Can You Get Stronger Without Building Muscle?

While 1.9 billion adults suffer from overweight problems, around 462 million are underweight. The problem is not just limited to adults. Even children suffer from underweight issues impacting their height and brain development. A formal exercise is a good option for regaining the lost weight. But exercising is not a feasible option in children and adults with health issues like heart disease, kidney disease, or those not predisposed to exercising.

In such conditions, evaluating options for increasing weight without exercising becomes essential. And food choices play an important role in improving an individual’s weight. But before proceeding further, it is important to have a brief idea about the concept of weight and the problems associated with its changes.

Weight and Weight Loss

The U.S. Open Library of Medicine defines weight as the mass or quantity of heaviness of a person and considers a sudden, unexpected weight change to be a problem. Weight loss can be voluntary when induced by the person through diet changes and exercise. It is considered to be involuntary when caused by circumstances like illness in the form of malabsorption, or chronic inflammation that damages the body’s healthy cells, tissues, and organs.

Most cases of weight loss are related to a decrease in body fat or BMI, a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. A BMI of 18.5-24.9 falls in the Healthy weight range. When above 24.89, it falls in the overweight range, and below 18.5, it falls in the underweight range. People may be underweight because of being naturally small and having a genetic predisposition to be underweight. Alternatively, it may be because of an individual’s high rate of metabolism, making it challenging to retain weight despite consuming sufficient calories.

Physical health conditions, mental health conditions, and lack of affordability to a healthy balanced diet are other precursors to underweight tendencies that increase the risk of osteoporosis, decreased immunity, dementia, and fertility problems. Studies have even found underweight tendencies associated with an increased mortality rate. The risk of complications increases after age 38 and is significantly higher in women than in men.

But to increase their weight, people often opt for a junk-loaded diet that increases the risk of complications.

It is essential to eat right to gain weight healthily

In a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, increased sugar intake in the form of high-calorie, sugar-rich foods can increase your weight in addition to increased risk of breast cancer and other health complications. A study on 101,279 participants showed a significant association with cancer risk for added sugars, free sugars, sucrose, and sugars from milk-based desserts,  dairy products, and sugary drinks.

Animal studies have further shown that an increase in adipose tissue found in the belly fat of individuals can lead to skin and colon cancer in the long run.

Type 2 diabetes and heart problems are other complications associated with increased fat in the system. Considering the above factors, opting for a slow and healthy weight gain regimen can increase your weight without complications. Increasing calorie intake is one of the first steps in achieving healthy weight gain.

Studies have proved that a minimum of 7000 calories are required to increase your body weight by at least 1 kilogram. People needing to gain weight need to eat at least 500 to 1000 calories more than they would typically eat in a day to gain 1-2 kilos in a week or two of starting their weight gain regimen.

During this time, it is essential to avoid skipping main meals, judge the number of drinks that you take with each meal, and limit them if they impair your calorie intake. Additionally, it is essential to track your calories and, if possible, get extra calories from seeds, nuts, fruits, and yogurts added by adequate amounts of proteins.

Studies have shown that a dietary intake of 1.0, 1.3, and 1.6 gm protein per kg body weight per day is recommended for individuals with minimal, moderate, and intense physical activity to meet their functional needs, like promoting skeletal muscle protein accretion and physical strength. Long-term consumption of protein at 2gm per body weight is safe for healthy adults with the tolerable upper limit not exceeding 3.5 gm per kg body weight on a daily basis. Chronic high protein intake above that amount can lead to digestive, renal, and vascular abnormalities and should be avoided. Additionally, it is crucial to focus on the quality of obtained proteins and consume high-quality proteins in milk and lean meat that can promote healthy weight gain.

What about weight gain supplements

Weight gain supplements should be consumed very carefully because they can lead to several complications when used unjudiciously or without the advice of a medical specialist. To date, there are limited prescription weight gain pills that are prescription based and designed for healthy weight gain in people with weight loss problems.

Anavar or Oxandrolone is one such medication designed to help people regain the weight they have lost due to chronic medical conditions like surgery, trauma, chronic medical conditions, or long-term use of corticosteroid medication.

To achieve its therapeutic effects, Anavar binds to androgen receptors in the cytoplasm of muscle cells. The androgen-receptor-oxandrolone complex then translocates to the nucleus of muscles. It binds to genes that contain androgen-receptor binding sites promoting transcription of several genes whose protein products are necessary for muscle growth, maintenance, repair, and metabolism.

Through its therapeutic effects, Anavar may potentially prevent muscle degeneration in muscular dystrophy patients, helping them to maintain their strength and prolong their ability to walk and carry out daily activities. Clinical studies regarding the use of Anavar have found its effectiveness in conditions of muscular dystrophy, Turner’s Syndrome, and children with weight loss due to severe burns. The medication has resulted in the long-term recovery of severely burned children in height, bone mineral content, and muscle strength.

It is designed in such a manner as to allow muscle tissue growth without accompanying side- effects of a deep voice, facial hair, or other androgenetic complications. Most importantly, it has low hepatotoxicity risks. But care must be taken to use it judiciously as the risk of virilization and liver complications are associated with overusing the medication. Additionally, it is a Schedule III Controlled medication and is available only through prescription.


While the whole world is getting to understand obesity and the complications associated with it, awareness about malnutrition is relatively uncommon. Seemingly insignificant, the problem is of a much more serious nature and, according to WHO, impacts a significant part of the global population worldwide. Millions of people suffer from malnutrition, and left untreated, the problem, in due course, affects the individual’s mortality rate.

Weight gain is essential in people with a low BMI. However, it is important to do so cautiously without consuming sugars or overindulging in proteins. Medications like Anavar have the potential to lead to healthy weight gain without severe adverse reactions. But care must be taken to use them as per your physician’s treatment plan for overall safety.

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