What should I eat to gain more muscle and weight?

ask our dietitian your question todayeat right to gain muscle

question-answer-color-v-2Hi! I have been a member of LA fitness for the past 2 years; I am 6 feet and 177 lbs and 33 years old. I am trying to gain about 13 lbs. of muscle weight but it’s been harder to put on weight then I imagined. Any ideas on how much calories, good fat and protein I should consume daily in order to achieve that? – Alex



Let’s imagine that you fit right into metabolic calculations that predict a total of 2700 calories for you to maintain weight. Now, let’s add around 500 calories per day for gaining weight for a total of 3200 calories. That should cover you if working out 3-4 times per week up to an hour. For every session half-hour longer than that add 300 calories.

How much fat, protein, carbs, fiber, water, etc. do I need to build muscle?

Eating 3200-3500 calories a day from healthy food can become quite a chore, so your difficulty is expected. Here’s how I recommend you break that down:

Weight gainer shake 500 Calories. Whether from complete powder, premixed or made from scratch, a hearty beverage will contain fats, sugars, protein and additional nutrients in about 2 cups. Drinking a shake is an easy way to get down 15% of your day’s intake.  Fruity blender shake recipe — 1 cup mango nectar, 1 cup frozen berries, 25 gm whey protein, plus 1/3 cup coconut milk (500 Calories, 35% fat, 47% carb, 23% protein).

Protein bar 300 calories. Convenient for after the gym, a typical 3-4 ounce bar will provide some ready energy for recovery. Whole foods are best but to be realistic, all you have to do is unwrap and chew!  You CAN make a homemade dense energy bar. Alternatively, eat this as a snack and have the shake post workout.

I am underweight and want to have more muscle and definition, what can I do?

Foods and beverages 2500-2700 calories. Here’s where the base of your energy intake should come from – meals, snacks and beverages. Breaking it down, these should contribute roughly 25% protein, 50% carbohydrate, and 25% fat. To reach those targets the following number of servings* can be consumed daily:  8 ounces protein, 3 servings plain milk or yogurt, 10 ounces grain, 4 cups vegetables, 3 cups fruit, 3 tablespoons (9 teaspoons) of added fat.

Your best bet is to choose energy-rich options in each of the food groups so you get more calories per bite. Examples would be choosing a banana instead of watermelon, opting for pork loin instead of whitefish, and selecting granola instead of air-popped popcorn. Your choices all depend on how much you’re willing and able to chew!

*See www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/ for what counts as a serving from each group.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition? Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to nutrition@lafitness.com or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below.

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Posted on March 30, 2015, in Ask Our Dietitian, Health, Helpful, Nutrition, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great post I think that to gain muscle mone must eat more protein diet and low calorie and fat meal which will help in building muscles also you can take good protein supplement to fullfill your body requirement

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