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How to Gain Weight for Hardgainers

By Ollie Odebunmi ; Updated July 18, 2017

It seems some people merely have to look at food to put on weight. This might feel like a curse to them, but to the hard-gainer, that would be a blessing. Hard-gainers eat themselves silly and drink gallons of sugar-laden weight gainers with little to show but frequent visits to the washroom. They go to the gym to build muscle, but have to put up with jokes about being skinny. They soon are at wits' end and looking for answers. But proper diet and exercise can help you gain weight without compromising your health.

Eat every three hours. This gives you between five and eight meals a day. Each meal should include complex carbohydrates, protein and fats. You have to consume more calories than your body needs for its daily maintenance and activities, creating a calorie surplus. Calculate your daily calorie requirements by multiplying your bodyweight in pounds by seventeen. For example, a 160-pound person will need 2,720 calories daily to bulk up.

Eat most of your carbs in the form of complex carbs, according to certifed personal trainer Derek Charlebois. Examples include oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, yams, and whole grain foods. These slowly digested carbs will provide continous and sustained energy. Charlebois recommends carbs should form 50 percent of your calories. Carbohydrates are your body's preferred choice of energy, and a shortage of them in your diet will force your body to use lean muscle tissue for energy.

Eat protein with each meal. Sources should include lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish and whole eggs. Others may prefer non-animal sources such as beans and legumes. Hard-gainer bodybuilder and fitness trainer Vince Delmonte believes that building muscle and weight gain is not a priority for the body. If there is insufficient protein in your diet to maintain your internal organs, your body will cannibalize protein from lean muscle tissue. He recommends that protein should comprise about 35 percent of your total calories, with 40 to 60 grams per meal.

Get enough fats in your diet. Saturated fats play an important role in the production of the muscle building hormone testosterone. Omega-3 and 6 essential fatty acids play an important role in many body processes and are essential for good health.

Use coconut oil. This saturated fat contains medium chain triglycerides, which the body can use for energy during intense workouts, sparing calories from carbohydrates which can go toward weight gain. About 15 percent of your calories should come from fat.

Do intense weight training two or three times per week. Use heavy weights with a repetition range of eight to 12 for compound movements on the major muscle groups of the chest, back, shoulders and legs. Movements you should focus on include the bench press, clean and press, bent over rows, dead-lifts and squats. Do whole body workouts lasting no more than one hour.

Ensure you eat as soon as you can after working out. A lot of energy and nutrients are depleted and have to be replenished as soon as possible to accelerate recovery and muscle growth. Your post-workout nutrition should include quickly digested simple carbs and protein. Mix some whey protein in rice milk, skim milk or water, together with some fruit of your choice. Bananas, blueberries, strawberries or mangoes blend well with neutral or vanilla-flavored whey powder and provide quickly assimilated carbs.


Do not ignore the benefits of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. They provide vitamins which help with food assimilation and conversion to energy that can be used by the body. They also provide antioxidants which fight disease causing free radicals and fiber that facilitates waste removal.

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