are an effective workout to shape your buttocks, quadriceps, hamstring and core region.
Method: Start by keeping your body straight, shoulders relaxed, chin up and your hips perfectly aligned to your feet. Take a deeper breath and engage your core muscles. Then we need to step forward with one leg and lower down our hips until both the knees get bent, forming a 90 degree angle. We need to ensure that our front knee is above the ankle and the other knee is not laying on the ground. You need to lift back your body putting pressure on the heels. Thereafter, return back to normal.
Try repeating this exercise at least 20 times. For best results, you can hold on some weight too.
The exercise helps strengthen your entire body along with the core and can be performed with multiple variations. The workout works wonders for your glutes, especially the hamstrings. It can be performed by using kettle bells, dumbbells, barbells and even using a resistance band.
Method: You need to hold a dumbbell in both your hands, palms facing thighs, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. The core needs to be kept absolutely neutral and tight. Keeping your buttocks back, hinge forward at the hips. We need to bend our knees a bit as we lower the weight in our hands and reverse the movement facing a stretch in hamstrings.
Thereafter, come back to the initial position squeezing your glutes.
A great way to build strength in the upper part and gain weight, push-ups are an effective muscle-building core exercise. It helps women develop stronger, toned arms without building around huge biceps or triceps. One of the easiest exercises to gain weight at home, push-ups can be performed anywhere without a need for an extra equipment.
Method: You first need to align your hands on the floor wider than shoulder width. Then the chest needs to be lowered enough to touch the ground. Squeeze your gluteal muscles tightening the abs while lowering the body. Then, raise your body with the support of your hands. Elbows need to be aligned closer to the sideways position.
Push-ups can be performed in 3 sets of 10 push-ups each.
We have often observed people hitting gyms to perform bench presses to shape their back muscles. An amazing workout to shape and structure your back, triceps, and anterior deltoids, bench press is performed with a weight bar on top of your body, while maintaining extra care handling weight.
Method: To perform this workout, we need to lie flat on a bench over our back. Keeping the body relaxed, we try holding the bar using our hands. The weight bar is pulled slowly towards the chest as we inhale and is pushed up upon exhaling. The exercise is repeated 4-5 times for good results.
Thus, women tending to gain some pounds can perform on or the other of the above basic workouts to build muscles, gain weight and build a tighter body.
(Written by Shivani Priyam, Sub Editor, Onlymyhealth)
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