There’s a right way to gain weight and a wrong way to gain weight. Unfortunately for a lot of skinny guys, they fall prey to bad advice. Guys in the gym telling them, “You have to eat big to get big.”
I had one skinny guy tell me that to gain weight he was eating 2 steaks a day! Another skinny guy told me that he was loading up on milkshakes, candy bars, and protein shakes and that was pretty much his entire diet! Yes, these are all sad but true stories.
If you are a skinny guy looking to gain weight, it is just as much about quality as it is quantity. What do I mean by this? You have to consume a lot of quality, nutrient dense foods in high quantity.
To gain weight, you have to feed your body more calories than you are burning on a daily basis. This is called a calorie surplus. To ensure that these calories are going to aid in muscle building and not fat gain, they need to be quality-nutrient dense calories.
Everyone has a metabolic rate, or the amount of calories you burn per day through all your activities combined. If you are a naturally skinny guy you probably have a very high metabolic rate, which means that you need to consume a lot of calories. If you are under the age of 25, workout every day and have a super high metabolism, you may need to consume up to 4,000 calories a day to gain weight!
This does not mean that you fill your body with complete junk food like donuts, chips, cookies, and ice cream. This WILL NOT help you gain muscle mass. It is going to help you gain fat!
If you do it properly you will not only increase your lean muscle mass, increase your anabolic hormones, and keep your fat gains to a minimum. The end result is a chiseled physique that will be the envy of just about every guy at the gym. I actually think being a naturally skinny guy is a blessing, because when you learn how to eat properly and build lean muscle mass you will look absolutely shredded since your body does not store fat as easily.
The main reason you don’t want to consume a lot of junk calories is because it will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels, which is bad for your anabolic hormones – especially when you get closer to your bed time.
Your natural growth hormone is released when you go to sleep, and if you eat a bunch of sugar such as cookies or ice cream before you go to bed you are messing up your body’s natural production of one of the most important anabolic muscle building hormones, Human growth hormone.
There are five other crucial steps to follow for healthy weight gain. Let’s take a look at them now:
Rule #1: Increase Your Intake Of Healthy Fats
Increasing the amount of healthy fats you consume is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to gain weight. Many guys think that eating fat will make them fat, but when you are training increase muscle mass, your intake of healthy fats is crucial. Since fat is 9 calories per gram as opposed to carbohydrates and protein at 4, it is a very easy way to increase your calorie surplus.
You should make sure that at least 30 percent of your total calories throughout the day are from healthy fats. This will also mean that you will naturally get heart healthy omegas in your diet, which is crucial for optimal health.
Make sure to eat a variety of the following healthy fats: peanut butter, almond butter, almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, olive oil, guacamole, avocado, salmon, and whole eggs.
Make sure to avoid the unhealthy fat, which will clog your arteries and are poor for your overall health. The list of unhealthy fats is candy bars, cookies, butter, vegetable oil, animal fat from chicken, steak pork, etc, and anything fried or battered.
Rule #2: 1 Gram Of Lean Protein For Every Pound Of Body Weight
Protein is crucial for lean muscle and weight gain because it contains naturally occurring amino acids that set the stage for an anabolic atmosphere and optimal muscle growth.
You should be consuming at the very minimum 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. If you are a serious hard gainer try upping this to 1.2 grams of protein per lb of body weight.
Make sure that your protein intake is spread out throughout the day, and not just at 1 or 2 meals. I doubt you can eat 150 grams of protein at one meal, but even if you could it is much better for your system to spread this intake out over the course of the day, and “drip feed” your muscles a non stop supply of amino acids and protein.
Make sure that your protein intake is coming from sources of lean protein. The list of healthy protein options are the following: skinless chicken breast, Lean grass fed beef, lean grass fed buffalo, pork chops, Turkey, tilapia, salmon, tuna, grouper, halibut, egg whites, tofu, soybeans, edasmame, fat free greek yogurt, and even skim milk! There are many delicious options so make sure you get a nice variety.
Rule #3: Make It Complex
When it comes to carbohydrate intake, this can really make or break your progress. If you listen to any of these rules, make sure you pay attention closely to this one…
You MUST be consuming high fiber, slow digesting carbohydrates for healthy weight gain. Complex carbohydrates mean that they are higher in fiber, and will provide your body with long-term energy.
Fast digesting carbohydrates will give you a quick spike of energy and then cause your body to crash. This will also spike your insulin levels, which will play havoc on your anabolic hormones as we mentioned above.
The only time of the day you should be consuming a fast digesting carbohydrate is with your post workout protein shake when your glycogen levels are depleted and need instant restoring.
The list of complex carbohydrates is long and delicious. Make sure to get a variety of the following: Ezekiel Bread (By far the healthiest kind of bread), black beans, kidney beans, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat or whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, flaxseed, steel cut oats, any vegetables, any fruits, 100 percent whole grain cereals and crackers (No enriched wheat flour.)
Stay clear of white pasta, white rice, sugar laden sauces and salad dressings, enriched wheat flour, white bread, candy, cookies, fruit juices, sugar laden soft drinks, etc.
Rule #4: Stick With All Natural Supplements
Many guys who are desperate to gain weight end up making a poor decision with supplements. Supplements prey on skinny guys desperate to bulk up. When it comes to supplements you need to make sure that what you are taking is good for your long-term health.
Supplements like pro hormones, steroids, testosterone, human growth hormone and many over the counter test boosters and hormone increasers are complete garbage and will do way more harm than good for you. If you aren’t careful, you can even mess up your body’s natural hormone balances for life! Yes – This has happened to plenty of guys and it is a realistic consequence to messing with good old Mother Nature.
If you want good all natural supplements stick with a quality multi vitamin, BCAA, L Glutamine, fish oil, creatine, and whey protein. These are all proven, safe, and effective muscle building supplements and have years of science and research to back them up.
Rule #5: No More Than A Pound A Week
As you are upping your caloric intake to bulk up and gain weight you should closely monitor how much weight you are actually putting on. If you are training very hard in the weight room and eating a lot of quality calories, you should aim to gain about 1 lb a week.
Your goal should be to stick in the ½ lb to 1 lb range for the next 12 weeks. If you are gaining more than a pound per week chances are you that you are storing some additional fat as well.
Your body simply can’t put on more than a pound of lean muscle mass per week, unless you have the testosterone of a giant Rhino.
Weigh yourself once a week in the morning, and carefully track your weight. If you are gaining more than a pound per week it may be time to cut the calories back a little.