T Nation

Ectomorph Beginner Diet

Hey all. I’m 5’7", 150lbs., and I’m a hard-gainer. It took 3 years of pizza every day and no exercise to get a little pudge on my stomach.

I’m looking to bulk right now, and then I will cut later. Appearance is 80% of my concern and health is 20%. I really could not care less if I could bench more than anyone else, etc. I lift 4 days a week, and do HIIT the other 3 days.

Here’s my diet plan, following Tampa-Terry’s recommendations:


Final Tally:

2399 cals (I think this is too little)
218 protein
52 fat
374 carbs (is this too much even considering I’m a hard-gainer?)

Here’s a few tips for you:

You will find it extremely hard to stick to a diet with precise calories / macronutrient ratios and keep it as a lifestyle.

Because that is what bodybuilding/strength training is, a lifestyle.

I know from experience, sure, a good precise diet will give you good gains for a month, then you’ll miss a meal etc. and it’ll go downhill from there.

My advice to you: Stop thinking you’re an ectomorph.

Eat fucking loads (i say fucking loads, because if i said a good amount, you’d probably eat very little) of protein with vegetables and/or fruit every 2-3 hours, and then if you still aren’t full, chuck some rice/potatoes or porridge down your throat afterwards.

Thats the best diet advice you will probably get, if you still are not satisfied, then check our Dr. J. Berardi’s precision nutrition book, it’s very good and helped me out a lot.

But I’ll tell you the best thing about precision nutrition, it teaches you that diet & weight training IS A LIFESTYLE CHOICE. You need to make your eating a way of life, a habit. You can not make up some magical ‘program’ and hope it will give you the results you are looking for, because you need to stay consistant.

Also, I think as a naturally skinny person, the bulking & cutting idea is a load of crap.

Eating the correct food at correct times & staying on a fairly intense program with moderate cardio (Westside for skinny bastards is a perfect example) will eventually change your bodys composition over time without worrying about ‘bulking & cutting’

[quote]You will find it extremely hard to stick to a diet with precise calories / macronutrient ratios and keep it as a lifestyle.

Because that is what bodybuilding/strength training is, a lifestyle.[/quote]

I know, and I’m willing to dedicate myself. For a year when I was 19 (I’m 25 now) I followed a very strict diet / routine.

Now, I work at home, so I don’t have any time restrictions at all. I’m confident I’ll be able to follow a plan and adapt around it if I miss a meal or two.

Ok then, well 2399 cals is too low, the thing with calculators that factor how many calories you should eat, is they don’t include each persons individual metabolism.

protein should be kept about 1 to 1.5g per lb of bodyweight, fairly simple, don’t need to change it that often, so 218g protein sounds about right for 150lbs (Remember, as you increase in weight to up your protein intake :p)

Fats are important for keeping up testosterone levels, i find that I feel like a million dollars if i take in about 100ish g of healthy fats a day, again you might feel differently, but i would aim for at least 80g.

374g carbs isn’t too high, but the only carbs i would eat after 8-10 hours of waking up would come from fruits or vegetables. You can eat as much carbs as you like before then.

Keep logging your diet, and make notes after each log to see how you feel the next day, or how you felt that day. You will notice that certain foods / nutrient ratios work better for your body than others, eventually then you can cut out what isn’t working and keep what is working.

Cool so I’ll up my flaxseed and olive oils to 1.5 tablespoons.

I really don’t think I could manage to eat any more at breakfast. 1 cup of oatmeal stretches my stomach alone.

Perhaps to get some extra cals I’ll increase my evening meals by about 25-50% each.

you could probably add in another 30-40g of protein to help with calories, stick a protein shake in at breakfast? I feel i can always drink one if im full, for ectos eating as just as hard as working out lol.

so thats another 160 calories, and upping fat by about 30g gives you another 270 calories. And if you fancy something to eat like a hamburger during the day, dont pass it up! lol.

Again just record stuff, see how it goes, record your bodyfat/LBM every 2 weeks and see what progress you are making.

If your bodyfat is going up too much and LBM isn’t, then you aren’t training hard enough.

If your bodyfat is increasing too much along with your LBM then decrease your carb intake.

If you aren’t seeing any LBM or overall weight gain then increase protein & fat intake.

I very much doubt that you will get to a point where you are putting on too much fat, so keeping track of your progress and adjusting your diet shouldn’t be too hard.

Thanks a ton. Is there a preferred way of measuring BF% and thus, LBM?

I skimmed through the FAQs, but didn’t see one.

You can get a friend to do a skinfold test on you, then once you find out the % of fat you have, you subtract that from your overall weight.

So lets say you are measured at 10% bodyfat, weighing at 150lbs, that 10% factors in to 15lbs of your weight, 150lbs - 15lbs = 135lbs LBM.

You can pick up a set of cheap skinfold calipers for like $7, however they aren’t as accurate as the quality ones such as the harpenden brand, which are much more expensive ($150, or something like that). You don’t really need to be that accurate as long as you can get a guideline with what your working with.

Do a search on here or on google for ways of doing the skinfold testing, but whatever method you choose make sure you stick with it, because different equations are going to give you different numbers.

Check out Berardi’s “Massive Eating” articles.


And don’t be afraid to overestimate.

Okay I think Tampa-Terry is going to respond to this and he asked me to type it out in the thread, so here is my updated diet. I know there’s supposed to be some beans in here, but I really really hate beans. I’ll experiment and try to find some I can keep down.

Link to image: http://img503.imageshack.us/img503/8407/untitledfp8.jpg


1 cup dry oats
1 orange
1 cup egg beaters
1 multivitamin
1 tbsp glutamine
(505 calories, 35g protein, 6g fat, 79g carbs)

1 cup brown rice
1 apple
2 cups low sugar weight gainer
8 oz. skim milk
(668 calories, 39g protein, 8g fat, 158g carbs)


Resistance Training

1 cup cream of rice
1 banana
2 scoops low sugar weight gainer
8 oz. skim milk
1 tbsp glutamine
2g vitamin C
12 caps BCAAs
(612 calories, 37g protein, 6g fat, 149g carbs)

8oz. chicken breast
1 cup fresh broccoli
1.5 tbsp flaxseed oil
(294 calories, 54g protein, 21g fat, 17 carbs)

2 scoops whey isolate
8 oz. skim milk
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 cup fresh snap beans
(294 calories, 54g protein, 21g fat, 17carbs)

1.5 scoops slow release protein
8 oz. skim milk
(240 calories, 38g protein, 3g fat, 8carbs)

2718g protein (2900 recommended I think)
278g protein (150 recommended I think)
73g fat (60 recommended I think)
417 carbs

Pizza and Beer.

Hey, there, Greyling!!! I finally made it. (grin)

Let’s talk about your caloric intake in terms of multiples of body weight. It varies widely, but maintenance calories is SUPPOSED to be 15 times body weight, which works out to 2250 calories per day. If you’re a hard gainer/ectomorph, it’s very likely that you need a caloric intake of 18xTBW, 20xTBW or more when bulking.

Some people go higher with their protein recommendations, but I pretty consistently recommend 1g of protein per pound of body weight. The reason I do that is because more calories are “wasted” processing protein than any of the other macronutrients. In other words, it costs the body more calories to absorb and utilize protein than fat or carbs. Get all of what you need in the way of protein, and then increase the number of grams of carbs you’re consuming.

Recommendations are:

150g of protein per day from lean cuts of meat, eggs, dairy, etc. (you’ll get more from other sources)
75g of fat
280g of carbohydrates

The above is pretty close to 16 times body weight (2400 calories per day). Hit the numbers above for one week. Weigh and measure. If you haven’t gone up in scale weight at least a little, increase the number of calories you are consuming by a multiple of 1.

Caloric intake = 17xTBw
Caloric intake = 2550
Protein = 150g
Fat = 75g
Carbs = 320g

After the first week or two where people can gain weight more quickly due to water weight, I’d probably recommend that you shoot for an increase in scale weight of 1 pound per week. It might not sound like a lot, but over the course of a year, that’s 50 pounds!!!

The few miscellaneous recommendations I would make are:

  • Make sure you optimize PWO nutrition and consume a PWO drink like Surge and a PWO meal with a minimum of a 2:1 ratio of starchy carbs to protein
  • Limit HIIT to twice per week and leave yourself one day per week to rest, sleep in, goof off, whatever
  • Eat some fruit or veggies at every meal
  • Choose from quality starchy carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes, yams, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, amaranth) versus items made with either sugar or flour
  • Don’t repeat a protein source in a day’s time
  • Make sure the fats you are consuming are your GOOD fats; avoid BAD fats (fried food, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil); good fats improve health and body composition!!!
  • Consume some olive oil and fish/flaxseed oil on a daily basis

Does that help? Questions? (grin)

Thanks for posting your plan, Greyling. It helps to have it all in once place.

Have your creatine with your Surge. Sip 1/3 of your Surge as you walk in the door, 1/3 during and 1/3 as you walk out the door. Limit workouts to 1 hour.

Lots of quality food choices and very nice structure!!! (grin) It’s obvious you’ve been reading and researching and doing you’re homework.

Once the glutamine is gone, don’t buy more. Read David Barr’s article on glutamine.

It wasn’t on my list, but as a carb source, you can keep the cream of rice.

The biggest area of opportunity is that I don’t want to see you depending on protein powder to the degree you’re depending on it. Have eggs one meal, fish another, shrimp another, chicken another. Have lean ground beef, turkey, tuna, lamb. Make yourself a pot roast once a week and eat off of it.

You’ll have to re-do your numbers, I know, but try something like this:

P+C – P=25g; C=50g
P+C – P=25g; C=50g
P+C – P=25g; C=50g
P+C – P=25g; C=50g
P+F – P=25g; F=21g (olive oil)
P+F – P=25g; F=21g (flaxseed/fish oil)

You’ll get another 46g of carbs from 3 scoops of Surge, one scoop in each liter of water.

Very, very, nice job, Greyling!!! If you report your results on the thread you’ve started, I’ll go ahead and mark your thread.

Well after 6 days on the last diet I listed I’ve gone from 147.4 to 149.5

It really is hell for me to finish that breakfast.

I’m going to modify the diet a little bit per your recommendations and post the result in a half hour or so.

Okay here’s where I’m at. I’m having a problem finding calories that aren’t attached to protein or carbs.


Don’t do HIIT. Eat more, eat dirtier. Problem solved. EDIT. Oh yeah and don’t train like a pussy.

[quote]ill wrote:
Don’t do HIIT. Eat more, eat dirtier. Problem solved. EDIT. Oh yeah and don’t train like a pussy.[/quote]

I LIKE this. Too many people try to complicate this and make it rocket science.

Plain and simple.

Well after 6 days on the last diet I listed I’ve gone from 147.4 to 149.5

(big grin) Congratulations, there, Greyling!!! That’s awesome. I can’t believe how quickly you pulled it all together.

As far as breakfast goes, if it takes a while for your digestion to gear up, you cut that meal in half and eat the other half on a midnight run to the restroom. All other meals would be the same.

The way you make sure you have to get up and hit the restroom (so that you can get in the second half of that meal) is to have a couple of tall glasses of water before going to bed.

Let me know how you’re doing. Nothing is set in stone. You’re definitely doing your part, so I’m more than willing to explore options and adjust things so that they work a little better for you.

Okay here’s where I’m at. I’m having a problem finding calories that aren’t attached to protein or carbs.

I missed this. Sorry. Are you looking for ways to add more fat into your diet?