Are you struggling to gain weight? If no matter how much you eat or how hard you train you just can’t make the number on the scales move, then you need to read this article. We’ve got five tips for gaining weight for “hard gainers” to apply and watch their bodies grow!
First off, what is a hard gainer? A hard gainer is someone who is naturally skinny and struggles to put on any weight, or if they do manage to put on weight – keep it on. You may be thinking to yourself, or exclaiming out loud, why would that be a bad thing?! Well, to build muscle (and get stronger) your body needs a surplus of calories. Hard gainers find it hard to create this surplus of calories as their body’s metabolism works in overdrive burning off the extra calories they’re trying to store. While they may not get fat or overweight, it is most likely they find it hard to reach aesthetic or strength goals.
The good news is that it’s called hard gainer not impossible gainer. It might be hard, but it is achievable and we’re here to help you learn how to eat and train to get your body to start packing on the muscle and make the scales move.
Increase portion sizes
An easy way to increase your caloric intake is to increase the portion sizes of whatever you are eating now. If you usually have two pieces of toast for breakfast, have three or four. If you eat one chicken breast per meal, make it two. If you usually have one cup of rice, make it one and a half cups or two. Same goes with cereal or oatmeal. If you are only using one scoop of protein powder per protein shake, use two for goodness sake!
You’re already making it, so you may as well make more. Worst case scenario you’ve got something to eat later!
Make your life about FOOD.
You know you should be eating every two-three hours but how often do you forget to go and grab something to eat? Set an alarm to go off every 2 or 3 hours and don’t turn it off until you’ve started making food or eating it. Eating, just like training, needs to be done consistently to see the results. When you are trying to gain weight every meal counts.
Make sure you are eating your first meal of the day 15-30minutes within waking up. Breakfast is absolutely the most important meal of the day. This needs to be a quality meal full of nutrients to start your day off right. You’ll want something with carbs and protein. Think oatmeal and whey protein or eggs and whole-wheat bread.
If you’re at work all day, you’re going to have to meal prep so that you have enough food to take with you to last the day. And then you’re going to go home and eat some more food. Before training and after training
The amount of time you spend thinking about food, preparing food, and eating food is going to increase. It’s likely the amount of money you spend on food each week will increase as well. If these things aren’t increasing, then you will probably find that your weight isn’t increasing either.
Always Fuel Your Body Before Training
It might be tempting to roll out of bed and hit the gym on an empty stomach, or maybe you missed lunch and think you’ll be okay to train after work without eating something beforehand.
It is recommended that you have had at least three solid meals to eat before you train. If you train in the morning, eat the biggest meaI of the day immediately after training.
Your body needs fuel to meet the demands of a training session and then to repair itself after. If you aren’t getting that fuel from your pre or post workout meal, your body will start breaking down your muscle tissue for energy. That will definitely make putting on muscle and weight that much harder.
Eat Caloric-Rich Foods
Make sure you are eating foods that are high in calories and rich in nutrients. If you have trouble eating a lot of food, then you need to make sure that what you are eating is good for your body and going to help you reach your calorie surplus. Eating a lot of lettuce is not going to help you gain weight. Eating a lot of fast food and biscuits might make you gain weight, but it will probably be in the form of fat that you will have to lose later.
Good choices of caloric and nutrient rich foods are:
- Peanut butter or other nut butters
- Salmon and Tuna
- Nuts and dried fruits
- Greek yoghurt
Mass Gainer Supplements
If you’re really struggling to eat more food or don’t have enough time to prepare extra meals, then a mass gainer may be necessary to help boost your calories. A mass gainer can be mixed with water, or with milk for added calories. Depending on how many scoops of mass gainer you use, you can easily get an extra 600-1200 calories in one shake. Ideally drink it in the morning, or after your training to give your body the most beneficial calorie boost. Start off with one or two scoops in your shake before increasing the amount as it can be quite hard on your stomach to digest such a large amount of calories in a short amount of time. Glutamine or a digestive enzyme can help to support your digestive system if you are taking a mass gainer and find that you are having some digestive issues.
These tips are great, and if you follow them you will see results. But if you really want to see results you need to be consistent and you need to be patient. It won’t happen overnight, but if you consistently eat enough calories to put your body in a caloric surplus, and are fueling your body around training to prevent muscle breakdown, then you will start to see results.