Weight Gain Tips You Should Never Follow

Stupid Weight Gain Tips

Do you find yourself wanting to gain weight but frustrated with how to do it?  If you’ve ever been a hardgainer, a skinny guy or gal and wanted to pack on the muscle, there’s things you can do that will get you to your goal.  But there’s plenty of awful advice being given.  It seems like a common sense thing but to those who are desperate to pack on the pounds, at the time it seems like okay advice.  Then you step back, get some perspective and some education and it’s like a Homer Simpson “doh!”  The light comes on and you realize how bad the advice was and that it just set you back even further.

Before I start off the Top 10 list, I want to make it clear that it’s not my intention to only point out the mistakes and then offer up no solutions.  Too many times when I’m in the gym, I hear somebody telling their buddy “Shame on you,” or “That’s why you aren’t able to gain weight,” or “Don’t do it like that!,” and then they offer up nothing as a solution.  I’m going to spend 1% on the mistake but I want to spend 99% of my time on the solution to this bad advice so you can learn as quickly as possible what to do without wasting any more time.  I’ll offer up the weight gain tip mistake and follow it up with a better solution to the problem.

When you are trying to gain weight it usually starts off with a question like this…

Anyone have any “home remedies” or suggestions that can help me put on a few pounds?

And then the bad advice flows like the water thru a huge crack in a dam.

I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants when I read a Best Answer on Yahoo Answers to a common weight gain question.

“If you want to gain a lot of weight, you should eat a lot of junky foods. (Chips, cakes, candy, cookies, etc.) But if you don’t wanna get super duper fat then you should very rarely swim and jump rope when you are finished eating.”

Read that again folks, this is a common style of answer that gets the BEST VOTE on major network sites with millions of eyes.   Remember that hardgainers, don’t swim much and jump rope after you eat.   I bet that’s how Ronnie Coleman got so huge!  Damn him for not telling us sooner.

Here’s a short list of the Top 10 Stupidest Weight Gain Tips I’ve ever seen.

Weight Gain Tip Mistake #1: Eat Fast Food

By far the most popular piece of advice given to nearly all individuals struggling with weight gain.  The first piece of advice they get is to rush out and start slamming down cheap, low quality foods, including eating butter and drinking vegetable oil!  If a person is “underweight”, they should deny NOTHING and eat EVERYTHING.; McDonalds and KFC included. Does it work?  You bet it does but it’s not the kind of quality weight you want to gain (although some people don’t seem to care what the weight is as long as they gain it which is puzzling) If you are looking to pack on muscle, you can eat a lot but going the fast food route is typical of the lazy bodybuilder.   It’s a low class move that certainly has it’s place in some circles but if you are wondering how to gain weight, learn the right way.  There’s a good list of how to gain weight in six simple steps.  If you eat enough high quality calories, frequently enough, you will put on quality muscle mass in conjunction with weight training.  Eating unhealthy foods will not build muscle quicker.  Take a few minutes to learn the very basics of how to gain weight and avoid the shortcut of eating junk foods and fast foods thinking it somehow is the fast way to build muscle.  It’s not.

Weight Gain Tip Mistake #2: Candy, Candy Candy

In high school I asked the biggest guy in the gym who just stacked the Nautilus bench press how to gain weight.  He looked at me seriously and said, “Eat a Snickers bar.  Eat candy.  Lots of calories.  You’ll gain weight.” Now if he was joking, it didn’t look like it but being desperate and frustrated, I did what he told me.  Every day after gym, I’d eat candy.  Being skinny, I didn’t put on any serious weight but I did get a cavity and I didn’t learn a thing about eating healthy.   The solution for extra calories via snacking would have been healthy fat options like almonds or peanuts.  They can add some serious calories if you need them without the ill effects of just eating junk foods that have empty calories and barely any nutritional value.

Weight Gain Tip Mistake #3: Fruit Juices

Tons of liquid calories and completely processed to it’s lowest form.  Now 100% fruit juice can be healthy without a doubt but drinking liquid calories is going to do literally nothing for serious long term weight gain.  The truth is, it’s a lot of sugar with little value in packing on weight through proteins and starchy carbohydrates.  Drink juice if you want but it’s not a weight gain solution. What you can do as a solution is to make a fruit juice smoothie for extra calories and add in other weight gaining substances like peanut butter, protein powders that will add calories to your overall nutritional plan.  Use this with caution as it’s easy to overeat and anything not utilized, can be stored as fat.  In essence, you can make your own homemade weight gainer at a fraction of the cost.  If you want to know more about making your own supplements, see Homemade Supplement Secrets.

Weight Gain Tip Mistake #4: Accept It, It’s In Your Genes

If you are skinny, count your lucky starts but it’s not in the cards for you to be muscular.  I’ve seen it and heard it as weight gain advice being given.  Beyond genetics, your potential to gain weight can be changed! If you are a skinny guy, it will take some work but you can pack on serious muscle mass.  Starting off in high school, I didn’t weight over 135 lbs on any day.  Now I’m easily at 191 lbs without having to put forth the effort you’d think to maintain the mass.  It was hard work but through proper nutrition, tracking what I ate, knowing how many calories a day to eat, I did pack on lean body mass over a period of 6 month.  It was amazing and all I needed was to avoid the short term solutions in this list and start EATING, eating good foods and eating frequently.  You don’t have to accept it and it is not genetics to be skinny all your life. 99% of skinny, hardgainers truly haven’t tried putting forth the effort.  They quickly buy into the genetics statement and give up.  Start learning how many calories you need and then start eating, taking a cooler to work or whatever to pack in the food.  Forget weight gainers and shakes (they have a purpose) and start eating.

Take this DARE

Step 1: Go to FitDay

Step 2: Input everything you eat for 3 days

Step 3: Evaluate it

For example, you might be shocked to see that you need 3600 calories to gain weight and in reality, you are only eating a mere 1800 and playing 5 hours of basketball.  That’s why you are skinny.  Not genetics.  A little tracking to bring reality into the situation can go a long way to providing you critical insight as to why you aren’t gaining weight.

Weight Gain Tip Mistake #5: Weight Gainer 4000… BEEFCAKE!

Frankly it’s a quick, expensive way to be lazy for those who haven’t invested any time in attempting to consume enough calories.  Weight gainers (Slim Fast Shakes, Ensure) have value, there’s little doubt in my mind but more often than not, the people who use them are under eating to begin with and quickly latch on to what they have been told is a “healthy” way to quickly add the calories they need.  If you are eating enough calories, it’s useful in circumstances to add in thousands of calories that you cannot otherwise get through foods without seriously spending 8 hours a day eating.  For most, they barely eat 3 meals and add in 3 weight gainers and see some results.  But as quickly as the results come, they stop taking it and lose the weight.  Relying on a weight gainer when you are trying to gain weight is a serious mistake.  Once you are eating enough whole foods or if you seriously cannot get the calories you need per day but come close, that’s where a weight gainer makes sense.  But not as an excuse to pack on pounds because packing a lunch and a few snacks is to time consuming.

Weight Gain Tip Mistake #6: Protein Overload

Who hasn’t been told that the only way to gain weight is to increase your protein intake.  Unfortunately, excessive protein is not going to pack on the weight.   Getting enough protein per day as required to build muscle is easy… getting enough calories per day isn’t.  Once your body has enough, protein will be stored as fat (although less likely) or excreted.  Protein sources like chicken, fish and lean red meats don’t have enough calories for most of us skinny people to hit our numbers.  So the old adage to “get your protein” works to some degree but it’s not the ideal food for your calorie requirements.  The solution is to increase your carbohydrates and change your macronutrient ratios to reflect this.  All too often I see a nutrition plan that is 55% protein, 30% carbs and 15% fats.  Once the individual changes it to 55% carbs, 25% protein and 20% fats, it makes a world of difference.  By consuming higher quality carbs like sweet potatoes, oatmeal, yams, whole wheat pastas, whole grain breads and brown rice to name a few, you suddenly up your calorie intake by hundreds and start to gain weight.

Weight Gain Tip Mistake #7: Inadequate Water Consumption

Your body is around 70% water.  All too often, the skinny guy or gal isn’t drinking water.  Not nearly enough and any liquids being consumed are in the form of energy drinks, coffee, shakes or soda.  None of which are actually going to be a replacement for good old, plain water.  In order for your body’s functions to process the protein, foods and to hydrate the cells, you must consume enough water.  Simply by increasing your water intake, you can start to put on weight and not just water weight.  How much water should you drink can be complex or as quick as taking your current body weight, divide that in half and drink that much in ounces per day.

Weight Gain Tip Mistake #8: Spouting High Calorie Requirements

Oh you are skinny?  You need to eat 3600 calories per day.  Huh?  You know nothing about this person, their age, their current weight, their body composition and yet you toss down a number as if 3600 is the magic number of skinny people to gain weight?  If you go from 1800 calories a day to some number that’s too high, you’ll find it nearly impossible to eat that much food if you are not used to it and anything in excessive can be stored as fat.  The solution is simple.  Figure out roughly how many calories a day you need to eat now, to gain weight and when you start gaining weight, adjust that on a weekly or monthly basis given your new body composition.  Just eating a ton of food, randomly without any reference point will either lead to excessive fat gains and/or a total abandonment of the process when you start to hate eating that much food in one sitting without having the body mass or the activity levels to support it.

Just because Michael Phelps can eat an entire menu for breakfast doesn’t mean you can or should given that you don’t swim 5-6 hours a day and aren’t an Olympic level athlete.  Eat based on your needs and your goals, not some fake numbers or how somebody who clearly isn’t you, eats.  Make eating personal.

Weight Gain Tip Mistake #9: Train Like An Bull, Eat Like a Flea

The smallest guy at my gym that easily does 23 pull-ups and trains like an animal, couldn’t tell me what he ate for breakfast but when directly asked, he gave the typical skinny guy response.  “I eat a lot.” Like what I asked.  He looked puzzled.  I told him to take the Dare in Tip #4 above.  When I saw him again, 1 day later and asked, he said he’d get to it later that week.  That’s why he’s skinny and can’t gain weight.  He trains hard and trains consistently but the other 23 hours of the day, who knows.  He doesn’t even know.  His nutrition doesn’t support his weight training endeavors to pack on mass.  Vince Gironda once said that bodybuilding is 80% nutrition.  That means, you can have a pretty lousy weight training routine and if you eat properly and eat enough, you’ll look very good.  But in most cases, people train hard and then fail to support the training they just did through proper nutrition and with enough calories.  Are you one of those people?  You train hard but totally fail when it comes to nutrition?  You grow when you are out of the gym.  You spend 1 hour training and the other 23 hours recovering and supporting that growth thru nutrition.  It’s important!  If you train like an animal and eat like a flea, correct that ASAP and you’ll see some immediately gains in weight and muscle mass.

Weight Gain Tip Mistake #10: Not Eating Enough

By far the most common weight gain mistake and the best weight gain tips of them all.  Eat but don’t just eat anything and everything in site.  No drinking vegetable oil or eating butter.  Gaining weight is about eating just a little more calories than you currently need to maintain your current weight over a pro-longed period of time to put on mass slowly.  Rapid weight gain is not only hard on the heart and other organs but it usually leads to excessive body fat increases.  Taking the time to calculate your calories, eat frequently during the day and engaging in a proper weight training routine is all it takes to start seeing results.  Most skinny individuals truly believe they have tried everything to gain weight when in fact they have skipped the most important steps to weight gain.

#1: Calculating your daily calorie requirements

#2: Tracking what you eat

Just eating or guessing is a surefire way to stay skinny. It takes effort and some simple calculations but soon enough you will be putting on weight.  Short of a medical issue or some other rare, unforeseen problem, there’s no reason why you are any different from the rest of us skinny guys who learned how to gain weight by using some common sense weight gain tips.  Don’t follow the advice that preaches shortcuts.  I’ve tired them all (except the vegetable oil) and none of them worked for me in the long term.

If you want more weight gain tips and advice on how to build muscle, head over and grab your copy of the “19 Tips to Build 5 Pounds of Muscle in 30 Days.”

Until next time, I hope you are eating!

Be Fit, Stay Strong!

Marc David – CPT

PS - For an off the beaten path method to gain weight quickly, you might want to read up on Carb Backloading.  You do not have to eat junk but it’s the type of nutrient timing program that in theory, you could.  It’s worth taking a look if you are skinny and want to build muscle and bulk up in a short amount of time.

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12 Responses to "Weight Gain Tips You Should Never Follow"

  1. Nino Savona:
    September 17, 2008 04:22 pm

    Gee Marc,
    I've been trying to put on size lately by eating all Natural PB, with very little success. I think I'm going to switch to fast food that seems to be the key!

    Leave a reply  
  2. James Beilman:
    September 17, 2008 11:56 pm

    As usual, you do hit all the points; you know your stuff. What I have noticed however is that you pay a great deal of attention weight gain. Yea, i know that is what most people, and hardgainers in the gym are interested in. However some of us are a little older than the average 17 year old gym nube. Some of us, have little difficulty gaining weight….and a few of us know how to add pounds carefully, or not so carefully, lol.

    In other words, for some–in fact many–it is easy to get big, hit 315 or 405 on the bench…etc. But what use is all that added muscle really if it adds no functionality? More appropriately, what is the point, if your out of balance–having a great deal of size upstairs, but nothing to motivate all that muscle. I see people in the gym all the time who are big: and only rarely do I see someone in the gym who knows the fine balance, the symmetry that is all too critical to having a “perfect” and functional body. They are the gym rats, the obsessed, and the compulsive freaks. They tend to do it all, be jacks of all trades; jumping from high intensity cardio, to heavy weights, to cardio kickboxing; they burn multiple sets into the ground while others are working their mouths, or they know the difference between slow negatives and just repping it out. Their exercise routine shifts from day to day in order to further the burn of the muscle. They also make sacrifices in regards to diet that would make most people quiver in fear…they know how to build, and they also know how to burn…and typically they do both within a short period just to maintain a healthy balance.

    The point of all this is–I have never seen any simple answer work, regarding the goal of a certain look. It takes hard work–real sacrifices–that most people will never be able to make. And it takes perseverance both in and out of the gym 24/7. In fact, a wise person would recognize that your never out of the gym; and that abs in 15 minutes a day, the 10 minute workout, get big off of weight gainer protein, and my personal fav…lose weight just by taking a pill–are all just fancy marketing. Thus Im in absolute agreement with you regarding the myths of weightlifting. They are crap.

    Leave a reply  
  3. MikeHaydon:
    September 19, 2008 05:29 am

    You're absolutely right. I was primarily mistake #9. Left highschool at 145 lbs at 6ft 5. Now that I got my nutrition right I'm just over 210 lb (15% body fat) and still have muscle to go – still on the skinny side. Though I'm always amused how people think that you can put garbage in and get something other than garbage out. Good article.

    Leave a reply  
  4. MikeHaydon:
    September 19, 2008 12:18 pm

    Yeah, I was mistakes 9 & 10 primarily – when I left highschool, i was 145 lbs. 6 years later I’m past 210 lbs and I’ve still got more weight to gain to really look muscular (i’m 6ft 5). I wholeheartedly support what you’ve said – if you aren’t gaining muscle and you’re training hard, look to your nutrition.

    Great article. Thanks.

    Leave a reply  
  5. Atta:
    October 02, 2008 01:26 pm

    Very true indeed. I am a member at some bodybuilding boards, and the skinny guys always tell me how much they eat. When asked to deliver they eat in a day, what I eat for breakfast. I'm glad that you point out that the crucial part in training is actually not training, but eating.
    There is just one point which I'd add. You point out that switching from 15% fat intake to 20% will make a world of difference. I agree. But I'd up the fat intake higher to 30, perhaps even 40%. Literature shows that intakes this high give the biggest testosteroneproduction, which in turn will help you gain muscle.
    Apart from that, great article.

    Leave a reply  
  6. catalina:
    June 22, 2009 03:52 pm

    Thanks for your post! I like it and I think you make a good point.
    Thanks for taking the time to share this with us

    Leave a reply  
  7. Chase:
    August 03, 2009 09:18 pm

    I know many misuse weight-gainer shakes and supplements; however, I see them as a good way to get quality protein, at the right time. The supplement I use provides around 750 calories, 50 grams of protein, but the thing is, it's right when I need it, around 15-20 minutes post workout. It contains only twenty grams of sugar, but I do need to watch out for the overwhelming amount of overall carbohydrates, as they do affect mood. But overall great article.

    Leave a reply  
  8. Bill:
    December 04, 2010 10:39 pm

    Ronnie Coleman got huge via genetics and massive quantities of steroids and very little lifting.

    Leave a reply  
    1. Marc David:
      December 05, 2010 10:20 pm

      I won’t argue the 1st two points but to think Coleman did little lifting to get to his size? That’s 100% incorrect. Here’s just a very small sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kEnU7hIjHk

      Leave a reply  
  9. Guest:
    August 15, 2011 03:29 am

    Maybe the skinny guy at your gym from mistake #9 isn’t trying to put on weight. Maybe his goal is to increase endurance and not sheer strength. Maybe that’s why he’s doing 23 pull-ups and not 3 sets of 5 repetitions of an exercise that targets similar muscles. You ever consider that? No, because you assume that everyone’s goal is to gain mass; it’s not.

    Leave a reply  
    1. Marc David:
      August 15, 2011 03:36 am

      If you train hard, you better eat properly regardless of your overall goal.

      Leave a reply  
  10. Kassandra:
    May 31, 2012 01:05 pm

    Needed to write you one little observation to finally say
    thanks again on the stunning tricks you have shown above.

    Leave a reply  

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