Does it seem like your body is just stuck on skinny forever? Today, you’re going to receive the most effective tools to putting on muscle!
These days, it might seem like all the fad diets and popular videos are all about losing weight, but not everybody has that goal. In fact, questions about how to actually gain weight are more common than you’d think. These are questions that are submitted from skinny teenagers to underweight adults, all falling under the “hardgainer” category just simply trying to find ways to put on muscle.
So if you are one of those guys or girls, do not think you’re a lost cause because I, Vince Sant, have personally been there. Before I became a fitness model, I was a very skinny guy. I even did fashion modeling where I walked runway shows and did these high fashion campaigns, so I had to be skinny. And thanks to my genetics, that was no problem!
But then came the time when I wanted to make my transition into the fitness world. Don’t get me wrong, working out had always been one of my passions. But now, I wanted to make it my career. And it wasn’t until I got all my certifications and actually spent a couple years doing my own research online and testing different strategies in the gym and in the kitchen that I finally found what worked.
The truth is, it’s so simple that I couldn’t do anything but laugh when I finally started seeing the number on the scale going up.
In just one year, I gained over 25 pounds of pure muscle.
So HOW did I do it?
Two words… I ate.
Now, you might be thinking, “Oh here we go. Just another guy saying in order to get big, you gotta eat big.” And truth is, yes I am saying that. But I’m going to explain how, rather than leaving you even more frustrated and confused.
I’m going to give you two more words now that explain a little more about how I ate.. Caloric surplus.
If you’ve never heard this term before, it simply means you eat more calories than what your body burns throughout the day. As long as you are doing that, it is impossible to not gain weight.
But in order to make sure you’re gaining muscle and not fat, it is your job to do three things…
Figure out exactly how many calories your body burns throughout the day. Increase that number and split it up into your daily macros (carbs, fats, proteins). Split up your daily macros into meals every 2-3 hours.
But don’t worry, I’m going to hold your hand all the way through. So let’s get into number 1.
How do you figure out how many calories your body burns throughout the day?
First off, you figure out your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is how many calories you burn WITHOUT any physical activity. This is simply the calories you need to keep breathing and keep your body functioning.
BMR: 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds) + ( 12.7 x height in inches) - ( 6.8 x age in years)
Next, you figure out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) by factoring in how many calories your body burns through daily activity. So let’s figure out your TDEE by using the graph below.
TDEE Equation Based on How Many Times You Workout Per Week:
Workout 1-3 per week = BMR x 1.375
Workout 3-5 per week = BMR x 1.55
Workout 5-7 per week = BMR x 1.725
So now that we’ve figured out exactly how many calories you burn on a day to day basis, it’s time to move on to the next step, increasing that number and splitting it up into your macros.
When it comes to going into a caloric surplus, there is no set number of extra calories that everybody should add. It depends on two things; how much weight you want to gain and how lean you want your gains to be.
Obviously, if you are going for a more “dirty” bulk, where you don’t mind putting on some fat and you just want the extra calories so you can maximize your muscular output, you would do a larger surplus. Whereas, if you were going for a “clean” bulk and trying to keep your body fat low by strictly putting on muscle, you would only do a slight surplus. Keep in mind, the types of foods that you are eating will largely affect how “dirty” or “clean” your bulk will be.
Depending on what you’re aiming for, here are some places to start.
Significant bulkers: TDEE x 0.25 = daily caloric goal
Clean bulkers: TDEE x 0.15 = daily caloric goal
Now that you have your daily caloric goal, you must remember these are only starting points. You have to watch how your body responds and adjust accordingly. (This is where it gets tough, and where having custom plans written for you, and having professionals take care of all these calculations comes in hand. You can check ours out here.)
Next, let’s cover macronutrient breakdowns. And this is a little more complicated subject because, similar to figuring out how much of a caloric surplus you’re going into, there is not a single macronutrient ratio that works for everyone. There are only starting points.
The fact that you’re reading this article, tells me you’re an ectomorph AKA you’re naturally skinny. So your body is not sensitive to carbs like that of an endomorph AKA a heavy set person who gains weight easily. Therefore, you can get away with a balanced layout of macros where carbs are by far the largest percentage of calories, versus going on some kind of carb-cycle where it would differ from day to day.
A good macronutrient ratio starting place is 50/25/25. This means you will have 50% of your daily calories coming from carbs, 25% coming from proteins, and 25% coming from fats. (Again, this is just a place to start. This ratio can and will vary depending on how your body responds. This is all about trial and error until you find what works.)
Ok, now that we have your daily caloric goal and your macro breakdown, next you must understand that all macros are not equal calories. Protein and carbs consist of the same amount of calories per gram but fats are calorie dense, containing over double the calories per gram.
Calories Per Gram:
Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram
Proteins: 4 calories per gram
Fats: 9 calories per gram
Basically what this means is, if you were trying to figure out how many carbs you need, you would take your daily caloric goal, multiply that by 0.5 to get 50% of those calories, then simply divide that number by 4 to turn that number from calories to grams.
You do that for all three macronutrients and wallah! You have your daily macros. If you stick to those numbers every single day and adjust them as you go, you are guaranteed to continually gain weight.
Now you should have a basic understand of how to create a diet to ensure weight gain. And the cool thing is, if you are trying to do a cut, it works the other way around.. Just slightly decrease your caloric intake, so you burn more calories than you eat and you will lose weight.
Last but not least, for those of you who think this is just one big headache, we do offer custom meal plans where we take care of all of these equations, we adjust your plan as you go and we tell you exactly what foods to eat and when so that you can get in the best shape of your life. If you want to check them out, click the button below and get started today.