Fitness and Nutrition

Diet Help (Looking to Gain Muscle+Bulk)

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  • Dec 2nd, 2018 9:48 am
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Apr 4, 2017
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Diet Help (Looking to Gain Muscle+Bulk)

I'm 5'10, 145 lbs and very thin. I have recently started to workout, but need help when it comes to diet. Ive heard that diet is the most important aspect when it comes to getting results. My goal is to get to 170 or so pounds.

What are some necessary diet changes for somebody who is looking to bulk? Foods/meals to avoid? What should my diet consist of?
Last edited by IHavocI on Oct 11th, 2018 4:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.
19 replies
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
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Without more info, it's impossible to suggest what needs changing. You don't need to eat that much more to bulk. You could just eat want you already do, but eat slightly more per day/week. Those extra calories need to be coupled with appropriate resistance training if you don't want all the bulk weight gained to be fat.

As for diet being the most important aspect to achieve results, that depends on what results you want to achieve. If you want to lose fat, then energy balance is the only thing that matters. If you want to lose fat and maintain the muscle you have, an appropriate protein intake plus resistance training, plus a calorie deficit will get you that result. If you want to build muscle, diet alone won't do it because resistance training is required to stimulate muscle growth.

To gain muscle: slight calorie surplus (including adequate protein intake) + resistance training + patience/time.

3DMJ's six part series breaks this down into easy to understand elements:

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Dec 10, 2004
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Thornhill
You can be 170lb in 3-5 months guaranteed... Or you can do what you want, not eat enough and be like everyone else at my gym - after years of lifting they are still skinny.

Eat enough protein.
Find your maintenance calories and eat about 200cal or so above it.
You are skinny so you can't use fat as fuel source as some can who are starting at say 200lb. They can eat under maintenance levels, lose fat and still gain muscles. You need to eat above.
Eat as healthy as you can, avoid processed food. Salads, lean meat will be your friends. Not saying you can't eat junk food, just need to limit.
Try creatine supplement.
Consume enough micronutrients/vitamins to avoid deficiencies that result from resistance training( eg. zinc, magnesium,etc)
You don't really need many supplements such as bcaa's or glutamine or any preworkout crap. You can spend money on them if you have money as there's no harm, but don't expect much from them despite the fake claims the companies state.

Work hard in the gym. Like really hard. On top of that, you need to do all exercises properly. If you don't know how, get a personal trainer for a session to show you how or watch enough youtube content.
Lastly, I would personally recommend HIT full body workout style of exercise with 2 days of rest in between. NO CARDIO. Do not do any cardio. You are too skinny for that.

These are basic tips based on what you wrote - which is nothing much...
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Jan 27, 2004
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T.O. Lotto Captain
I'm a mid 30's young old man. lolz. My metabolism I notice is slowing down...
Luckily I got some good muscle memory and know what it takes mentally from my years of athletics and training when I was in high school and in my 20's.

Right now my strength and muscle bulk has far surpassed what i achieved back in my 20's...

All I do is.... Eat clean and high protein. Eat junk food in moderation every week. I see it as a mental thing... everyone is busy. You don't have time to make 5 perfect meals a day and train twice a day.

So I eat... healthy sort of. About once a week I'll have something like a steak with potatoes. Lots of veggies with every meal. Or a chicken slouvaki extra taziki sauce. With big greek salad and potatoes.

I train HEAVY. I do as heavy heavy as possible.. I keep my reps under 6 reps.
I focus on compound exercises. RIght now I only do bench press, dead lift, squat, military press, weighted sit ups, hanging leg lifts, and pull ups. I do 3 sets of pull up EVERY day.

I'm 5'8 172LBS , kinda like your goal.
When I was in my early 20's I Was 5'8 145-150 like you are right now. So skinny and smaller.

If I were to learn from my mistakes... I would have approached training a lot differently... I used to do a lot of iso exercises and work on the sexy muscles. But now I do NOTHING but compound heavy weight and low rep... and its working for me.

Also... PULL UPS. Every since I started training to do more pull ups... I notice I got more arm definition and much more strength.


So eat big, and train big!
Always push yourself.
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Mar 11, 2004
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Mississauga
Its simple really just done expect to get jacked like some guys you see. Its mostly about genetics.
#1. Estimate your TDEE and eat just above that every day. Focus on lean protein and veggies.
#2. Lift heavy and follow a structured lifting program such as SL5X5.
#3. Get ready for newbe gains and then get ready for the typical slow slow progress and deload.
#4. When you stall on all the lifts and cant progress, switch to a more advanced program such as PHUL.
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Jun 14, 2018
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UrbanPoet wrote:
Oct 27th, 2018 11:05 am
I'm a mid 30's young old man. lolz. My metabolism I notice is slowing down...
Luckily I got some good muscle memory and know what it takes mentally from my years of athletics and training when I was in high school and in my 20's.

Right now my strength and muscle bulk has far surpassed what i achieved back in my 20's...

All I do is.... Eat clean and high protein. Eat junk food in moderation every week. I see it as a mental thing... everyone is busy. You don't have time to make 5 perfect meals a day and train twice a day.

So I eat... healthy sort of. About once a week I'll have something like a steak with potatoes. Lots of veggies with every meal. Or a chicken slouvaki extra taziki sauce. With big greek salad and potatoes.

I train HEAVY. I do as heavy heavy as possible.. I keep my reps under 6 reps.
I focus on compound exercises. RIght now I only do bench press, dead lift, squat, military press, weighted sit ups, hanging leg lifts, and pull ups. I do 3 sets of pull up EVERY day.

I'm 5'8 172LBS , kinda like your goal.
When I was in my early 20's I Was 5'8 145-150 like you are right now. So skinny and smaller.

If I were to learn from my mistakes... I would have approached training a lot differently... I used to do a lot of iso exercises and work on the sexy muscles. But now I do NOTHING but compound heavy weight and low rep... and its working for me.

Also... PULL UPS. Every since I started training to do more pull ups... I notice I got more arm definition and much more strength.


So eat big, and train big!
Always push yourself.
How do you like being at that weight? I'm 5'8 and 165 pounds, and I'm contemplating going up to 170 or even 175, but I don't want to look too jacked. I just want to maintain my fit, athletic body type.
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Feb 10, 2007
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eat every 2-3 hours
[self promotion rule violation, removed twice already][self promotion rule violation, removed twice already]Trolling or Threadcrapping Trolling or Threadcrapping Trolling or Threadcrapping Trolling or Threadcrapping Trolling or Threadcrapping
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sexyj wrote:
Nov 15th, 2018 2:22 pm
eat every 2-3 hours
THIS!!!

Ideally between 2-3 hours is your goal here and basically you need to follow a simple rule set that should generally work for everyone IMO:

No carbs after 6pm (that will just get stored as fat and will cause a bigger gut - avoid)
Carbs should be about half of your daily caloric intake as its difficult to gain weight without it
Protein is about 30% of your caloric intake
Healthy fats is about 20% of your caloric intake and can be eaten throughout the day

Good carbs:
whole grain products (not whole wheat as its higher on the hypoglycemic index) such as rice/pasta/bread
sweet potatoes over regular potatoes - regular every now and then won't hurt but since regular is more starch, try and consume a minimal amount
beans
quinoa
oatmeal & bran flakes

Healthy fats (not much unfortunately):

nuts - almonds (almond milk more than cow milk), peanuts (peanut butter 1 scoop on a whole grain toast is great) some cashews (consider a non roasted, non sweetened trailmix of some sort with things additions like cranberries - easy to make yourself and much more tolerable)
avocados
olive oil

Protein:

Tuna (canned is fine for cheap consuming)
Tilapia (consider frozen, costco has a bag of like 9 loins for like $12)
Salmon (yes expensive so if you can't afford use it occasionally to mix it up)
Chicken breast (thigh/leg every now and then won't hurt to mix it up)
turkey (expensive I know but a good mix around thanksgiving & the holidays)
lean/extra lean ground beef
lamb (this tends to be fatty so don't consume very often)
protein powders (tons out there that are 0 carbs and have a bunch of benefits to body building - don't confuse for mass gainers which have a VERY high caloric intake)

Now I don't preach calorie counting at all as I feel it places a restriction on eating eating healthy and it personally makes me feel like I am in prison always making sure its the right amount). I use reason and judgement when eyeballing everything. 1/4 cup of rice with some beans and meat. If needed add a protein shake with it. 1 scoop of water + protein powder can get the job done.

Unsure of your protein intake? Protein powders really help with knowing how much you have consumed in a day as its an easy thing to calculate. Rest will be as close as you can make it. Veggies and salads are essential so DON'T skip on those either. Carbs should be 3 times a day if you eat 4 times a day with some form of protein IMO, example would be pasta with grilled chicken or shove more beef in than you normally do.

Supplements, fish oil and I take muscle recovery as well since it has electrolytes & BCAA's.

Cut out deep fried food like french fries etc..

Pounding on muscle through heavy weights is one way to do it but not the only way. Consider mixing it up as well (do one week heavy one week more repetition as an example).

I also like to follow a youtube channel called Athlean X. Great for getting exercises as well as proper formation, loads of scientific information relating to the exercises.
Nothing to see here...keep looking.
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Carbs after 6 pm being stored as fat isn't true. There's no evidence that it actually happens like that. Carbs don't even readily get converted to fat (de novo lipogensis) outside of a few extreme circumstances. Excess calories cause fat storage...but its fat that's being stored, not carbs or protein.

Eating every 2-3 hours isn't really a specific method to assist in body weight or muscle gain. You could eat once a day or every 2-3 hours, and if your kcal intake is the same, it doesn't make that much of a difference, aside from the part about infrequent protein feedings.

There are no good/bad foods. There are no foods that one must avoid when trying to bulk (okay, whatever you're allergic to, can't digest well, trans fats...but that's not what this is about). OP doesn't have to avoid deep fried foods lol. In fact, if he's having trouble gain weight, calorically dense foods help get those kcals in. ETA: just to be clear, not needing to avoid a specific food in no way means a green light to eat it without any limit to frequency, portion, etc. The foundation of ALL diets (in the context of this thread) should be a variety of whole/minimally processed foods.
Last edited by amz155 on Nov 23rd, 2018 12:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Kanata
I agree with a lot of what amz155 said. That being said, even though you are trying to gain weight, don’t get carried away.

Also, red meat is a great choice. It’s more calorie dense than chicken breast. And on that, eating dark chicken is a great choice as well. It is more flavourful and has a higher iron count.
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amz155 wrote:
Nov 23rd, 2018 11:45 am
Carbs after 6 pm being stored as fat isn't true. There's no evidence that it actually happens like that. Carbs don't even readily get converted to fat (de novo lipogensis) outside of a few extreme circumstances. Excess calories cause fat storage...but its fat that's being stored, not carbs or protein.

Eating every 2-3 hours isn't really a specific method to assist in body weight or muscle gain. You could eat once a day or every 2-3 hours, and if your kcal intake is the same, it doesn't make that much of a difference, aside from the part about infrequent protein feedings.

There are no good/bad foods. There are no foods that one must avoid when trying to bulk (okay, whatever you're allergic to, can't digest well, trans fats...but that's not what this is about). OP doesn't have to avoid deep fried foods lol. In fact, if he's having trouble gain weight, calorically dense foods help get those kcals in. ETA: just to be clear, not needing to avoid a specific food in no way means a green light to eat it without any limit to frequency, portion, etc. The foundation of ALL diets (in the context of this thread) should be a variety of whole/minimally processed foods.
The basic general idea is that too much of a carb intake will lead to it turning into sugar which will then turn into fat if you aren't burning what you eat. Eat more than you burn = fat. No way around that basic truth. First place that starts is the gut.

If OP wants to do a dirty bulk where they eat everything and then cut late, sure. Its definitely an option but when cutting down, restrictions will be placed on the nutritional intake.

I said good carbs because they are complex carbs and in general, your body will take longer to break those down (again lower on the hypoglycemic index) compared to other sources of carbs. Most nutritionists/fitness trainers/doctors I have come across will suggest complex over simple.

OP the best thing for you to do is a constant experiment and see what works best for your body. Everyone is different, if you metabolism is fast, then eating every couple of hours might just work for you. Hell worst case if you still can't gain a pound, mass gainers are there for a reason.
Nothing to see here...keep looking.
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Zero1 wrote:
Nov 23rd, 2018 4:27 pm
The basic general idea is that too much of a carb intake will lead to it turning into sugar which will then turn into fat if you aren't burning what you eat. Eat more than you burn = fat. No way around that basic truth. First place that starts is the gut.

If OP wants to do a dirty bulk where they eat everything and then cut late, sure. Its definitely an option but when cutting down, restrictions will be placed on the nutritional intake.

I said good carbs because they are complex carbs and in general, your body will take longer to break those down (again lower on the hypoglycemic index) compared to other sources of carbs. Most nutritionists/fitness trainers/doctors I have come across will suggest complex over simple.

OP the best thing for you to do is a constant experiment and see what works best for your body. Everyone is different, if you metabolism is fast, then eating every couple of hours might just work for you. Hell worst case if you still can't gain a pound, mass gainers are there for a reason.
http://www.simplyshredded.com/carbs-at- ... eyman.html
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Zero1 wrote:
Nov 23rd, 2018 4:27 pm
**1**The basic general idea is that too much of a carb intake will lead to it turning into sugar which will then turn into fat if you aren't burning what you eat.

**2**Eat more than you burn = fat. No way around that basic truth. First place that starts is the gut.
Not true with point 1.
You are contradicting yourself with point 2, no :)
It is calorie in and out yes, absolutely( for the most part) You can eat as late as 2 am if that's your thing and it will not turn into carbs if your calorie intake was under maintenance.
What If I don't wake up at 7am, do I still don't eat after 6pm? :)

If you will provide any studies that support your theory, by all mean please. I've never heard of that before. All people I've met who restrict their food intake after certain hours do it in order to restrict their intake as a variety of intermittent fasting diet. My wife eat 2 hours prior to bed as eating to close and she can't sleep well. For me it is different. I can pig out, have a carb overdose and fall asleep within a minute.


@amz155
Here's the reasoning behind eating every 2-3 hours: Your body is always working. When you did not eat for 4,5,8 hours, it starts eating fats AND muscles so essentially some muscles are being catabolized with no need. When you have a constant intake of food, you will not go in to catabolic state and always create new muscles -speeding up the process. That's the reason bodybuilders eat during the night or use cassein protein - steady supply of food.

If your goal is not to build muscles(as fast as possible) you can sure do intermittent fasting and eat 2-3 times a day. On a cut, eating less frequent is event better and I am all for intermittent fasting and reducing frequency.
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Dark Phoenix wrote:
Nov 23rd, 2018 9:59 pm
Eating 2-3 hours is bro science.
It's not, it's common sense and basic nutrition. If you have no food in you, you will go into catabolic state for that period of time.

I'll put a simple math here.
Say you are building muscles for 28 hours. if you have consumed enough food at surplus at the end of the time period, you can gain 28grams of muscle( just a random number to make it easy to understand).

If you are in maintenance calories for 5 of those hours and 23 hours at surplus you will make only 23 grams of muscle during the 28 hours

If you were in surplus for 20 hours and in deficit for 8 hours you will make 17-19 grams of muscle in the end as your body will "eat" some of those muscles( it will eat more if you have less fat and less if you have a lot of fat). Does it work, sure! Is it the fastest way to make gainZ, absolutely not!

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