In college, I was that skinny guy who was the butt of jokes. I barely reached 120 pounds on the scale. My dating life was non-existent.
Firstly, I had these geeky spectacles that made me miss out on sports then I had to constantly hide my skeleton mass through buggy t-shirts and jeans. I was that kind of guy, that girls see approaching and they duck for cover. Girls would be terrified of been seen talking to me…
My self-esteem was at its lowest when I was pushed into the college swimming pool, and the whole world got to see my miniature ribs. That incident was the lowest I got and swore to get the body I desired.
Was it easy moving from 120 to over 190 pounds? No
Is it possible for you to get where I am? Yes
1. Eat more calories
For you to gain weight you need to consume more calories than you burn. Working out without a solid diet plan will leave you looking more awkward. When you are skinny, you can spend the whole day eating but not see any noticeable change in your weight.
For you to move from 120 to over 190 pounds, you seriously need to track your daily calorie intake. Some foods give you the recommended quota per day while some don’t.
For starters, know how many calories you need per day for your current weight. If you were like me weighing 120 pounds then your daily intake should be around 2112 kcal per day. To get to where I wanted to be I needed to add 500 to 600 calories per day. (I am using rounded figures for this).
The key is to be consistent. Do not consume 500 calories this month, then get bored and do 300 next month. Just like any habit, the first 21 days tend to be the most critical. Firstly, your stomach is not used to consuming so much food, but it is an elastic organ.
Proteins are the building blocks for the body. There are responsible for muscle growth and recovery after a workout. If you are skinny, I would recommend you aim at getting 180g of protein per day.
The major sources of protein will be steaks, various fish types like salmon, sardines, and tuna, dairy products like cheese, milk or yogurt and lastly a healthy serving of chicken breasts or thighs. The rest of your diet will be filled with some fats and carbs.
Track your weight weekly: It is not necessary to check your weight every day as you have to factor in your bowel movements and water content. The best you can do is on a weekly basis. By tracking your progress you can know whether you are on the right track or need some adjustments. Expect to gain at least half a kilogram every week. If you are not performing as expected boost your diet with an extra 500lcal per day.
3. Foods with more calorie density
Different types of foods offer a variety of calorie content. When trying to gain weight, you will not find many calories in foods such as pasta, fruits, and vegetables. While these are healthy, you will need to eat more of them for each serving. Instead, choose a diet that is filled with nuts like almonds, walnuts, or peanut butter. Dairy products like eggs and whole milk are great. Alternate between steak, fatty fish and chicken. For fruits try out carrying a banana during your workouts.
4. Avoid too much cardio
In an attempt to get the perfect body, some people will overdo their cardio exercises. In this instance, someone will begin with some running around the block, followed by a game of basketball, then a quick swim and before it is evening they have done some more aerobics.
This only tires you physically, but burns all the calories you are trying to use to gain weight. If you are trying to lose weight then it makes sense to train more but someone who plans on gaining weight should workout for 20 to 30 minutes each day for three weeks in a month.
Some people love running. But, if you are trying to gain weight this is counterproductive. You see, the body needs calories to fuel your runs. These same calories are what you need for weight and muscle gain. We recommend taking a step back from extensive cardio exercises until you have attained your goals for weight gain.
5. Increase the number of meals
Have you noticed that the people who win eating competitions tend to eat their meals in small portions? If you have been skinny all your life, it will take some time for your stomach to get used to consuming a lot of food. Instead of having a large plate of food then throwing up later, you can increase the number of meals per day from the customary three to four or five.
Begin with a wholesome breakfast full of whole milk, oats, fruits and maybe a can of yogurt. Breakfast should not be ignored as it provides you with the necessary calories to run the day. Have a midday snack at around 10 am to 11 pm. This can include some nuts, juice and a banana. Have your lunch at 1.pm to 2 pm followed by a snack at 4 pm. Have dinner early – can try out a steak with some mashed potatoes.
The meal plan described above will only work if you are committed to it. Most skinny guys will start well but after two to three weeks they fall out on the program.
6. Making amazing shakes
If you want to experience faster absorption rates of all the nutrients in meals then consider drinking shakes. It is easy for the stomach to digest liquids as opposed to solids. It also has the advantage of letting you consume more calories without necessarily feeling full.
Shakes are easy to make and have the advantage of portability. Ensure that what you put in your shakes is balanced. One great protein shake you should try out is the LABRADA lean body whey protein shake.
It is not a must that you purchase readymade shakes you can make your own at home with local ingredients. Bananas are good energy sources as they are rich in potassium. A homemade banana shake will meet all your protein requirements. You can take this some 30 minutes before a workout.
The shake ingredients are absorbed in the body fast and this provides you with the necessary energy for a proper workout. You can add this shake to your breakfast every three times per week.
When making one, you will need:
- ½ cup of full-fat Greek yogurt
- I cup of plain unsweetened almond milk
- 1 fresh banana
- Some ice cubes
- 1/8 tsp of ground cinnamon
Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If it becomes too thick then add some almond milk. You can adjust the ingredients as you deem fit.
It is okay to use supplements to boost your nutritional intake but note that some come with many artificial sugars. Some of the supplements we would recommend include whey protein, fish oil, multivitamins, and any other weight gainer. Supplements are meant to boost your diet not replace it.
The biggest problem with supplements is that manufacturers oversell the ingredients and what they can do. You will need to be very careful when selecting a supplement online. Purchase those from reputable companies and with many online customer reviews.
One hour after the workout, you can start off with a protein powder shake with a high concentration of leucine. This will be followed by a large meal that is full of proteins and carbs. This is essential for restoring the lost energy during the workout. It is okay to consume a carbohydrate drink, midway through your workouts.
Some of the common brands include Virago and AllmaxCarbion. Some people will add 10 grams of BCAAs to their carb drinks. This is meant to aid in muscle recovery and help relieve pain.
8. Junk foods
Many people will ask where the place of junk food in their weight gain regime is. It is okay to have a double cheeseburger occasionally but you should not be careful you do not get addicted to junk foods. Junk foods have high-calorie levels but if you consume them too much you may end up suffering from obesity then you start weight loss regime.
9. Be flexible to adjust your calorie intake
When you start adding weight, you will need to get more than the average person because you have always been skinny. Normal people will require around 150g of protein per day, you should go for 180g when starting out. Aim at adding 500 calories each day. In your diet, you should also have 20% of intake been healthy fats and some high-quality carbs.
When you have more protein, it prevents you from relying too much on carbs. Fat is denser than proteins and you can increase your intake of it if you notice that you are not achieving the desired results fast. Have a notebook where you indicate the number of calories you are consuming. Review what you consumed and how much weight you gained and then make adjustments to your diet.
10. Sufficient rest
If you want to grow big then you need to give your body enough time to replenish itself. You cannot work out all day. During exercises, take short breaks to breathe in the fresh air. But, it is at night that the body is most active in repairing itself. Most people will get by with less than 6 hours of sleep, but if you are expecting to see significant changes to your muscle mass, then aim at 7 to 8 hours.
There are sufficient resources online on how to get the best sleep. This starts with switching off the television some few minutes before bedtime to turning off the notifications on your mobile phone.
If you do not get adequate sleep, you are going to wake up fatigued and tired. You will perform poorly during workouts and even increase the chances of getting into accidents.
Critical Habit for success
Gaining a few pounds is not easy –especially when you have not been eating right most of your life. Your body will find some resistance when you first start training. Consistency is the key to implementing a successful weight gain program. This will mean having your workouts put in your daily calendar.
It will also mean downloading some recipes online. It is not visible to repeat the same meals day in day out without getting bored. Spice up your shakes with flavors.
If you can find a workout buddy to help you out in the journey, the better. Workout buddies are great to encourage you during the journey. To save on meals, ensure that you buy them in bulk. Unless there are avoidable circumstances, do not miss out to work out or skip meals.
Also, be flexible to make adjustments to your training and meal programs depending on the results. There is no one work out a plan that is set on stone. They can be changed. Being skinny is not a curse, but by following the guidelines stipulated above you can get the body you have always desired. To keep you motivated, have a picture of your desired body pinned to the wall.
You do not need to be the butt of jokes anymore. You can take matters into your hands. Creating a meal plan helps you add some calories to your daily requirement. Firstly, you need to add more proteins to your diet than usual. Also, increase the number of meals you take per day from three to five.
Follow up on the meal plan with some exercise. It will take time for you to see desired results but your efforts will be rewarded with a firm, muscled body. Having a well-toned body has a direct effect on your confidence levels. With a solid meal and workout plan, you will be able to say goodbye to rejection from the girls.