T Nation

Advice Needed For Weight Gain

As the title says, I am in search of some advice and or tips on how to gain weight with a gentle nudge from @TrainForPain. I don’t have any knowledge of nutrition other than to eat a lot of protein, and eat enough to gain weight, or eat less if you want to lose weight.

Started lifting a few years ago doing 531 with essentially the bar on all lifts. I weighed 175lbs, and within the first year got up to maybe 182-185lbs. After that I’ve basically been eating up to a weight and hanging there for a few months. I’ve hit 192 for a while, 198 for a while, and 202-206 for what feels like forever. Last night after dinner I weighed 209, which means I’m around 204-205 in the morning.

My food today was…
Breakfast wrap, which is 2 eggs, a sausage patty and cheese on flour tortilla wrap (I buy this at a store around the corner on the way to work)

XL Tortilla wrap
5oz ground beef
Big handful of greens (spinach/arugala)
Shredded cheese
Blue cheese dressing
2 small slices pepperoni pizza

Handful of blackberries
1/4 gallon 2% milk

2 XL tortilla wraps
7oz ground beef
4 slices uncured smoked bacon
2 eggs
2 big handfuls greens
3 scoops homemade salsa

Bowl of granola with almonds
3 heaping spoonfuls organic natural peanut butter
Not quite another 1/4 gallon of 2% milk

Some days I go without the milk after work. On lifting days I’ll have 2 scoops maltodextrin and preworkout after work.

My goal is to gain weight. I’m not lean by any means (and I don’t really care to be terribly lean). I feel as though my progress on my lifts have been lackluster lately due to not gaining weight as the bar weight gets heavier.

Anyone care to lend a bit of knowledge and point me in the right direction as to what I can do to get over this hump? More protein? More carbs and less fat? More of everything? The obvious answer is to just eat more, and if that’s the advice I get, I’m ok with it.
@T3hPwnisher @flappinit @samul

I’m not sure who else to tag, I don’t look at the nutrition section often.

Hey dude,

Appreciate you giving me a tag. I’ll preface with saying I have zero formal education in nutrition, and have no idea how to eat for health, but I’ll share my perspective as it relates to getting bigger.

With the diet you laid out, very immediate change is, first thing in the morning, before that first meal, I’d get in some sort of protein. For very lazy times, I’d grab a quest bar and eat it as soon as I got to the kitchen, but otherwise could do a shake or some greek yogurt (mixed with protein powder or PBfit gives it a boost). After spending the whole night NOT eating, I wanna get some protein going. I’ve started my mornings like this FOREVER, and will eat a real breakfast soon after that if I’m gaining weight, while just making this protein THE breakfast if I’m losing weight.

Are you typically eating wraps for the majority of your meals, or was today just a 1 off sorta thing? More a curiosity than anything else. I grew up in San Diego and can appreciate a good burrito.

I’d throw in a snack between the 630 and 1200 meal. I don’t like going that long without eating something. If you don’t have time to sit down for a full meal, protein bars are again an option, but otherwise you could go with nuts. They’re dense and travel well. I keep carbs stupid low, but if you’re not like that, you could also throw in some dried fruit to really get in some calories with them. It’s basically trail mix.

I’d consider a similar snack between 1200 and 1700. I’m pretty much trying to eat every 2-3 hours.

With all the nuts you’d be taking in through out the day at this approach, I’d make the 8pm meal cottage cheese or greek yogurt instead. Could keep the granola if you’d like (that actually goes really well with greek yogurt), but basically this meal woudl be more protein heavy than fat heavy.

Your post lifting meal could definitely be beefed up. I’m a big fan of breakfast cereal at this point. If you have the option of sitting down to a meal, something like 2 cups of something riced based (rice crispies work great, along with the flavored versions like cocoa crispies/fruit loops) mixed with your protein powder and milk in a bowl works well. You can eat it all with a spoon and it goes down stupidly easy.


Thanks for the reply pwn. The protein first thing definitely makes sense and is a very easy change, I’ll get that started asap.

I will usually have 2-3 burritos a day. It started out as a way to add calories to my lunch with the wraps, but it turns out that I just love burritos. They also are a lot easier to carry at work or to eat in my work van between jobs without having stuff fall out of them like with a fork or a couple sandwiches. Plus, they’re 240 call per wrap, so that’s at least 600 additional calories that are very easy to put down.

I’ll be sure to buy some bulk almonds or something next shopping trip and leave them in the van for the time between meals at work.

My postworkoit meal is the one at 730pm, you would add additional food and not replace the food that is already there correct?

Thanks again, what I’m taking away is eating calorie dense food more often and up the protein a fair amount.

Look into walnuts too. They’re super dense and have a lot of good qualities associated with them.

I totally misunderstood your post workout meal. I saw you say you have 2 scoops of maltodextrin on workout days and assumed that was part of a post workout shake with a protein powder. If there is no shake, adding one is a quick kill, and you could then do like I suggested and actually mix it with some cereal to get some more calories in. A meal of solid food after that would be just fine as well.


Right on! :+1:

1 Like

Sorry I think I worded it pretty poorly in the original post.

After work on days I lift, some time around 4-6pm, I have the 2 scoops maltodextrin + preworkout, lift, then eat dinner some time around 7-8pm. If I don’t lift I just don’t have the preworkout drink, but I will have some fruit and a few other small things/milk to tide me over until dinner.

So now directly after lifting or I guess even on rest days, before dinner, having either protein cereal or a protein shake will be what I’ll do.


If the objective is weight gain and you’re okay with some fluff, up your carb intake too. Especially around training.

If you put dry oatmeal in your blender and blend it to a dust before adding protein powder and peanut butter/banana, you’ll have a pretty damn dense shake.

Gaining weight is always a struggle for me no matter where I’m at, so that’s where the common sense comes in - if you spend more of the day feeling full than you did before, you’ll probably gain, unless you’re binging on iceberg lettuce. Just like I don’t count cals for weight loss, rather I just spend more time feeling hungry than I did before and the weight seems to melt off.


I don’t count cals because I’ve never had to, at least up until this point where I just can’t get past 206 in the morning. I’m hoping to not have to measure out all the shit I eat though. . I’m having trouble getting “over the hump” of where I’m at. Once I start gaining I’m sure my weight will shoot up a bit and stall again.

I’m assuming more carbs post workout would be better than pre? I can’t imagine going HAM on squats or deadlifts with a full stomach. Sounds like puke city to me.

Any idea if something like that would keep ok as a dry blended mix? I could just mix everything together in an airtight container and scoop out as needed?

I’m planning on buying a whole bunch of stuff to try this weekend and finding the easiest/most convenient options and getting right to it. Thanks to both of you guys.

1 Like

Yeah, I see no reason why keeping a bunch of blended oatmeal wouldn’t work.

Honestly, it depends how quickly you feel like moving after eating, but I can eat a decently high carb meal about 1.5 hours before working out and it’ll make a big difference in terms of my endurance. I can and have trained fasted for long periods of time but I can’t go nearly as long. Then you can have even more carbs post workout.

As long as they’re around training, they’re put to good use, IMO. And if you just want to gain weight, I’d add potatoes to my breakfast wrap, rice to my 12pm burrito, and pasta to my 12pm meal. How hard you can bust your ass training is also a big factor in how much of this weight will be quality. I guess you have to scale it according to what you’re willing to put up with.

Did I mention I love carbs?


I try to go as hard as I can get away with, without it disrupting my ability to get around at work. There have been few lifting days where I felt like I could’ve done more/pushed harder. That’s partly the reason I believe I need to eat more, I feel like I’m not recovering fully.

Didn’t have to! Lol. I couldn’t care less about them but if they help me lift better and recover better, I’m all for it.

As we have been beating around the bush a bit regarding “dirty food”, I will say that poptarts are an easy to eat light in the stomach pre-workout food that can get in a bunch of quick carbs. Was using them toward the end of my weight gain.


How tall are you? What do you do for a living? Do you do a lot of walking, running, biking, cardio? What is your training like? I weigh around 50lbs more than you and I don’t eat anywhere near as much as you, either you have a very fast metabolism or you are doing a lot of physical activity.

Really you just need to consume more calories. Add butter, sugar, cream, cheese, etc. to anything that you can put it in. Switch to whole milk (homogenized or whatever they call it where you are). Eat calorie-dense foods, the stuff that everyone knows makes people fat. Fatty cuts of meat, etc. Drink juice or soda instead of water.

I remember reading something Mike Israetel wrote about a guy who was trying to move up a weight class, he was drinking casein protein blended with ice cream (maybe milk too?) before bed, that would take the fast out of breakfast for you.

I hear doing this too long can mess you up and give you diabetes, also people like Israetel recommend taking a break from bulking every few months for the reason that after bulking for a prolonged period of time you will start to gain more fat and less muscle. While you don’t care about being lean, I don’t think you want to turn into a fat blob and end up with diabetes in the process.


I’m 6’ tall and I’m a commercial/industrial heating and cooling service technician… lots of walking, carrying and moving tools and equipment pretty much all day long. Pretty active outside of work as well, compared to the average American. Have a one year old dog, so busy with her, busy working on the house, hiking, fishing etc.

I don’t really do any planned cardio, although I did just start doing sandbag carries that I plan to keep doing because I like it. Wendler would probably classify it as hard conditioning and I only do it once a week for twenty minutes.

I recently switched from PCs guaranteed muscle mass program to 531 Leviathan. So 4 days a week hitting a main lift each day, supplemental stuff or PR sets, then a few pump exercises supersetted at the end.
My main goal since I started lifting is a 4 plate deadlift, or as close to double bodyweight as I can get… it’s still the number one goal, but in the past 6+ months my upper body lifts have stagnated and I’d really like to continue progressing on all of the lifts, and after reading what an overwhelming majority of people are saying, it seems like gaining weight is the number one way to do that.

That’s something I’d definitely like to avoid for sure. I have kind of unplanned cuts in that when work picks up, I am so busy that I just can’t/won’t break away to eat at work. It usually happens for a month or two in the early summer and mid to late winter. I haven’t lost a ton of weight but it’s fairly noticable to me.

The casein drink/ice cream would be something I’d like to try for sure.

That’s not necessarily bad in a way, it will keep you from getting too fat if you just bulked nonstop. Just make sure to get enough protein throughout the day so any muscle loss is minimal.

That would at least partly explain your trouble gaining weight. You need to either reduce physical activity or increase calories, and by the sounds of things you will probably choose more calories.

1 Like

Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be able to limit physical activity. I get way too bored just sitting around when I’m not at work.

Thank you guys for your help, I’m going to start with the morning and after workout shake/cereal and see where I end up after a couple weeks and add in some of the other suggestions if needed later. I’m considering buying some casein protein powder for before bed as well.

@chris_ottawa @T3hPwnisher @flappinit

So I just wanted to give an update as to where I’m at after almost two weeks, morning weight has been around 207-208, weight before bed is near 212 so I’m up a couple lbs (awesome!).

A very strange, but related sidenote- I’m 99.99% sure I’m allergic to rice and or rice products. I have gone through 3 boxes of rice Krispies and have been experiencing some very odd reactions.

Over the past week I’ve been feeling “off” at seemingly random points throughout the day. Early morning on the weekends after breakfast it feels like my seasonal allergies are in full force, sneezing, runny nose and itchy skin, throat feels a bit scratchy. It doesn’t linger too long and passes and I forget about it. Late night after getting in bed- same thing.

After giving it some thought, I only feel this way after eating the cereal. Also, I am an avid beer drinker and have noticed recently a similar reaction, not in a hungover kind of way, but a more allergic reaction kind of way. I haven’t ever had this happen before but it seems I’m starting to or already have developed an allergy. Kind of crazy and I’d really like to get it tested by a doc but am wary at this point due to going to a hospital or doctor’s office.

Just thought I’d give an update, I’ll have to start digging into the additional advice you guys gave me and find some other easy meals to add.

1 Like

Great to see you gaining dude. Crazy to hear about the rice. Usually it’s so benign. Might try transitioning to something oat based.

1 Like

Some beers use rice in addition to or in place of barley, I believe Budweiser is made with rice. I have never heard of anyone being allergic to rice but I looked it up and it’s a real thing, if you get the same reaction from rice alone then the easy solution is just avoid rice. If it’s not the rice then it could be some other additive or something in the air, but your symptoms match so good chance that’s it.

1 Like

Greek yogurt with a couple of scoops of flavored protein powder of your choice, mixed up with a little milk to get the right consistency makes an easy high protein desert or snack. I usually add a couple of spoons of peanut butter and a little honey to mine if I am upping the calories. This is my pre bed go to pretty much every day.


Yeah, my thought was oats/granola since I know I can handle them.

@chris_ottawa I also had no idea it was a thing, but I made the connection and looked it up, like you said, the symptoms are spot on.

Strangely, a while ago in my log here I had mentioned during one of my high carb attempts that eating white rice specifically had seemed to cause me some serious joint and tendon pain. My left elbow/forearm is known to give me issues (possibly bicep tendonitis?) And oddly enough, it has started happening again over the past week or so. I’m wondering if the allergy causes inflammation and that area is just prone to it.

@simo74 sounds like it’d be perfect for me thanks! Doing some grocery shopping tomorrow so I’ll pick up a vat of Greek yogurt and more peanut butter.