Weight gain at its core is simple; we must create a calorie surplus where more calories are consumed than burned over a certain time period. Much like weight loss, there are healthy and not-so-healthy ways to accomplish this. Super palatable foods like pizza, fries, sodas and chips can quickly get you into a calorie surplus, but it comes at a cost. These foods lack the micronutrients that your body needs to thrive. Over time, you will likely become inflamed and insulin resistant. Your hormones will be working against you and much of the weight gained will be from body fat.
So how do we gain weight while maximizing the ratio of muscle to body fat?
Prioritize Protein at Every Meal
Grass-fed red meat and whole eggs are going to be foundational. Both are loaded with the amino acids and micronutrients needed to support muscle growth, hormone regulation and even immune function.
Dial in You Calories Patiently
A number of great calculators exist out there to help estimate that amount of calories you should be consuming to maintain your weight based on current mass, age and activity levels. An extra 500 calories per day above your maintenance level is a good place to start. Adjust up or down as needed based on progress.
Easy Digesting Carbs Will be Your Best Friend
Carbs like jasmine rice and potatoes are generally easier to eat than foods like oatmeal and brown rice. And since consuming larger quantities and/or eating more frequently will be needed —faster digestion matters. Nutrient dense carbs like honey, fresh fruit, dried fruit and 100% juices are a delicious way to get your calories up throughout the day. They’re significantly better for you than any junk food alternatives.
To gain quality weight, a ratio of hormones needs to be on our side. Dietary fats are directly linked to hormone production. Having more healthy fat in your diet improves balance of androgen hormones such as testosterone, while simultaneously reducing inflammation. Including adequate saturated fat in your diet is especially important because it provides cholesterol—the raw material the body uses to synthesize hormones. Including a reasonable dose of animal fat in the form of butter, meat, and coconut oil supplies the cholesterol needed for muscle repair.
The Importance of Sleep
Your muscles grow when you sleep, not when you train. Sleep deprivation lowers testosterone and growth hormone, which play important roles in repairing muscle tissue. Furthermore, poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation in the body – which will make it harder to recover from your training. Chronic inflammation raises levels of insulin and cortisol, both of which lead to increased fat storage and insulin resistance.
What a Sample Day Looks Like
Protein | 30%
Carbohydrates | 40%
Fats | 30%
8 am | Steak & Eggs + 6oz. OJ
10 am | Protein Shake (50g whey protein+ 2 tbsp Heavy Cream) + 1/4 Cup of Dried Fruit (Figs, Cherries, Raisins, Blueberries)
3 pm | 3-5 Hardboiled Eggs + 5 Macaroons
6 pm | Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl + 6oz OJ
Want to design your own day? Check out the menu for ready-made meals, signature sides, premium proteins and desserts.