T Nation

Versatile Mass Gain Nutrition Athletes

Here is a nutrition program I wrote. I wrote it such that no supplements would have to be used in the bulking process and all the food could be made in the microwave (ideal for college kids). I also wrote it so someone can follow the program whether they work out in the morning, afternoon, or multiple times a day. One cheat day is allowed per week. This program was originally written for a high school athlete. While it is not perfect by any means, it is a very simple, easy-to-follow plan that still allows for results.

Mass Gain Nutritional Plan
By: Charlie Cates, CPT

6 whole eggs
1-2 pieces of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter
You call it for drinkâ??If you choose orange juice, dilute it (�½ cup juice, �½ cup water)

1 cup of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon honey
1 apple (sliced) with peanut butter

Lunch (45-60 minutes pre-workout):
1-2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich(es) on whole-wheat bread
3 hard-boiled whole eggs
1 piece of fruitâ??preferably apples, not bananas

Immediately post-workout:
2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread
1-2 bananas

Mid-afternoon (2 hours post-workout):
1-2 roast beef or turkey sandwiches on whole-wheat bread; add cheese if desired
1 cup of spinach
�½ cup of cottage cheese
3 hard-boiled whole eggs
1 cup of whole milk

Whatever your family is serving is appropriate here. If you usually cook for yourself, see my suggestions below for easy microwave meals.

Post-evening workout:
1 peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread
1 banana

Within 30 minutes before bed:
1-2 cups of whole milk
3 hard-boiled whole eggs
1 can of albacore tuna
1 handful of almonds

First of all, this is obviously a lot of food. It may take time to work into this plan, but eventually youâ??ll be able to adapt. If you find that youâ??re not waking up early enough to eat both the breakfast and the mid-morning snack before your pre-workout lunch you can either merge the breakfast and the mid-morning snack into one meal or just skip the snack all together, depending on how you feel during you workouts, i.e. if youâ??re too full during your workouts.

Hard-boiled eggs can be purchased at Trader Joeâ??s already pealed and everything. They run at around $3.50 for 10 of them.

Depending on when you go to sleep, you could conceivably split your dinner into two parts and eat one before you run at night and one a few hours after you work out. If you find that you are going longer than 2-3 hours without food between your post-workout meal and your before-bed meal, eat dinner again.

Cottage cheese, tuna, and spinach are gross, I know. Gag them down. Theyâ??ll do wonders.

If you are cooking for yourself for dinner, you can get microwavable salmon and chicken breast at the grocery store. If you feel comfortable using a grill, stove, or oven, you can use any of these options. Yams and sweet potatoes are great dinner options for carbohydrates, as well as brown rice. Both of these can be prepared in the microwave as wellâ??brown rice can come frozen in microwaveable bags, and for the yams and potatoes you run them under water until the outside is damp, poke a bunch of holes in them with a fork, put a wet paper towel over them and microwave it for 7 minutes. Make sure to get some source of green vegetables in at dinner as well, preferably spinach, broccoli, or asparagus. You can find frozen microwaveable broccoli, and asparagus can be prepared by slicing it up, putting it in a bowl, covering it with water, and microwaving it for 5 minutes. If you feel comfortable using the stove and oven then whole-wheat pasta and ground beef is an excellent dinner option as well.

Plain yogurt with granola (actual granola, not the sugar-filled kind) is a great alternative to oatmeal in the morning or any time during the day. You can add ground flax seed to this as well to get some more Omega-3â??s.

Your goal should be to drink a gallon of water a day.

MAKE SURE YOU ARE EATING EVERY THREE HOURS MINIMUM!!! If you have trouble keeping track of this, set your phone alarm or watch alarm to go off every three hours to remind you.

Get big or die tryinâ??.

Charlie Cates

What is the macro breakdown?
Too much fruit, not enough veggies and efa’s imo.

Not to rain on your parade here, but I think you are making a lot of assumptions in this program. Especially in this line right here:

I know when I lived at home eating “whatever the family was serving” sabotaged my diet more than anything else. I am sure I don’t need to tell you that the average North American family dinner is probably not the healthiest or smartest option for up-and-coming lifters. There are also a good amount of starchy and bread-based carbs in this plan, which, while perfectly fine for some, would be incredibly detrimental to others. And where is protein in the mid-morning snack? I know all of those items have SOME protein in them, but is it really substantial for a bulking phase?

Also, while I do like the fact that you only use readily accessible whole foods in this plan, it does seem to be pretty simplistic and reminiscent of my early days when I was just figuring things out for myself. Specifically, I remember thinking “I’ll eat white bread after lifting and whole wheat bread the rest of the day - that should take care of everything.” Not saying this isn’t a good starting point, but I do think there could be some changes in the type and quality of nutrients in order to create something that would be more optimal for the masses.

Just my two cents.

Welcome to the Nation.

Great points Colin and Dan. One thing that I forgot to mention in the initial posting, that I have now changed, was that this program was originally written for a high school athlete, not a body builder. Therefore, the sources and timing of the macronutrients were written such that 1) It could easily be followed by a high school kid, and 2) The athlete could still be a high school kid while following this program, i.e., he can make the meals easily and quickly without having to measure and weigh out everything.

I definitely hear what you are saying about the evening meal, and completely agree that most American dinners are not suitable for optimal muscle building. However, the high school athlete will be more likely to continue to follow the program if he can simply eat dinner with his family rather than always having to prepare his own meals. Thanks for the critiques!

Get big or die tryin’.


Small criticism in the PWO meal…peanut butter is high in fat and may slow the digestion process, so stick to just jelly. Liquid carbs might lead to faster gastric emptying and glycogen replenishment as well.

What does the protein count add up to?

For a high school student I think it might be sufficient, but it seems like there’s 2 or 3 meals there that only have protein in there as an incidental.