EVERYONE talks about losing weight and trying to get skinny. In the fitness world, it very well may be the most popular goal. In a culture where obesity runs rampant, this is not surprising. But, YOU are not that kind of guy. Losing weight has never been your problem. You want to know how to gain weight for skinny guys as fast as possible.
You want to put on weight. Not just fat either, but rock solid muscle! Despite what all the fitness influencers, bodybuilders and supplement companies tell you, you will have to gain some fat in order to put on lots of muscle. But you can do it without gaining much fat at all and this guide will show you how to gain weight for skinny guys as fast as possible!
If you want to learn how to gain weight with a fast metabolism and stop being the skinny guy that you are, this guide will help you get there.
Let’s get into it.
Overview Of How To Gain Weight With A Fast Metabolism
Firstly, I have been there, I used to be skinny weighing 170lbs at 6’2″ tall. I made it all the way to 220lbs at like 13 percent body fat by working hard and researching how to do it naturally for years. It took time and hard work but has been well worth it. I am writing this so you do not have to spend so much time figuring it out. It is so much simpler than the fitness industry makes it out to be.
The truth is, it just takes time and discipline.
I want to cover a few misunderstandings when it comes to learning how to gain weight for skinny guys. The fitness and supplement industry have created some myths to help drive up desperation and sell more products.
- You DON’T need to eat like crazy to gain weight. Just a little more. If you’re a hardgainer, then just a LITTLE bit more than that.
- You DON’T need all kinds of bulking supplements like weight gainers or protein, although they can be convenient if you can afford it.
- DON’T listen to the supplement industry, you CANNOT gain 30lbs of pure muscle in a month. It just will not happen.
- Gaining muscle WILL take lots of discipline, hard work and patience.
- It WILL happen! If you stay disciplined and set your mind to it.
Now that we got some of these hard truths of how to gain weight with a fast metabolism out of the way, let’s start looking into actually gaining weight and how to do it.
How To Gain Weight For Skinny Guys By Eating In A Caloric Surplus
Here’s the big question: “Do you need to eat BIG to get BIG when figuring out how to gain weight with a fast metabolism?”
The answer is: not necessarily.
Most people think they need to eat way more than they actually do to gain muscle. This is probably because that’s the type of advice you’ll find in most every bulking guide put out by bodybuilders and fitness “experts”. They will also tell you that spend boat loads of money on supplements.
This can be a big mistake while bulking. No matter how much you eat, your body can only gain muscle so fast. You can’t force your muscles to grow faster by eating more calories. Instead, the extra calories are simply stored as body fat.
Although you may be willing to gain the extra weight if you’re reading this, here are some things to consider.
- Gaining too much fat could make you want to end your bulking phase early.
If you gain fat too quickly, there’s a good chance you won’t like what you see in the mirror.
This often leads people to cutting their bulking phase short which significantly limits how much muscle you’ll be able to build in the long run.
- If you gain too much fat, it sets you up for long and grueling cuts.
The more fat you allow yourself to gain during a bulking phase, the more fat you have to shed when it comes time to cut. This is the hardest part for most people.
- Gaining too much fat is bad for your health and may even impair muscle growth.
Excessive fat gain might also impair your ability to build muscle.
It can cause insulin sensitivity to drop, which impairs your ability to burn fat and increases the likelihood of even more unwanted weight gain. Having a high insulin sensitivity is connected with more muscle growth.
While it’s true that you have to be in a calorie surplus to build muscle effectively, you don’t have to be in a very big one.
How Big Should My Caloric Surplus Be Then?
The size of your caloric surplus should be based on how quickly you can build muscle, and it should probably be smaller than you think.
Guys who are new to lifting weights or who’ve been weightlifting for less than a year can usually gain muscle much faster than guys who’ve been weightlifting for longer than this.
You may have heard this be called “newbie gains”. The guys who can gain one pound of muscle per week (newbie) can benefit from a higher calorie surplus than someone who can only gain a pound per year (advanced). The more advanced you become, the harder it gets to gain muscle.
Even if you’re new to lifting weights, though, there’s probably little point in eating more than about 10 to 15% more calories than you burn per day. Eating more than this simply results in more fat gain. In really advanced weightlifters, a 5 to 10% calorie surplus may be more appropriate.
A good way to think of how to gain weight with a fast metabolism, and to gain muscle without too much fat, is to try to maximize how long you’re in a caloric surplus instead of just the size of your calorie surplus. The reason is because muscle growth is a slow, grueling process, and the more time you allow for it the more muscle you’ll build in the long run.
The hard truth is, once you’re no longer a “newbie”, gaining muscle and strength takes not only even more effort, but a lot more time. This means you can’t have the same attitude you had in the beginning toward training.
Odds are if you are reading this, you may be in the “newbie gains” zone of your training career. If so, you may be able to just eat everything you see and jump from program to program you see online or on social media and get good results. Probably not, but even then that only lasts so long.
The bottom line is that a large calorie surplus is not any better for building muscle than a slight one, but results in far more fat gain. Eating 30% more energy than you expend every day isn’t better for building muscle than eating just 15% more, but you will gain quite a bit more fat.
Like I said if you are in your first year of training then you might get away with it. If you are training for pure strength and don’t care for some extra fat gain, then gorge away.
How To Set Up Diet For A Caloric Surplus
Setting up your nutrition plan or diet for a bulking phase is not that hard. The first thing you need to find out is your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Then that will help you get your TDEE, or Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
I go into much more detail about these and how to get these numbers in my ultimate nutrition guide Proper Nutrition To Build Muscle and Lose Fat (An Ultimate Guide To Nutrition).
- BMR is how many calories your body burns while at complete rest.
- TDEE is a number that estimates the amount of calories/energy you burn on a daily basis through activity in addition to your BMR.
There are many online calculators that can do this for you. Some follow different formulas to achieve this number so be sure you’re using a trusted source of you do this. The only one I have used that seems to be the most accurate is from Legion Athletics.
Otherwise, a pretty accurate measure of how much you should eat for bulking is to multiply your body weight in pounds by 16-18.
Another way to put it is to eat 16-18 calories for every pound of bodyweight. If you are less active then go 16 calories/lb, and if you are really active go 18 calories/lb of bodyweight.
- If you are 215lbs and are moderately active, you would do: 215 x 17 = 3655 calories
- 215 x 16 = 3440 calories, if you are less active.
- 215 x 18 = 3870 calories if you are very active.
These are good estimates of where you need to be to start bulking. If you are interested in dialing in your nutrition more accurately, I recommend my longer and more in depth guide to proper nutrition. When you are learning how to gain weight with a fast metabolism you could potentially need to eat more, but that depends.
Let’s start with how to set up your macronutrient needs.
Macronutrient Intake to Bulk Up
So you have got a good starting point for your calorie consumption. Now you need to find out to best break that down into how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats you need.
If you regularly lift weights and are active, I favor a higher carb diet. So when figuring out how to gain weight with a fast metabolism, you will be eating a lot of high quality carbs.
Here is how to figure out how much to eat of each macronutrient:
- Protein: Eat about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. This is enough to maximize muscle growth and eating more than this won’t really help you bulk up faster. Although, there’s nothing wrong with eating more than this, and some evidence shows that following a very-high protein diet while bulking may help minimize fat gain. This usually works out to around 20 to 30% of calories for most people.
- Fats: Eat around 20 to 30% of your calories from fat. This is enough to optimize health and add flavor to your meals, while still leaving plenty of room for protein and carbs. Fats are very important for your hormonal balance and are essential to healthy testosterone levels. But you don’t want bad fats or too much of it.
- Carbohydrates: Get the rest of your calories which should be about 40-60% of your caloric intake from carbs. The reason you want to follow a high-carb diet while lean bulking is that this keeps your glycogen levels high. It improves your performance in the gym and boosts muscle growth.
I already mentioned if your figuring our how to gain weight with a fast metabolism, you might need to eat more than suggested if your not making any progress.
I’m Still Not Gaining Any Weight!
The solution to this is an obvious one. Eat more. But how much more should you eat? That really depends on you as an individual.
If you use this guide and start a bulking phase, stick to it for 2 or more weeks. You’re body needs time to adjust and pack on the weight so you are going to have to “test” your amount of food intake/weight gain for 2 weeks at a time at least.
If you are not gaining any weight after two weeks, increase your daily calorie intake by 100 calories. I suggest increasing with carbs. If that is too many carbs then you can slightly increase fats as well.
Stick to the new increase for at least two weeks and see if you gain any weight. If you are not new to training, a good number for weight gain is about a half pound per week. When you are new to training it could be closer to 1 lb.
Repeat this process if you are still not gaining any weight. Once your carb intake begins to climb closer to the high 400’s then you can increase fats. Fats have almost double to calorie amount per gram so be mindful of that.
And that’s it! It may seem so simple, and it actually is, although it is not easy and it takes lots of patience.
It is worth mentioning that some guys might be extreme “hardgainers” and have to eat 4000+ calories at 150lb bodyweight to see any increase in weight gain. It will make the process a little more difficult but stick to a good diet and keep training. You will gain weight. Keep reading below for more info on how to gain weight with a fast metabolism and supplements that can aid in the process.
What Should I Eat?
Just as important, if not more important than how much you eat is what you actually eat. You can get 3-4k calories from McDonalds effortlessly, but that is not going to get you the body you want.
My full guide to nutrition has a detailed list of foods that are great for cutting, bulking and maintaining your weight.
Here is a good list of foods that you can incorporate into your new meal plan.
- Sirloin steak
- Ground beef
- Pork tenderloin
- Chicken breast
- Seafood (especially low-fat fish like tilapia, cod, catfish, etc.)
- Egg whites
- Greek yogurt or Skyr
- Cottage cheese
- Low-fat milk
- White or brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grain pasta
- Ezekiel bread
- Whole eggs
- Olive oil
- Almonds or almond butter
- Peanuts or peanut butter
- Coconut oil
- Chia seeds
These are mostly high quality and nutrient dense whole foods that not only will help you gain weight, but will help you eat healthier overall. Hopefully you can find a good group of foods that fit your taste, needs and budget.
Lastly, there are also supplements that can help you gain weight and muscle.
Supplements To Help Gain Weight With A Fast Metabolism
I will always advocate that proper nutrition and a well thought out training program will bring you all the results you are after.
However, if you have your diet and training plan set and you know how to follow it properly, some supplements CAN help you gain more muscle at a faster rate.
Let’s take a look at a few:
- 3 – 5 grams of creatine monohydrate a day. Creatine is a natural compound found in certain foods. Supplementing with it has been proven over decades to be a safe and effective muscle building supplement.
- Whey Protein. You can get all of your protein needs from your nutrition alone. Eating around a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight can be a task though.Having a whey protein supplement can definitely be convenient when you need to get 20-30 grams of protein in quickly.
- Finally, I HIGHLY recommend a pre-workout supplement. Choose something with quality and tested ingredients.
These are some proven supplement that will actually work to help you build muscle and get the most benefit from your training. They are not hyped up supplements that will drain your wallet and disappoint.
I strongly recommend getting your nutrition and training in place and make it a habit before you spend the money on supplements. But once you do, they can help you build muscle faster!
Hard Gainers Training Options
I created an eBook for people who want to learn how to build more muscle but feel trapped and frustrated on the right steps to take.
The Fundamental Pillars of Building Muscle is a simple guide to understanding the four areas of your life that influence your muscle growth, fat loss, and quite frankly, your success in life overall.
These routines and habits that I’ve learned and applied to my own life, have allowed me to gain over 40lbs of muscle and conquer my life goals thus far.
A lot of people talk about the power of forming good habits but never really lay them out in a simple, easy to apply fashion without paying thousands.
Training, Nutrition, Recovery and Mindset.
That’s it. Those are the basics that you need to master to harness the power of your own mind and body.
I include over 15 years of personal experience so that you can skip the marketing hype of all the fitness industry. It is full of scams, magic pills, out of shape trainers and lies.
This is a no frills guide for cheap. Give it a shot if you want or don’t. The choice is yours.
Otherwise I hope that some of the information in this guide helps you on your path!
This is where I really started to see some REAL results. This is my first real training program I followed and it kicked off my fitness journey to a whole other level.
If you’re like me and have always struggled to build muscle and gain weight I’ve got some bad news for you.
Keep training like you are now and you’ll never gain any real size or strength.
If you keep following the advice of your favorite jacked guy or juiced up “Instagram influencer” you’ll stay skinny and weak forever.
That’s because you might be a hardgainer.
Do any or all of these apply to you?:
- Is naturally skinny or skinny-fat.
- Has thin joints and gets injured easily.
- Lacks confidence and is often shy and introverted.
- Has naturally high cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
- Has low work capacity and difficultly recovering from workouts.
It’s always going to be very difficult for us to build muscle if we keep making these same mistakes over and over again.
So, why are you still skinny and unable to build muscle?
Here are five reasons…
- You are ignoring progressive overload.
- You’re not using optimal frequency.
- You’re doing too many sets and/or reps.
- You are using the wrong exercises.
- You don’t have a PROVEN plan to follow.
Your typical bodybuilder isn’t the best person to take advice from when it comes to building muscle and strength, especially if you are a hard gainer.
This program is for beginners and can be for anyone who wants to add some more mass and strength!
I personally followed this program and got pretty incredible results. It was worth every single penny I paid for it.
If I had to recommend only one program to any hard gainer or beginner this would be the one. If you are interested hit the button below.
Wrapping It Up
I hope that this blog post has helped you get an idea of how to gain weight with a fast metabolism and in general. I know what it was like to be skinny and struggle to put on weight. Now I am fairly big and struggle to put on weight (haha).
Follow what I have laid out in this article and feel free to read Proper Nutrition To Build Muscle and Lose Fat (An Ultimate Guide To Nutrition) That guide will go into much more detail about setting up your diet.
Diet, recovery and training are they keys to success. If you are interested in learning how to train to build strength and gain muscle, you can read these guides as well:
- Ultimate Guide to Building Strength in 2023 (Proven Strength Training Plans)
- What is Hypertrophy and How Can It Make You Stronger?
Once you have your nutrition and training set up and are following them to a tee, supplements can enter the equation. The ones I recommended will help you get more results, but only if you are eating and training properly.
If you have found this guide helpful please share!
Don’t forget to sign up with your email address to get a FREE trianing plan and to stay up to date on the newest articles!