Lets do a short refresher on the basics. If you aren't nailing this, then you don't even need to worry about anything else until you do.
You need to eat more calories than you burn on a daily basis. That's every day, consistently. So many people say "Bro, I eat SO much and still can't gain weight."
What this actually means is "Bro, I can eat a LOT in one sitting but I have no idea how much I actually eat on a daily basis."
To demonstrate the basics, lets take a look at an example. Let's say we have a 22 year old male looking to slap on some a bigger muscle suit.
First he needs to calculate his calorie needs. There are many formulas to do this, as well as some good web sites with calculators as well. But for the sake of simplicity as well as providing you a simple but effective tool to figure out your own calorie goals, we will do it like this.
Multiply your body weight by somewhere between 11-14.
Multiply by 11 if you have a sedentary job and do very little exercise.
Multiply by 12 if you have a sedentary job but you train a few times per week.
Multiply by 13 if you train hard 4-6 times per week.
Multiply by 14 if you have a very strenuous job and you also train hard 4-6 times per week.
Next step, you need to work out your macro nutrient break down, which is the ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat that you will shoot to eat every day.
I like to take an aggressive stance towards protein, and go for 1g of protein per pound of your body weight. So of you weight 165lbs, you would eat 165g of protein each day.
Next up is working out your fat. Shoot for between .3 and .4g per pound of body weight. So using .4 for the sake of example, sticking with our 165lbs example, you would eat 66g of fat each day.
Finally you have carbohydrates. This part you may need a calculator for.
First thing you do is calculate your calories from protein. Since this is 1g per pound of body weight, this will be 165 x 4 (there are 4 cals in each gram of protein). This will give you 660 cals from protein.
Next up, calculate your calories from fat. This is 66 x 9 (9 cals per gram of fat), and this gives you 594 calories from fat.
Add these two numbers together (660 + 594 = 1254) and subtract this number from your total calories (1980 - 1254 = 726).
This will give you the amount of calories you will eat from carbohydrates. Take that number and divide it by 4, since there are four calories per gram of carbohydrates (726/ 4= 182). This gives you 182 g of carbohydrates each day.
So to sum it up nice and neat, your daily intake for maintenance would look like this:
Now we aren't trying to stay the same. We're trying to add some muscle tissue to our frames, so these macros won't do. You will need to figure out what 10% of your current calorie goal is, and add that to your calories in the form of carbohydrates. So 10% of 1980 is 198 calories, and you will add 198 cals to 1980 cals in the form of carbohydrates.
So now your calorie and macronutrient goals look like this:
Re-evaluate after a months time and if you are not gaining weight, add an additional 10%m or 198 cals in the form of carbohydrates.
These are some extra things to consider trying if you are completely nailing the basics, your training, rest, and stress management and still can't seem to put on any size.
Powdered milk in milk- Thats right. This little life hack helped me during my rise from 210lbs to 245lbs. Here is what you do. Buy milk. Buy powdered milk. Put the powdered milk in your milk. Ingest. This is a little technique will help you get more caloric bang for your buck when your stomach is full but you need to hit that calorie goal.
Add fat- I know I said to add your bulking calories from carbohydrates, but sometimes you need to bring out something more efficient when you can't fit any more food in. Fat has 9 caolries per gram, while carbohydrates only have 4, so adding fat will increase your calories fast. Add your fat from sources like egg yolks and avocados.
This should be enough to get you on the right path to adding some appreciable muscle to your frame. These principals and tricks can be applied any time you get stuck in your quest for muscle.
Add this to a solid training plan, adequate sleep, and a plan to manage your stress and you will be very successful in your quest for the physique you want.
Last year I started a series called Bony To Big. I started with the Training installment first, with all the best intentions of writing the MOST important section shortly after, which is the Eats installment.
A YEAR ago! Damn Mitch. Way to get side tracked.
Picking back up from last March, here is a little something for the hard gainer. The muscle and strength enthusiast who can eat the whole house down and still count his/her ribs. The young man who wants huge arms but still swims in his t-shirts, and the young lady who wants strong thighs and glutes but just can't seem to put on any muscle.
I know that feeling. I was a very skinny kid. Heck, I was a very skinny adult. Until I was 22 I weighed between 195-205 at 6'3. Even when I pulled out all the stops in the gym, I didn't get above that 205-210lbs threshold until I really zeroed in on my diet.