Eating for Growth: A Hardgainers Diet

Food is what makes you grow. Training stimulates growth, but without actual nutrients, you cannot feed that growth. At the end of the day, it takes hard work and dedication to pack on muscular weight. It is a simple idea; sleep, eat, and train, the three components to picking up some real size, and this guide will show you how.

Evan Centopani once said: “I would rather miss a full day of training than miss a single meal.” This is the kind of mindset you also need to be in. Nutrition is the most important factor when it comes to putting some meat on the bones, so there is no reason for you to train and stimulate growth if you are not going to feed it. Gaining muscular weight is work, the same intensity as dieting is, and requires discipline but you will be massive by the end of it.

1. Timing your food

First of all, you need to understand the importance of regimentation when it comes to eating your meals. Due the high number of calories you need to consume in a day, it is essential that you split your meals evenly throughout the day, not only to keep feeding your body but also to ensure proper digestion and utilisation of nutrients.

Take some time and plan out a meal plan schedule that you know you will not disregard. You can read as many diets as you want, but unless you want to eat like that, you won’t follow it. Use a pen and paper to write everything down, going old school has a better memory connection because you physically wrote it down, as well as having that structure to look at whenever you feel you might fall off. You want to aim for 6 meals a day, eating every 2-3 hours from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.

Keeping a routine like this will stop your body from cannibalising itself, as well as create a sense of order for yourself. Your body will start to get hungry at certain points in the day, letting you know that it is time to eat, creating a body-clock sync. There are those who say that you shouldn’t eat just before bed, but as long as you are not eating sugar, sweets, or pasta, then you will be feeding your growth at night rather than storing fat. A good example of a pre-bed meal is oats with egg whites.

2. Importance of calories

Calories are what you get from your food and they are the energy source you will use to feed your growth. Again, this is a basic guideline so a good starting point is roughly 15 calories per pound of bodyweight. That works out to about 33 calories per kg of bodyweight.

Remember, protein and carbs equal 4 calories per gramme, and fats is 9 calories per gramme. This is a start, try this for 2-4 weeks and then adjust accordingly. As you grow you will pick up weight (that is the whole point here) so you need to increase your calorie intake relative to your weight increase.

Despite trying to pick up weight, more is not always better. Yes, you do need to increase your calories but don’t just jump into massive amounts of food because your body will just end up expelling it. Rather start with a base and build up from there. It is already so difficult to build quality muscle so why would you want to waste half of that effort for no reason? On top of that, you will probably not be able to cope with eating such large amounts of food in such a short space of time and have to resort to force feeding yourself because you aren’t hungry. Start small and gradually build up.

Food should be your first choice of nutrients, but sometimes life happens. You can’t get to a meal, or you cannot physically eat anything more. This is where supplements come in. When trying to gain weight, your most essential item is a mass builder such as Monstrous Mass. These provide those much-needed macros when you can’t get to whole food, or for around your training. The next point of call is a pre-workout and amino acids, such as Pre Shock XT and Supreme Amino, which will enhance your performance in the gym and recovery. Furthermore, a testosterone booster and creatine will also enhance your performance but will also facilitate with better nutrient partitioning.

3. How much of what?

Your basic gaining diet will be broken down into;

  • 50% protein
  • 35-40% carbs
  • 10-15% fats


That doesn’t make a lot of sense. Rather look at it like this, 2g of protein per pound of bodyweight (you can multiply your weight in kg’s by 2.2 to get the weight in pounds), and 1.5g of carbs per pound. When it comes to fats, most of our protein sources will have fats in them, but you can look at cooking your chicken in olive oil to make up fats. You need to consume good fats as well, fried foods and the likes are not good choices for fats. Nuts, olive oil, and avocados are some of the best options. For example, the average guy weighs 160 pounds (70 kg’s x 2.2 roughly). He would then start with 320g of protein, and 240g of carbs each day, split between six meals, and he will eat roughly 54g of protein, and 40g of carbs per meal, with fats making up the rest of the calories.

Now the food sources. Good quality, fresh, whole food is what you need to consume. For protein, it is always best to look at lean sources of protein such as chicken, turkey, or fish, but you should include some red meat once a day to benefit from the unique fats and amino acid profile. Learn to love eggs (you should already, who doesn’t like eggs?), as eggs will become your morning ritual. Stay in touch with where specials on food are running, you will be thankful because there is a lot of food being consumed here.

4. The nitty gritty stuff

Keep in mind that this is just a guideline, there are a wide range of other factors that will affect your weight gain. Training, genetics, and life in general, are just some of the things that might hinder your progress. The calorie breakdowns that have been given are also good starting points for the average person, but you might need to eat more, or less so it is up to you to figure out what, and how much, works.

Many might see this as tedious, but think of it as a challenge in a super fun experiment where you get to eat delicious food and get bigger and better looking. If that isn’t enticing, I don’t know what is. So yes, gaining weight and eating is work, it needs engagement and adjusting but this is what you need to do to take your physique to a bigger level. Start off at 15 per pound, look at it after 4 weeks, then go up to 17 calories if you aren’t picking any weight up further. Look at it again after 4 weeks. Still not? Maybe there is something else, stress, lack of rest, or maybe your training intensity? All these little things make a difference in the end.

5. Priorities

This is closely linked with your attitude towards the end goal. The most important thing you need to have when embarking on this journey; heart. Passion. Having a desire, a dream, or anything like this is useless without the conviction to do whatever it takes to achieve it. This is why you need passion because along with that fire in your soul will come the dedication, the discipline, and the willingness to put in the hard work 24 hours every single day.

Follow this guideline, figure some stuff out for yourself, and see what food sources work best for you. Train hard but remember that eating is far more important than training, training will stimulate your growth but food is what actually gets you big. Keep that drive, still enjoy your life, and most of all; don’t stop experimenting.

2018-04-18T09:47:27+00:00 April 5th, 2017|