What type of diet plan should you follow if you want to gain weight as quickly as possible (without too much fat gain)? What type of protein/carbs/fat ratio should you try to have each day? How many calories per day? What types of food should you be eating? What types of food should you avoid? What can you do to increase your appetite?
How much weight should you be trying to gain each week? How much fat is acceptable to gain during your weight gain period? How can you tell if you are gaining too much fat?
Bonus Question: What is the most calories that you have eaten in one day when trying to bulk? What did you eat? How did you feel the next day?
Show off your knowledge to the world!
1st place - 75 in store credit.
2nd place - 20 in store credit.
3rd place - Free Bodybuilding.com hat.
1st Place - bigcalves
What Is The Best Weight Gain Diet Plan?
Bulking up is a part of bodybuilding. All the pro's and amateurs bulk up and then cut down for a competition. Without bulking up, your progress would come to a snail's pace.
When 'bulking' you should focus on gaining as much muscle as you can, while keeping fat gain at a minimum. Your best judge is you. And your friend is the mirror. Do not base your results on weight, charts and logs.
Sure those are necessary, but are not the prime factor on determining your progress. Before you start keeping a log of all your lifts, and measurements. Record your progress every 2 weeks, that way you can determine if you are heading down the right path.
When bulking up you should keep body fat at a minimum. Gaining more than 2 lbs per week is bad, and it means you are over eating and should cut your calories by 200 or 400 calories to ease off the fat gains. Our goal is to gain muscle and not fat.
A Sad Fact Of Life
Let's be realistic, fat will come but you shouldn't gain more than 4-7% fat on your whole bulk. If you're gaining 10%+ you are surely overeating, or consuming junk food.
Again, the mirror is your best friend. When bulking I monitor my fat gains, and when I gain too much fat I can usually tell why it is. Learn to listen to your body and not the scale.
Don't Over Do It
Do not overbulk, because if you do, you will have a hard time loosing it. In addition, with all the cutting you will do, you will lose more muscle which will lead you to no where.
Like I said, it's not wise to base it on the scale or a program, always determine your progress through looking in the mirror.
Don't Forget Nutrition
Although weight training is necessary to gain muscle, the right diet is needed. Nutrition is about 80 percent of bodybuilding. So no matter how much you train, and how many sets you do, if you don't feed and rebuild your body, it simply won't grow.
I see tons of people in the gym with perfect routines, going day by day, always the same. I know that their diet sucks, but again I see them editing their routines and following the next best workout program.
Get Plenty Of Rest
The other factor that seems to be over looked is rest. You need 8 hours of good quality sleep. Don't expect to grow while you watch TV until midnight and then wake up at 6 for work or school. Your body needs to repair.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) kicks in within 2 hours of your sleep and repairs broken down tissue, or you muscle. That way you get bigger and stronger. When you cut down your sleep, you are taking away 2-4 hours of the main building process, and that is no good in trying to get more muscle. You need training, diet and rest to get big. Once you begin to master these components your gains should be coming in quite nicely.
The Best Type Of Diet For Bulking Up
When bulking up, you need an organized eating plan. Also you have to educate yourself about carbs, protein and fats. You need to know how calories work, and how to calculate your meals.
First off you need to form a ratio. Through years of experience, I've found that 50/30/20 (carbs,protein,fat) works best for gaining quality weight. Now since the body gets used to the amount of food you're giving it, you will have to 'UP' the calories by 300 every 2 weeks.
The first week that you start bulking you will go +500 calories and then 300 calories every 2 weeks from then on. The 300 calories will be the same ratio as your diet. You will bulk up for 14-16 weeks, or until you decide to cut down.
Let's say you were eating 2000 calories before you started. That's your maintenance. First you will add 500 for the first 2 weeks, and then 300 for every other week.
Therefore, it will look something like this. This is only a model, so add 500 calories to your maintenance calories.
Starting at 3,000:
Weeks 1-2 = 3,500 cal
Weeks 3-4 = 3,800 cal
Weeks 5-6 = 4,100 cal
Weeks 7-8 = 4,400 cal
Weeks 9-10= 4,700 cal
Weeks 11-12= 5,000 cal
Weeks 13-14= 5,300 cal
Week 15-16 = 5,500 cal
You can stop at anytime if you feel you reached your goal, or are gaining too much fat. Let the mirror be your judge. Don't follow the scale or a program. It would be foolish if you are happy at week 13 and you continue to week 16 and gain 5 or more lbs of fat. Always look in the mirror.
Having logs and looking at the scale is fine too, it's actually necessary, but always let the mirror be your main source for judging your progress. Now since you know how many calories you have to eat, it's time to see what you will be eating. Carbs, protein and fats are what your diet is made out of. You know the ratio you need; now we need to figure out what each of you will be having and what foods are great sources of each macronutrients.
Carbs are needed for energy. You need a lot of carbs, since they make 50% of your diet. Going too high on carbs will result in fat gain. Too little carbs will results in using other macronutrients as energy which is also bad. You need to balance it out, and 50% is exactly what will do the trick.
In the world of carbs, there are simple and complex carbs. Eat simple carbs consisting of dextrose for after workout only, otherwise avoid these carbs as they result in insulin spike and fat again. Feel free to eat a lot of fruits though. Next are complex carbs which are great for bulking. They are slowly released into the body not creating a spike, and perfect for your diet. Now here are some great sources of carbohydrates.
Dextrose, Fruits, Sugar, High fructose corn syrup, Sports drinks, Candies, etc..
Brown rice, 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Oats, Pasta, Spaghetti, Beans, Veggies, etc..
Protein is very important. Protein builds lean muscle tissue, and that's how you get big. Without protein, it's like trying to drive a car without gas, or on the fumes. You need 1-2 grams per lb of bodyweight, and 30% of your diet will be just enough to get you big.
With a diet rich of protein, you will grow and feel better. Protein is found in meats and poultry. Be careful and avoid meat with the white stuff on it. That is saturated fat, and no good for your body or health. Red meat is perfect for getting big, but also contains saturated fats. Eat beef only 2-3 times per week and make sure to cut off all the visible saturated fat.
Tuna and other fish are great for lean protein. Since not all of us can eat meat all the time, whey protein is perfect for supplementation. Whey saved my diet when I started my job. It was 8 hours and I had a 1 hour break in between so I was able to eat a big meal. But I also needed two smaller ones in between.
So I got my canteen and put 2-3 scoops of whey and I also had a banana or something to fulfill my diet requirements. I strongly suggest that you pick up a tub of Whey Protein.
Tuna, Salmon, Chicken Breast, Beef, Pork Chops, Turkey, Egg Whites
Fats are often overlooked in today's 'athlete' diets. Since the 90's fats got a bad reputation. So in everyone's mind, fat equals fat around your belly. In reality, fat from food and stored body fat are two different things. Everyone needs fat in their diet. From active to non active people, fat is needed.
Since we are trying to get bigger, fat is 20% of our total intake. Don't worry it will not magically stick to your belly. There's different kinds of fat. There is Saturated, and Unsaturated fat. The saturated fat has a sub category of Trans fats, while the Unsaturated fats have Poly and Mono. You should avoid Saturated fats, and avoid Trans fats at all costs, since all they do is clog arteries and have 0 beneficial results in your body. "Avoiding Trans fat at all costs cannot be stressed enough!"
Poly and Mono are helpful and help the body and have been proven to raise natural testosterone. Something that every lifter can appreciate. These 'good fats' belong to the Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) which are needed for your body and are quite good for you. They have little to none bad benefits.
Salmon and fish are excellent sources of protein and the fat that we want. There's virtually no Saturated fat in fish and that is good to keep your bulk diet clean. Be sure to consume a lot of nuts and cook with olive oil.
These will give you pure EFA's and will be very good for your body and healthy for your system. Please don't overlook fat, because it plays an important role in any diet, bulking or cutting.
Nuts, Olive oil, Fish, Seeds
Foods To Avoid
Sure we are bulking. But I strongly suggest do not go out and load up on fast food thinking that you loaded up on calories and will get big. Well you are right on one thing, you will get big, but the only measurement that will change will be your waist. We don't want that.
Even though we are consuming a high amount of calories, that doesn't give us the right to pig out. It's ok to have a cheat day once every 1 or 2 weeks, but don't overdo it or you will gain extra fat which when cutting time comes around is no fun. It means you will cut longer, loose more muscle and have a busy schedule.
Take it nice and slow (moderation), stick to basic foods from each group, nothing too extreme and remember to listen to your body. Even if it's time to change the calories a bit, if you still feel that you are making gains, then don't change it.
It's about looking in the mirror and determining how you've progressed. If you gain fat a little faster, then have fewer cheat meals. Do not hesitate to tweak your calories, or do a carb load depending on how you feel. After all it's your body and everyone reacts differently.
There are some bad carbs. Ok, now it's time to separate the bad from the good. When eating carbs be careful not to over eat on the simple carbs. Simple carbs are excellent for after a workout because they will go in your system for energy or muscle rebuilding fast.
But when you are not doing anything and have large amounts of simple carbs (High GI) you are asking for fat loss. Since it all goes in your system and your body doesn't need it.
Avoid foods like candy, pure sugar and foods containing a lot of sugar. Ice cream, pizza, potato chips and twizzlers are all bad for you and won't give you the gains you are looking for.
As for protein, you can't really mess up that bad. Just make sure you are eating clean, lean protein. Don't eat fatty steak everyday and wonder why you are gaining fat fast.
Avoid the white stuff (Saturated Fats) and be sure to eat a lot of fish and chicken breast. Avoid mixed beef that is full of Sat. fat and other bad stuff.
Avoid meats that are generally high in fat and feel greasy when eating. Chicken is good, but don't buy fried chicken or chicken strips that have 20% real chicken in them. Also avoid pork. Sure pork chops are good for red meat, but other than that pork is bad and pretty fattening.
Meats like lamb and duck are greasy and don't have good protein in them. Besides chicken breast, tuna and the occasional red meat fix, all other meats have too much Sat. fat for large consumption.
Fats are always overlooked and to people they are the same. Wrong. There are bad and good fats. I already explained the benefit and what and where good fats come from. Now it's time for the bad fats. They are found in red meat. Beef, pork, lamb. You name it, and it's there.
Saturated fats are usually found looking white when at room temperature and if you taste them they feel very greasy. Avoid them at all cost since they are no good for you. They clog up arteries, and is the leading causes of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol and death.
Cheese and eggs also contain this type of fat, as well as red meat - it comes from an animal. Aside from red meat and dairy, Saturated fats are found on artificial products such as potato chips, fast food and junk candy.
The Saturated fat from these products comes from low quality, cheap oils that companies use to lessen the cost, increase the greasy taste and cause major problems to today's society. Avoid these bad fats.
There are several methods of increasing your appetite. First a short but intense run in the morning will help you eat all your meals. Try running for 10 minutes at full speed until you can't run no more. Don't worry it won't hinder your gains, as for anything it will help with your leg development. After your run you will feel hungry and that feeling will stay for the whole day.
Eat every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism fast. By doing that you will burn your food faster, so you will feel hungry and less full. Your meals will get smaller, which is good especially when you pass 4,000 calories. I cannot imagine splitting 3 meals for 4,000 calories.
There are a lot of supplements you can take that increase appetite and metabolism. A fat burner in a small dose will not hinder your gains but will make you a little jumpy and hungrier.
Also caffeine and similar energy boosting supplements will help in creating a bigger appetite. Always remember that if you don't feel like eating, but throwing up, then it's wise to take 1 more hour of free food time. Listen to your body and that will prevent you from harming it.
Supplements for Bulking
Although diet, training, and rest are key, supplements can play an important role in bulking. They will give you the extra boost you need. By taking supplements you can increase your gains.
Not anything dramatic, but still its well worth it to invest in supplements. They can give you an extra boost when you need it in the weight room or shorten your recovery time.
No matter what, I strongly suggest supplements, and the best place to get them for an affordable price and excellent quality is Bodybuilding.com's store.
There you will find everything you need, filled with tons of articles and places that can give you a very close look in the world of supplements. Although famous, these few supplements are very effective and not that expensive.
No matter how hard you try, nothing replaces good old whey. It has a fast digestion rate, and comes in very pure form. By taking whey, you can increase your protein uptake by 50-150 grams per day which is very time saving and efficient.
Whey is a must for after a workout since your muscles are tired and need to be replenished. Also when you wake yup, whey is the best choice for protein in my opinion.
Creatine is used by tons of people world wide. It is safe, 100% natural and effective. From Olympians to gym rats, people use creatine.
It gives an extra boost when working out. It can also help you gain more muscle and better your lifts. It boosts up the ATP energy which is responsible for short, drastic muscle movements. Perfect for weightlifters all around, creatine is a must for bulking up.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid. It is a 100% natural and safe supplement. It is used mainly for recovery. It can help you recover faster from the hard leg or back workout that you had.
That way intensity and recovery for your workouts is at an all time high. L-Glutamine also helps maintain a positive Nitrogen balance which is very healthy for your body.
These days everyone takes Multi-Vitamins. That is a very smart choice. Since we all need vitamins, and we can't always eat every fruit out there, Multi-Vitamins are a very wise choice for any diet.
Since you are bulking, you need vitamins to maintain your health. From all the workouts and stress that you put on it, it's a must that you have vitamins to replenish and rebuild. A must for every bodybuilder.
What is the most calories that you have eaten in one day when trying to bulk? What did you eat? How did you feel the next day?
The most calories I have ever had in one day was 6,000+. It was the last week of my bulk cycle. I was eating around 4,500 calories and I felt the urge for fast food. I haven't had it since my last bulk which was 8-10 months ago. I knew that I was supposed to eat 80 carbs and 40g of proteins for my 11 o'clock meal.
I went to McDonalds and bought 5 McChickens with all the works, 2 Double Cheeseburgers and Super Sized Fries. Surprisingly I was used to getting bloated from eating 8 meals per day. When I ate all my food within 20 minutes I didn't feel different that from finishing all my other meals. It got a little different later on...
About 2 hours after eating all of this, I was 1 hour away from my next meal which was at 2 o'clock. I was sweating and I felt really lazy, since my body was digesting all this food. My workout is at 3 pm and I was training arms. For some reason I felt really good at around 2.
Surprisingly I ate my meal and went to workout at 3. That day I was training arms and I felt really good. I felt that I was carb loaded and that I had tons of energy. After my workout I felt very hungry and ate my post workout meal which is pretty big. After this I went home. Keep in mind that I never visited the bathroom for number 2. Didn't either the whole night.
In the morning I woke up feeling very bloated, even though my last meal was 8-9 hours ago. I went to the bathroom and was there for about 40 minutes 'discussing business'. After I got out I felt very sick and in about 2 hours I was fine and ready for my 3rd meal at the time. This experience taught me not to pig out and gave my more wisdom for future bulks.
In conclusion I want to say that bulking is not easy. You will have to follow a good nutrition plan, a good weight lifting routine, and provide yourself with enough rest. It might be hard to get used to, but after a few weeks you will get used to it.
The benefits are far greater than the sacrifice. Keep logs, and charts. Keeping track on your progress will not only tell you how you are doing, but also motivate you into becoming bigger and more muscular. Good luck and keep bulking!
2nd Place - doggiejoe
Putting On Weight
It's Monday and you walk into the gym. You check in. It's time for your weekly weight check. You head over to the scale. You step on. To no surprise, you still weigh in at the same weight. You try to hide the frustration and walk away to another endless workout.
With every other person in this world worried about losing weight, the hard gainers around the world have been forgotten. There's a new fad diet on how to lose weight every week. Every advertisement you see is "How to drop 30 pounds in 1 week" not once do you see a commercial on "How to gain weight".
Gaining weight is one of the hardest things to overcome, for some people. For others, this might not be the case. So if you have problems or are looking for new ways to put on weight and muscle mass continue reading this article.
Weight Gaining Principles
There are 3 categories of body types. Those are the Mesomorphs, the Endomorphs, and the hard gainers known as the Ectomorphs. Each requires different training and diets. You first have to know which body type you are. Then you're going to have to plan your diet accordingly, to gain weight.
If you're reading this article, more than likely you're an Ectomorph. To every skinny kid across the world trying to be the hulk, I tell them this... "If you want to hulk up, then you got to bulk up!"
The purpose of a bulking diet is to put on muscle and keep fat gains to a minimum. When bulking, fat gain is inevitable just like when cutting - it's impossible not to lose muscle.
In most cases to maintain your weight, multiply 15 by your bodyweight to get the amount of calories you must consume. However, this might not be true for some people. It all depends on your metabolism as some people burn calories faster/slower than others.
To gain weight, you would multiple 18-22 by your bodyweight. If you're an Endomorph I suggest 18, if you're a Mesomorph I suggest 20, and if you're an Ectomorph I suggest 22. For example, an Ectomorph weighing in at 140 would consume around 3080 calories a day.
Furthermore remember to up your calories and as your weight goes up. For example, if you went up 5 pounds in weight, then you're going to have to add an extra 110 calories to your diet to keep the gains coming. One thing you're allowed to do is to have a "cheat day". I limit cheat days to every 2 weeks on a particular day.
The bad thing about going on a bulking diet is that you're going to gain unwanted fat no matter what. Don't think you're special and this doesn't apply to you. You want to keep your diet as clean as possible, to keep fat gains as low as possible. Remember to keep healthy priorities. Also remember you want to create a calorie surplus, meaning you consume more calories than you burn.
Now that you know how many calories you're going to consume, you have to spread your meals throughout the day. You want to eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day and have about 6-8 meals while spreading your calories evenly. Also make sure your highest calorie intake is after your workout, when you need it most.
The reason you want to eat every 2-3 hours is to avoid a catabolism stage where your body eats away at your hard earned muscle. A great misconception is that if you don't eat, your body will eat away at fat. Wrong! Your body will eat away at your muscle tissues first.
It is also proven that your body absorbs nutrients better when fed 6-8 meals a day rather than the traditional 3 meals a day. Consuming 6-8 meals a day tricks your body to store less fat. This is will give you what you want, which is more muscle mass/weight and less fat.
Protein is the single most important nutrient to a bodybuilder. To gain weight you will need it because protein is what makes and maintains most of the stuff in our bodies. It is recommended that a bodybuilder should consume at least 1 gram of protein for every pound they weigh, but I recommend 1.5-2 grams for bulking. Any more than 2 grams of protein and it might turn into fat.
Forget all the evil talk you have heard about carbs. Not all carbs are bad for you because not all carbs are created equal. There are 2 different types of carbs, "simple" and "complex".
Simple carbs enter your system faster while complex carbs take longer. You want to consume low glycemic carbs before a workout for more sustained energy levels throughout your lifting.
While high glycemic carbs should be taken after your workout to reach your muscles quicker. Just remember carbs are your body's source for energy!
Good Sources Of Carbs:
Fruit, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, potatoes, beans, brown rice, pasta, lentils, 100% juices, yams, and all vegetables.
Yes fats, you need fats. Just like carbs, not all fats are created equal! In fact, hormones are produced from fats.
There is such a thing as "good fats"(unsaturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats) and "bad fats"(saturated, trans fats). "Good fats" are great for your overall health. Remember don't be afraid to eat fat!
Good Sources Of Fats:
Natural peanut butter, seeds, olive oil, virgin olive oil, canola oil, flax seed oil, fish oil, hemp seed oils, soy bean oils, walnuts, cashews, avocados, and raw fish all have EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids).
There are many different recommended ratios. From 60/20/20 to 25/55/20. Just like the different type of ratios, there are the different types of people. No single ratio will match everyone. So in order to know which ratio is best for you, try different ratios depending on your body type. I recommend starting with 40/40/20 and going from there.
One fact you should be aware of, is that the fat ratio should always remain at 20%. If it's less than 20% then your hormonal production will lower, if it's any higher than 20% then you will start gaining more fat.
What Foods To Avoid
You want to avoid any food that has undergone processing or has been fried. Don't always fall for "Low Fat" products. Read the ingredients, if it contains high fructose corn syrup, avoid it at all costs, as this is a bad type of carb. As well, avoid every single fast food restaurant you come across.
Bad Protein Sources:
Diary products from whole milk, fried foods (chicken), and meats with high fat.
Bad Carb Sources:
Processed juices, soda, candy, regular bread, pancakes, doughnuts, all pastries, and high fructose corn syrup.
Bad Fat Sources:
Saturated fats, trans fats, deep fried items, hydrogenated vegetable oils, coconut oils, palm oil, and palm kernel oils.
How To Increase Appetite
When you body adapts to eating every 2-3 hours, I guarantee your metabolism will be increased and you will need food every 2-3 hours. I know if I miss a meal by 10 minutes I become extremely hungry, that's something that never happened when I only ate 3 meals a day.
Another way to increase your appetite is to vary your meals. You don't want to go into a routine where you eat the same thing over and over again because you're going to get tired of it. Eat new things you never ate before and implement them to your diet.
You could also increase your appetite by using motivation. Face it, if you don't eat, you won't grow. So use this as motivation and stuff your face with a great deal of healthy food. Remember the saying "Eat big, to get big!"
How much weight should you be trying to gain each week? How much fat is acceptable to gain during your weight gain period? How can you tell if you are gaining too much fat?
You should be trying to gain at least .5 a pound each week. But you don't want to gain more than 2 lbs a week because the rest will probably be fat or water.
So if you're going over 2 lbs you aren't accomplishing your goal, which is to gain muscle mass and not fat.
You want to make changes gradually. If you go up too fast in weight, you're going to be left with a higher percentage of fat.
There's no universal table on how much fat is acceptable. You're going to have to limit your fat gains on your own standards and goals. The way I do it, is to check in the mirror everyday and assess my diet from there. If I see a loss of too much definition then I change things around so I can keep the fat down.
Other Key Factors Of Gaining Weight
Dieting and weight training work hand in hand. Weight training stimulates muscle growth, while your diet feeds your body the proper nutrients it needs to build new muscle tissues. In order to gain muscle mass you're going to have to change your workout routine.
This means you're going to have to workout with lower reps and heavier weights. I recommend keeping all your exercises on a 4-8 rep range.
I'm sure everyone here has the bench press in their routine, but the squat and deadlift often go overlooked. These lifts increase natural testosterone release throughout your entire body and will help in all your other lifts.
Keeping a nutrition log is just as important as a workout log. You wouldn't go to the gym without a plan, now would you? This is a great way to stay organized and it will help you achieve your goals.
Writing what you eat each day will help you keep track of what you ate, and will assist you with the calculations of your diet.
You can also plan ahead on what you're going to eat and when, so you can stay on task and not have to worry about what you're going to eat next.
Without any sleep, your muscles wouldn't grow. Lack of sleep will also make it harder for you to gain muscle and not fat when gaining weight. You want to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Another strategy used to gain weight is to take a "power nap" after a meal (15-45 minutes). Since you are sleeping you won't be burning any calories and this will create a great calorie surplus, which leads to weight gain. In addition, make sure to have some sort of slow digesting protein when going to bed so you're anabolic throughout the night.
Other Things To Aviod
Yes you want to consume a lot of calories, but you don't want to overeat. An outrageous amount of calories (Ex. 5000 cals for a 140 pound person) is not good for you to gain weight. Even if healthy, all these extra calories will cause a gain in fat and not muscle.
Smoking is bad for you; this is especially true when it comes to gaining weight. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which promotes weight loss and is damaging to your lungs.
Not only is quitting smoking better for your overall health, but after quitting smoking you'll be able to smell and taste food better. What most smokers fear is that they will actually gain weight after quitting! So kick the habit now!
Avoid dehydration! You want to keep your muscle cells well hydrated throughout the day so they can grow. Being hydrated can also help with weight gain. Our bodies are made of 70% water so it's easy to see why water is good for you.
Water will also clean your insides and keep you healthy. The recommended water intake is 1 once for every kilogram you weigh. Be aware that a lack of water will interrupt the process of gaining weight.
Then there's the no brainer. Cardio! If you want to gain weight, then why in the world would you do cardio? Cardio and any other physically demanding task outside of weight training should be avoided.
Remember you want to create a calorie surplus, so all the calories you burn, you'll have to add again. In addition stay away from products that contain caffeine that will certainly not help with weight gain.
Weight Gainers are loaded with calories to help you meet your calorie and protein goals. It's a great weapon to have in your arsenal.
I recommend that you go with Prolab N-Large 2 (best value) or make your own weight gainer.
Sample Weight Gain Shake
* Yields about 800 calories and about 70 grams of protein! Make sure only to drink this after a workout, or lessen the ingredient to meet your own requirements.
Meal Replacement Proteins/Protein Bars
Many people overlook MRP's. But these can be very good to a person. You can't always cook 6-8 meals a day; this is where MRP's come in handy. They are convenient and inexpensive. They are a great way to have a healthy meal on a hectic day. They also come with a great ratio of protein/carbs/fats.
Protein bars are just as delicious as any other candy bar. Your taste buds will thank you. They are high on protein and will also help you achieve your daily diet goals.
Just like MRP's they can be used in place of a meal and are convenient for people on the run.
I have already stressed the importance of "good fats". EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids) should be apart of everyone's diet. EFA's should be on top of everyone's priorities list after a decent multi-vitamin and whey protein. So make sure to go out of your way and pick some up.
Creatine can be one the easiest ways to put on weight. Although the weight will be water weight, it's weight nonetheless. So if you're looking for a quick weight gain (around 5 pounds or so), pick up some creatine monohydrate.
Not only will creatine put weight on you, but it will also give you an improved strength.
Changes in your body won't take place overnight. Gaining weight is a game of patience. Most people that don't see results right away, lose motivation and end up quitting.
You need to stick to the program and stay with it for at least 6 weeks to see drastic changes. This means you can't miss a workout nor can you miss a meal. Consistency is the secret to weight gain.
Without goals, life isn't worth living. This isn't any different when gaining weight. Everyone should have a goal and go after it. Don't make outrageous goals like 25 pounds in 2 weeks.
Think realistically like gaining 5 pounds every month for a short-term goal. Then you can have a long-term goal, like gaining 30 pounds in 6 months. Have something to look forward too and you'll gain motivation which in turn will help you gain weight.
When I first started working out I was the classic Ectomorph. I was around 120 pounds and way underweight. Through hard work and dedication I'm now at 185, 4 years later.
Talking from experience gaining weight is very difficult, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be putting on weight like a monster. Just remember the basics, stay consistent and you'll be well on your way.
What is the most calories that you have eaten in one day when trying to bulk? What did you eat? How did you feel the next day?
The most calories that I've consumed had to be about a month ago. I was bulking and it was a "cheat day". Wow I love those days. I attended 2 buffets in the same day.
The first buffet was in the evening and was a Chinese buffet. I tried just about everything in that buffet. I had around 3 rounded plates of Chinese rice, 6-8 chicken nuggets, chicken breasts, shrimp, just too much to list.
The other buffet was at nighttime and it was a pasta buffet. Wow did I pig out there also. I hadn't had pizza in months before then. I had at least 5 slices of pizzas, 2 plates of spaghetti, and a whole bunch of garlic breads (Those are so addictive). Not to mention downing it down with Diet Coke. Then I topped it all off with 2 cups of ice cream with a cherry on top! I'm not sure how many calories I had that day, but it was certainly over 4000 calories.
Let's just say the toilet and me were the best of friends the day after. I went about 3 times that day. The good thing is that I didn't feel too bloated. And to my surprise my body looked more defined in the mirror. After releasing some "stress" in the restroom, it was like any other day. I went back to the basics, and back to the healthy foods.
2nd Place - ravadongon
Gaining mass or bulking as it is termed by bodybuilders, can be a very satisfying phase for any lifter. Some find it easier to do then others, and some just can't seem to do it at all.
I hope that I will be able to help some of you who struggle to gain muscle mass, or put on too much fat while trying to do so. Here are some common questions asked by people in this situation:
What Type Of Protein/Carbs/Fat Ratio Should You Try To Have Each Day?
The majority of people will suggest following a 40-40-20 diet (protein/carbs/fat). However, for bulking, I would suggest you follow a 25-55-20 diet, don't fear carbs, but stay away from simple sugars (excluding post-workout). As for protein, get about 1.2-1.8g/lb of bodyweight per day.
However be sure to note these are only basic guidelines, some people will be more carb/fat sensitive and may need to adjust these ratios to suit themselves.
How Many Calories Per Day?
Your caloric needs for gaining mass are dependent on your metabolism and activity rate. A way in which you can determine how many calories you should get per day is by multiplying your bodyweight (in lbs) by 18-22. Obviously people with a faster metabolism will need to be in the upper range and maybe even above, while people with a slower metabolism will want to be in the lower bracket, to avoid large amounts of excess fat gains.
Another way in which you can calculate your caloric needs, is by using a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) Calculator.
Once you have found your maintenance caloric needs, add 500 calories to this and this is how much calories you need to gain muscle mass at a safe rate (without excessive fat gains).
Make sure you distribute your calories (and macronutrients) evenly over your meals. To find out how many calories or grams of macronutrients you should have per meal divide your total daily calories or macronutrients (whichever one you are trying to find out) by the number of meals you have (you should be having 6-8 meals per day)
What Types Of Food Should You Be Eating?
Good Protein Sources
Good Carbohydrates Sources
- Whole Wheat/Grain Bread
- Whole Wheat/Grain Pasta
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Oat Bran Cereal
- Fresh Fruits
- Fresh Vegetables
Good Fat Sources
What Types Of Food Should You Avoid?
As a general rule of thumb, any processed, modified food should be avoided if your goal is to make lean gains. These foods are loaded with high amounts of trans and saturated fats and simple sugars. Here are a list of foods that should be avoided if you are unsure. There are many others that can be listed but this is just to name a few common ones:
Bad Protein Sources
- Fatty meats
- Fatty dairy
- Most lunch meat
- Large amounts of soy
Bad Carbohydrate Sources
- Regular bread
- Anything with added sugar
- Most cereals (excluding Oat Bran)
- Fruit juice
- Fruit bars
Bad Fat Sources
- Vegetable oil
- Corn oil
- Heated/fried oil
What Can You Do To Increase Your Appetite?
Often eating huge amounts of calories can be very hard to do. If you're having trouble downing all your food, then there are three things I can suggest you should do.
Firstly, if you haven't already spread your meals out evenly (in terms of calories) throughout the day. It has been shown that eating at regular intervals boosts your metabolism.
Secondly, allow for variation in your diet. This doesn't mean you can eat junk food, it means try to vary meals each day, still keeping them healthy. If you feel you don't know what kind of stuff you can have, then take a look at the recipe thread in the nutrition forum to provide you with meal ideas: Click.
Thirdly, if you still have trouble downing food, implement a homemade weight gainer shakes. These are a cheap and easy way to down a lot of calories, being in liquid form. All you need is a blender and the following ingredients:
Bodybuilding.com Forums Homemade Weight Gainer
1 scoop of protein powder
0.5-1 cup of oats
1-2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 banana or any other serving of fruit (e.g. berries)
1 cup of low fat milk
Blend and enjoy!
What Supplements Should You Take?
Supplements I Would Recommend You Take Are:
One Of The Following:
As the name supplement suggests, these should only be used to supplement your diet and without a good diet these "supplements" will have very little influence.
How Much Weight Should You Be Trying To Gain Each Week?
Generally the acceptable amount without gaining excessive fat is between 0.5-2lbs/week, amounts will obviously vary due to genetics and lifting experience. Trying to gain much more weight than this will result in a largely increased amount of fat storage in the body.
However if you stick to the strategy I've provided you with, you should not see any excessive fat gains.
How Much Fat Is Acceptable To Gain During Your Weight Gain Period? How Can You Tell If You Are Gaining Too Much Fat?
I can't tell you what will be an acceptable amount of fat to gain while bulking, because it is difficult to determine a universally acceptable amount. All I can say is what I said before, if you follow the outline I've given you, you will avoid gaining huge amounts of unwanted fat.
An easy way and probably the best way to assess how much fat you have gained, is to go by the mirror.
Often it's hard to remember exactly how your body looked a couple of weeks ago, so if you have this same problem, then I advise you to get a cheap digital camera and take pictures every few weeks to monitor this.
This way you can adjust your diet accordingly and/or add more cardio to monitor your progress and/or introduce fat loss supplements.
What Is The Most Calories That You Have Eaten In One Day When Trying To Bulk? What Did You Eat? How Did You Feel The Next Day?
I stay very consistent when bulking, so I rarely go over the amount I set myself at the beginning of the bulk. If I ever cheat I never count my calories and I'm guessing, never go over 4000 calories, because I've never been a big eater before I got into lifting.
Generally when I do over eat, I don't feel good during that day and the next day, so I try and avoid doing that. As I said I'm very consistent when I bulk so I very rarely cheat and if I do, it isn't anything to write home about.
3rd Place - Kill yourself
What Is The Best Weight Gain Diet Plan?
When many people start to go on a training program, they always leave out one very important factor, the diet. They fail to understand that: 25% workout + 75% diet = 100% results
This is the fact that causes many people to give up in their pursuit of that desirable body, and give themselves a self fulfilling excuse on why they bailed out. Reasons such as "My genes are not built for this" or "It is not that I am lazy, but these programs do not work on my body type"
So regarding this week's topic of what is the best way to gain weight, I am the best person to tell you that. I used to weigh 90 lbs standing at 1.75 meters. I bet you can imagine how skinny that would look.
But I managed to gain 70 lbs over a period of 6 months and I only had an increase of 4% body fat. I had the inability to gain much fat and had a high metabolic rate, which was common for most people that are seeking to gain some muscle mass.
As mentioned above, I have strongly highlighted the importance of a proper and clean diet if you are looking to gain some muscle mass. Some may argue that as long as you workout very intensely, and eat a "normal" diet you will still be able to gain muscle. That is absolutely untrue!
As a "normal" and standard American diet consist of three meals :
First: Cereal, Eggs and milk (8am)
Second: Sandwiches (2pm)
Third: Steak or something extremely heavy and filling (7pm)
As we can see, a normal diet consists of only three meals, which would not be the best thing to do, if you are looking to maintain a high metabolic rate.
To minimize the amount of fat gained during the process of weight gain is to eat 5 meals daily to maintain a high metabolic rate, such that any food that is ingested into the body can be digested and utilize as quickly as possible instead to staying in the body and converting into fat.
Our body starts to convert fat when 2 things happen.
- You do not eat regular meals and in a preventive measure taken by the body to prevent starving, the body naturally stores fat because fat has higher calories and your energy levels will still be maintained in the event that the stomach is empty.
- You are eating more calories then needed, and the excess calories that are derived from fat will turn into, well FAT.
Concept Of Building Muscle
Okay. Now let's think about something else for one second. Imagine that the roof on your house is your muscle. And what happens is that, every time you train your muscles in the gym, it is equivalent to smashing little holes on that roof.
And in order to fix that roof, we would need money. And this money would be the diet that you are eating. Sure, for the first few times that you smash that roof (aka muscle) you would have the money (aka nutritional content in diet) to fix it.
But as time goes by, and your finances starts to go lower, it would be a lot easier not to fix the roof at all.
Now that is what happens to our body. Initially when we first go on a weight program, even without the help of a clean and proper diet we would still be able to gain some form of muscle in the early stages.
Soon this progress will come to a halt because the body is not receiving enough nutrients to maintain daily activity levels and at the same time build extra muscle.
That also means in order to gain muscle or weight, we would have to first eat a diet that has a more calories (made up mostly of carbohydrate and protein and not fat) than actually needed, so the extra can be used to build muscle. Step 1 will determine the amount of calories needed for your daily activity.
Step 1: Count calories
You can do so over here.
Step 2: Plan Diet
Take the figure that you have calculated from the above link and add 500 to that figure. That would now be the amount of calories that should be ingested during your time of gaining weight. Every 2 weeks if you are not seeing either size gains of weight gains, increase 500 more calories every 2 weeks until you start to see gains in weight again.
P.S. Eating on a day when you work out and eating on a day when you do not work out is not the same. Your body does not require as much calories as compared to a non workout day.
To maximize you training efforts, it is critical that you eat one and a half hour before your workout and within one hour your workout.
Types Of Food
Usually when you buy food from the supermarket, the food would have some sort of label stating the nutritional content in the food. But sad to say not all foods have that. So for foods that has labels, it would be easier for you to plan your diet. But for foods that have no nutritional labels, you can always visit the huge nutritional database available at www.bodybuilding.com It is extremely useful and has a huge range of foods.
- Protein sources
- Skinless Chicken breast
There are 2 types of Carbohydrates. One would be called "simple" and the other "complex" carbohydrate. The difference is that simple carbohydrate tends to be used very quickly in the body.
It can be quickly digested and utilized, providing a quick energy boost. It can be digested so quickly because of its simple molecular structure. That is why simple carbohydrate is best taken before and after the workout. So that it can provide the much needed energy for and workout and also after the workout.
Complex Carbohydrate is also able to provide energy. But the only difference is that our body is not able to digest it as quickly as simple carbohydrate. Due to this reason, complex carbohydrate can create a kind of Time release effect within our body when the nutrients are digested, which make sit a perfect choice for meals that do not require immediate energy boost.
- Fruit juices
The amount of carbohydrate content in the above can be obtained on the bodybuilding site.
Not Recommended Foods
- Fizzy drinks (Although they contain a high simple carbohydrate content, it is artificial so it should be used as a source of simple carbohydrate)
- Deep fried junk food.
Although these foods may look irresistible, these foods can only do more harm than good. But indulging in these foods once in a blue moon to keep you motivated in your quest for that perfect body is fine, as long as you don't need motivation every 2 minutes.
How To Increase Appetite?
This is something that I have desperately tried to figure out for the last 6 months. Whenever I know that it is time to increase my caloric intake by 500, I usually hold back because I know that my appetite is not big enough to eat anymore. So I was in at a real loss about what to do.
My Initial Experience
At first when I started to go on a diet to bulk, I was practically forcing myself to eat the food presented to me on that plate. And every time, I would always push a little too far and would end up in a 10 minute state of agony vomiting whatever I have just ingested. And that would in turn bring me back to square one.
Every time I finish vomiting, I would be weak and would have no appetite to eat anymore despite knowing the fact that there is nothing in my stomach and if I do not eat soon I would be putting my stomach in a state of starvation.
And in order to counter my body's instinct to eject any overloading of food, I came out with a stupid theory. I thought that as long as I distracted myself from the thought of vomiting, I would not vomit. So I used to dig my nails into my palms and use the sense of pain to distract me from the thought of vomiting. Although it worked for the first few times, it didn't last. I started to lose that concentration and my hands were soon having more and more cuts and bruises. I knew I had to come out with something new.
The Real Way To Increase Appetite
First & Foremost:
Quit smoking! Smoking can greatly reduce your appetite. So if you want to down that chicken breast, drop that cigarette stick.
Left: Healthy lung vs smokers lung. You decide.
Every time it is time to increase your caloric intake, do not hold back even if you know that you are unable to eat anymore. Just go ahead and plan what you are going to eat for that increased caloric level.
Then when you get the food, eat as much as you can. And the moment you feel you cannot go any further. Stop! Do Not Continue! Even if there is still food left, throw the rest away.
All you have to do is to remember how much you have left behind. And the next day when you eat that meal again, make sure you eat more than what you did the day before. Do this everyday and your body will slowly adapt and increase the amount of food you can ingest.
Soon you will find that eating the meal is no trouble at all. This method is very effective because it gives the body time to adapt and not expecting the body to create a bigger stomach in 2 seconds
Increase your activity level. Just small and simple steps will do. For example, do not take a bus if it is within walking distance; do not take the lift when you can climb the stairs.
Of course if you work on the 88th storey it is out of the question. In general it just means to increase your activity level. This will help to further increase your metabolic rate and digestion rate.
Weight Gaining Every Week
So how much weight is it safe to gain every week such that you do not blow up into an elephant within 3 months. An average of 700g-1kg is perfectly fine. If you feel that you are increasing weight much faster than that and you are very sure it is caused by fat accumulation, then reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories.
So How Much Fat Gain Is Acceptable?
This is very hard to say. Everyone has a different concept regarding this topic. Some people think that too much fat is when you have no abs. Some would think that it is alright to lose the abs as long as you do not grow a gut. So there are many different levels of acceptability. So when you personally feel that you are growing to much fat, reduce the calories by 500.
A good way to judge if you are gaining to much fat is by using a Fat measuring calipers. It is sold at the online store on Bodybuilding.com
If you do not have the intention to buy one of those, a simple measure on the waist is also acceptable. As long as you do not grow more than 2 inches that what you desire, you are fine. For example, you currently have a 26 inch waist. And you would want to see it up to 30. So if you reach 33 you know you are gaining a little too much fat. So reduce 500 calories.
The most amount of calories I have eaten in a day would have to be 4000 calories. At that time I was trying to push the limit of how much I can actually eat.
This was what I ate:
- 300ml soy
- 2 scoop 100% whey protein
- 1 dried cup rice
- 200ml milk
- 7 Eggs
- 500ml soy
- 200ml apple juice
- 400ml soy
- 3 scoop 100% whey protein
- 300g chicken breast
- 500ml soy
- 1 cup macaroni
- 1 packets tofu
- 600ml soy
* I use a lot of soy because of its economical value and its content.
The next day when I work up, I felt extremely bloated. But since I already have a habit of drinking a protein shake in the morning to jump start my body, I forced myself into taking it. But in the end I vomited out the shake (waste of money, moron!).
I was a little smarter this time. I knew that since I vomited my stomach was empty, so I drank another protein shake and this time it was perfectly fine.
3rd Place - mivi320
What Is The Best Weight Gain Diet Plan?
As bodybuilders, we're always looking at ways to improve our physiques. Sure, we know that in order to get cut up and lose weight, we have to follow a strict eating plan that is based around an energy deficit which usually means restricting calories and doing massive amounts of cardio.
But what about for those that want to improve their physiques by adding some quality muscle mass and size? What type of plan should you follow if you want to add some serious size to your frame? Listen up and read on to find out!
The most important factor that determines whether or not you will grow is calories. If you don't consume enough calories, you'll lose weight. If you consume a surplus of calories, you'll gain weight. It's that simple!
The bottom line is that if you want to pack on some serious mass, eat 18-21x your bodyweight in calories. Spread the calories out by eating more frequent meals to encourage an anti-catabolic atmosphere that promotes growth.
Anywhere from 6-8 meals is usually ideal for most to fit their daily quota of calories in for the day. Combine a calorie surplus with a sound training and supplement regimen, and you got yourself an arsenal for some major mass!
Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat Ratios
Now that we have the amount of calories that you must consume daily covered, let's proceed to the ratio of protein, carbohydrate, and fat issue. The fact of the matter is that ratios are irrelevant because your calories should not determine your macronutrient intakes; lean mass should.
I hate to break it to anyone, but ratios are nothing more than an accidental attribute of a given diet - after it has been put together based on a number of factors such as training volume, goals, and body composition changes.
I really hate to say it, but it's not a starting point upon which you base your needs for a mass gaining diet. The bottom line is that ratios are strictly incidental. The whole 40/40/20 split of protein, carbohydrates, and fats is just a cookie-cutter macronutrient proportion of conventional bodybuilding diets.
What Types Of Foods To Consume When Looking To Bulk Up?
If you're goal is to bulk up by adding quality muscle and size to your body with as little fat gain as possible, then what foods should you consume? Given you're eating enough calories to add weight at least .05-1.0lb. a week, then you should get in plenty of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and the "good fats."
1 Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are basically slow burning carbohydrates, as opposed to quick acting simple carbs, that generally provide you with more satiety, satisfaction, and nutrition. Here is a list of complex carbohydrates that will assist you with your weight gaining program:
- Brown Rice
- Cream of Wheat
- Whole grain Bread
- Whole grain Pasta
- Whole grain and High Fiber Cereals
2 Lean Proteins
Lean Proteins are generally protein sources that contain little to no fat. These lean proteins usually have a great amino acid profile, and are chock full of wholesome nutrients that will aid you in your recovery and muscle building! Here's a list of lean proteins that are acceptable when looking to add size:
- Egg Whites
- Chicken Breasts
- Lean cuts of Steak and Red Meat
- Skim or 1% Milk
- Lean cuts of Pork
- Fat Free or 1% Cottage Cheese
- Protein powder
3 The "Good Fats"
The "good fats" are fats that can actually improve blood cholesterol levels, fight off infections and heart diseases, and provide you with a wide range of health benefits. Here's a list of "good fats" that you should consume to promote growth and size gains:
- Olive Oil
- Natural Peanut Butter
- Flax Seed Oil
What Types Of Foods To Avoid When Looking To Bulk Up
Time to move on to the foods to avoid and refrain from when looking to add as much muscle as possible while keeping fat gains to a minimum. Basically the foods you would want to avoid are foods that have undergone some form of processing and adulteration.
These foods tend to be loaded with excess sugar, trans fat, and simply do not provide the wholesome nutrition that the heart healthy foods I have listed above do.
Cheat meals can be helpful when trying to bulk up, as they offer some great physiological advantages and keep you sane. They have their place, but don't abuse these cheat meals.
A good rule of thumb is to have a cheat meal once every week or two weeks to keep you sane and take a break from eating the same foods over and over.
If you're a determined person and feel no need for a cheat meal, more power to you! A cheat meal is not necessary, and can even make the cheater feel guilty and make things worse.
Just remember: Everything in moderation.
What Can You Do To Increase Your Appetite?
Okay, so in order to add some massive size and muscle mass you have to eat plenty of calories and 6-8 meals daily. How do you manage to have an appetite to even look at all that food? If you're one of those people who just never seems to have a big appetite to chow down on large amounts of food, then you've got to find ways to get the food down to promote growth.
Eating the majority of your calories at the one time of day seems to work wonders for getting down those calories. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or one of your in between meals, just be sure to get in enough calories! Making homemade weight gainers is an excellent idea for someone who finds it hard to scarf down massive amounts of food.
Here's a few recipes for some homemade weight gainers that will provide your body with some quality calories:
Chocolate Banana Fusion
16 oz. Skim Milk
1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
1 large Banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large fat free vanilla pudding
16 oz. Skim Milk
1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
3 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter
3 Packets Artificial Sweetener
Fruit Flavored Shake
1.5 cups of Water
2 scoops Whey Protein Isolate
1/2 cup 100% Fruit Juice
5 medium sized Strawberries
Blend all ingredients for 45 seconds or until desired consistency in blender!
How Much Weight Should You Be Trying To Gain Each Week? How Much Fat Is Acceptable To Gain During Your Weight Gain Period? How Can You Tell If You Are Gaining Too Much Fat?
A good rule of thumb is to gain .5-1.0 lb a week. This variable is the best for avoiding excess fat gain because you'll be gaining at a steadily progress.
Remember that bodybuilding is a marathon not a sprint.
Don't try to gain 3 or 4 pounds a week, as this will likely cause unwanted gains in adipose tissue instead of lean body mass.
Set reasonable goals that you know you will be able to accomplish.
So How Much Fat Is Acceptable To Gain During This Bulking Phase?
Each person has to decide for himself or herself how much fat is acceptable to add during the mass adding stage. Surely you would want to add some muscle to your frame, but along with that muscle gain will come fat gain. However, if you follow the nutrition guidelines I mentioned you'll keep fat gain to a minimum.
Once you have accumulated too much fat for your liking, then simply analyze your diet and adjust accordingly. How can you tell if you're gaining to much fat?
Feeling bloated and retaining water is only natural for someone eating large amounts of calories and trying to add on some muscle, and many times people confuse this bloating feeling with the addition of fat tissue.
Simply go by the mirror to monitor your progress. If you're looking like the Michelin man, then it's time to stop the bulking cycle and examine the cause of this unwanted fat gain, which is usually the nutrition program.
What Is the Most Calories That You Have Eaten In One Day When Trying To Bulk? What Did You Eat? How Did You Feel The Next Day
The most calories I've consumed in one day when trying to bulk up was 4,000 calories. On my last bulking cycle, I ate a consistent 3,000 calories a day, but the day I ate 4,000 was a bit different.
It was my cheat day! I allowed myself a cheat day when I could eat anything I felt like, and I went all out! I ate anything from Fried Chicken, Chocolate Cake, French Fries, Pizza, French Toast to 3 cups of Oatmeal!
I felt somewhat bloated the following day, but not as much as I thought I would. Prior to cheating big time, I had hit a plateau and wasn't gaining a single pound no matter how hard I tried! One week after cheating, I checked the scale and it read that I had gained one pound! That's the magic of having a cheat day or a cheat meal!