How to Gain Weight for Skinny Guys (with Weight Gain Diet)

  1. purebred
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    How to Gain Weight for Skinny Guys (with Weight Gain Diet)


    I figured the "need to gain weight" and "looking to bulk up" threads have become qutie mundane and repetitve at this point so why not have a thread we can refer the folks asking these common questions to?

    How to Gain Weight for Skinny Guys (with Weight Gain Diet) | StrongLifts.com

    Skinny guys often say they can eat anything they want without gaining weight. They think they’re blessed with a fast metabolism. They’ll say: “I make women jealous with my metabolism. I can eat junk food all day without gaining weight”.

    Truth is you can eat anything you want without gaining weight because you’re not eating a lot. I know you think you do, but you’re not. Otherwise you wouldn’t be skinny. Here’s how to gain weight for skinny guys.


    1. Track Calories. Skinny guys often overestimate what they eat. Read the labels, use a food scale and track your daily caloric intake using FitDay.com. You need at least your body-weight in lbs x 20kcal daily to gain weight.

    A rule of thumb is at least 1kg for each cm above 1m (use this converter). Anything less you’ll always look skinny. There’s no upper limit, if you want to weigh more go for it. Examples of minimum goal weights:

    • 1m70/5’7″ at least 70kg/154lbs
    • 1m75/5’9″ at least 75kg/165lbs
    • 1m80/5’11″ at least 80kg/176lbs
    • 1m85/6’1″ at least 85kg/187lbs
    • 1m90/6’3″ at least 90kg/200lbs

    3. Eat Every 3 Hours. You need at least your body-weight in lbs x 20 kcal to gain weight. That’s 2700kcal/day if you’re 135lbs. If you have a physical job or move a lot, you’ll need even more. Eat every 3 hours.

    Breakfast. Get calories from the first hour. Read how to build the habit of eating breakfast and try these breakfast recipes.
    Lunch & Dinner. Prepare double portions while making breakfast. 1 portion for work/school, 1 portion when you get back.
    Snacks. Mixed nuts, fruits, dried fruits, yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, sandwiches, milk, protein shakes.
    Post Workout. Physical activities burn calories. Eat post workout to get that energy back. Check this post workout shake recipe.

    4. Eat Calorie Dense Foods. 100g raw rice is 380kcals. 100g raw spinach is only 25kcals. Getting your daily calorie intake is easier if you eat foods high in calories. Your best options:

    Pasta. 100g pasta is 380kcal and easier to ingest than 100g rice. Whole grain pasta is healthier, but takes longer to digest. Eat white pasta.
    Whole Milk. If you don’t bother gaining some fat, drink 1 gallon whole milk per day on top of your current food intake. I’ve seen guys gaining 60lbs/year drinking 1 gallon per milk per day while Squatting 3x/week.
    Nuts. Mixed nuts & natural peanut butter have +500kcal/100g, about 50% healthy fats and 25% protein. Use mixed nuts as snack & throw peanut butter on sandwiches for work/school.
    Olive Oil. Protects against heart diseases & cancer. Sip it like vodka (it’s not that bad, really) or use it for tomato pasta sauce. 1tbsp is 100kcal.

    5. Get Stronger. You want to go from skinny to muscular, not from skinny to chubby. Get into strength training. More strength is more muscle. If you don’t know where to start, check StrongLifts 5×5. Some tips.

    Free Weights. Force you to stabilize the weight and allow for natural motions. Start light, focus on technique and add weight progressively.
    Compound Exercises. Do exercises that work your whole body. Squats, Deadlifts, Overhead Press, Bench Press, Pull-ups, Dips, Barbell Row.s
    Squat. Leg exercise stressing your whole body. When you can Squat 1.5x your body-weight for 1 rep, you’ll no longer be skinny. Squat often.
    Rest. Muscle grow when you rest, not when you workout. Don’t train daily. Sleep, drink 1 gallon water daily and eat fruits/veggies.

    6. Plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail. You don’t have time to cook 3x/day, and the food at work/school is often low quality/more expensive. Prepare your food in advance and take it with you.

    Do The Grocery. Avoid skipped meals because you don’t have food available. List everything you need for 1 week and go buy it.
    Cook in Advance. Prepare all your meals once per day: while preparing breakfast or while preparing dinner. It takes about 40mins.
    Keep it Simple. Make double portions, take leftovers with you, use cans of tuna & mixed nuts, 1 gallon milk per day.
    Take Food with You. Food containers for work/school, mixed nuts at the movies, eat before going to town, take protein shakes to the gym.

    7. Track Progress. Success breeds success. Knowing that you’re losing your skinny look will keep you motivated. Track everything.

    Track Calories. Continue tracking your daily caloric intake using FitDay so you get a confirmation of how many calories you’re eating.
    Weigh Yourself Weekly. Gaining weight? Don’t change anything. Not gaining weight? Increase your daily caloric intake by 500kcal.
    Take Pictures. The mirror is subjective. Pictures don’t lie. Shoot pictures bi-monthly so you have objective measurements of your progress.
    Track Strength Gains. When you can Squat 1.5x your body-weight for 1 rep, you’ll no more be skinny. Use the StrongLifts 5×5 spreadsheet.

    Weight Gain Diet. 3500+kcal example diet for a skinny guy who wants to weigh 180lbs/81kg. This can be too much at once if you’re only 135lbs/61kg or not enough if you’re very active. Individualize the diet based on your needs.

    Breakfast: 100g oats, 50g raisins, 1scoop whey
    Snack: 100g mixed nuts or 1 liter milk or tuna sandwich
    Lunch: 200g white pasta, bolognese sause, parmesan cheese
    Snack: 100g mixed nuts or 1 liter milk or tuna sandwich
    Post workout shake: 1.5scoops whey, 60g oats, milk, banana
    Dinner: 200g white pasta, bolognese sause, parmesan cheese
    Pre bed: cottage cheese, berries, flax seed, fish oil

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    Quote Originally Posted by purebred View Post
    3. Eat Every 3 Hours. You need at least your body-weight in lbs x 20 kcal to gain weight. That’s 2700kcal/day if you’re 135lbs. If you have a physical job or move a lot, you’ll need even more. Eat every 3 hours.
    the only thing I would say here is that its more beneficial for your body for you to eat at consistent times all 7 days a week. So if its hard to manage eating every 3 hours at the same times (give or take 15 minutes) every day then you may want to eat larger meals less often. Your eating schedule affects your overall circadian rythms, so keeping them regular is very important.
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    Good write up. Couple things I don't agree with though... you said you'll always look skinny if you're under the minimum weight goal. I'm 5'6" and 145, but I started at 100 pounds. I commonly get over estimated in weight by as much as 40 pounds. Another thing, squatting 1.5x your bodyweight for a single won't make you any less skinny. These guys need to squat heavy for a lot of reps.
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  4. purebred
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyEJL View Post
    the only thing I would say here is that its more beneficial for your body for you to eat at consistent times all 7 days a week. So if its hard to manage eating every 3 hours at the same times (give or take 15 minutes) every day then you may want to eat larger meals less often. Your eating schedule affects your overall circadian rythms, so keeping them regular is very important.
    Sure. Basically, how I would translate that to someone at a beginner level is to create a basic routine. In the thread I posted in prior to creating this one, I suggested the OP start getting into the habit of waking up early as well as heading to bed early. It will take a few weeks to really get the hang of it depending on the individual, but generally speaking, I'd say developing a routine tends to produce good results. In waking up early, one has more time to get more meals, which in turn, makes it easier to meet daily caloric requirements. Being fit takes some adjusting and tweaking in lifestyle habits but the benefits, short-term and long-term, are priceless. Good post, Easy.

    It's likely the article will experience a bit of overanalyzation and hair-splitting. Thank you for the gratitude, Chubbin. Just so we're clear: I am not the author of this write-up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chubbinmuffin View Post
    Another thing, squatting 1.5x your bodyweight for a single won't make you any less skinny. These guys need to squat heavy for a lot of reps.
    No one said to perform singles. What the statement indicates is by the time you've gotten to being able to perform singles with 1.5x your bodyweight, it is highly unlikely you will qualify as "skinny" seeing as how strength and size tend to have a strong correlation.

    This is a "keep it simple" article. Peering too much into the wording will be counterproductive. Overall, it seems to get the general message and concepts across. It's going to save us from developing Parrot Syndrome with the members who fail to utilize the "Search" feature and ask the same questions time and time again, only changing the wording a bit, if that.
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    I see. But I'll still have to disagree about "strength and size tend to have a strong correlation." While this is true to an extent, I've seen plenty of instances where strength gain comes with no weight gain. I haven't gained a pound in quite awhile, but my squat and deadlift continue to go up. I'm at 2.25x (325 pounds) my bw for squat. But you are correct, gaining quality weight without a solid strength foundation is going to be very, very difficult.
  6. purebred
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    The fact that strength and size tend to be correlated being true to a certain extent is implicit. It goes without saying with virtually everything/anything else. Everything has a limit and there are always exceptions to the rule. Disagree to agree about disagreeing
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    I can squat 1.5x my bodyweight for a double. (160lb bw, squat = 240) and unfortunately I'm still skinny DAMN LIES!
  8. purebred
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    You're also 6'2" & 160lbs. You have much more frame to fill out than someone who is say 5'10" lol. I'm almost certain you will not have this problem if you gain 30 more lbs.
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    Yep. That is the plan. Pretty much everyone days that. My family is very skinny, even my dad, so they believe I have more then filled out what is genetically possible for me. I go to the gym, lift, and eat to prove them wrong everyday.
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    Keep up the great work, Jeremy. Don't fall for the "genetics" argument. We know a lot more in this day and age about how our body works. You give it the right tools and it will build itself. Slowly but surely. I used to be a skinny fella too so don't think you're alone, brother. Steady gaining!
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    Great advice!
  

  
 

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