Need a few more pounds? Bulk up the healthy way

Some runners can use a couple of extra pounds
Many runners could use a few extra pounds, either because of their warp-speed metabolism, high mileage, or both.

For those of you who would like to gain weight — and maybe some strength besides — here's the best approach.

First of all, realize that a gain of 1/2 to 1 pound a week — no more — is about right. Next, count calories for three days or so to get your average daily intake. This will give you a rough idea of how many calories you require to maintain your current weight.

According to sports nutritionist Ellen Coleman, you need about 2,500 calories more per week to gain 1 pound of muscle mass. (This figures to around 350 more calories a day.)

To achieve this, Coleman suggests eating larger portions of foods you already eat, or adding a midmorning, midafternoon, or bedtime snack. As far as what to snack on, foods such as cereals and grains are good for you, but they're relatively bulky and low in calories. So try a cup of nonfat milk, a skinless chicken breast, or a high-protein drink instead.

Finally, to ensure that what you gain is muscle weight and not fat, Coleman suggests you begin a weightlifting program, too. If you take this advice, be sure to add to your total caloric intake about 100 calories per half-hour of weight training.

With added muscle weight, you'll be stronger, you'll look better, and you may run better, too.

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