Skinny? How To Eat More To Build Muscle & Strength Fast
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Kinobody welcomes guest author, Trent McCloskey who, despite always struggling to gain muscle and strength, took his physique to astonishing heights while staying chiseled to the bone!
Currently, he is running his own site and YouTube Channel. Here he is again with some more incredible insights for skinny guys to take their physiques to the next level.
Trent…Take it away!
Can’t eat enough to gain weight? How to eat more food for us skinny guys is a very challenging task in building muscle and strength. If you’re not eating enough and want to know why it can get difficult, you’ll want to read this article.
You know this. And you’ve probably been told one hundred times that eating enough calories if you’re skinny is most important. Well, it’s true, it is.
But why is it so damn difficult sometimes?
If you’ve been spinning your wheels and stalling on your muscle and strength gains. There’s a good chance you’re not eating enough.
Heck, you can even be tracking every single calorie, but still finding it to be a struggle to eat enough to gain weight.
Eating more food is a TALL order! Especially if you’re just starting out.
But you’re a badass and I know you’re going to make it happen.
I also know you can relate to me. But for everyone else out there that thinks us ectomorphs are #blessed, eating more food is a freaking chore!
Don’t believe me?
I challenge anyone to eat 4000 calories a day, 7 days a week…For weeks on end. I have a good feeling you’ll get sick of food pretty quickly.
Now some of you may not need 4000 calories a day, and some of you may need a bit more.
Either way, it takes commitment and a lot of will power to nail that number each day.
And in this article, I want to share with you how to eat more calories and food and why it’s actually so difficult for a skinny guy. So no matter how much food you need to eat, you can accomplish this task effortlessly.
How To Eat More By Thinking For Yourself
Is there actual reasoning behind this? Or are all the other people right, we’re just weak-minded and aren’t doing a good job at sticking to our diet plan?
We need to take matters into our own hands.
And by the way, I know your determination is through the roof! I’m also a firm believer that you, yourself is only to blame. It’s YOUR choice to build a body you’re proud of.
Although, it gets complicated when the mainstream is flooded with poor advice that isn’t going to help us at all.
For example, most researchers are diving into the overweight crowd. Which is great! Obesity is a huge problem, so finding ways to get people to eat less and move more is very important.
But for us skinny folk who are trying to learn how to eat more and gain muscle, well, that kind of leaves us stranded.
So, if you put all your hard efforts into a mainstream muscle-building program, you quite possibly might wind up exactly where you started with no gains, even if you follow it to a T.
Am I speaking from experience, or do you feel me?
Most of the advice and programs aren’t designed for us ectomorphs! A great muscle building program is going to have the following factors in mind…
You’re Not Eating Enough Because of Ectomorph Physiology
The first step in learning how to eat more is by first learning how us skinny guys function. You’ll soon learn that what we have going on is a huge advantage for us! Especially how we can stay lean effortlessly while adding muscle. I’ve been going pretty intense on my bulk with 4000 calories a day for 10 weeks now, straight. Everyday (reference the picture of me above).
What seems to be stopping you from eating more calories is soon going to become your greatest ally in packing on slabs of muscle and strength.
Dealing With A High Burning And Adaptive Metabolism
The ectomorph body type burns more calories than the average person (we’ll get to exactly why in a moment).
And that’s probably something you already could have guessed. Given, that we “eat so much” but can’t gain weight.
But is it really that? Are we really not eating enough and just miscalculating our calories? Well, yes and no, ha.
I say this because it could at first be a calorie-counting problem. Make sure you learn how to do this properly and get a calorie tracking app like myfitnesspal (that’s what I use).
Assuming you can dial in your calorie surplus and are willing to test if you’re actually gaining weight or not. Something else is going on in our bodies.
We differ from the average guy (one who can gain weight easily) in terms of calories burned through NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
NEAT involves all calories that get burned through pretty much everything except sleep and sports-like exercise.
Think walking, cleaning the house, typing, fidgeting, and even standing/correcting posture for example.
When we eat more calories, our bodies are smart about it (well depending on how you take it, ha) and increase our NEAT naturally by causing us to shake, move more, and heat up without us even realizing it to burn off those calories.
Think about it, you probably feel warm most of the time, right?
I know if I have a huge meal right before bed I can’t sleep. At all. I get so overheated and restless.
Overall, we do burn more calories naturally. Great. Now we know what keeps us skinny. So what happens when we actually learn how to eat more and dial in our calorie surplus?
Ectomorph Body Type And A Proper Calorie Surplus
Don’t worry, we’re soon going to go over how to eat more calories.
Something very interesting happens when us skinny guys eat a large surplus of calories. This again ties back into what we were just discussing, NEAT…
When we finally learn how to eat more food, our fast-burning ectomorph metabolism kicks into even HIGHER gear and burns all the damn calories right off.
Are we cursed with being skinny forever?
Of course not, or else I wouldn’t be writing this article for you.
There was a study conducted some time ago that looked into how people responded to overfeeding. The experiment involved a group of people who were overfed 1000 extra calories. But wait for it…They were not allowed to do any form of exercise.
After 8 weeks, they looked at the results. A portion of the group gained a solid 9.3 pounds of body weight. While the other, well, only gained 0.79 pounds of body weight.
Yep, it was probably the skinny ectomorphs with high NEAT that barely gained any weight because their metabolisms adapted to the higher calories.
What can we take away from this?
We are trying to build MUSCLE! Not just gain weight.
See our bodies are smart. If the correct stimulus is put in place. Or in other words, a great muscle-building program. We will use those excess calories to build muscle before just burning them off.
There’s more good news to this…
This means we can stay pretty damn lean while eating a ton of calories to milk out as much muscle growth as humanly possible.
But do you get the point? We simply need to dial in our calories and get on a solid muscle-building program. If we have little extra calories. It probably won’t matter. So it’s better to overshoot than to come up short.
And always remember. Every person is different. Even every ectomorph. I’m not telling you that you need to eat 4000 calories a day. That’s what I need. Take matters into your own hands and begin testing. Us too, can still get fat.
How To Eat More With A Skinny Stomach
If thinking that we naturally burn more calories than others wasn’t your first guess. Having a smaller stomach capacity could have been right on your mind for sure.
And if so, you’re right. Stomachs do come in all shapes and sizes.
Don’t worry, it will adapt as you learn how to eat more calories.
If you work up to eating bigger meals, your stomach will adjust accordingly.
I used to eat small meals every 2 hours when I first got an interest in fitness. The whole bodybuilder approach. I’m sure we’ve all been there.
Well, I got very conditioned to eating like that. If it was a meal larger than 500 calories. I struggled to finish it! And let’s not even go into what happened if I missed one of those meals. I got super hangry, ha (hungry + angry).
The worse part though was when I would go out to a restaurant. It hardly looked like I even made a dent on my plate! That sucks. Especially if you’re on a date.
Anyway the moral of this skinny stomach section is, you will adapt to eating more food and bigger meals. So keep pushing past that “full feeling” each day little by little.
Not Eating Enough Because Of High Insulin Sensitivity
When one is fairly lean, they have higher insulin sensitivity. And us skinny guys tend to be very sensitive to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that shuttles nutrients into the cells of our bodies.
Having this is great for muscle growth! We need to do the best we can at getting the nutrients we need into our muscles for growth. Being lean, building more muscle, and even lifting heavy will increase insulin sensitivity.
Basically, we are insulin champs.
Why am I bringing this up? Well for our meager appetites this becomes a problem. But not one we are trying to fix per-say.
When we eat foods, insulin spikes. But when insulin goes up. Our appetites decrease. And we get that nice, full feeling. Being very insulin sensitive makes this happen fairly quickly. That’s where the appetite manipulation hacks and choosing the right foods comes in.
People who are heavier and who gain weight easily are most likely less insulin sensitive. And they can eat a lot more food way before they get that full feeling. They just don’t know when to stop, ha.
Once we nail our nutrition, this becomes an awesome asset because we can ensure the majority of our calories are going towards muscle growth.
Stress Dopamine and a High Metabolic State
Right before we dive into how to eat more with the appetite strategies, I wanted to quickly go over a couple of minor things that are also going on inside us ectomorphs.
We deal with stress differently than others. Now I don’t have all the definitive answers to how everything works. But let’s take a look at our past experiences.
When we’re under a lot of stress, I completely forget to eat. My appetite is completely shut off. Weightlifting is even a stressor. Sometimes, after an intense lifting session, I need to wait up to an hour before working up a little motivation to eat a huge meal (so I just opt for juice or liquid calories after working out).
We also don’t really get intense cravings or certain foods. Of course, we typically don’t want to eat any food after eating day in and day out, anyway. But this is where dopamine comes into play.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in our body and its role is to drive us towards action.
We are more sensitive to dopamine in a high metabolic state.
Our brains don’t care if the action is good or bad. The stress response that’s also released with dopamine makes us desire whatever we want even more.
When most people are stressed, sad, etc., they typically turn to food.
The point I’m trying to make is that if us skinny guys were to turn to food, we are more sensitive to dopamine’s effect. Allowing us to be satisfied on a few bites of ice cream, rather than getting the urge to finish the entire tub and maybe even another.
Sure, there can be hundreds of examples. I just wanted to explain things in terms of food and what I thought was interesting about us skinny folk. Besides, in time of trouble, food is the last thing us skinny guys turn to. But now, let’s get into how to eat more.
How To Eat More With Appetite Manipulation
Most diets try to get you to eat less food. So, instead of taking a restrictive approach on what we can and cannot eat. We should be thinking about how we can strategically ADD foods into our diets.
And not just any foods. The right foods. In terms of calories and satiety.
Satiety is simply a level of how much a food is going to make you feel full.
Typically, what makes a food more filling is the:
- Water content
- Protein content
- Fiber content
Think foods like veggies, potatoes, or beans. These foods contain a lot fiber and water, that’s what makes them so filling.
We are still striving to fill our diets with wholesome, nutritious foods. But we also need to choose foods that are less satiating so you can eat the same quantity but more calories in a sense.
1) Make Your Food Taste Good
Adding your favorite sauces, salt, etc. will not only make your food taste better, but it will also add some extra calories. Besides, if your food tastes good. You’ll want to eat it.
This will also challenge you to get a bit creative and cook your meals in a way to make them as calorie dense as possible.
For example, you can take potatoes and make french fries out of them. Adding oils, salt and ketchup will make them easier to get down and more calorie-dense.
-You could take chicken and make breaded chicken strips.
-You could fry your steak in coconut oil.
-And so on and so forth.
2) Dried Fruit
If you aren’t eating dried fruit. You’re missing out big time!
I slam down 300 calories of dried fruit whenever I need it in a matter of seconds…Seriously.
3) Homemade Shakes/Liquid Calories
There’s something special about liquids. It’s like our bodies don’t know they contain calories!
My favorites are:
- Naked Juice
- Protein Shakes (if you do these right)
- Fruit Juice (try raspberry lemonade from Simply Lemonade)
As you’re aware, solid food is more filling than liquid food. So having more milk and liquid protein is great to reduce the satiety effect of protein rather than getting it all from solid food.
If you have whey protein, I recommend mixing that in a blender with milk, yogurt, peanut butter, fruit, ice cream, etc. to make some homemade weight gain shakes.
And as far as the fruit juice goes, a cup is around 25g carbs. And you can easily drink a few glasses a day.
Naked juice is around 270 calories per serving with around 60g carbs. It tastes fantastic! I love the Blue Machine flavor.
In between 2 to 3 large meals for the day, I’ll use snacking to hit my overall calories. Whether that be the fruit juice, shakes, protein bars, or even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or two.
How To Eat More With The Proper Foods
Those hacks are going to be a game-changer for you!
Here are more foods ideas you should be including into your diet:
You need to start choosing protein sources that you like most, so you’ll want to eat a lot.
- Red Meat
- Greek Yogurt
- Cottage Cheese
- Protein Bars (I like cookie dough Balance bars and Gatorade bars)
Fats are the most calorie dense. Why not just increase those dramatically? It’s better to eat more carbs! We’ll touch on why in a second. Here’s where I get fats in my diet from.
- Fatty fish / Fish oil
- Coconut Oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- Olive Oil
You’ll want to get the majority of your calories from carbs. They will support our training performance in the gym massively by refilling the glycogen stores in our muscles.
- Grains (whole grain bread, cereal, quinoa, etc.)
- Bakery Products
- Calorie Dense fruits (bananas, mangoes, grapes, etc.)
- Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, figs, dried cranberries, etc.)
- Naked Juice
- Honey and maple syrup
- Ice Cream
- Frozen yogurt
The reason you’ll want to get the majority of your calories from carbs is because it’s more difficult for your body to turn those into fat. In fact, the process of turning carbs into body fat (de novo lipogenesis) is inefficient. About 25% of the energy is lost.
And fat is fat. It doesn’t need to go through any extravagant process to be stored.
And of course, make sure you are getting in your vegetables and fruits. This will help ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of fiber and micronutrients in your diet.
A good rule of fiber is to get 10-15g per 1000 calories you eat each day.
My Final Words On How To Eat More Food If You’re Skinny
There shouldn’t be any major reasons as to why you can’t eat enough to gain weight.
And if you’re currently not eating enough, make sure you start implementing these strategies ASAP!
Us skinny guys have it pretty damn nice. This is what people are jealous of! So it’s time to buckle down and put these concepts on how to eat more to action.
Remember, once you start tracking your calories and testing, you’ll soon find your sweet spot. Which will enable you to repeat each day.
Building muscle and strength will soon become second nature to you.
Once we build the muscle, it’s there to last!
Your first action steps should be choosing higher-calorie foods you enjoy eating and start using the appetite hacks. Along with tracking all your calories. Let me know how everything goes!
What did you think of this article? Did I miss anything on how to eat more calories? Let me know in the comments!
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