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How to Build Muscle: Bulking Up for Skinny Guys

3. How to Build Muscle – FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO EAT TO GAIN WEIGHT

During the first year of my training I had no idea how much food I needed to eat, and didn’t realize the importance of knowing. Don’t make this mistake! Knowing how many calories you need to eat everyday is essential. If you aren’t eating more calories than your body is burning everyday, then you’re not going to gain weight. It’s as simple as that. And if you aren’t eating enough calories, it’s going to feel next to impossible to try to progressively get stronger each week.

How to Build Muscle
The Snatch is an excellent full body exercise to build strength

In order to minimize fat gain, I recommend striving to gain 0.5 lbs per week. This will put you at about a 250 caloric surplus (also termed a “lean bulk”). Keep in mind that gaining fat is inevitable when putting on muscle, however you can minimize it by maintaining a moderate caloric surplus.

Chances are, the number of calories you will need to eat are quite high. I currently need to eat a little over 3000 calories a day in order to gain 0.5 lbs per week, and I find that fairly difficult to do (I don’t have a very big appetite). But over the years I’ve found a lot of high calorie foods that make eating 3000 calories a day a breeze. Here’s a list of foods I recommend adding to your diet for a nutritious calorie boost:

  • Peanut butter
  • Almonds
  • Chickpeas
  • Olive oil
  • Granola
  • Bagels (whole grain)
  • Salmon

These are all full of nutrients and pack a ton of calories to help you meet your daily caloric intake needs. And it helps if you stick to meals that you legitimately enjoy eating. As far as macronutrients, I suggest sticking to a 25-30% protein, 45-55% carbohydrate, and 25-30% fat diet. However, these are not strict guidelines and the best macronutrient splits vary for each individual. You need to test out different variations and see which one enables your body to perform the best.

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