If you’re a skinny individual looking to gain weight and muscle, then this video is definitely for you. The video is by Nick Bare and I wanted to share it with a broader audience looking for ectomorph (skinny body frame) diet tips. I provide a summary, but you should definitely watch the whole video or check out the transcript below.
He has a ton of great content so definitely check out his channel and subscribe.
Hardgainer Diet Summary
Here’s a quick summary of diet tips for hardgainers on how to gain weight.
- You’re not eating enough.
- Track what you’re eating using an app like My Fitness Pal. You might be eating less than you think.
- Establish a caloric baseline, then add 500 calories to that each week. Monitor your weight until you notice steady increases, at which point you can stop increasing calories and keep consuming the same amount.
- Pre-plan your meals. Do meal prep.
- This makes your chances of sticking to a caloric goal much higher by reducing variables like getting busy, getting stuck in traffic, forgetting to go to the grocery store, getting distracted, etc.
- Eat more calorically dense foods like nut butters, coconut oil, nuts (e.g. cashews, almonds, peanuts), ground turkey, ground beef, and butter.
- If you have trouble eating your prepared meals throughout the day, squeeze them all in with a “super meal” at the end of the day.
- Nick provides an example: add two scoops of whey protein with milk. Then make a massive bowl of cereal (two to four servings) and pour the shake over that. Finally, add some nut butter or just eat nuts on the side.
- You can also make calorically dense breakfast shakes.
If you need some extra assistance getting those calories in, be sure to check out our list of the best weight gainers for skinny guys.
Video: How to Gain Weight as a Skinny Hardgainer
Transcript of “How to Gain Weight for Skinny Hardgainers”
Now this video is going to be talking about how to gain weight for hard gainers. Skinny guys just can’t put on weight or say they can’t put on weight, this is going to be some solutions you can implement into your diet, into your training, into your life and this could be like the holy grail of answers.
It’s one additional meal, one shake, 638 calories additionally to what you’re consuming already. So, this is two scoops of protein powder, 1 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and half banana. So, I’ll give you a few more solutions on how you can gain weight.
Tip 1: You’re Not Eating Enough
Tip number one and probably most obvious answer is you’re just not eating enough. You’re not consuming enough calories and the thing is everyone is different. Like everyone is made up genetically different. Some people can gain weight on 3000 calories, some people can gain weight on 6,000 calories. It just depends on the person how fast metabolism and the way their body is made up and operates. So, you probably aren’t consuming enough calories. Here’s like a very clear demonstration of that. When I was in college studying nutrition, one of our classes was nutrition counseling. So, we had to kind of work with clients and work with people within the college to help them reach their fitness goals and a lot of people – what was probably split, half wanted to lose weight, half wanting to gain weight.
A lot of the guys wanted to gain weight and they said they could not gain weight no matter what they did, like “I’m eating 4,000 calories a day, I’m shoving my face like I’m eating as much as possible and I just can’t gain weight”. You have to treat like your nutrition like you do your training you have to be mindful of it. You’re mindful of your training and your training sessions and how you go about that. The same thing with nutrition, be mindful of what you’re consuming. So, what I did in this class with these student’s nutrition counseling is I had them log their food for a week.
I didn’t have them track anything they didn’t put anything in my fitness pal. They just wrote down what they were consuming on a piece of paper and I went into my Fitness Pal and calculated the calories for the day and over the course of week I found the averages of what they were consuming. So, a lot of the guys were like “I’m eating 4,000 calories a day” but after I calculated it was like 2,200 calories a day. I was like well here’s your answer, you’re not eating enough. So, to put this into practice what you can do is and if you’re not track your calories and your macros already for a week just go ahead and write down exactly what you eat for every meal of every day for seven days.
Like serving sizes, how much of it and then at the end the week calculate those calories and macros using an app like my Fitness Pal and find the average of what you consumed per day. That’s like the average amount of calories you’re consuming. If you’re not gaining weight on those calories, we’ll bump those up, move those up like 500 calories and see if you start gaining weight. If you don’t gain weight on those 500 calories, bump it up again and add 500. You have to find what your body needs to gain weight because the excuse and the answer is “Why I just can’t gain weight? Like I eat food and just comes on out”. It doesn’t work like that, if you provide your body enough of nutrients and enough of calories, it will gain weight on whatever that number is. But best piece of advice is track for those seven days, find the average see what you’re actually consuming and then bump that up. Because the thing is you just got to eat more.
Tip 2: Meal Prep
Alright, tip number two. This is probably the biggest piece of advice and the biggest tip that helped me personally when I was trying to gain weight and it is ‘pre-plan your meals’. So, you know when you when you set on this path of gaining weight and you establish your calories and your macros and it’s super overwhelming, you’re like how am I gonna eat all this in one day? But what I used to do is I go to My Fitness Pal the day before and I pre-plan my meals, if I could, if the time permitted and I knew where I was gonna be and what I was gonna be eating, I would pre plan my meals for that day so I made sure I could consume all the calories I had to.
So, for example to put into practice you have 300 grams of carbs you have to eat in a day. Well if you eat six meals a day, that’s 50 grams of carbs per meal and you fill in the rest of your proteins and fats and like you do with your carbs and you pre plan those meals to ensure that you’re hitting your calories and your macros for that day. That way you’re not a deficit, you’re not missing your goal you’re not eating under of what you need to gain. Pre-plan your meals for success. That’s also why meal prepping is so important and I honestly believe that meal prep is just as, if not more important while you’re trying to gain than when you’re dieting, when you’re cutting. Because if you have the food sources readily available, like you have your carbs, like rice, you have some beef, chicken thighs, you have chicken breast and ground turkey maybe.
Tip 3: Eat Calorie-Dense Foods
If your meal prep is complete, it’s easier to pre-plan those meals and prepare those meals. It’s a meal prep. Meal prep and pre-plan your meals. Alright, post grocery shopping tip number three, eat more calorically dense foods. So, like the most calorically dense macronutrient is fat, nine calories per gram. Protein and carbs are four calories per gram and most of the time like fat-based food items, aren’t gonna fill you up really fast. Like if I eat a bunch of carbs it’s gonna fill me up really fast, I’m gonna feel pretty lethargic, I’m just gonna crash. So, like you know what I’ll do is spaced out my carbs in all of my meals. But one way to get more calories in is calorically dense food items that are fat based.
So, for example like the biggest difference between when I’m dieting and when I’m like maintaining or trying to gain and build some muscle is, I add more fat into my diets, like nut butters. Peanut butter, almond butter like for two tablespoons which is a small serving size it’s 190 calories. 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein. Like super great option if you’re trying to gain weight. Another one is like add coconut oil to all of your meals. If you throw a tablespoon of coconut oil 120 calories 14 grams of fat and with like your rice and chicken for like 3 or 4 of your meals, that’s a couple hundred calories, that can help you a lot. Another thing like other than nut butters, actual nuts like a good like snack that you can be snacking on. I’m about to open this up as soon as I’m done recording this, is my favorite cashews. Like 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, 9 carbs for 1/4 cup of cashews, super calorically dense.
Another thing like one of my favorites, butter. So, Kerrygold pure Irish butter is delicious, like super super delicious and it comes from grass-fed cows. But I’ll throw this like on my bread in the morning, I’ll throw it on sandwiches. You can add like this to a lot of different you know foods or items and macronutrient wise, a hundred calories for a tablespoon which helps out. So, I incorporated more calorically dense foods that don’t fill you up a lot, like this kind of stuff which will make gaining weight a whole lot easier. This meal right here is actually a really good example.
So, 8 ounces of ground turkey, now instead of chicken you can add more calorically dense meats like ground turkey, ground beef, chicken thighs, more fat, 8 ounces of the turkey, one of these packs of Uncle Ben’s ready rice roasted chicken and then a tablespoon of coconut oil mixed in there. Over 700 calories in this meal which we compared my hand not that much volume wise but it’s physically dense.
Tip 4: If You Struggle With Eating Throughout the Day, Eat One Massive Meal at Night
Tip number four, now this is something that I incorporated into my diet when I was in college. I saw a lot of results. Now I think a lot of people can relate that sometimes it’s hard to get all your calories, all your meals in throughout the day. There’s just things going on, you don’t the time or the resources to sit down and have a meal or maybe meal prep didn’t work for that day. But almost everyone has the night time available to do this. So, when I was in college when I was like super into gaining weight, gaining size, gaining muscle. Like that was my priority in life at the time. I would take a shaker bottle, put two scoops of whey protein in there was some milk or almond milk and shake it up and just have a shake. Then I would get a bowl and I’d put like I’d say two to four maybe more servings of cereal sometimes like a whole grain cereal and I throw the shake over top of that. On top I would also put in like nut butter, throw almonds or I have almonds on the side.
That there would be like six to sometimes eight hundred calories of carbs, proteins and fats. So, that’s like what my bigger pieces of advice is, if you’re busy during the day you have time but at night before you go to bed – like literally before I get into bed I would do this, I’d throw down a few servings of cereal, a protein shake and some calorically dense like nut butters, almonds, stuff like that. So, that’s a big piece of advice I think a lot of people, almost everyone can’t implement into their day. You have to worry about just like being full and walk around operating, you just rest and recover overnight and start the whole thing and the whole process over again in the morning.
So, that’s the video. I hope you guys enjoyed it. The big takeaway is, you have to eat more. However, there’s little things you can like implement and incorporate or routine changes that you can make into your diet, your lifestyle that helped you gain this weight. But keep in mind you know if you’re eating 2,000 calories a day and you bump up to 5,000 calories a day like this, it’s gonna be super uncomfortable and not that fun. So, a big piece of advice is slowly incorporate more calories in your diet to make it more comfortable for you, your digestive system and your body.
Ectomorph Diet Plan
Neglecting diet and recovery will be the easiest way to not gain muscle.
One of the most crucial aspects of training for a skinny individual is the diet & nutrition plan.
The perfect workout program cannot replace an inadequate diet.
Both are essential to success, but often diet is overlooked or neglected. Do this at your own peril.
How the Body Builds Muscle, Burns Calories, and Gains Weight
- Food consumed can be broken up into three things: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These are known as macronutrients or “macros.”
- From these three inputs, the total number of calories can be calculated.
- The number of calories burned in a day is known as your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
- Your average TDEE takes into account your average level of physical activity.
- Every person has a TDEE, but the TDEE of an Olympic sprinter will be higher than the TDEE of a sedentary office worker.
- To gain weight, your daily caloric intake must exceed your TDEE. To lose weight, your daily caloric intake must be less than your TDEE.
- This is why calorie counting is so important.
- To build muscle optimally, around 0.7 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass should be consumed each day.
- This is why tracking macro nutrients, especially protein, is so important.
How to Calculate Your TDEE
There are several TDEE calculators you can use to estimate your TDEE.
You can choose any one of them or try all three and average the results. Many will ask you for your body fat %, but it’s okay if you leave it blank if you’re unsure.
Excellent! Now that you have your TDEE (write it down, you’ll need it later!) let’s calculate your macros.
How to Calculate Your Macros
Similar to TDEE, there are lots of macro calculators that make figuring out your “macro profile” quite simple.
- Damn Ripped Macro Calculator (no email required)
- Transparent Labs Macro Calculator (email required)
Great! Now you have your daily goals for grams of protein, fat, and carbs.
How to Track Your Macros
The easiest way to track your macros is to use a meal tracker app. I used MyFitnessPal and had a good experience with it.
Tips for Gaining Weight and Getting Enough Protein
When I started my journey of gaining weight, I simply wasn’t eating enough. One thing that worked well for me was a tip I got from Alan Thrall, which was to make a breakfast gainer shake each morning.
It’s been many years since I’ve made one, but the recipe was something like this (video below):
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 1 or 2 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1 scoop raw honey
- 2 raw eggs
- 1 banana
- 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
If it comes out too thick, add some more milk. Too thin? Add some more oats.
I did this every morning for breakfast and it usually came out to around 1,200 calories.
If you’re still struggling to exceed your TDEE, then a mass gainer supplement may help you hit your goals. If you’re a teen, consider checking out our list of the best weight gain supplements for teens.
10,000 Calories per Day Diet
Do you need to eat 10,000 calories per day?
No, almost certainly not.
But watching someone do so should give you some ideas on how to prepare these meals and fit them into your daily routine.
Alan Thrall’s Rant on Bulking
Some of this advice is counter to what I suggested above (e.g. he recommends not tracking your calories), but generally speaking this is good advice.
He advocates for taking responsibility over your diet to help gain weight.
Related: Check out our list of the best bulking supplements to help you gain weight and muscle.