Putting on the pounds is seldom highlighted in fitness literature since most individuals are trying to shed weight, not gain it.
For naturally skinny people (a.k.a. Hardgainers), however, moving that weighing scale to the right is a pipe dream; regardless of how much they rest or how hard they exercise, their bodies don’t grow. In many cases, they simply don’t consume enough of the right nutrients to gain weight and put on the muscle for which they’re endeavoring.
One of the essential nutrients for gaining muscle mass is protein. Hardgainers often need to consume protein in more significant quantities than the average individual, which is a struggle in itself. Sure, you might be eating a few eggs in breakfast, but that doesn’t mean you’re meeting the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance), which is 56 grams of protein for the sedentary, and much higher for those who lift.
If all of this sounds familiar, take a look at the following pieces of advice.
1. Consider Liquid Nutrition
Common fitness advice asks you to ditch calorie-dense beverages. But eliminating them from your diet can sabotage your muscle building efforts. Protein, glutamine, and other muscle-building nutrients such as the ones available at Nutra Health Supply are easy to mix with liquids and do very little as far as making a hard gainer feel full, but they do contain much-needed calories. If you’re struggling with constant body weight and you haven’t modified anything in your diet, adding 10 to 18 ounces of these liquid calories should be enough to kickstart muscle gain.
2. Embrace Real Snacks
Grab-and-go snacks don’t require refrigeration, which is why carb-dense snacks (pretzels, rice crackers, etc.) have become the status quo for hard gainers. If you want to consume more protein, you’ll have to forgo these snacks, invest in a cooler, and carry real food. If that is out of the equation, then get some nuts, jerky or high-quality protein-filled chocolate treats. Even if you’re not planning to commute, carrying non-perishable protein in your bag is a great way to squeeze in a few extra calories of rich nutrition quickly. Most protein snacks are filled with fiber, so get the added advantage of a nutrient that slows down the influx of sugar while offering a myriad of digestion benefits.
3. Frontload The Day with Protein-Based Desserts
If you find it a challenge to meet your daily protein goal, one of the best ways to ensure you hit your recommended RDA is to eat a good amount of protein at the end of each meal. Enter protein-rich desserts. You can use protein powder to increase the quantity of this nutrient in pancakes, fruit cream, and other desserts. No oven? No problem. Use protein powder and peanut butter mixed with crisp cereal and almond flour as a base for convenient no-bake goodies. The nifty snack can also be dressed up with a chocolate drizzle. This is also an easy way to consume more calories; a pack of Oreos is almost 300 calories, so adding in protein and other ingredients can take it up to 500.
Remember that you don’t want to increase bodyweight; you want to do it the right way. So, even though eating sandwiches a few times a day might help you gain the 3 lbs you want, it will probably be more fat and less muscle. Hence, consider increasing the intake of protein if you want real improvement in the way you look.