You want to bulk? Include these food items in your diet

You have been working out with heavy weights, 2 hours every day! But you are still skinny. You are missing the most important element in your fitness schedule- diet that justifies the calories you are burning through weight/resistance training either at the gym or using calisthenics.

If bulking is your fitness objective, you should be consuming more than average joe. You should be able to consume 22 calories per pound of body weight per day. So if you weigh 170 pounds( 77 kgs), you should target to consume close to 3700 calories a day.

Please remember that one size fits all does not apply to nutrition, diet & calorie consumption may vary based on body’s metabolism & type of muscle fibre(check my blog on muscle fibres). A general guideline of 3300 calories can be considered a starting point & we can add or reduce based on how the individual’s body reacts.

For people who find it hard to put on weight, ideally your calorie needs should come from an ideal proportion of macronutrients — Protein- 25%, carbohydrates-40%, fats-35% not from having a diet 90% of which comes from ribs & eggs. If you do not gain weight in the next 2 weeks, you should increase 200 calories a day. However you should never reduce protein intake. Your protein should consist of food items which have high nutrient density( check out our blog on nutrient density). Ideally protein should consist of atleast 20% of daily diet.

What should be your diet plan?

A lot of us think that gaining weight is easy & one can achieve it by staking up a large amount of fast food. Remember that gaining weight quickly can increase the amount of fat storage in your body, impact insulin sensitivity & process of protein synthesis making muscle growth even harder. If you are someone who gets filled up easily, have a lot of calorie dense food rather than now calorie high fibre foods. Eat a lot of fruits & vegetables( since they offer a lot of vitamins & minerals for growth of our body) in addition to energy dense foods. I am detailing below a typical diet for hard gainers. Please note that this is not a rule & individual may make changes based on his/her metabolism as shared earlier.

  1. Meal 1( 7 am): 75 to 100 grams of oats, 5 egg white, 1 whole egg,
  2. Meal 2( 10 am): Banana Shake( banana 500 ml, 1 banana, 1 spoon peanut butter, half spoon coffee- for flavour)
  3. Meal 3(12:30 pm): 1 medium baked sweet potato, 1 baked salmon, 2 tbsp of chia seeds, 250 ml milk
  4. Meal 4(3:30 pm): 100 grams yoghurt, 1 banana, 8 almonds, 4 walnuts
  5. Meal 5(6:30 pm): 120 gram Chicken Breast, 150 grams cooked brown rice, 50 gram of mixed beans
  6. Workout( 7:30 to 9 pm)
  7. Meal 6(9:30 pm): 6 egg white, 500 ml milk with 1 spoon of peanut butter.

Essential food items for bulking

  1. Lean meat & fish: Lean meat and fish are the best sources of protein with all the essential amino acids your muscles require to repair and grow. If you’re vegan, eat a good variety of plant-based protein sources
  2. Nuts: Nuts are calories dense & provide a good source of healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, both of which are essential for bulking. Your nut consumption should include: almonds, walnuts, peanuts.
  3. Oats: oats are a great source of complex & healthy carbohydrates. Couple it with milk, peanut butter to make it a wholesome breakfast
  4. Eggs: Eggs are a great source of healthy protein & fats. You can have boiled eggs, omelette, scrambled or poached eggs.
  5. Salmon & other wild fish: Salmon and other wild fish suc sardines should be consumed at least twice per week. Eating salmon will provide you with a good source of essential omega-3 fatty acids & a good source of protein.( Check my blog on omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids)
  6. Olive oil: Cooking in olive oil which is rich in both polyunsaturated & monounsaturated fats is the best way to consume healthy fats. It can also be used in salads
  7. Dried Fruits: Dried fruit not only gives you a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, but it can give you some energy-boosting sugar that’s perfect for a pre-workout snack.

PS: Originally published on www.thesushantkumar.com

Corporate finance professional turned Health & Fitness Entrepreneur, a fitness enthusiast, adventurer & trekking enthusiast