It’s one of the most misunderstood conditions you can have. You’re skinny. You can’t put on weight no matter how hard you try. You get made fun of for having no “meat on your bones,” and overweight people tell you to cry them a river when you complain about not being able to put on any pounds. Perhaps, you’re a competitive weightlifter, wrestler or something comparable, and you need to gain some weight, either to qualify for a weight class, or to create a foundation for more muscle development. Whatever the case, the goal is the same and so are the methods. Here’s our brief weight gain diet guide to help you add some pounds and meet your fitness goals.
You need to consume a massive amount of calories, at least 3,500 a day, if you want to put on weight. But you want most of those calories to be nutritious additions to your diet. You can easily get 3,500 daily calories eating burgers and donuts and drinking soda, but doing so will only make you fat. You want to build muscle, and to do this, you must eat healthy calories, loaded with protein, healthy fats and good carbs.
Without good solid protein, you will not build the muscle weight you want. Fish, grilled chicken, eggs, milk, peanuts, almonds and the like are the way to go. You also may want to look into weight gain diet supplements.
Rice, bread, pasta, oatmeal and other grains will help you gain weight, but much of it will be fat. You should have vegetables and fruit at every meal, not just protein. If you eat protein exclusively, your metabolism will start burning it for fuel. You need to eat just enough healthy carbs to prevent this from happening.
You need 8–9 hours of sleep each night for optimal gains. While you’re sleeping, your body heals itself, which includes developing muscle stimulated by those micro-tears you make in your muscle during workouts. If you’re not resting fully, you won’t recover sufficiently from your workouts, and you’ll find your plateaus a lot harder to break through.
There’s no way around it — all this eating you’re doing will translate into some fat growth. That’s not such a bad thing, especially if you’re an ectomorph who has a hard time putting on fat. Muscle needs a steady food source, and the only way to get it is by having some fat. The strongest athletes are not super cut, and those guys up on the stage at bodybuilding championships do not look like that all year. So when you start to get a little bit of a belly for the first time in your life, don’t let it put you off your weight gain diet. Keep on pounding those lean calories, and focus on low rep strength-training at the gym.
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