Although people are typically more eager to lose weight than to gain, it's possible to pack on the pounds in a healthy manner. You cannot, however, dictate the area of your body -- such as around your ribs -- that you wish to bulk up. A healthy combination of smart dietary decisions and exercise is the key to crafting the physique that you wish to see in the mirror. You shouldn't attempt to gain weight without first checking with your physician.
Overall Weight Gain
It's impossible to gain weight solely around your rib cage -- or any other chosen part of your body. Likewise, and contrary to the myth that circulates through the weight-loss industry, you can't choose the part of your body from which you wish to lose weight. Although steady and healthy weight gain is possible, your body will add weight in several areas throughout your body, including around your ribs.
Increase Caloric Intake
Provided your doctor has recommended that you begin to slowly add weight, you must gain an understanding of your body's caloric intake and expenditure. Weight gain is the result of taking in more calories than you burn, which is a state referred to as a caloric excess. For every excess of 3,500 calories, you'll gain 1 pound. If your doctor has advised gaining 1 pound per week, you'd have to average a daily excess of 500 calories to reach this goal.
Healthy Weight-Gain Diet
Gaining weight can be healthy, provided you take the right approach. Don't turn to high-calorie foods loaded with trans or saturated fat and sugar to bulk up your caloric intake. It's healthier to get your calories from proteins such as fish, lean beef and poultry along with milk, yogurt, whole grains, fruits and higher-calorie vegetables such as peas and sweet potatoes. Simple ways to increase your caloric intake include consuming more healthy oils such as olive oil, adding slices of avocado to sandwiches and salads and drinking homemade fruit smoothies made with milk or yogurt, a banana and nut butter. Eating a 1/4 cup of nuts daily is a healthy way to increase calories, too.
Include the Right Exercises
If you include plenty of cardiovascular exercise in your daily routine, your doctor might recommend reducing the length of your workouts, given the high number of calories they burn. You don't have to completely abandon exercise, however. Certain exercises that use the muscles around your ribs, such as your obliques, can add a degree of bulk to your rib area. Cable twists and twisting crunches, for example, are effective ways to strengthen your obliques.
- American Council on Exercise: Myths and Misconceptions: Spot Reduction and Feeling the Burn
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Balancing Calories
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight
- University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center: Healthy Ways to Increase Calories and Protein
- ExRx.net: Obliques
- ExRx.net: Cable Twist
- ExRx.net: Twisting Crunch