“I feel like I’m eating so much all the time, but can’t put weight on.” I hear this all. the. time. There’s a lot of misconceptions about how to increase muscle mass, like ‘you just need more protein or add in a supplement or two.’
Forget these myths & try a few of these tips instead for healthy weight gain.
If you feel like you’re eating “so much all the time” take a look at the calories in the foods you’re eating. Maybe you feel like you’re eating large amounts, but are you eating fat-free foods such as non-fat yogurt? Low-calorie bread, steamed veggies, plain rice, very lean meat with nothing on it? Making simple swaps to foods you’re already eating helps increase total calories you eat in a day, without feeling like you’re having to add more to your plate.
For example: a slice of bread can vary between 45-160 calories depending on the brand. A cup of steamed broccoli is ~30 calories, but drizzling it with even just a Tbsp oil increases the calories to 150.
Snack wisely. It’s amazing to me when I look at an athlete’s food logs & their snacks are goldfish crackers or chips. Snacking on nuts/nut butters are a great way to take in more calories.
For example: ½ cup goldfish crackers is 130 calories. ½ cup almonds is ~400 calories. Not only is this higher calorie, but also provides more protein, fat & micronutrients.
Ease into larger portions. Maybe you start with increasing the serving sizes at one meal (or adding breakfast if you’re not eating it!!) or if your diet is lacking fat, try adding sliced avocado, sunflower seeds, or oils like olive oil to your meal.
Make smoothies/shakes. This is a great way to sneak in loads of nutrition without making you feel overly full.
For example: 2% milk, PB, banana, protein powder (or whole milk yogurt), kale, & ground flax. This is ~700 calories & can be increased by adding oats, walnuts or avocado. If you’re not snacking before bed, you could try drinking one as a late snack.
Plan ahead. Going 6+ hrs without eating makes it that much harder on yourself to squeeze in enough calories in a short amount of time. Have the right foods handy & at the right times to optimize muscle growth- in your bag, locker, car, etc. to make sure you’re always prepared.