Hack #1: Don’t Snack
This one might seem counter-intuitive, but snacking can kill your appetite.
If you focus on eating 3-4 big meals per day, with no snacking in between, it will be a lot easier to consume a higher total amount of calories throughout the day. And calories is what you need to gain weight. You MUST eat more calories than your body is burning to successfully gain weight.
When you snack, you consume some extra calories, yes. But you do so at the expense of your appetite. For example, let’s say you eat breakfast at 10AM, and then at 11:30AM you decide to have a small snack. Some fruit, some nuts, or some chips… Whatever. This is going to fill you up a little bit, and put off the time that you would’ve ate lunch if you had NOT snacked.
So now, rather than devouring a large 1000 calorie lunch, you end up eating two 250 calorie snacks instead. Less overall calories. Less chance of gaining weight. So focus on eating 3-4 large meals, not little snacks.
Hack #2: Eat the Fatty Version
There are a lot of foods out there with lower calories alternatives. These are great for losing weight, but terrible for gaining weight.
Drink full fat milk instead of fat free, 1%, or 2%
Get 80/20 hamburger meat instead of the lean 93/7 version
Use olive oil when you cook instead of a low calorie cooking spray
Use a regular butter or buttery spread instead of the ‘light’ version
Buy real sandwich bread instead of sandwich ‘thins’
I think you get the idea. If you’re buying groceries or food, opt for the higher calorie version instead of the ‘low fat’ or ‘low carb’ version. You need calories to gain weight. And it’s probably going to taste way better, too.
Hack #3: Drink Calories
When you drink calories, they are far less filling that when you eat them.
200 calories of solid food will fill you up way more than 200 calories of liquid. So by drinking 200 calories with every meal, you can easily add 600-800 calories to your daily total without having to eat more food… And that’s probably more than you need to start gaining weight.
Instead of drinking water or diet soda, drink milk, orange juice, or chocolate milk. These drinks will still hydrate like water, but they also contain calories!
I’d stay away from soda, because I think that shit is awful for you. It definitely makes me feel bloated and tired. Juices and milks, on the other hand, contain calories but still have some nutritional value.
Hack #4: Make a Shake
If you’re busy, finding time to fit in 3-4 large meals can be challenging. This is where a high calorie shake can really help you.
You can easily replace one of those regular meal by incorporating a high calorie shake into your diet. There are infinite variations of high calorie shakes, but this one is my favorite:
1 cup whole milk, 146 calories
1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 125 calories
2 tbsp peanut butter, 190 calories
1 banana, 100 calories
1 cup oats, 300 calories
Put all of those things in a blender and BOOM! That’s 861 calories of pure chocolate, peanut butter, and banana deliciousness… And it’s not even super filling. Plus you can easily prepare this in under 5 minutes in the morning, and then drink it later on at work or at school.
Hack #5: Eat Some ‘Junk Food’
Before I explain this ‘hack’, let’s go one thing straight: I’m not advocating eating all of your meals at McDonald’s and Burger King.
No, the majority of your calories should come from whole foods. BUT it’s certainly okay to get SOME of your calories from what people often refer to as ‘junk food’.
When I say junk food, I mean:
All of these foods are high in calories, yet relatively low in nutrients. They aren’t super healthy. But, assuming you’re eating at least 2 others meals that are healthy and comprised of whole foods (and you don’t have any dietary restrictions that prevent you from doing so) then I think it’s acceptable to eat a small percentage of your calories in ‘junk food’.
Now, I wouldn’t go above roughly 20% of your total calories in ‘junk food’, but it can certainly help guys who have a tough time getting in those last few calories they need to gain weight.
And that’s all I got – happy bulking!