While being fat can definitely suck, and can be hard to overcome, being skinny and wanting to put on mass can be just as challenging. For many gym goers looking like a delicate little flower is not very appealing, especially during the winter bulking phase.
Gaining weight is a seemingly simple task, you simply eat more food and lift more weight. But despite our Rock-like aspirations of musclebound glory, and our rock-solid plan of action, many of us have trouble moving the scale in the right direction.
Why is that?
While a poor training program or a lack of intensity can definitely be the culprit in your muscle-lacking mystery, the harsh truth is that most people just don’t eat enough. A faster metabolism is the typical go-to excuse in this situation, and while a quicker metabolism can make things more difficult, it doesn’t change the facts: In order to gain weight, you must eat enough food.
Below are 3 tips to not only help fill your stomach but to also (hopefully) help fill those shirt sleeves as well.
1. Don’t Wait Until You’re Hungry
Here are two quick (and not so ironic) facts:
☐ Most overweight people become that way because they never reach the point of truly being hungry
☐ Most underweight people become that way because they always reach the point of truly being hungry
If this doesn’t illustrate your reality, I’m not sure what will.
Most “hard-gainers” are frequently quoted as saying they eat a ton. This statement is typically true, they do eat a ton, the problem is that they don’t eat very often. Frequent eating is typically associated with fat-loss diets due to its mythical metabolism-boosting properties. While frequent eating doesn’t really do anything for fat burning, it CAN help a someone trying to put on mass finally achieve their aim.
Pro Tip: Eat Every Three to Four Hours
Traditional thinking has us assuming that if we want to get in more calories, we need to eat more at each meal. On a whole that is partially true, but there does come a point in which you can only eat so much chicken and rice per sitting.
Try to eat an extra meal or two per day. Not only will this give you a few more chances to pack in the food, it will also provide the mental relief of dealing with smaller or more manageable meals. By cutting two 1000+ calorie meals into 3-4 meals at a fraction of the size makes them far more manageable.
2. Choose Calorie Dense Foods
When trying to add size, most people tend to lean heavily on popular bodybuilding or “clean eating” staples: chicken, rice, veggies, and protein shakes. The good news is that each of these foods will undoubtedly result in a strong and healthy body. The bad news is that none of these foods carry much of a caloric impact, at least not alone.
In our case, struggling to get enough food, this can cause a few obvious problems.
Pro Tip: Add oils and sugars into your cooking.
Don’t get it twisted, the last thing we want you doing is trading in your chicken filled Tupperware for a large bowl peanut butter smothered lava cake. But you could benefit from becoming a little more creative with your cooking.
Simple alterations like cooking your chicken in coconut oil, or cooking with your favorite sauces, will not only result in a tastier meal, but may also help get you over that caloric hump.
3. Get in Some Liquid Calories
Solid meals are almost always the superior option, but sometimes life can get hectic and our schedules won’t always allow us the time needed to do all of our cooking that day. In times like these it can be critical that you have an alternate option, one that allows you the flexibility to stay on track with your nutritional goals, while being flexible enough to accommodate your busy lifestyle.
Enter the meal-replacement: aka the brotein shake… ahem… the protein shake.
Protein shakes are nothing new and are known world wide for their gain-inspiring protein content. What isn’t nearly as known is the fact that most protein shakes are inherently extremely low calorie; an average serving of protein powder comes in at whopping 130 calories (roughly the same as a large banana).
Let’s use Vanilla Impact Whey Protein as an example. Per 30g serving you’ll be consuming 18g of protein and 100 calories. Doubling that up to a 60g serving, you’ll be consuming, as all you mathematicians have already worked out, 36g of protein and 200 calories. By doubling up the quantity of your protein shake you can easily increase your calorie intake in one easy to consume drink.
Pro Tip: Blend your foods.
While protein shakes naturally are naturally low in calories, it doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. To offset this problem, simply start adding in a few small additions to your favorite protein: peanut butter, milk, chocolate syrup. You could even go ahead and add in the aforementioned large banana and double up on your calories for that meal.
By adding these foods together, via a blender, you’re suddenly able to significantly up the density of your meal AND experience some pretty tasty treats in the process.
Take Home Message
Bulking can be a challenge to many people. It certainly isn’t easy to make significant changes to your diet, but hopefully with these 3 tips you now know a few relatively simple ways to increase your calorie intake. Give it a try and let us know how you get on in the comments below.