How to gain size without gaining lots of unwanted body fat

Most of my clients have some form of weight loss or fat loss goal. But not everybody wants to get smaller!

If you are naturally slim and are what is termed a “hard gainer” (you struggle to put on any significant bulk or size but you do put on a little bit of fat around your waist occasionally) then here are a few tips to help you grow!

If the main issue with losing weight is eating fewer calories than you are expending then the opposite is true for gaining muscle and size, especially if you are naturally slim! You need calories!!

One of the main struggles for people who are trying to lose that skinny look is that they struggle to eat the amount of HEALTHY food that is needed to provide the calories in order to grow.

Therefore, just as I advise people who are trying to lose weight to choose nutrient-dense low-calorie foods that they can eat a lot of without going over their calorie limit, I advise clients who are trying to gain weight to do the opposite.

If you are trying to consume 4000-5000 calories a day then you are going to make yourself sick trying to do it from chicken and broccoli! You need more calorie-dense meals so that you are not over-facing yourself with mountains and mountains of food every day!

So, what’s the solution – Mars Bars, Kebabs, and Doritos with lots of dip? Well, no, that’s if you want to stay healthy and increase your size without putting on too much extra fat (a little extra body fat is pretty much inevitable when trying to increase muscle but there are ways to ameliorate fat gain during the process).

Here are four nutrition tips to get bigger whilst minimising fat gain

1: Set an initial body weight goal. Don’t just eat like mad and see where you end up. That’s a recipe to end up fat and unhappy. You can adjust this goal up or down as you progress.

2: Don’t go mad! In the same way that losing body fat should be a lifestyle approach, gaining muscle should be just the same if you want to maintain it. Don’t treat it as a free for all, eating pizza and takes 24/7, putting on two stones in a month. A couple of pounds a week gained is plenty.

3: Don’t guess your way to success! Be a scientist! Track everything. Track your calorie intake, your macros, your body weight, your body measurements, your body fat, your appearance. Find what works and work it!

4: Choose healthy calorie-dense foods to increase your calories and improve your health. Fats have 9 cal per gram, compared to protein and carbs, which both have 4 cal per gram, so healthy fats are a great way to increase your calorie intake without needing to feel stuffed.

Foods such as avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, full fat Greek yoghurt, pork, beef, lamb and eggs can all be added to your normal meals to increase your calorie intake without having to resort to KitKats and Monster Munch!

So, there you have four tips to help you increase your muscle mass and stay healthy without ending up looking like a space hopper!

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