Apps for weight gain are not as popular as their weight-loss counterparts, but they still offer great value. They can help clear up the challenges of making a plan of your own.
Today, we’ll be taking you through the best weight gain apps on the market. We’ll be covering a range of apps and how they help you, then looking at how they compare.
How Do You Gain Weight?
You gain weight when your lifestyle lives up to the goals you’ve set yourself. This depends on knowing what you need, and then doing it. Step one can be hard.
By setting a clearer picture of how to get from your current weight to your goal weight, you can implement it more effectively. Apps for weight gain typically offer different approaches to this plan. There are 3 major types we’re going to look at today, and what they offer you:
- Calorie and macronutrient trackers
- Workout guidance and plans
- Meal prep help and templates
These are different ways of organizing your life. You still have to make choices around them – and those will be key. Those informed choices will help you change your diet. It’s a framework for better choices that you can see changing your daily goals in real time.
When you log food in a calorie tracker, use planned workouts, and prep meals in advance, you give yourself the chance to be better. You can do more in advance and with effective planning. They take some of the short-term challenges out and depend less on enormous willpower in those moments.
Doing things right is the way to make better habits and choices normal. It’s how you improve the everyday habits that constitute big, long-term change. Informed decisions around apps offer a way of improving these.
It’s a way of making the automatic conscious for just as long as it takes to set a new, smarter normal. Once you make this habitual, the difficulty of diet and new choices is softened. New diets are difficult to stick with, but old ones take very little effort to maintain.
Making Diet Work: Certainty and Cause-Effect
One of the best factors for maintaining a diet and putting effort into making it work is a relationship between cause and effect. You need to know that what you’re doing is producing results. In diet, this involves a little faith because the changes lag behind the habits you’ve changed.
Proper certainty about what you’re doing – and the model of nutrition you’re using – is essential. It’s a way of feeling like you’re in control of yourself. It’s not discussed often, but this is one of the most important factors in how diet can help improve your mental wellbeing and self-concept.
Improving the logistics around your diet isn’t sexy. It’s not a before and after photo of weight gain. It’s not a weight gain supplement offering magic gains. It’s the donkey-work of small changes that add up to big changes.
On the other hand, it’s the main way you interact with diet. You’re going to be doing the planning, prepping, and cooking of food 3+ times a day. You need to get this right because it makes up the bulk of a weight gain diet!
Apps that help you with these logistics make up a huge percentage of the work you do in diet. Changing from an uncertain or incorrect choice to a correct, planned-out one is a huge deal. It represents 2 chances to improve:
- Removing a poor choice
- Implementing a positive choice
This kind of 180-degree turnaround offers a rare opportunity for immense, efficient change.
Who Are These Weight Gain Apps For?
The apps for weight gain we’re discussing are perfect for anyone with a busy schedule – or non-experts.
It can be a large task to learn everything about nutrition and meal prep that you need to make the most of your diet. Apps offer a way to outsource that effort to someone on the internet who – often – has a degree in nutrition.
Apps that offer expert planning or even basic guidance take another stress off your plate. This can be extremely helpful for busy college students, people with a (or multiple) stressful job, and anyone trying to balance family life with fitness.
Gaining weight is a commitment and every time you can remove another burden, it becomes easier.
The less you have to worry about, the more you can focus on your responsibilities. The goal is to make it so all you have to do is train, cook, and eat. Let the apps do the hard planning for you!
Calorie Tracker Apps to Weight Gain
The role of a calorie tracker is to help you better understand what you’re eating and what it offers you. Specifically, calories and macronutrients – the main components of dietary planning. When gaining weight, these are even more important as you need to eat above calorie-maintenance (also called a calorie surplus) and with an abundance of both carbs and proteins.
The ability to handle these and understand where they come from is huge. It’s the “secret” that makes weight gain work. Calories dictate the quantity and protein intake the quality.
This is a way of both goal-setting and habit-tracking. It’s a way of measuring what you take in and aligning it with what your body needs for your goals. When gaining weight, we typically use calorie trackers for 3 main purposes:
- Ensuring we’re getting enough calories to drive muscle growth
- Maintaining high protein intake to drive muscle protein synthesis
- Controlling the ratio of carbs to fats to improve energy levels and balance with exercise
One of the benefits of calorie tracking that most people overlook is the value of understanding individual foods.
You will undoubtedly find that some foods are less useful than you thought. Others will be the opposite. It’s a game of building up better awareness when logging food.
There are salads out there that offer 1000+ calories, while a cheeseburger is less than half of that (most of the time). Your choices should be backed up by an awareness of which foods offer what sort of calorie content and how those interact with your goals.
Calorie trackers put you in touch with the hard metabolic math. They show you what each food offers you and give you the right tools to choose for yourself and compensate for what you’ve eaten throughout the day.
MyFitnessPal, or MFP, is the most popular calorie tracker that can act as a weight gain app. It has a wide range of features that are useful. The basics are available for free, while more advanced features have been paywalled in recent years.
This is one of the main limitations of MFP, which used to rule the market. The selection of foods and reliability are both good, especially with the barcode scanning function. This makes MFP one of the easiest and most effective all-purpose calorie trackers.
It’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s still at the top of the market for a reason. It’s always a good choice and it’s going to give you the basic functions, as well as guidance when you’re struggling to structure your diet.
This is another effective calorie counter to gain weight. There are some concerns for user-friendliness, however, with difficult navigation through deleting items. It has also proven difficult to add food items that are not already found within the database.
This also offers a barcode scanner, which is a great addition. On the other hand, it doesn’t have great functionality for saving favorites and “regular” foods – as other apps, like MyFitnessPal do.
This is definitely a contender, but it seems that many of the best functions are in the Pro mode. This is always a concern on the app market, but shows up in some basic functions with this service.
MyPlate is made by LiveStrong.com – a respected name in fitness. It’s got great user friendly settings and a simple, clean design. This makes it an easy app to use and understand, as well as being perfect for getting at-a-glance information about your diet.
MyPlate doesn’t have the same database size as MFP and may not be the best calorie counter to gain weight, but does offer better user-friendly functions.
The basics are much easier to negotiate and the back-end goal-setting is less fiddly. The free version of MyPlate is one of the strongest offerings on the market, while the Gold version doesn’t offer massive benefits.
This is a great place to go for a free, clean, effective tracking app. The search may not be as comprehensive as MyFitnessPal, but it’s a better experience and the free version is definitely a firm favorite.
PerfectWeight is a system for controlling eating, making it a great weight gain app. It’s not a tracker in the familiar sense, but it does track and recommend. PerfectWeight uses a simplified system that details the portion sizes and macronutrient focus of meals.
This also includes fasting trackers, which can be useful for weight loss, but don’t do much for weight gain.
The focus of this app is clearly weight loss, and weight gain functions can be quite limited. It also offers an effective weight change graphing system, as well as nutrition recommendations and food ideas.
This is low on our list because it’s a tracking app that overlooks the fact that people want to gain weight sometimes. The focus is too one-sided, limiting what this product offers.
Workout Program Apps for Weight Gain
Unlike weight loss, weight gain doesn’t really work without exercise. We can gain weight in a number of forms but most people looking to gain weight want to improve muscle mass and get bigger in a healthy way.
This requires exercise as a stimulus for the muscles. They don’t get bigger without being challenged and then nourished. The first half of this is why we need workouts. Workout program apps offer a structured and well-planned approach to this exercise stimulus.
Different weight gain apps take different approaches, but the uniting theme is getting you to work along a structured plan that is going to work for you. The more individualized a program is, the more likely it is to work.
What matters for most people, however, is a combination of 2 things:
- Consistency: keep going and listen to the program
- Overload: maintain a challenging load, slowly adding more work over time
Workout apps offer both of these – if you give the program the dedication and commitment it requires.
TrainHeroic is one of the best marketplaces and hosting services for a range of coaches. It offers programming from a wide range of established and respected figures in the field.
Training plans for weight gain are common, as well as specializations for powerlifting, bodybuilding, CrossFit, weightlifting, and more.
You’ll find plans from names you might know in the field. Matt Ogus, Greg Everett (Catalyst Athletics), and Greg Panora are just a few. It’s a system that gives you room to pick and choose.
These can be quite specialist, and programs do tend to be relatively expensive. Matt Ogus’ “Ogus Daily” program, for example, is $27 per month.
This is a reasonable price, but does cost more than a service built into a single app. This does also promise better results, however. All you need to do is find your perfect workout program in this weight gain app.
FitBod is a great way to get an automatically generated workout and track your development. It offers a pre-programmed plan that is based on your strengths and weaknesses, which it tracks as you train and log workouts.
The workout selection is based around a simple balance of body part training volume to train the whole body. This makes it a great choice for basic, effective gym workouts focusing on compound exercises and bringing up weak links – perfect for high-quality weight gain.
It does have a focus on weight training and supersets, which makes it a good choice for those who are time-poor and need a great workout in a reasonable space of time.
With instructions, a breakdown of the muscles you’re training, and an outline of equipment, it makes the process much easier.
This is a great workout plan app that offers the next best thing to a real-life coach or program built by an expert. It’s a simple, powerful app for getting the most out of your workouts.
This weight gain app offers a mixture of dietary and exercise prompts for users, making it one of the best apps to help gain weight. The exercise program itself is quite basic, and focuses on workouts at home. Individual blocks of training are organized around 30-day “challenge” blocks.
Exercise selection and intensity are pretty standard. Nothing about this workout is going to provide amazing, unprecedented results. What it does offer is a basic starting point for weight gain to beginners without much equipment access.
If you’re serious about weight gain, the workouts will seem limited quickly. Bodyweight training isn’t optimal for weight gain.
Not only that, but progressions aren’t built around different experience levels and the “challenge” is only appropriate for those with limited training experience.
Meal Prep Apps for Weight Gain
Meal prep refers to a huge part of diet that starts at shopping and – often – ends up with foods in Tupperware.
Prep is anything that comes before the cooking of the food, and anything that comes afterwards when it is stored for future use. This is a great habit to get into if you find yourself moving through the day without access to a kitchen of your own.
Meal prep is even more planning-intensive than normal cooking. Apps that offer support for this process are great for taking some of the sting out of an advanced approach to weight gain.
It’s a way of driving up your quality of diet and helping you stay in control when life is busy, stressful, and impedes your chance to think and prepare on your own schedule.
When we prepare, we invest our time in the future. It makes future-you better able to handle the chaos of life, safe in the knowledge that you have the nutritional support you need whenever you get time to eat it.
It also involves being able to better-plan and think through your diet before the time-pressure hits.
Mealime is the best, most well-thought-out answer to meal prep apps on the market. It offers an effective and customisable service that allows you to choose dishes based on your needs and offers a complete approach to ingredients, prep, and cooking.
It also lets you plan the week in advance, produces a shopping list based on your choices, and even adjust for the things you like and dislike eating.
Mealime is a clear answer to the problems of being too busy to prepare food and plan your eating. It takes a lot of the thought out of eating healthy and gives you the chance to structure your diet towards eating more, higher quality food to drive up weight gain.
eMeals offers a similar approach to Mealime with a tailored diet-plan built around the preferences you set up with your account. These can be adjusted to reflect different goals and eating preferences, making it a versatile app.
The simplicity of the system is great and user-friendly. It also takes quite well to weight gain, with a range of higher-calorie meals that offer great protein, carb, and micronutrients mixes. These also include side-dish options which let you adjust your intake and add a little more control.
The pro version offers more “situational” options like events and date night choices. The basic system, however, is a great place to find inspiration and work through meal suggestions based on your needs, with all the control you need to get the right fit for your taste and nutrition needs.
As with Mealime, you can extract the shopping list, and it even integrates with popular grocery store websites like WalMart.
This is a diet planning weight gain app that offers you a template on what to eat. It offers specific prescriptions, so you can follow them to the word and put together meals. This is built off of a basic macro ratio setup.
It’s a cheap app at $1, but does fall short because of this lack of adjustment. It’s a template diet that doesn’t adapt to the individual’s needs.
This means that it ignores some of the important factors you need to fit diet around like training, age, and others. These are included in the paid version, but it’s basic functionality.
This app also has some layout and user-interface problems. It’s a cheap app, but the free version does feel both limited. Many of the features that are paid in this app are free elsewhere, which can leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
This is a meal planner app that offers greater levels of customization to the individual than the previous service. This does go too far, however, and tends to spit out obscure meal choices that are clearly calculated around a small pool of “clean” foods.
The function of choosing from within categories of foods is good, but the categories are limited and often don’t make sense. Foods don’t neatly fit into protein, carb, and fat most of the time. It has some useful user-friendly features, but they’re let down by the odd meals and single day-plan.
The paid version of this app doesn’t seem to offer a much more fulfilling experience, either. The meals themselves are combinations of ingredients, which can be useful, but doesn’t seem to combine into a whole meal.
This service simply offers you a list of high-protein foods, which are key to weight gain diets. They offer a range of different recommendations, as well as other basic tools like nutrient calculations and high protein meal plans.
The non-meat items on this product are sketchy. Various produce items that are high in protein fail to make the lists. This shows a lack of database depth that you’d expect to see from other apps, as well as being a problem for those with plant-based dietary needs.
Equally, recommendations for weight gain calories are off the mark. Data and calculations seem to be reliably poor.
This app is definitely burdened by the sheer quantity of ads, which has been adjusted recently but is still prominent.
Best Utility Apps for Weight Gain: Honorable Mentions
This section covers everything else – the useful tools you might have missed. We’ll be covering a lot of lightweight apps that have a single focus, and simply don’t fit in our other categories.
These range from simple to complex, and general to specialist. They also tend to be cheap and easy to use, so you don’t need to commit huge amounts of time or money to them.
This isn’t a calorie tracker, it’s more like a meal tracker. This is an organization app that is designed to remind you to eat. When trying to gain weight, this kind of meal reminder is a great tool. It’s a way of keeping your food-alerts in one place. It also tracks body weight for long-term tracking.
EatWise can be really useful if you find yourself missing out on important meals throughout the day. This can easily limit your progress, and regular eating is great. The collection of all meal alarms in one place is useful, too.
The overall functions of the app are quite limited, but it does them well. It can sync with smart watches, and offers basic tracking. It doesn’t cost anything and doesn’t advertise any in-app purchases, so it’s a good lightweight choice with nothing to lose.
This is another tracker of your body weight. It’s a simple tool, just like EatWise, that offers a main function. It tracks and graphs your weight, which is a great way to watch trends over time. This is useful information when you review your diet and training.
It also has a goal-setting system and offers metrics outside of bodyweight. Measurements like BMI, body fat %, and even some measurements are supported.
This app does have some technical limitations, however. It has some graphing errors in the max weight, it often doesn’t orient photos appropriately, and it is limited to inch-measurements. Some of these features can be annoyingly unintuitive, which is why it’s lower on our list than others.
This is a simple app that lets you take a meal plan and extract the groceries you need to make it work. This is a huge benefit to busy people who are struggling with the fiddly nature of adding up the different ingredients of different meals, spread out through a week or more planned eating.
You can use this as a meal planner but the best value is just using it to extract a grocery list. It also offers meal inspiration and choices that you can use to bolster your diet, improve variety, and get better at cooking!
It’s a great utility to have and it’s made this list for the sheer simplicity of its function and user interface, too.
Our Final Thoughts
The best apps to gain weight are:
- Tracker: MyFitness Pal – a classic, with an amazing Pro system for any possible diet needs
- Workout support: TrainHeroic – a wide range of programs from real, experienced coaches
- Meal prep: Mealime – a simple and effective system to structure, plan, and buy for the week
Apps like these offer additional help during difficult times. They make aspects of the logistics of weight gain clearer and easier. By taking out significant portions of the planning and calculating, they make diet easier.
We’ve set out the best on the market and how you can use them to help. You’ll get out what you put in – and it’s important to treat it as a tool.
You can build better self-awareness, nutrition understanding, and better habits. You just have to reflect on what these apps tell you and how they improve your existing approach.
Every change in lifestyle can be a source of immense positive learning. Diet is a slow game – especially when trying to gain weight. Incorporate these apps in your own life and you’ll find far more opportunities to learn, practice, and grow as an independent gainer!
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Rohan Arora is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and has been actively involved in sports and fitness for over 8 years. He now leads the team of fitness specialists and personal trainers who help people around the world with personalized workout and nutrition plans, along with providing the right information on sports supplements.