How to Successfully Gain Weight as a “Hardgainer”

I’ve been a slender fellow for a large portion of my life. When I was in grade 10 of high-school, I weighed a whopping 120lbs, and at 5,11″, I bore a shocking resemblance to a scarecrow. By the time I graduated, the situation hadn’t improved a whole lot, and wouldn’t until 9 years down the line when I learned a few simple rules for gaining weight as a “hardgainer“.

I realize that this is a common problem for people like me, and that’s why I’ve decided to write an article on the topic. Yes, I feel that I actually have some useful advice based on my own experiences. I’m also telling you upfront that it’s going to be a lot of work… it’s going to be a chore, and in my opinion, it’s a lot more difficult than the actual working out part, which I’m going to assume you’re already doing. If you aren’t already working out, I recommend starting on a program like Mark Rippletoe’s Starting Strength and then re-visiting this; consider it a pre-requisite.

Gaining Weight for Skinny Dudes

If you’re reading this, chances are you believe that you’ve tried everything. You believe that you already eat a lot, and that you’re just not meant to gain weight. That’s just the hand that you’ve been dealt. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not true, and you can gain a respectable amount of weight in a reasonable amount of time. In fact, in my experience, you can even do it without drinking a gallon of milk a day (gomad method).

So, I’m going to give you one piece of advice that you may have heard before and discounted. It may make you angry, so get that out of your system, and then I’ll explain.

The secret to gaining weight is… *drum roll*

Eating more food.

Like, lots more…

No, seriously… a lot of food.

eating meat to bulk up

I know you think this is completely obvious, and you’ve tried it, blah blah blah, but you know what? You’re full of shit, when you should be full of food. I promise you haven’t really given this a shot. So on that note, here a few suggestions that will help you pack on the pounds without eating tons of garbage.

Tricks of the Trade

  • Double all of your portion sizes for every single meal. If you eat 2 scrambled eggs for breakfast and half a slice of pepper, start eating 3 eggs and a full pepper.
  • If you’re like me, breakfast is the most difficult meal of the day to eat, so… before bed, drink a ton of water to help expand your stomach, and then go to sleep. When you wake up, take a monster piss, and immediately eat something small, like saurkraut or a spoonful of peanut butter or almond butter. Take a shower, and then prepare a meal that’s double your regular portion. If you need a simple breakfast idea, try my Tuna-eggsplosion recipe.
  • You should never feel hungry for longer than it takes you to prepare your next meal. The moment you feel hungry, start eating again. Make sure you always have food with you, such as pre-cooked chicken breasts that you can heat up in the microwave. If you work a regular 9-5 job this will be a challenge, but like a said at the start, no one said this will be easy.
  • Always finish your meals, no matter what. If it takes you 15 minutes, great… if it takes you an hour, no problem. Just make absolutely sure you finish everything.
  • You’re probably going to feel a bit sick from all this eating. As your body grows accustomed to all the extra food, you’ll stop feeling this way. I promise you, it gets easier.
  • Keep a log of your weight to help you stay on course. I suggest checking your weight on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s just enough to give you the information you need (are you gaining weight?), without discouraging you. Chances are you won’t see gains every single day.

What should I Eat?

There’s a ton of debate over this, so at the end of the day you just have to make up your own damn mind. Having said that, I eat a fairly consistent paleo diet, and I’m still gaining weight without much trouble. I’ll let the experts lay out all the details instead, but in short I eat a whole lot of meat, vegetables, and eggs. My breakfast is usually comprised of a ton of eggs, tuna, and sliced peppers, and my lunch and dinners are chicken breasts or various cuts of beef. That’s it… not even milk. If you really aren’t gaining weight, then try adding 1 liter of milk per day to your diet. You really shouldn’t need to do so, though.

Putting it all Together

That’s it… eat more food, grow… prosper. It’s simple, and I promise you that it works. At the very least you should be able to put on about 0.5lbs to 1lb per week, which at 4lbs a month starts to add up very quickly. You may not believe me now, but in a few weeks when you see your scale start to slowly creep up, you’ll gain momentum and wonder why you ever had trouble gaining weight before. In fact, it may even become fun for you! Persistence is the name of the game, my friend. I mean that, and a disgusting amount of food.

[Photos by Michael, David Blackwell]



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I'm a co-founder and writer here at Unfinished Man. I write, manage the look and feel of the website, and make sure that nothing breaks. I also reply to the vast majority of our emails, so if you're sending one through, I suggest you be nice. Everyone says I'm the least offensive of our writers, so they gave the email jockey task to me. When I'm not improving the site, I write about fashion, video games, politics, and anything related to science and technology.

1 thought on “How to Successfully Gain Weight as a “Hardgainer””

  1. Also, eat 6 smaller meals a day, and something like cottage cheese or milk before bed. Muscle milk and peanut butter definitely will make you large.

    The next post should be about getting cut after gaining the weight. Heavy weight training, high intensity sprinting and circuit training, something like crossfit, all that will cut out the fat after you get big.


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