How to Gain Weight Fast
(Good Looking Loser & Good Looking Kangaroo)
This plan is specifically to GAIN WEIGHT, it is generally meant for guys that are 15-20+ lbs. underweight and just need some meat on their body.
Though it is designed to add QUALITY pounds (muscle) it is NOT a "gain lean muscle only" diet.
It is a WEIGHT GAIN protocol.
It is similar to the weight loss plan, that focuses SOLELY on losing weight, but this will do the reverse.
Like the weight loss plan, it is physiologically impossible for it not to work if you actually follow it. Unless you have an undiagnosed medical problem.
It certainly can be used if you are trying to gain muscle, have a fast metabolism and generally have trouble putting on weight. Bodybuilders and powerathletes, in the off-season, might benefit as well.
If you are looking for a protocol to maximize ONLY lean muscle gains, check this out if you are willing to train equally as hard.
Our protocol is easy enough for anyone who is actually serious about gaining weight.
How to Safely Gain Weight and Get Bigger
Gaining weight for some people is super easy.
Some people just eat whatever they want and progressively become the size of a small car.
But for others, gaining weight is not easy.
In fact, in some cases, it’s seems impossible.
For these seemingly genetically-inferior guys, though they are often told, "it's a blessing in disguise," it is quite frustrating and can be embarrassing when their friends are gaining muscle and they can't even put on fat. Once you figure out how to gain weight, keep it on, it can turn out to be a blessing.
Most people who struggle to gain weight think they have some super-charged metabolism.
In reality, however, 99% of the time it's not actually the case.
They might have a fast(er) than average metabolism but...
Skinny guys are skinny for one reason.
They don’t eat enough.
No, sorry, homie- you aren't the exception.
Underweight guys might be "eating whatever they want", but truth be told- they are not packing away the right amount of calories required to stack weight on. Just because you eat 'want you want' doesn't mean you are eating enough food overall.
Here’s our quick guide to transform you from a skinny mini guy, to a solid unit.
How Much Should I Weigh, What is Realistic?
There are many factors that affect your weight.
These include your gender, age, height, physical activity level, dietary intake, hormones and your genetics.
It's hard to give exact predictions on weight loss or weight gain.
However, realistically, you can expect to gain between 0.5 to 1.1 lbs. (0.25 – 0.5kg) each week if you stick to these guidelines.
Knowing what is realistically achievable is important. As a general rule of thumb, you will probably want to achieve a body mass gain of 2.2 lbs. (1kg) for every cm your height is over 1 m.
(these guidelines are for average person, not athletes that carry significant amounts of muscle)
- 5’6” – 5’7” (1.70m) = ~155+ lbs. (70kg)
- 5’8” - 5’9” (1.75m) = ~165+ lbs. (75kg)
- 5’10” - 5’11” (1.80m) = ~175+ lbs. (80kg)
- 6’0” - 6’1” (1.85m) = ~187+ lbs. (85mg)
- 6’2” – 6’3” (1.90m) = ~200+ lbs. (90kg)
- 6’4” – 6’5” (1.95m) = ~210+ lbs. (95kg)
Achieving a body mass greater than these levels is doable, however- it is no easy feat and may take some time and patience if you are “naturally” underweight.
First thing's, first- GAIN WEIGHT.
How Much Should I Eat?
If you are more than 40 lbs. underweight, please go see a doctor.
You might have bigger issues going on, unfortunately.
In order to figure how much you need to eat, we need some more information on YOU.
Make a Plan (Figure out BMR)
In order to gain mass, you need a plan.
A good, specific, quantitative plan.
While it might be surprising that I don’t encourage guys count calories that are trying to LOSE WEIGHT (until they are close to 12-15% body fat) - you are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to count calories if your goal is to gain weight.
A good, specific, quantitative plan outlines exactly how many calories per day you need to eat and what foods you are going to eat, in order to hit the calorie targets (which MAKES your body gain).
This specific number be easily achieved with a TWO simple calculations.
Don't worry, it's not a lot.
This is the most important number of your life and your ticket to no longer looking and being unhealthy and wimpy.
Start by calculating your basal metabolic rate (or BMR)-
- Fill out this formula RIGHT NOW- Calculate Your BMR
If, for some reason, you want to do it by hand (weirdo), here is the formula-
Male: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X weight in kg) + (5 X height in cm) - (6.8 X age)
Once you’ve calculated your BMR, you need to account for how much exercise you are going to be doing and your general activity levels.
- Sedentary = BMR X 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job)
- Lightly active = BMR X 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk)
- Mod. active = BMR X 1.55 (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk)
- Very active = BMR X 1.725 (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk)
- Extra active = BMR X 1.9 (hard daily exercise/sports & physical job or 2X day training)
Write down that number.
Did you write it down?
The number you wrote down is your daily energy requirement to maintain your current body mass (also known as- the number of calories you need to eat to NOT LOSE WEIGHT).
Add 500-1000 to that number.
That is how many calories you NEED to eat everyday.
(If you are more than 25lbs. underweight, I suggest you eat 1000-1500 calories over your daily energy requirement. We’ve got to put some meat on you and we’ve got to show you it’s possible so you don’t revert to your previous eating/barely eating habits.)
How Much Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats Do I Need?
For people trying to gain mass, we typically don’t tend to give them precise percentages of carbohydrates and fats and protein they should eat each day.
This is because, technically speaking- there is not overly great deal of research to support a set macronutrient ratio as such.
However, that is not to suggest that you can get all your calories from carbohydrates and not expect to get fat.
Ultimately- weight gain is a product of- EATING MORE CALORIES (500-1000) THAN YOU BURN.
We also want to KEEP.IT.SIMPLE; in my experience as a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist- trainees are much more likely to succeed (and start) if the program is as simple as possible but still provides noticeable results.
Here are are some guidelines for macronutrients that you should follow-
A daily intake of 1.2 – 1.7 g per pound/kilogram of body mass.
- Just multiply your current weight by 1.2 and 1.7.
If I weighed 155lbs. (~70 kg)
I would multiply 155 x 1.2-1.7 and get- 186 - 263.5;
I MAKE CERTAIN that I was eating AT LEAST 186 g of protein a day.
A consumption level closer to 263.5 g is even better.
Choose complex carbohydrates only and avoid simple carbohydrates; especially (if not exclusively) foods on the just eat one of those foods at EVERY MEAL.
A daily intake of around 20-25% of your total energy intake from healthy fats; especially (if not exclusively) healthy fat listed on “The ‘A List’ of Foods To Eat (Weight Loss, Weight Management).
Don’t worry there’s PLENTY of calories in them, even though they are on that list.
- just have 1 serving of the healthy fat suggestions at each meal too.
Eat Regularly (Early and Often)
Eat a lot.
Often and a lot.
(the foods we list)
Eat before you are hungry. You need to.
You should never feel hungry during your day, it's a sign that you slacking and not taking this seriously.
You need to eat regularly, within the first 30 minutes after you wake and about EVERY 3 HOURS thereafter.
Getting in all those calories is not easy, especially if your diet used to resemble that of a Hollywood girl with a cocaine habit.
You are going to have to get used to it.
Don’t worry, eventually your body will like it and expect it.
It is a lot harder if you try to do it over 3 meals instead of 6.
FORGET THE BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER concept.
The majority of people who follow that are either- OVERWEIGHT or UNDERWEIGHT.
Eating regularly helps to increase your metabolism and appetite. This will help you adjust to the increase in calories quicker.
This same principle is applied with obese people.
Obese people don’t eat 3 x 2000 calories meals per day; they eat high calorie, high glycemic meals and snack frequently. Over time, their appetite increases and their body gets used to have frequent feedings of high calorie foods. This is the glorious process of becoming fat.
Eating within 30 minutes of waking is critical. Failing to eat upon rising, will suppress your appetite for the rest of the day and you will find it difficult to hit you calorie target by the end of the day.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is critical if you want to gain weight or lose weight. Just make sure you aren’t eating dessert for breakfast.
Furthermore, if your goal is to gain weight- NEVER train without eating prior.
As previously discussed in the "Exercising on an Empty Stomach", exercising in a fasted state will make you lose weight.
Eat a high carbohydrate, calorie-rich meal or snack prior to training. If you find it gives you an upset stomach, reduce the overall size of the meal/snack. With time, your body will adjust and you will eventually find you can’t train without eating.
Choose High Calorie Healthful Foods
You need to pick your foods wisely in order to hit the daily calorie intake.
Think about it like this-
- 100g of whole-wheat pasta equals approximately 140 calories.
- 100g of zucchini equals 15 calories.
However, the 100g of zucchini is likely to fill you up just as much as the 100g of pasta is.
(probably a little less- but that’s not the point)
You should pick calorie-dense carbohydrates that have IMPACT.
(Just see our muscle food list and eat it.)
Choosing foods low in fiber content is also important. This is the opposite of our weight loss diet.
Too many high-fiber foods will leave you feeling bloated and full. Fiber slows the digestion of food in your stomach, meaning you will feel fuller for longer.
This is great if you are trying to lose weight and are reducing your daily calorie intake, however if your goal is to gain mass and put away 3000+ calories each day, then fiber is not your friend. This is about the only time fiber is not great for you.
Don’t worry, simply by eating the carbohydrates we recommend, you’ll be getting enough fiber.
Here are some healthful high-calorie foods you should eat:
(buy organic if available and if you can afford it; the quality of your food MATTERS)
- Whole-Wheat Pasta = 100g = 140 calories
- Brown Rice = 100g = 161 calories
- Yams (or Sweet Potato) = 100g = 118 calories
- Quinoa = 100g = 120 calories
- Almonds = 100g = 600 calories
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil = 100g = 813 calories
- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil = 100g = 816 calories
- Peanut Butter (Natural) = 100g = 617 calories
- Whole Milk = 350mL = 249 calories
If you need to gain 20+ lbs. use whole milk; if not 2% is fine.
Training for Weight Gain
Your training regime is equally important to gain quality weight.
You don’t want those excess calories to turn into fat.
We need to WAKE UP your muscles so your body has reason to grow muscle and not fat.
Chances are, if you are significantly underweight, you probably don't know a lot about the gym.
We are going to KEEP.IT.SIMPLE for you.
Get you some quality weight that sticks.
But you’ve got to put in 40 minutes of weight training at least 3 times a week.
(That's it. NO MORE THAN 4)
The good news is (similar to the weight loss program) your gym visits are going to very short.
IN and OUT.
Then go home and eat (and sit on your fatigued ass).
Your appetite will naturally increase if you follow our advice.
Here are some guidelines that we HIGHLY encourage you to follow-
- Train at least 3 times a week (no more than 4 however).
- Every other day is best- 1-day gym followed by 1-day rest.
- Do not stay at the gym more than 45 minutes.
- Don't wander around talking or trying to find a "perfect" song on your iPod either.
- Lift weights.
- Lift weights with INTENSITY.
- Do compound movements (bench, dips, squats, pull ups).*
- You can have a upper body day and a lower body day if you want.
- Don’t do more than 12 reps per set; 4-7 reps per set is better.
- (For squats- 12-20 reps is fine)
- Ideally on your 4th to 7th rep, you will fatigue your muscles and you'll have to stop.
- NO CARDIO. NONE.
- You get enough cardio for our purposes by lifting weights with intensity.
- Go home and EAT immediately. Doesn’t have to be a protein shake.
* Compound movements are usually free-weight exercises that work several muscle groups and don’t isolate a single muscle like "gym machines" do.
We understand that you might be unfamiliar with these exercises and it’s ‘okay’ (for now) if you workout only on the machines…
So long as you are doing REAL exercises on the machines, exercises that don’t isolate a single small group.
Exercises such as- machine bench-press, machine leg press, lat pull, back rows, machine military (shoulder press), hack-squat or exercises on the ‘smith machine’ are fine.
Stupid isolation shit like machine curls, leg extension, tricep pull-down will not help you put on weight. These exercises/machines are mainly meant for bodybuilders or more advanced guys who have very specific training regimens and goals.
If you’ve noticed, this type of training protocol actually is closer to what an athlete/powerlifter would do (with the exception of any machine exercises) than a bodybuilder.
The gym sessions are short, the amount of reps/sets is low and the poundages are heavy (relative to your strength).
If you prefer to pick one or two body parts a day, like most bodybuiders do, that’s fine. Just MAKE SURE you do COMPOUND EXERCISES before you get into isolating specific muscle groups.
Track Your Progress
You need to track your progress in order to stay motivated and accountable.
Progress is the best motivation.
Recording in our forum it is the best accountability.
Start by tracking your daily calorie intake.
Record how many calories you eat each day and what foods you ate. If you aren’t certain exactly how many calories you ate at any given meal- overestimate your guess.
If, for some reason, you ‘aren’t sure’ how much calories you eat on any given day- have another meal before you go to sleep. The rule is- you aren’t allowed to sleep until you’ve ate (or surpassed) your caloric goal.
WEIGHT GAIN (AKA Progress)
Check your weight every second or third day and record this as well.
You are welcome to weigh yourself EVERY NIGHT; ideally going to sleep 3-5 lbs. heavier than when you woke up.
Please understand that this is largely water weight, but it doesn’t hurt if this approach keeps you motivated.
For some guys, it significantly helps motivation and adherence to write down EXACTLY what you are going to do in the gym.
Ideally- write it up the night before so you can read it at the gym and not waste time writing it down.
Remember, you are only training in a ~40 minute window, so you don’t need to do more than about 10 sets/exercises in total.
If you don’t do that, you should still record which compound exercises you do, how many reps, sets and how long you were at the gym.
Consider taking pictures too.
Before and after pictures can help you identify where you have increased in size, particularly if you don’t feel you’ve made any gains.
Example of 'How to Gain Weight' Eating Plan
We’ll get up some sample weight-gain diets in the future.
Remember- it’s my mission to teach you HOW TO EAT and not just give you some list of what to eat.
Once you know HOW TO EAT, you automatically know what to eat.
This plan is for someone who needs to eat 3500+ calories per day.
If I was 6-2, 200lbs, had a ‘light activity level’ and wanted to gain weight, this plan would work-
- Breakfast: 100g oatmeal, 250mL whole milk, 50g raisins, 1 scoop whey protein powder
- Snack: 100g almonds, small apple
- Lunch: 250g white pasta, 200g ground beef in Bolognese sauce, Parmesan cheese
- Snack: 1 large avocado and 100g tin of tuna in olive oil
- Post workout shake: 1.5 scoops whey protein powder, 300mL of whole milk, banana
- Dinner: 200g brown rice, 300g of chicken breast, steamed vegetables
- Before Bed: 100mL cream,1/2 cup of mixed berries
These meals, like the meals on the weight loss diet, are interchangeable.
Should I Buy a Protein Supplement?
This depends on your schedule and you ability to slam down your minimum requirement of 5 small(er) meals a day. If you find it difficult, having a protein shake (with certain things added in) is way better than not eating.
A protein supplement is no means necessary however.
We’d prefer you to spend your money on quality solid food.
After all, a protein “supplement” is meant to be a “supplement” to a good diet, sometimes acting as a meal replacement.
We've found that most inexperienced guys that immediately start asking about supplements usually don't have their diet together, are impatient and frankly don't understand how weight gain works. It's a matter of calories, moreso than protein.
If you aren’t familiar with “protein shakes,” you should know that the majority of protein powders are actually quite low in calories and carbohydrates. A lot of them are designed for people who are trying lose weight, since that is target group is the majority and most profitable.
With that in mind you’ll need to purchase the right one and/or know what to add to your shake to many it worthwhile.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to have 2 to 3 protein shakes per day in order to get large.
In fact- that is a recipe to lose weight if you neglect more calorie-dense solid food.
If you do want to buy some protein powder that is designed for weight gain (and muscle growth), these are excellent-
- Beverly International Cookies & Cream - Best Tasting Protein Ever (add milk and oatmeal)
- Oh Yeah! Vanilla/Chocolate - Almost Best Tasting Protein Ever (add milk, natural peanut butter)
- Muscle Milk, Assorted Affordable Varieties - (add milk, other goodies- fruit, peanut butter, nuts)
Don't buy a big tub of cheap protein. Cheaper formulas aren't as good and you'll end of getting sick of the taste and stop using it.
What About Weight Gain Formulas?
If you want to bring a specific one to my attention- I’ll tell you what I think.
In general, however- AVOID THESE.
All they are is protein shakes with a ton of cheap added sugar in the form of maltodextrin.
The protein tends to be a low-quality “blend” as well.
It is the equivalent of having a protein shake and then drinking a soda (or 2).
Weight gain formulas were intended to be a food supplement for people with medical problems or seniors that drastically need additional calories. Somehow they made their way into the bodybuilding/sports world. (money, ignorance)
I’m not saying they are totally worthless, rare special cases might benefit, but there are better alternatives – such as adding peanut butter, nuts, oatmeal or even extra virgin olive oil (tasteless) to a higher-quality protein shake.
Weight Gain Shake Tips
In general, your protein shake is simply a meal, in a convenient liquid form.
It should be the same amount of calories as one of your solid food meals.
- Mix your protein shake with whole or 2% milk, not water.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a cheap, healthful, tasteless way to add 200+ calories.
- Natural peanut butter does that too.
- Nuts are good, just make sure to get the UNSALTED ones.
- Throw uncooked steel cut oats/quality oatmeal in there if your protein powder doesn't have over 10g of carbohydrates.
- Throw spinach in there (not for weight gain, just for health. it's tasteless).
- Add Stevia Extract for flavor.
- Adding ice makes it more of a milkshake consistency.
- Adding water makes it a more liquid-y consistency.
- You add add RAW EGGS with no worries of salmonella. Makes it 'fluffy' and higher in protein.
- You can throw creatine in your shake too, ideally- your post-workout shake.
- Fruit is okay, fruit juice is NOT. Fruit juice is closer to soda than fruit. It's just sugar.
Remember- weight gain is all about eating (taking in 500-1000 more calories than you burn on a daily basis).
- Guys that are successful are the guys that exceed their calorie quota.
- Guys that aren't successful are the guys that don't.
This isn't rocket science and it's barely math.
Weight Gain Guide - Troubleshooting FAQ
Q: The plan is simple enough, I added up the 2 numbers but I can't eat all the calories! What do I do? Help!
A: If you "can't" eat enough calories, you won't be gaining weight from this or anything else.
- It's just like "determined" overweight kid that "can't" stick to his diet or get to the gym.
- It's just like the "athlete" that "can't" eat food before his afternoon football practice.
- It's just like the "bodybuilder" that "can't" stop drinking every weekend.
- It's just like the girl that "can't" get sugar-free lattes instead of her usual sugar infested iced "coffee".
Be glad you are in a country where there IS food.
Come back when you are serious and truly wanting to make changes.