How Long Does It Take to Gain Weight?

Depends on your goals

There are two main types of weight gain — body fat gains and lean muscle gains.

When you’re setting out to gain weight, it may help you to outline your goals first.

Are you looking to gain any type of weight at all costs? Alternatively, do you want to selectively gain mostly lean body mass at a more gradual rate?

How Long Does It Take to Gain Weight?

The answer will affect how quickly you may want to aim to pack on the pounds.

You can gain weight by eating at a calorie surplus, which means taking in more calories than you burn on a regular basis via your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and daily activity and exercise.

That said, the rate at which you gain weight will depend on a number of factors, including:

The rate at which you gain weight, as well as the type of exercise you do and your macronutrient breakdown, influences whether you gain mostly muscle or fat. Taking a slower approach can help you optimize muscle gain.

This means slowly increasing your calorie intake while regularly practicing resistance exercise. Gaining weight this way is also known as a clean bulk.

If you’re not as concerned with whether the weight comes mostly from muscle or fat, you can increase your calories rapidly to promote quicker weight gains. However, you’re more likely to gain fat in the process.


Weight gain rates depend on your goals, body size, sex, and daily calorie intake. Gaining weight rapidly can result in excess fat gain, whereas a slow, controlled approach combined with resistance training can prioritize muscle gains.