Q: I am 14 years old and weigh 42kg. My brother (who is two years younger) and I have a good height but we have a thin physique. Doctors say it is hereditary. Please suggest how to gain weight. Laila
A: Dear Laila, it is true that height is mainly genetically manifested but it is equally important to manage your weight in accordance with your height. It would have been easier to prescribe you plans if you had mentioned your height and your brothers’ weight and height; however, the tips enlisted below may help you both in gaining weight. The most important thing you can do to gain weight is to eat more calories than your body needs (calories in > calories out).
• Aim for 300-500 calories more than you burn each day.
• Protein forms the building blocks of your muscles. Eating sufficient protein is required to gain muscle weight instead of just fat.
• Eat at least 5-6 meals per day and make sure you eat one part from fats, two parts from proteins and three parts should comprise of carbohydrates.
• You can add sauces, spices and condiments to your foods to make it easier to have more of them. Base your diet on energy-dense foods as much as possible.
• Don’t drink water before meals. This can fill your stomach and make it harder to consume enough calories.
• If you are really struggling, than you can try weight gainer shakes. These are high in protein, carbohydrates and calories.
• Quality sleep is very important for growth.
• Don’t smoke. Smokers tend to weigh less than non-smokers, and quitting smoking often leads to weight gain.
• It is very important to lift heavy weights and improve your strength. This will help you gain muscle mass instead of just fat.
• Doing regular exercise at least thrice a week can help you gain healthy mass.
• Participate in sports you like the most.
• Be consistent, as weight change, either gaining or losing it is a long-term process.
Q: I am 44 years old. My height is 5 feet 6-inches and weight is 60kg. Can you please give an exercise plan that I can easily follow at home because it is difficult for me to join a gym and work out using equipment. Musarrat
A: Dear Musarrat, eating right and exercising regularly can help avoid excess weight gain and maintain a healthy weight. It is very important to pay equal attention on both of these aspects as ignoring one may not help you achieve your fitness goals. Healthy habits are hard to develop and often require changing your mindset. But if you are willing to make sacrifices to improve your health, the impact can be far-reaching, regardless of your age, sex, physical ability or busy schedule. It is good that you are determined to improve your habits and want to stay fit; it does not matter if you want to start working out at home for now. Try keeping in mind associated factors to get better and prompt results which include maintaining a balanced diet, sleeping well and staying away from stress. These habits improve your overall well-being and make you feel good. You may follow the exercise regimen given below.
Warm up: 7-10 minutes, aerobics steps/ spot jog/ walk.
Resistance and cardio work-out: Perform 12-15 reps for each of the following; 30 seconds rest after each exercise; you may do the whole cycle twice after some time depending on your level of ease. You may use water bottles as dumb-bells; try to get a Swiss Ball and jumping rope.
Wall push-ups; stair climbing; single arm dumb-bell rows; jumping jacks; front dumb-bell raises; mountain climbers; lateral raises; burpees; hammer curls; skier jumps; triceps kick backs; jumping rope
Swiss ball squats; stair climbing; reverse lunges; jumping jacks; single leg raises with face up; mountain climbers; single leg raises with face down; burpees; standing calf raises; skier jumps; single leg side kicks; wide stance squats
Basic crunches; stair climbing; cross crunches; jumping jacks; bird dog; mountain climbers; 90 degree ball crunches; burpees; 90 degree ball obliques; skier jumps; ball bridging; floor swimming.
Cool down: slow walk for 5 minutes.
Flexibility: isometric stretches, hold all major muscle groups, 10-15 seconds each.
Q: Hi, I am 18 years old and want to lose weight. My height is 4 feet 10-inches and weight is 52kg. Please tell me how can I lose weight and stay fit? Madiha
A: Dear Madiha, a healthy weight range for you is 40-55 kg. Your weight is within your healthy weight limit but you can try to be at the lower level. You should also check your body composition to know the fat percentage and the lean mass you possess. With that you can set appropriate targets for yourself. Here are a few tips that you may follow and you must know about reducing extra mass of fat.
Firstly, you do not need to starve yourself to lose weight. All you need to do is follow the basic rules i.e. adopt an active lifestyle which means maintaining a balanced diet, exercise and proper rest. A healthy combination of these will help you reach your desired weight. It may seem difficult as well as time consuming, but you deserve to be healthy – in mind and body. Once you tune your mind towards an active lifestyle then it will become routine which will not be hard to follow.
Secondly, avoid skipping your meals. In fact, you should eat small portions frequently, every 3 to 4 hours a day. You should try to consume at least five meals a day. Eating several small portions will also keep your blood sugar levels steady.
Thirdly, keep yourself hydrated all day long. Water is the best liquid that not only hydrates your body, but also removes toxins from your system. It is advisable to drink at least 2-3 litres of water per day.
Fourthly, avoid processed foods and snacks. To become fit, you should replace them with healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables. You may have fresh juices as well but not ones that are artificially prepared.
Finally, you should exercise regularly. To be able to lose weight successfully, you need to exercise daily. Physical activity is very important for the body, and mind. You can lift weights, swim or run on a treadmill. Even dancing is a great exercise that works on all your body muscles.