Gain Weight Diet: Add Muscle, Not Fat

It may seem strange but gaining weight is actually a goal of many instead of losing weight.

gain muscle weight

Guys that have thin frames especially seek to bulk up a bit, but it’s important to gain weight in a healthy way. This means gaining weight by adding muscle mass and not by just getting fat.

An effective gain weight diet that aims to cause weight gain is based on solid nutrition and the right type of exercise.

Some guys can eat a lot of food but never gain any weight. It’s more than just eating a lot of food, but instead, eating the right kind of food and stimulating the muscles to begin using those nutrients for growth.

Calorie Content of Food to Gain Weight

Proteins and all carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram and fats have 9 calories per gram, but different foods have different calorie density due to what the food is made of and its water content.

A person could eat two heads of lettuce and feel quite full, but few calories would be consumed. However, a small stick of butter would contain loads of calories although it would be difficult to eat a stick of butter in one sitting.

If you want to beef up your calorie content of your gain weight diet then choose calorie-concentrated foods.

Choose foods that are both nutritionally dense and calorie dense, as they will help you gain weight by adding muscle mass and not fat.

Look for recipe ideas here.

Foods That Have Few Calories

gain-weightFoods that have a lot of fiber and a high water content are usually very low in calories.

Many vegetables are low calorie foods and won’t help you gain weight but are often used by body builders to “lean up” before a competition. Nutritionally, vegetables should still be included in the diet, but not in bulk. Here are some low calorie options.

  • lettuce
  • broccoli
  • cucumbers
  • spinach
  • celery
  • cauliflower
  • peppers
  • onions
  • oatmeal

Carbs That are Calorie-Dense

Choosing the right carbs is important and just because a food has a lot of calories, it doesn’t mean the food is nutritious or that it will help you gain weight. For instance, white bread and white sugar are calorie dense but they are nutritionally empty and have been shown to cause people to gain weight, although in the form of fat cells not muscle mass.

Pick foods that are made of complex carbs, that will provide your body good nutrition, and that will not spike blood sugar levels. Calorie dense carbs to use as part of a gain weight diet include.

  • whole wheat pasta
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • sweet potatoes
  • potatoes
  • fruit
  • juices
  • beans
  • whole grain bread

Calories From Fats

This is an item of great controversy in the area of diet and gaining weight. Some promote eating very little fat, while others say that you can eat as much fat as you like and still lose fat and build muscle.

There is a happy medium. Those wishing to gain weight should eat some fat, but make sure the majority of the fat consumed is healthy fat. Cells actually require fat to function and grow. Stay away from processed fats like hydrogenated oils and eat natural fats found in foods such as;

  • nuts
  • avocados
  • eggs
  • olive oil
  • fish oil
  • flaxseed oil

Muscle Mass Builder: Protein

Since muscles are composed of protein, then it only makes sense that a gain weight diet should contain a lot of protein rich foods. Now protein doesn’t go straight to your muscles but is first broken down into amino acids and then the body uses these amino acids to build the proteins it needs to grow more muscle cells.

Most people think of meat as their number one protein source, but legumes, some grains, and some vegetables are good sources of protein as well. Protein rich foods include;

  • chicken
  • beef
  • fish
  • eggs
  • lentils
  • beans
  • nuts
  • quinoa
  • avocado
  • amaranth
  • peas
  • plain yogurt
  • milk

See also High Protein Diets

Gain Weight Diet Supplements

When possible whole foods are the best choice when eating a healthy weight gaining diet, but sometimes protein supplements and weight gain supplements can be useful. Many of these products are loaded with sugar and other additives. Find products that are as pure as possible.

Also beware of workout supplements that contain loads of caffeine, especially if you are sensitive to it.

Protein supplements don’t have to taste like a chocolate sundae, but are healthier when plain whey protein is mixed into freshly made smoothies.

Weight Gain With Meal Replacement Products

While meal replacement products seem like an easy and convenient way to gain weight, they should be used in limited quantity. Most of these products are full of sugar and processed ingredients.

These are expensive and money would be better spent buying natural peanut butter, and other whole foods that are nutritionally and calorie dense.

Diet Plan Recommendation

See the Critical Bench muscle program

See Also: Muscle Growth Diet by Ori Hofmekler

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Labre, M. P. (2005). Burn fat, build muscle: A content analysis of Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness. International Journal of Men’s Health, 4(2), 187-200. link
  • Etemadi, A. A., & Hosseini, F. (1968). Frequency and size of muscle fibers in athletic body build. The Anatomical Record, 162(3), 269-273. link
  • Westcott, W. L., & Loud, R. L. R. (2013). BUILD MUSCLE: Enhancing Resistance Training Results With Protein/Carbohydrate Supplementation. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 17(2), 10-15. link


  1. Cameron

    hey my age is 16 and im 85kg and i really want to gain wight to play football and i really think that this will help thanks so much

  2. sun

    currently im goin to gym n i cn feel ma diffrence,i nid to knw wat to do gain a lot muscle..

  3. natalea

    hi my name is natalea. im 17 and way 6 stone!! i look like a twig and its depressing me. help me please!!!!

  4. james

    i have also been thin all my life, but 5 years ago i bought some whey protein. at first i didn`t see any results. but then suddenly people started to say i was putting on weight. at first it might seem like you`re losing weight but you`re not. just eat 5 to 6 small meals a day and trust me you will see results. don`t give up. you will gain the weight. just keep eating even if you don`t want to. force yourself if you have to. if i can remember, i started to see weight gain within the first three months.

  5. preetham


  6. sabi

    Thankx good for me !!!

    actually i am 22 years old and my weight is 52 Kg (:S)
    so i want a gain my weight more more than 65.

    i will try to do this.

    Thanks again

  7. daniel

    hey i m 5 11′ and weight only 56kg
    plz give me a shedule diet which will give me a quick weight gain

  8. Taniya

    Hi…. my weight is 42 kg n my height is 5.2 and also i look very thin and my Thais is also very thin so please tell me how i can gain weight,..kindly email me on

  9. joana

    Myself Joanna here….I have been trying to gain weight from past two years but then i have failed…………….so please let me know how to gain weight…

  10. honey

    Dear Viewers
    my height is 5.0 and my weight is 37 kg which is too low. plz help me to what should i do. send me whole day plan for diet. thank u

  11. JY

    Straight Up drink 3 protein shakes a day.. and dont go buy the expensive stuff theres no point your body can only handle 30-35 grams of protein every 2.5 hours and eat 4 meals aday and if you dont feel like the last protein shake eat ice cream before bed.. i use to be 6’0 155lbs i have been eating healthy with lots of meat and prtein shakes for this past year and i am now 6’0 188 lbs so try it and its not magic it takes time

  12. jerome t hamilton

    this is alot of bs talking i been trying 2 gain weight for like 2yrs now at the age of 20 i was hit with the crazy illness diabetes with being 160bls and 37yrs old i will reach my goal by 4-01-2009 and that is 190lbs and when i get there it will be no more isulin for this type 1 diabetic

  13. stix

    Okay so PINKY! Do you realize that all these steps are talking about eating healthy and not junk foods. So if you do the opposite your gonna be eating fatty foods. Empty calories. Sorry I gotta laugh bwahahahahahahahahahahha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. David

    Excellent article and very good advice. I have been following this type of schedule for some time and it does work. Results do take time if you want to grow bigger so be patient and keep it up, it will pay off!

  15. Shrey

    thanks for tha tips… very helpful!

  16. Sam

    These are good and common information. I would like to add this to the info, If trying to gain mass, its not going to happen fast. its gonna take like years and years to look muscular good unless there is a secret that i don’t know. I have tried steroids too but you need to take alot of it to look big and good.

  17. me

    hmm its hardly a bunch of crap emo_chick but it IS very general and may not work for all of us as we’re all different. I found a lack of advise on lifestyle and what NOT to eat/drink eg coffee, smoking, exersize, alcohol which i have found can hinder my progress when trying to gain weight. Overall I found the article quite helpful, if not a little obvious in places.

  18. JJ

    i have tried this and it works. the main thing that people dont understand is that you have to work out alot. eating properly is just 50% of what is needed to gain weight….the other half is simply having the ambition to sit down for at LEAST an hour a day and do STRENUOUS workouts. another point i would like to make is that for some people losing weight is literally as easy as breathing. for people with this problem, gaining weight is just as hard as for those who constantly try to lose it. dont be ignorant when making your comments….

  19. Switch

    I’ve had this kinda thing work for me before but I’ve never had it summarised so neatly! Thanks for making it easier to digest. (pardon the pun)

  20. Mohsin ali

    Great information!thnx

  21. Emo_Chick

    Does this even work?
    sounds like a bunch of Bologna.
    Sorry for everyone it worked for.
    but it just sounds like a bunch of crap to me.

  22. juan m.

    this does not work dont try it

  23. jazz

    i am from phils. im trying to gain weight but its seems its not possible im 19 5’9 110 lbs. what should i do/

  24. Anonymous

    I have an overweight sister, would it be beneficial if she uses this diet because some people said they the WHOLE diet

  25. Anonymous

    im trying to gain weight fast but it seems impossible wat would you think would be the best thing for me to do

  26. Vic

    One problem regarding fats. Are saturated fats really bad? I would lead you to to read Dr Mary Enig’s intensive research on the subject. She has shown that saturated fats are not only not bad, but they are essential to health, including butter, coconut oil, organic palm oil and others. This is worth looking into for a fuller understanding.

  27. Nick

    Some good information. Big thanks.

  28. Anonymous

    really nice info. I was looking for something which was easy to understand and follow, and I found it hear …. thanks a lot for such a great work

  29. B

    I agree with the panel, good information; straight and to the point, and step two was seriously funny…thanks

  30. Osama

    very nice advice

  31. shrek

    MIKE…to answer your question, you would have to intake about 3,150 calories a day if you still weigh 150 pds. Also, if you google this, CALORIE INTAKE CONVERTER and click on the first link you see which should say something like calorie converter calculater…it will allow you to find this out for yourself. Go take a look ; )

  32. bhaioo

    my weight is 49.5kg n my height is 5.5 so please tell me how i can gain weight,and also tell me is this weight fine with my height..kindly email me on

  33. lewis

    great! helped alot

  34. gyqexifu

    If you have to do it, you might as well do it right

  35. aria

    thanks a lot…it really helps….

  36. ronnie

    good article

    one thing the author might want to add is this:
    To gain muscle, make sure you’re in a calorie surplus.
    I.e Consume more than you burn. That’s something which over 90% of the people don’t do.

    They simply eat a lot of protein, or a lot of fat yet they’re calories still don’t go in surplus.

    So that’s to say, if you burn 2500 calories a day (and you do weight training), make sure you eat 2900 calories a day. QUALITY calories.

    Other than that point, this article was very clear. Good work

  37. Mike

    How many calories should your intake be if you are looking to gain muscle weight. I am 5’10 150 and would like to be at least 165 with muscle weight gain.

  38. dwayne

    the guy is talking about muscle weight not body mass weight

  39. Adrian

    This is BS, to gain weight you don’t need to have a diet, just eat like a crazy bastard and that’s it.

    Is harder to lose weight than to gain.

  40. Pinky

    This is great! I want to lose weight so I guess I do the opposite of whatever is said here. Thanks.

  41. Abhinav

    Just on the line, I needed !!

  42. Jordan

    Exactly the guidance I was looking for, thanks!

  43. Maia Papaya

    Simply laid out well put, thank you!

  44. amber

    This is by far the best information I’ve come across. BRILLIANT! God bless you!

  45. Drew

    Very interesting ideas. Great information!

  46. Anonymous

    very good information….definately the best!!..Thanks

  47. scott

    this infomation is really good i really like the 7 steps thing!

  48. janelle

    Ive looked up heaps of other sites on this topic and this one is definatley the best!

  49. Anonymous

    Too good… Thanks

  50. Dottie

    Probably the best information I ever received on this topic.

Comments are closed.

Last Reviewed: January 16, 2018