Eating to Gain (Callie’s 90-Day Challenge)

“Just eat a couple Big Mac’s.”

You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve actually been told that in response to my desire to gain weight! But as someone who is passionate about good nutrition (not to mention works in an office of Dietitians) I know that’s not the best way to go about it.

Weight gain requires eating calorie-rich but also nutrient rich foods. Initially I was afraid of the sheer volume I was going to have to eat to reach the calorie goal Kelsey determined for me (around 2200 per day.) But instead of increasing the number of bites, she used what I was already eating from my food journal as a base, and added calorie dense strategies such as adding more healthy fats or high quality protein. Adding avocado to salads or chilis, snacking on nuts and seeds and adding more fatty fish to the menu are all good ideas. I don’t consume dairy, so Kelsey suggests mixing a good protein powder into my almond milk or almond yogurt to bump up the protein and calories. (This is the only non-real-food addition we are implementing, and the protein powder I use is actually made of pea, hemp and brown rice protein so it’s not too unnatural.)

My plan has me eating about every 3 hours (Breakfast, snack, Lunch, snack, Dinner and optional snack.) This has already helped increase my energy! But, I’m not saying it’s been easy, it’s actually been a bit of challenge in and of itself as I’ve had to plan ahead a lot more and basically carry a picnic in my purse!

(I’ve just started to hashtag some of my meals on instagram, check out #oncalliesplate for some ideas)


General tips for all exercisers:

Good nutrition and hydration practices help your body train longer and harder, and improve your recovery. Here’s a few tips to help your workouts.



(2-4 hours before exercising)

The pre-exercise carbohydrate rich meal should consist of foods that can be easily and quickly digested to help top off glycogen stores.

Ideally, the last full meal should be consumed 2-4 hours prior to exercising. This helps ensure that adequate time is provided for food to empty out of your stomach. Excess food sitting in your stomach may lead to nausea and discomfort during your activity.


Post Exercise

(within 30 minutes of stopping your activity)

To fully recover after exercising, you should consume carbohydrates, protein, and fluids as soon as possible. Carbohydrate and protein right after you exercise will replenish glycogen stores and insure rapid recovery. Glycogen repletion delays the onset of fatigue during training, replaces fluid and electrolyte loses and stimulates glycogen synthesis.

How much?

For most, a good rule of thumb is to consume at least 50 grams of carbohydrates immediately and to follow-up with a well-balanced meal within 2 hours. Protein consumption after exercise will promote muscle tissue building and repair. The combination of carbohydrate and protein has a synergistic effect on building muscle.

Callie Derksen About Callie Derksen

As the public relations and marketing manager for Revive Wellness, she combines her love of health with communications. read my full bio.

Share your thoughts