How to Gain More Muscle

Gaining weight and specifically muscle can be very challenging. I spent the majority of my high school and college years trying to pack on size in the form of muscle to be a bigger and stronger football player. While I wasn’t really concerned or interested in aesthetics that was a natural correlation to putting on muscle. None of this is easy, specifically if you are an athlete and very active. This write up is to give you some suggestions and ways in which I’ve seen great success in gaining both size and strength. But I’ll preface it by saying, it’s all about your commitment and your nutrition is the limiting factor.

“Hard Gainer. Ever heard that term? This phrase is slapped on lean young men that often aim to put on more size or weight. Most of the time this individual is a longer, leaner frame with a high metabolism and usually an even higher activity level. If this is you, then gaining weight will be a challenge. Food is the first focus for these individuals and for any of you out there hoping to get strong and put on size. You must be consuming calories in the volume that puts your body in a surplus. This is much less desirable than it seems. Many people think that eating to gain weight sounds like a dream! “Ahh I can eat whatever I want without worrying!”, but that is not true. The food quality choices of people looking to train hard, gain lean body mass and still perform well should still be high quality choices! The hard part is that all of that good wholesome food needs to be taken in at ratios much, much higher than they currently are. So to be clear, when I talk about eating and eating more it isn’t simply ice cream and donuts and sugar ladened foods that will not create good performance, recovery or optimal weight gain, just fat, lethargy, and sugar addiction.

6-8 meals a day. Sound like a lot? Well if you are serious about gaining weight this is a great place to start. If you are currently eating 3-4 meals a day then you should start with 6. The 6 feedings in a day don’t all need to be big meals but the aim is to find ways to help your body get more calories.

I would strongly suggest having protein ready to go when fueling is important to you. This means you should cook up beef, bison, steak, chicken, pork, whatever it is that you like in quantities that will get you 3-4 meals from it. This will provide you a means to “snack” through the day and have lunch prepared for work or for busy days. 



An example:

Morning Shake/ Pre workout:  would be to wake up and have a protein shake first thing in the morning with fruit and some fat source added in. I personally would suggest something like FNX Restart or Refuel ( I like 1 scoop of each)  1-2 scoops with a banana + ½ cup of oats + 2-4 tablespoons of peanut butter + ½ cup of blueberries + FNX Rebalance 1 scoop + 2-4 scoops of Replenish (fast absorbing carbs)

This shake acts as the day's first calories. Because you are able to drink them, it gives you much needed amounts of protein, carbs and fat that set you up nicely for the day of high performance but more importantly high calories. You will get antioxidants from the fruit, all the green veggies you need for the day in Rebalance, 40 grams of protein, and fat which is the highest macronutrient when it comes to calories. This is a great meal before your workout.

Breakfast: This should be filled with real food, high but balanced in macronutrients. I like eggs, oatmeal or rice, bacon, and again some added fruit or a little veggies for the fiber content which will aid in digestion throughout the day. I like to have this meal as my post workout meal when I train in the morning.




Lunch: Again the goal here is to have as much real food as possible. I like to keep this meal pretty simple. I again go to a choice of protein with rice but potatoes or sweet potatoes are also viable options for your carbs. Volume of this meal just like any other will be more dictated on your current weight and your goals on the weight gain. My favorite source of fat for lunch and dinner are avocados, they mix well with most “bowls” or even just eaten on the side. 



Afternoon Snack: This is a meal many people struggle with. This is the one that either gets forgotten or is avoided because they “aren’t hungry” yet. But, remember we already know gaining weight isn’t easy so this is just as important as your workout routine when that is your goal. Just like you wouldn’t skip a few sets or a whole session at the gym, you can’t do that when trying to gain weight with food.



I suggest and personally prefer this meal be another that can be one in a shake. I like the shake option for most daily snacks because I can have it made before hand and can take it with me anywhere I need to, even a meeting if I’m discreet. I enjoy 1-2 scoops of Restore with peanut butter, spinach, banana, Rebuild (Creatine), 1-2 scoops of Replenish,  ice, and some whole milk. This tastes amazing and again covers all my bases for protein, carbs, fat. If I need a pick me up then I will have Restart instead of Restore for my protein needs and keep most of the shake the same! 

If you don’t want to drink your calories here then this can look like another meal similar to lunch just likely a bit smaller.

Dinner: This is  my biggest “real food” meal of the day. I try to make it different than all of my other meals for the sake of mental stability and enjoyment. So if I had beef at lunch or snack then I try to have chicken here or maybe steak and in a different form. We enjoy tacos for dinner often. If you are eating with your family then tacos are an easy thing to have everyone enjoy yet your specific taco or plate can look a lot different than everyone else's especially since they may not be on the “gains train”. The strong point of emphasis is to try to make this one of your biggest meals of the day since all of your training is done at this point. Cover all 3 macro nutrients and keep it heavy in protein and carbs. 



Bedtime Snack:  Ahhh yes my favorite snack of the day! Seriously, I often am thinking about what I will have before bed right when I wake up in the moring and especially after I train for the day. It is like my sweet treat each day. When you are trying to gain weight it is important to get in calories before you lay down for a long fast over night. No! The answer is NO, if you are wondering if you should wake up in the middle of the night to have more calories. You should never interrupt your sleep when your goal is perform well, gain muscle and recover, you need as much high quality sleep you can get!



My big suggestion for bedtime snacks is to get plenty of protein and fat! Fat because it is burned slowly and can be a great way to keep you satiated through the night and as a result keep you asleep longer. My second suggest is that you are taking in some form of casein protein. I love our Retire Salted Carmel mixed with ½-1 cup of dry oats, ¼ cup warm milk, almond butter and stirred/ mixed! It is like a delicious night time “mush”. It is high calorie, high protein and helps get sleepy withing 15-20 minutes of downing it, then I sleep like a rock! It helps rebuild muscle through the night and does so at a rate that suits a long fast due to the slow absorption of the casein protein.

That gives you a rough idea on a day of fueling for gaining weight when you choose the 6 meal approach. If you add in more feedings then simply be wise about how you spread them out through the day. And remember you don’t always have to add meals, you can simply add more volume to the 6 meals as this is usually the optimal amount of feedings for most physically active and busy people. Those of you that don’t work or live the life of a professional athlete then “may” be able to get away with the 7 or 8 meals a day.

And there you have it. Gaining weight isn’t glamorous and it isn’t a eating competition full of donuts and cookies. You can take that route, but it will put you into a “fluffy” category and if that is your goal, eat away and enjoy. But to pack on meaningful and lasting size it will take discipline in training, food selection, planning and food preparation. Because eating real food for all the calories you’ll need is impossible, it is important to buy from a brand you trust that gives you high quality products as you’ll need several shakes in a day.