If you’re skinny and trying to bulk up, this will be 90% of the battle.
If you’ve been lifting weights for a while “but can’t seem to gain weight,” then you are not eating enough – it’s that simple.
I thought I was one of those people who just could never gain weight…and then I learned it was all diet, started eating 4,000 calories a day, and I put on 18 pounds in 30 days.
Yeah, I wanted to throw up from always eating along with three Muscle Milk shakes a day, but it worked.
Looking back I would have done things differently (so many calories and so much sugar/carbs), but after 6 years of exercising without putting on any weight, it was great to see so much progress in such a short period of time.
4,000 calories sounds freaking insane, right? I know.
It makes eating a full-time job.
You’ll always either cooking, eating, or cleaning up after yourself.
But if you really want to get bigger and you’re struggling to do so, then all of your effort is going to have to go into eating more, eating healthier, and eating ALL THE TIME.
I’ve since changed my strategies and gotten much more calculated in my approach. It’s how I (jokingly) went from Steve Rogers to Captain America.
Here are a few different techniques for weight gain:
PATH #1: Eat a lot of whatever – this was my first plan years ago: it’s cheapest, the fastest, but probably the least healthy.
Just make sure you get 200+ grams of protein a day and 3,500+ calories in any way that you can: pasta, rice, pizza, milk, hamburgers, chicken, protein shakes, muscle milk shakes, whatever. This is how I went from 162-180 pounds in 30 days. I’m not proud of how I ate, but it produced results and I remained healthy and strong.
PATH #2: Eat a lot of “healthy” stuff – I did this once and put on about 10 pounds in 30 days. Lots of:
- Brown rice
- My home-made big-ass shake
- Almond butter sandwiches on whole-grain wheat bread
Still not optimal, but it works and is better for your insides than the previous method. Still relatively cheap, as tubs of oats, brown rice, and bread are inexpensive and can add on a lot of calories quickly.
PATH #3: Eat Paleo – I’ve tried this strategy too, and despite my best efforts to GAIN weight I managed to lose five pounds (all of which was fat).
It’s certainly possible to gain weight on the paleo diet (try adding in three big-ass Primal Shakes per day), but it is tricky and very expensive to get 4,000 calories of paleo-approved food daily. LOTS of nuts, eggs, sweet potatoes, shots of olive oil, and yams along with tons of chicken, grass-fed beef, fruit, and veggies.
PATH #4: GOMAD (Gallon of Milk a Day) – Obviously this method will only work if you’re not lactose intolerant.
Oh, and it has to be whole milk. You’ll definitely put on some fat, but you’ll build muscle and get really strong quickly – and then you’ll adjust the diet to thin out.
I’ve attempted this diet occasionally, as whole milk is certainly a fast path to tons of carbs, fat, protein and calories. Be prepared for your stomach and body to constantly feel bloated. Note: you can adjust the amount of milk you consume daily based on how your body responds.
“Which Supplements Should I Take to Build Muscle Quickly?”
As we lay out in our Nerd Fitness Supplement Guide, most supplements are a waste of money and completely unnecessary for building muscle.
However, there are two supplements that CAN BE helpful in building muscle quickly:
- Protein Shakes: If you are struggling to hit your protein and calorie intake goals for the day, adding in a high-calorie protein shake can be a game-changer.
- Creatine Supplements: Creatine helps your muscles retain water and can improve your performance, allowing you to push harder, for longer, in the gym.
Are you vegan and trying to build muscle? Read our full article on how to go plant-based properly!