So, you’re a skinny guy having a hard time putting on weight and muscle. Well, son, this article’s for you. Before you feel sorry for yourself and your condition, know just as there are plenty of fat guys struggling with their fat, there plenty of skinny guys struggling with their weight. And, although it might seem to you that your struggle to put on weight is different from the fat guy trying to lose weight, it isn’t. In fact, it’s a mirror image of the weight loss struggle. While weight loss is all about restricting calories, weight gain, on the other hand, is all about creating a caloric surplus.
If you think you’re an ectomorph “hard gainer” who is genetically handicapped by a “high metabolism,” we’ve got news for you. In short, neither your genetics nor your metabolism has anything do with putting on weight. Unless, of course, you’re a part of the small minority of fella’s who are limited by a genetic disorder such as the one that hinders protein synthesis, you have no excuse for shunning the effort required to put on weight.
Contrary to what you might think, all you need to do put on weight is to eat more than you’re currently eating. And, while you might argue that you’ve tried that; and say that you eat everything under the sun, let me just intervene and say, it’s not enough. Not only do you have to eat a lot more than you’re currently eating, but you also have to be consistent with your eating for some time for the results to starting showing.
How much should you Eat?
For starters, you need to know what your caloric maintenance level is or in other words, the number of calories your body needs to function at your given weight. To know this, you’ll need your BMR, and you’ll need to factor in your current activity level. Here’s a simple formula that’ll give you an accurate figure for how much you should be eating in order to gain weight.
Now, that you know how much you need to eat, the next step is to figure out how often you should eat and what types of foods you should consume.
How often should you Eat for Weight Gain?
There are no fixed rules for when and how often you should eat. There are benefits to eating six small meals throughout the day, just as there are benefits to eating 3 large meals spaced out with a few small snacks in between. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with and what works for you.
If you feel hungry later towards the evening or late, it’s absolutely okay to eat at that time. Contrary to popular belief, eating at night does not make you fat. However, there are certain that you should avoid late night, simply because they might be harder to digest and therefore interfere with your sleep. Ultimately, what matters is that you get the desired number of calories daily you need to make weight gain happen.
Which Foods to Focus to Eat?
If you’re looking to gain weight, your focus should be on calorie-dense foods. However, this does not mean that you should eat everything that boasts a high calories number. Although, your overall goal is to put on weight, you shouldn’t sabotage your health by eating the majority of your calories from processed foods.
High Calorie Foods to Eat
- Mixed Nuts and Dry Fruits
- Olive Oil
- Fish Oil
- Bran breads, cereals
- Wholegrain Breads
5 High Calorie Meal Samples for the Hardgainer
- 5-6 Scrambled eggs (3-4 yolks and 3 whites) with cheese (cheddar), onions, tomatoes, halle pineios, olives (whatever else you like). Also, add in some milk to get some fluff in your eggs.
- 1 large banana
- A hand full of almonds (8-12)
- 1 Glass of milk (14 ounces) with a bowl of oats (75-90g)
Total approx Calorie Count: 800 kcals
A Protein Shake consisting of:
- 1 scoop of whey protein
- 8-12 ounces of milk or 4-6 ounces of water,
- 1 large diced banana or strawberries, or another fruit of your liking
- Add Peanut Butter or chocolate chips (Optional)
Total approx Calorie Count: 650 kcals
2 Tuna/ Chicken Sandwiches
- Use Canned Tuna or Chicken (8-10 ounces);
- Whole grain or whole wheat bread (Check the label to see that it says ‘whole’, since this suggests that the bread hasn’t been refined and still contains all the good stuff, including bran and other vital nutrients and vitamins)
- 1 large Apple
Total approx Calorie Count: 620 kcals
Chicken Breast with Brown Rice
- 1 & ½ cups of Brown or organic rice
- 1 & ½ cups of vegetables or greens, including broccoli, beans etc
- 6-8 ounces of chicken (Breast or chopped) cooked in Olive oil
- 1 medium Sweet Baked potato with or without butter
Total approx Calorie Count: 750 kcals
Banana Milk shake with mixed nuts
- I large Banana
- 1 glass whole milk (16-18 ounces)
- A handful of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts etc)
Total approx Calorie Count: 550 kcals
An Avocado and Smoke Salmon Spaghetti
- Salmon (6-8 ounces)
- Spaghetti (200-250g)
- 1 Avocado
- Parsely and Lemon
- Salmon (100-150g)
- 2 Toasted buttered slices of whole wheat bread or garlic bread
- Cook in Olive oil
Total approx Calorie Count: 850
Total Calorie Count > 4000 kcals
The above meals are only samples. There are several different meals that can be built using the various foods that have been outlined on top. It is always a great idea to plan ahead and prepare your meals in advance so that you don’t get frustrated and skip meals. Nothing could be worse than skipping a meal. While you could get away with skipping a strength workout on the squat rack, eating right and on time, should be your priority, especially since the body get used to a pattern quickly and starts to catabolic mode and starts breaking down muscle to use as fuel, when you skip meals frequently. Remember to buy stock in advance and prepare all your meals for the week or a few days if you have to. Eat right and consistently and nothing can deny you gains.
About The Author
Andrew is the founder and CEO at Aim Workout. His enthusiasm for fitness and adventure has led him on several mountain biking, deep sea diving, and rock climbing journeys. He is also a trained Boxing instructor and an avid triathlete. As a passionate fitness professional, Andrew endorses the pull-up dip station as the no. 1 strength training tool.