If you are skinny and find it difficult to pack on muscle then you are going to definitely want to watch this video. Here I am going to break down how to eat to build muscle and give you strategies on the best ways to approach your meal plans to give you the best chance of success. Too often, the overly simplified advice of “eat big and get big” is not enough. Here we are going to see why this can lead to an abundance of low quality gains (i.e. fat) instead of defined muscle.
If you have been lifting for any length of time you have likely heard how important your nutrition is to the way your body looks. Pack a bunch of low quality foods into your diet and even though you may pack on some mass through training, it is going to look bloated and non-aesthetic when it is composed of mostly increases in body fat. This is not the look you should be going for especially if you are going to need to perform at a high level as well.
Instead, the goal should be to build lean muscle without unnecessary or excess body fat. In order to achieve this you must first realize that simply eating more food indiscriminately is not the way to go. You would be better off learning how to make smarter food selections and opting for high quality nutrient dense foods.
There is a problem with this approach however, and it can be a big one if you don’t manage it properly. That is, often times the nutrient dense foods are not calorically dense. Meaning, the healthier the food option becomes the fewer calories it has. When you attempt to simply cram more food into each meal to compensate for the sparser calories you often find that you get too full too quickly and cannot sustain it.
This is where the approach to eating more frequently throughout the day comes in helpful. Now there is nothing magical about eating 6 times per day rather than 3. However, when it comes to hardgainers, it is especially helpful and a much more successful approach to eating since meal frequency is always an easier ask than increased meal volume when the stomach is used to eating a certain amount per sitting.
Next, it is important that you chronicle your meals for about 2 to 3 days. This forces you to assess how much you are truly eating in a day. Often times, this is eye opening to those that actually take the time to do it. It becomes abundantly clear that they are not eating enough food to amount to any kind of muscle protein synthesis. Higher protein intake can help to lower the demand for calorie excess however in both instances, your body still needs enough high quality food to help you to build muscle.
It is here that liquid calories and making the more calorie dense foods like avocados, natural peanut butter and nuts your staple foods, becomes most helpful. Adding a few protein shakes or smoothies in to your existing meals and not forgetting to opt for these more calorie compacted food options for snacks is a great way to quickly increase the intake throughout the day.
A sample day of eating is included in this video towards the end to give you an idea of how you would want to structure your meal plan if you were looking to put on more size and were struggling with being too skinny at the moment.
If you are looking for a complete 90 day meal plan with every meal laid out in detail, be sure to click the link below to get your ATHLEAN-X Training System. It comes with your meals, workouts and strategies in a step by step fashion to ensure your success.
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Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.