Believe it or not, not being able to put on weight is a very common problem for gym-goers. I’ve heard the tired line “I just can’t gain weight” time and time again from Skinnies (ectomorphs). They claim that they eat massive quantities of food every day yet can’t seem to shift the numbers on the scale. Here’s what you may be doing wrong if you’re “suffering” from this problem:
1. You’re Not Eating Enough “Big” Meals.
Maybe you eat 1 or 2 seemingly big meals (500+ calories/meal) but for the rest of the day you either don’t really eat or your meals are significantly smaller (200 calories/meal). By the end of the day you may only be taking in 2500 calories when you really need closer to 3500 calories to pack on some mass. Eating five 700 calorie meals per day to get to that 3500 calorie intake is easier than choking down three 1000+ calorie meals. Chances are you can get two of those big meals down but then you’re coming up short for the rest of the day.
2. You’re Not Consistent 7 Days/Week.
If my first point doesn’t apply to you and you actually are eating 5 big meals per day, my next thought is that you’re hitting a calorie surplus 4 or 5 days per week but those other 2-3 days you’re coming up short. Very short. By the end of the week your weight is the same because you aren’t maintaining a consistent surplus calorie intake to keep up with your metabolism.
3. You Make Eating A Lot of Calories a Chore.
I know people that used to choke down 2 cups of oatmeal and 4 plain eggs, or 2 cups of rice and 8 oz. of plain grilled chicken to meet their macro needs. Scrolling through Instagram you may find meal preppers with a hundred tupperware containers filled with asparagus and tilapia. Bland, uninspired meals make gaining weight (and losing weight) much harder than it needs to be. Include calorie dense foods to your plate to get more out of each bite.
4. You’re Actually Not Eating Big Meals
This is probably the most common mistake out of them all, your meals aren’t actually that big. You could be eating 5, 6, even 10 meals per day but if you’re not hitting a calorie surplus by the end of the day you’re not going to gain any weight. An easy way to figure out how big your meals should be find out how many calories you need per day to gain weight and divide those calories by the amount of meals you want to eat per day (I recommend 4-6).
Here are some tips on how to pack in extra calories in your meals without feeling disgustingly full:
+ Add 2 tbsp. peanut/almond butter to your meals wherever necessary.
+ Add 1 extra tbsp. of olive oil to grilled meats and vegetables.
+ Add an extra protein shake to your diet: 1-2 scoops whey, 1 scoop vanilla ice cream, 8 oz skim milk, 1 tbsp. peanut butter.