Can Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Gain Weight?
So much dietary advice is aimed at helping people to lose weight, while almost no advice is designed to help people gain weight. This article will help you to learn more about healthy weight gain using meal replacements. Can meal replacement shakes help you gain weight? Let’s find out.
Meal replacement shakes are one of the most reliable methods for gaining weight. They are high in protein, contain healthy fats, and quality carbohydrates. Add them to your diet and you can create a calorie surplus that will help with weight gain.
In this article, we will take a look at the practicalities of gaining weight using meal replacement shakes. We will also discuss why meal replacement shakes can be such a good option for gaining weight and building muscle.
Can Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Gain Weight?
While the most common use for meal replacement shakes is weight loss, followed by weight management, meal replacement shakes can absolutely be used for weight gain. Provided you adjust your diet accordingly.
Meal replacement shakes are an excellent source of healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates. They also contain vitamins and minerals. Check out our article on the health benefits of Rootana for a full list of benefits.
It is incredibly unlikely that you would unintentionally gain weight by taking meal replacement shakes. This is because meal replacement shakes are usually around 400 calories and are used to replace meals such as breakfast or lunch, which are usually 500+ calories.
Purposefully gaining weight using meal replacement shakes is a lot easier. All you have to do is take your meal replacement shake alongside your regular meals instead of as a replacement.
For example, Person A wants to gain weight. They usually consume 2,100 calories per day, and their body burns 2,200 calories per day. Person A makes no changes to their diet, except to add a meal replacement shake (400 calories) as a mid-afternoon snack.
Their calories per day increase to 2,500. This creates a 300-calorie surplus. Leading to weight gain. If Person A adds a second meal replacement shake, that would create a surplus of 700 calories per day.
The extra calories from the meal replacement shake can help you to exercise more, build muscle, and perform better. Meal replacement shakes are perfect for hard-gainers, people who really struggle to put on weight due to a fast metabolism, or a small appetite.
If you are looking to healthily gain weight during pregnancy, then check out our article on whether you should use meal replacement shakes while pregnant.
How to Gain Weight with Meal Replacement Shakes?
Gaining weight should be treated with the exact same respect as losing weight. In other words, you want to plan this out in advance and be sensible. Gaining weight is all about creating a calorie surplus, this is where you consume more calories than you burn.
The larger the surplus, the faster you will gain weight. If you are very underweight and need to gain weight quickly, then a large surplus may be optimal. But for the vast majority of people, a small surplus is preferable. Particularly if you are trying to build muscle, without gaining too much body fat.
Creating a small (yet effective) calorie surplus requires planning. You can’t just eat 3 pizzas and expect great results. Here are five steps to gaining weight using meal replacements in a safe and effective manner.
Step #1 Take Measurements
No dietary change should ever take place without first taking measurements of where you are currently at. Without these measurements, you are just guessing at your progress. As humans are terrible at gauging their progress, it can lead to a loss of motivation.
The most obvious measurement to take is your weight, find a set of reliable scales, place them on a flat non-carpeted surface, and stand on them. Do this first thing in the morning before you have eaten any food. This is to establish control.
Write down whatever the scales say in a notebook, or on your phone. It is up to you whether you take photographs of your physique or not. They can be incredibly helpful in giving you visual evidence of your progress.
Another option is to measure the circumference of certain parts of your body (arms, upper legs, hips, abdomen, chest). You can use tailor’s tape for this. This will give you a decent idea of how your muscles are growing, which isn’t always clear when you only use the scales.
Once you have all of your measurements written down, you can progress to step two.
Step #2 Find Your Calorie Requirements
While it is certainly possible to gain weight without knowing your calorie intake, it is easier to do so with this information. All you have to do is find a calorie calculator online. The Ultimate Macro Calculator by Precision Nutrition is a great option.
This will help you to find out what calories you need to maintain weight, and how many calories you need to add to gain weight. Once you have this information, you can move on to step three.
Step #3 Analyse Your Current Diet
Before making any changes to your diet, you need to get an idea of what your diet currently looks like. That way, you will know exactly what you need to add to create a calorie surplus.
Keep a log of your food intake for seven days, that way you will have an idea of what your diet looks like Monday to Friday, and how/whether it differs on weekends. Try to eat normally during these seven days, as there is no point in recording your diet if you’ve changed it.
After the seven days, you will have the following information:
- Your weight and body measurements
- Your average daily calories
- Your calorie target to gain weight
- How many calories you will need to add to your diet
Once you have all of this information, you will know how many calories you need to add to create a calorie surplus and gain weight.
Step #4 Add a Meal Replacement Shake to Your Daily Routine
For many hard-gainers, the number of calories that they need to add can be quite high. Perhaps around 800 to 1000 per day. If this is the case, then a Meal Replacement Shake (400 calories) or two could be a great addition.
You can either add it in as a fourth meal, or you can split it into two (200 calories each) having one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon. This option is probably the best. Alternatively, you can look at ways of increasing the calories of your Rootana shake by adding fruits, nut butter, dairy, or non-dairy alternatives.
Step #5 Continue to Measure
It is very important to continue taking measurements. The weight gain process can last for a long time (12 weeks minimum) and motivation may wane. Taking measurements is also helpful, as it can help you to identify whether your calorie targets are accurate or not.
Some people, who increase the number of calories in their diet, find that they have more energy, are more active, and therefore the number of calories they burn increases! So you may actually end up losing weight.
If after 4 weeks, the scales show you dropping weight, then you will know to increase the number of calories you are consuming.
Measurement can also be taken as a way of preventing excessive weight gain. Sure, building lots of lean muscle is very rewarding, but excess body fat is not popular with many. If you’ve made an error in your calculations then you may find that you are gaining too much weight, too fast, which can lead to fat storage.
Take measurements once per week. Choose the same time and the same day (Monday morning, before breakfast) to ensure that your data is not too affected by weight fluctuations. Don’t read into the data too much, particularly during the first 2-4 weeks. But after that, you can begin to analyse your data, and see how successful your weight gain journey is.
Can Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Gain Weight? Final Thoughts
Yes, meal replacement shakes can help with weight gain, this is because they are high in protein, contain 400 calories per serving, and can be consumed alongside a regular diet. Their primary use is for weight loss, and as a replacement for regular meals, which is why there is some confusion on this subject.
If you want to gain weight sensibly, using highly nutritious food, then Rootana meal replacement shakes are a great option. You can either take one as a fourth meal per day, or split your servings into two, and have one mid-morning, and the other mid-afternoon.