Sample Bulking Diet for Skinny Guys

Most skinny guys are skinny because they don’t eat enough good-quality food.

If you are skinny and you want to bulk up, stop complaining about your “metabolism” and start raiding the ‘fridge like a hungry Viking.

Sisyphus tries, but fails each time.  Don't be like him.

It’s simple. To gain muscle mass, you must gain body weight. Unless you are gaining a pound of body weight every week, weight lifting will serve only to wear you out. Think of how frustrated Sisyphus got, pushing his boulder up the hill, over and over again. If you are undernourished, your workouts are akin to Sisyphus’ futile efforts on the hill. Don’t let Zeus get the last laugh; eat well and grow bigger.

Once you start gaining weight steadily with a good-quality bulking diet, while simultaneously lifting heavier and heavier weights on a lifting program that features progressive overload, you will begin to add muscle mass.

Things to keep in mind about a bulking diet

Without getting too clinical in your approach to designing a bulking diet, remember a few key points:

  • Slow carbs are better at all times of the day except in the time surrounding a workout
  • Get serum amino acid concentrations up immediately after the workout (1/2-hour time window after lifting)
  • Get some fast carbs immediately after working out to fuel protein synthesis
  • Working out hard may shut down your digestion – Research shows an 80% reduction in blood flow to the digestive tract after an hour of hard exercise in horses. In humans, it’s not clear that this is the case; recent evidence shows that it may not be the case for humans
  • Small meal rather than large meal before working out to try to lessen the chance of experiencing heartburn (esophageal reflux)
  • Wait an hour after eating a meal to exercise
  • Both exercise and dehydration delay stomach emptying – so post-workout fast carbs and fast protein are essential. (Some research shows that a post-workout carb/protein meal is not digested quickly enough to be available during the anabolic window)
  • Take time to eat, don’t bolt your meals. Chewing plays a major role in digestion.
  • Slow protein before bed
  • Reduce carbs before bed, especially if fat accumulation is a concern
  • Use the guidelines in the How to design a bulking diet article to estimate your ideal macronutrient ratio
  • Try to eat “good” fats (monounsaturated fat), even while bulking
  • Get enough dietary fiber, especially since dietary protein levels are extremely high

Get calories from nutrient-rich food, not junk food.

Sample bulking diet

For the sample bulking diet, I will assume a 150 pound (68 kg) man that’s 5’8″ (172 cm) in height and lean at an age of 25 years.

Use this four-step process to estimate the parameters of the bulking diet:

  1. Use the Harris-Benedict equation, or something similar, to estimate maintenance level of calories on a bulking routine, then add 500 calories per day
  2. Second, calculate how much protein to eat
  3. Third, calculate how much fat to eat
  4. Round it off with Carbs

Step 1:

Weight in pounds multiplied by 6.23 is: 150*6.23=935

Age in years multiplied by 6.8 is: 25*6.8=170

Height in inches multiplied by 12.7 is: 68*12.7=864

Combine these subtotals to estimate your basal metabolic rate:

BMR = 935+864-170 = 1629

Add in a factor for “moderate exercise” which is 1.55 times the BMR:

1629*1.55 = 2525    

Therefore, 2525 is the maintenance level of calories that we have estimated.

Add 500 calories per day to this maintenance level:

2525+500 = 3025

Therefore 3025calories per day is the number of calories we’ll eat on our bulking diet.

Keep track of weight and after a month, adjust this calorie amount up or down according to the trend. Make further adjustments every 2 weeks.

Step 2:

You want at least 20% of your energy to come from protein.

3025*.20=605 calories supplied by dietary protein.

Every gram of protein supplies 4 calories:

605/4= 151 grams of protein per day

This is equivalent to 1 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. This is probably excessive, but in today’s climate of protein-obsessed bodybuilders, I’m bowing to peer pressure and accepting this for a bulking diet. Less protein is probably fine.

Step 3:

I want 30% of my energy to come from fat, with as little saturated and polyunsaturated fat as possible.

3025*.30=907 calories per day from fat

At 9 calories per gram:

907/9= 101 grams of fat per day

Step 4:

Remainder of the bulking diet takes the form of carbs, including dietary fiber.

3025-(fat calories)-(protein calories):

3552-907-605 = calories per day from carbohydrates

The sample bulking diet for a skinny man

I made a mistake in my original calculations and overestimated how many calories the bulking diet should supply. It actually supplies around 3500, but according to the numbers above, it should supply around 3000 if it’s to be of use to the 150-pound man in the example. Nevertheless, the principles are still sound, it’s just that the diet below contains about 500 calories too many when compared to the numbers above.

A big thank you to Paul for pointing out my mistake. Sorry for the confusion.

The sample diet will consist of five meals and a glass of chocolate milk as a post-workout snack. In accordance with our calculations above, it will supply:

  • approximately 3500 calories
  • 50 grams of dietary fiber
  • a huge amount of dietary protein
  • a relatively healthy ratio of “good” to “bad” dietary fats

Following each meal is the relevant nutritional information and a pie chart displaying the macronutrient ratio as a function of calories. The use of a nutritional tracking program or online service makes it easy to see if your diet is delivering the nutrients you need. Make adjustments as necessary to get the results you want. Without good data, you have to rely on blind luck, which is a fool’s gamble.



Fat (g)

Carbs (g)

Protein (g)

Oatmeal, made with milk, 2 cups





Omelet, 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites





Can of tuna, packed in water – 3 ounces





4 slices of whole-wheat bread





2 tablespoons of mayonnaise





Artichoke hearts, in olive oil – 4 hearts (8 halves)





Medium chicken breast, fried





Barbeque sauce, 1 ounce





Roasted almonds – 20 almonds or 1 ounce





AFTERNOON (at least 1 hour before working out)        
1 can smoked oysters or clams in oil (3.75 ounce)





1 cup shredded romaine lettuce





Medium carrot





Celery, medium stalk





Whole milk – 8 ounces





AFTER WORKOUT (immediately after lifting)        
Chocolate milk





Chili with kidney beans, beef, tomato – 2 cups





1 cup string beans cooked





1 cup brown rice












Fat (g)

Carbs (g)


Bulking diets are not complicated

As you can see, it’s possible to get a sufficient number of calories without resorting to weight gainer shakes and similar contrivances. Also, while protein powder is undoubtedly convenient, you can easily get more than enough protein in your diet without it. If you want, use protein powder during time-critical periods like immediately after a workout, but always remember that good, natural food is the cornerstone of a successful bulking diet.

As is, the sample diet provides 40% of the daily energy in the form of dietary fat.  This may be excessive for everyday consumption, but for bulking, you have to get your calories where you can, and fat is one of the easiest ways to increase your caloric total.  If you want to keep your daily fat intake under 30% of your total calories, remove the excess mayonnaise and oil and replace it with fresh salsa or something similar, then increase your portions.

Of inestimable importance is the act of keeping records. If you don’t know where you have been, you won’t be able to predict where you are going. Equip yourself with whatever you need to track your diet – an Excel spreadsheet, a nutrition-tracking program, an online service – and diligently record the various data. Without accurate records, you will fail.  With records, you can easily adjust your diet.

The bulking diet used by a skinny guy doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as your caloric needs are being met and exceeded, you will gain weight. Lift hard and always aim to increase your levels of strength, and a good portion of your weight gain will come in the form of quality muscle mass.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul March 28, 2010 at 9:13 am

Great site….. I noticed in your example above that you used the SUM of the 3 values to determine your BMR. Aren’t you supposed to SUBTRACT the (age*6.8) value from the sum of the other two?
Also, how long do you recommend being on a bulking diet?


Thomas March 28, 2010 at 10:37 am

Thanks Paul! You are correct; I made a mistake in those calculations. I should have used the automatic online calculator that I mentioned in the harris/benedict article. :) I wondered why the protein numbers were so high, but I never thought to check my calculations for errors.

I reworked the numbers in the top section of the article and put in a note explaining why they are now changed.

I can’t give a definitive answer about how long to remain on a bulking diet. Most of my experience is with teens who can remain on it for quite some time. If they lift hard, they gain quite a bit of muscle at that age; and if they gain some flab, it burns off very easily when they start eating normally. For older guys, I’m not so sure… If I had to give an answer, I’d equivocate and say to keep careful records and stop bulking when the fat starts to accumulate at too quick a rate. Sorry I can’t give a better answer, but I try not to overstep my bounds and talk about things that I have no experience with (or knowledge of).


Paul April 8, 2010 at 11:20 am

Thanks for writing back. I’ve actually been skinny my entire life, and at 29 years old came across your site. I’m on week 2 of my eating/lifting routine, and love it. I don’t think i’m going to accumulate fat at too quick a rate anytime soon…. so would it be safe to say i could stay on the bulking diet for the better part of a month or so?? I’m at 162 lbs. and would like to get to 170 before deciding on whether to continue or not. Is this realistic of me?
Also while lifting, i’ve discovered discomfort/slight pain in my upper shoulders while doing shoulder lifts on the machine. I had to stop doing them and instead went to the Hammer Bench machine. Is this ok? And i’m worried i might not be able to do any over-head lifts in the future b/c of my shoulders. The weird thing is i’ve been an athlete most of my life (basketball) and have never had this problem before! Will this cause my bulking routine to suffer in the long run?!?! Do you have advice for working around this?
And one more thing….. i workout alone, so i find it difficult to try to do standard bench press and squats with heavy weight without fear of injuring myself. I know you’ll say “ask someone to spot you”…. but really i don’t want to bother someone else’s routine to spot me, especially if i’m gonna be doing 4-5 sets each exercise. So are the Hammer Bench and the Leg Press Machine effective replacement exercises?
Thanks and sorry for the barrage of questions!


Thomas April 8, 2010 at 1:29 pm

As a skinny guy, there’s no reason you should worry about getting too fat. If you do put on some flab, it’ll be easy to get rid of it.

Shoulder pain is common among lifters. But that doesn’t mean that it’s OK to just ignore it. If the pain is in the shoulder joint, you have to stop what you’re doing and let it heal. Overhead lifts are important, but not as important as squats or upper-back exercises like rows/chins. Many long-term lifters have bad shoulders. This sort of injury is preventable, so let it recover between workouts, work on your range of motion and flexibility, and be careful.

I’d rather see you using a barbell or some dumbbells instead of the machines, but you have to use whatever you have access to.

There is a cult of squatting on the internet; lots of people will tell you that you must squat. But it’s just an exercise like any other, and if your personal circumstance dictates that you don’t squat, so be it. Having said that, I still think you should squat until you can full squat at least your body weight for reps. It’s not just a leg exercise, it works the lower back and spinal-stabilization muscles and build the sort of overall strength that can’t easily be duplicated with a machine-based workout. No need to squat 500 pounds, but you should at least familiarize yourself with the exercise and use it to build a base of strength.

You don’t need a spotter for squats. If you get stuck, just dump the bar backwards off your back. You might even want to practice it once or twice if you have some bumper plates or something. For bench press, you could use dumbbells to avoid the spotter, but be careful of your shoulder joints because dumbbell bench presses are hard on the shoulders. Good gyms have a power cage that you can squat and/or bench inside of; it’ll stop you from getting crushed if you fail during a squat or bench press.


Jay April 13, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Great article, very helpful. I want to try this diet but I don’t know how I can. I’m 18 and according to the diet, I need close to 3000 calories. However, I live on my own and I have a limited budget. I mainly get by eating fast food or frozen dishes. I don’t know if I can afford to have 3 hearty meals with “sub-meals” and snacks in between. How can I get 3000 calories a day on a limited budget?


Sam August 23, 2010 at 10:20 am

Hey Thomas!

Budget is key for me as well. Is there an answer up here somewhere for Jay and I?


mark August 26, 2010 at 5:12 am

To jay and sam: Enough chicken, tomato sauce, veg and pasta/noodles etc for a few days’ worth of meals will probably be cheaper than buying fast food.

Work out how much you have to spend a week, and see if you need to make cuts here and there. Eating a lot doesn’t have to be so expensive if you prepare meals for a few days.

Buy some recipe books for quick but substantial meals, and go from there. Things like bread, eggs, chicken, pasta, veg, fruit etc can all be found for a good price at your local supermarket. I assume by your “cheers” that you’re british? Isn’t there a Morrisons or something nearby? They have good prices there.

Good luck


Marty September 10, 2010 at 2:10 am

For the budget people I would almost say a weight gainer powder is necessary. The one I buy is 80 canadian dollars for 10 lbs (30 servings) This works out to about 3 dollars each serving for 960 calories. 2 – 3 of those a day and you can eat your regular diet. I have been having some success so far with this.

For me eating is the real workout so downing a drink helps a lot to just get it over with. I do feel very full through out the day though, best to have them after meals.


sam fayed January 27, 2011 at 5:50 am

I dont know if i am anorexic. I am 19 male, used to weigh 125 kgs. Now, after a period of 9 months of starvation and long distance walking, i weigh 69 kgs. I look skinny and I only eat what i consider “safe foods” such as whole wheat, boiled vegetables, and toast bread that keep me warm and energetic. I am not gaining any weight although I eat plenty of this food. I want to boost up my metabolism so i do not gain weight and return to my initial state. I also want to re-grow my muscle and look and feel healthy. I do not have the energy for exercise. please advise.
What is your opinion about me taking l-carnetine, D-anabol and amino acids.
thank you


Thomas January 28, 2011 at 10:19 pm

You’re 70Kg and you’re asking me if you should take anabolic steroids? I’m not sure if you’re trolling, but I think you should spend less time reading about bodybuilding and more time reading good, healthy cookbooks.

You don’t need drugs or ‘supplements’. Those substances are for professional athletes and sportsmen who pay dieticians to design their nutrition plans, doctors to monitor their endocrine system, and trainers and coaches to make sure they get the most out of their exercise routines. Steroids are not for regular guys who just want to control their body weight.

Please commit yourself to spending an hour a day learning about diet and nutrition. If you start now, you’ll be very knowledgeable in a few months. Read multiple sources of information; there is plenty of good stuff available on the ‘net, but be aware that many of the sites you find in search engines are trying to make you feel bad about yourself so they can sell you something which will probably be useless (or worse). Above all else: don’t be impulsive. Good luck!


J January 28, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Hey Tom. I’m having trouble distinguishing if I’m an ectomorph or not and what my body needs to continue my gains. I’ve been skinny my whole life but have always had fair mass and definition on my chest and arms as well as good strength for my size. In high school i weighed about 125 and my max bench press was 185. at that time i ate nothing but junk food and was lucky to get three meals in. after switching my diet a year ago for the sake of good health i weighed 138. I began lifting about a year and some months ago and am currently 145-147, 22 years old and 5 foot 7. I make sure i eat about 300-350 calories every two to three hours , i keep all my meals clean with 20-30g of protein and 30-40g of carbs. I eat eggs every morning with oatmeal and orange juice, make sure i have complex carbs before my lifts and push my self every time. I never ever miss a day on my 4 day split that begins with legs/chest-back/rest/shoulders-calves-abs/bi-tri. I have slept 8 hours every night since i began and have never cheated with bad food at all. i do have better definition and more size now than i have ever had but I’m just not bulking up like i want i have noticed small fat around my waste which i don’t care about but i know I’m eating more than i burn. I warm up with 2:00-walk 1:00-sprint for 10 minutes to get my blood pumping before i lift but I’m not sure if this could be burning to much. i would eat more than i do but I’m concerned with money. i don’t want eat myself out of all the fish,turkey patties, chicken, yams,eggs,milk,whole wheat bagels/breads and not miss meals if i cant buy more. every time i make a gain do i increase my calorie intake? i’ve been splitting 2300 into 6 meals to get to 150Ibs. I’m extremely dedicated and need to know what I’m doing wrong or if I’m on the right track and just need to be more patient. I made fast gains from 138 to 146
i want to keep the gains steady but i never find a straight answer to what my body type is or needs or if my calories are going into gaining fat or muscle. I don’t want to give up but if it really means i have to spend 100’s every two weeks i might have to. i love bodybuilding so much i just want my hard work to pay off Please help me out your actually the first person i’ve written to or asked for advice on my goal. I’d like to get to 170-175 over all.


Thomas January 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm
  • 145 at 5’7″ is good, so you’re on the right track. But I think it should be possible for you to get to 160 without resorting to bodybuilding tricks. Keeping the weight on will be difficult if you have a fast metabolism (which you probably do).
  • I think 2300 calories for a young, slender (ectomorphic?), fairly active man like yourself is probably insufficient for gaining mass.
  • Is it possible you’re focusing too much on arms and upper body? If you put an inch or two on your quads and hips, it’ll translate to a noticeable increase in body weight. You could experiment with different splits or exercises and see what happens.
  • If your weight gain has stalled, you need more food. Lots of people on the ‘net will tell you to drink a gallon of whole milk every day!
  • Experimentation is fine (in moderation). I don’t think there’s any reason you shouldn’t switch things up in your diet and see if you can get the results you’re looking for. Perhaps you’re eating too ‘clean’? Or, maybe you can change up your routine and concentrate on squats, heavy rows, and weighted dips. If you don’t have the ability to do squats (because you don’t have a squat rack or power cage), you will have trouble getting stronger.

It sounds like you have a lot of knowledge. At this point, I’m not your teacher, I’m your colleague. I wish I could give you answers that will help you, but other than advising you to eat more, I don’t have any other info that’ll work for you.


J January 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm

thanks alot for your reply i was thinking that same thing before i got on to see if you wrote back! i know i have a fast metabolism but i don’t think it’s so fast that i lose weight easy , just more difficult to put on more quickly if that makes sense. but you have to be right i need to eat more. i was reading the sample bulking diet and i really think i should give fats more attention. its honestly the only that i haven’t paid attention to. As for eating clean your right i do eat a little too good haha. knowing how i’ve eating junk food when i was younger and never gained weight should tell me something not that id go back to eating cookies and cheese-its. i saw that you came up with around 3000 calories for someone around my weight and height so thats surely what i’m going to do. I cant thank you enough its pretty hard having no one to advise me or see things from the outside. thanks Thomas!


Ben February 14, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Heres a question for you, i tried building muscle between 18-20, i’m now 24, for 6months i was out of work and thought i would attempt to bulk up again.

I am 5 foot 10 and have been 8 stone (112 lb) exact since i was 14, not an ounce above nor an ounce below. This held true when i tried a 4000 calorie diet for 1 month including progressive lifting, looked around and tried taking vitamins and stuff that helps with muscle recovery but nothing.

Is this normal for an ectomorph and a skinny guy?

Is this normal for


Thomas February 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Hi Ben. Obviously, you’re very slender for your height. I wish I had some advice for you, but you’re at the extreme low end of the normal distribution for body weight at your height.

I’m assuming you’ve been checked by a physician for hormone irregularities and overactive thyroid. If not, put your mind at ease by getting checked out.

But odds are, you’re just one of those ultra-skinny guys who doesn’t gain weight normally. But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. Or at least that’s what I like to think…

It’s true that one month of heavy eating isn’t really enough to see results, especially for someone of your body type. But I hope you can keep it up for a longer period of time (along with the lifting and athletics) to see if you can pack on some more weight. I find it hard to believe that you can’t increaes your 112-pound body weight on 4000 calories, but as you certainly know, not everything is set in stone.

I’ve laid out just about all I know about this subject here on this website, so I wish I had something more to tell you but I don’t. Best of luck.


prinkesh March 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm

hey thomas loved your article ………i must tell u something that i am from india 24 yrs old and weigh only 53 kgs or 114 pounds ….i seriously want to bulk up and u can guess why …….but can’t follow your routine as i’m a vegetarian except eggs which i can eat ……..can u suggest something for me . I would appreciate it plssssss


Haik May 14, 2011 at 1:14 am

Wow i am clearly NOT eating enough!
I need to go shopping ASAP!

By the way, how long does the bulking phase need to last?

I also want to start running and swimming 3 times a week as i’m going for the ‘toned but big’ look.
Do i bulk up THEN start this cardio and lifting
or do them simultameously (start cardio, bulking and lifting like tomorrow)?



Taylor June 28, 2011 at 9:08 pm

This article is incredible. I wanted to take the time to thank you Thomas. Let me tell you a bit about myself and my excuse for being skinny my entire life.

I’m 6’6″ and I weighed in today at 178.8lbs. Yeah…I know. This morning I started my diet based on this article. I used the BMR formula you listed above to determine what I need to be consuming on a daily basis, then placed my entire diet, (carbs, fat, serving sizes, quantities, everything…) into an Excel spreadsheet that calculates my totals out for me. After reading your article I decided to give weight lifting another shot. This will be my fourth attempt.

Since I was a little kid (looking back at family pictures even) I was a skinny, lanky little runt. I was skinny well before I had any control over the food that was being fed to me, and when. “A skeleton” one of my cousins shouted, as we rolled through some old family photos together. I got angry. Why was I so skinny then? I was only 4 or 5. Other kids my age had some meat on them. I wasn’t weak, I was actually quite strong as a kid. Fast, agile, coordinated. Why so small?


My parents did not instill good eating habits in me as a kid. If I didn’t finish what was on my plate, I could still go out to play. A diet of Kraft macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. The conclusive evaluation of my body type has always been “I have a fast metabolism.” WRONG.
I self diagnosed myself with that excuse one too many times.

It wasn’t until I moved in with my now fiance that I realized my eating habits suck, and its not my fault. My parents never conveyed to me the importance of atLEAST 3 core meals a day.

My fiance cooks at exact times every day. Makes healthy meals. Will stop what she’s doing to eat, when its time.

Where as someone like me will continue to browse the internet. Play a video game. Go walk around in the back yard. Anything to procrastinate from having to cook. There would be days when I would plain old ignore my stomach gurgles and chug right through my bodies check engine light telling me “Hey Idiot! Feed me!”

I even lifted heavy through my teen years but never saw muscle. Used protein shakes (ON’s Serious Mass) to pack in my calories because it was a quick effortless fix. Not ONCE did I ever consider the cold, hard truth. My body has been so malnourished for all these years thanks to terrible eating habits from birth that my body simply CAN NOT grow muscle yet. I’m 28 now.

It’s not about body type. It’s not about being a “hard gainer”, an ectomorph, a what ever other name it’s called. It’s lazyness. Either by choice or by improperly instilled eating habits as a child.

I sit here tonight typing this up as I finish my 6th meet for the day. Whole grain rotini, multigrain roll, vodka sauce and a towering glass of cow juice. I feel damn good. I spaced every single meal 2.0 to 2.5 hours a part today and have been eating like a mad man.

It’s about food. This article has finally opened the door for me that I always knew was there, but was just affraid to admit it. I was eating like a little girl and using any excuse I could find to give myself false credibility after failing over and over a gain.

Gents. Hit the grocery store and start cooking. It’s everything. I’m just sad it took me this long to “get it”.

Thomas, thanks for the article and for this site. You have a new fan.

ps: sorry for rambling. I’m excited to be on this new journey!

pss: I used CalorieCount to track my progress throughout the day. Here is the break down with calorie amounts and totals:

Oatmeal–RAW Pure and Simple – Multigrain Hot Cereal

Egg, White – Raw, Fresh

Egg, Whole – Cooked, Fried

Milk, Lowfat, Fluid, 1% Milkfat – With Added Vitamin A

Tuna, White, Canned In Water, Drained Solids

Freihofers Whole Wheat Bread

Milk, Lowfat, Fluid, 1% Milkfat – With Added Vitamin A

Mayonnaise – Signature Dressings


Water 16 oz

Chicken – Breast, meat only, Raw

Milk, Lowfat, Fluid, 1% Milkfat – With Added Vitamin A

Olive Oil

Almonds, Dry Roasted – Without Salt Added


Homemade Vodka Sauce

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Bar

Milk, Lowfat, Fluid, 1% Milkfat – With Added Vitamin A

Rolls, Dinner, Whole-wheat

Rotini Multigrain Pasta – Barilla Plus

Chicken – Breast, meat only, Raw


Romaine Lettuce – Fresh Vegetables

Carrots – Whole, Raw

Celery – Raw

The Bee`s Knees Natural Peanut Butter

Milk, Lowfat, Fluid, 1% Milkfat – With Added Vitamin A



Chris July 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I’m seriously happy at finding this site, I’ve needed to gain weight for ages and either get the ‘just eat more’ or ‘work out more’ routes, never anything that gives you a basic honest approach.

I’m not looking to bulk up in the sense of bodybuilding. It’s more of an approach on needing to be able handle a 500cc bike and gain at least 4 stone to get to 12.5 which is really a minimum. What I want to know is can I use regular distance swimming as a substitute for a gym? Butterfly and breast stroke being the main two to be used.

Also worked out via the moderate excercise guide that I should be on 2475 cal. For what I want to do at 5’4″, 28 years and 8st 5.5lbs, is that too much? Or too little?


Dominick September 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

I just started picking up working out for about a week now, but I’m fairly skinny for my height, and I feel like this equation doesn’t fit for me, I’m 6’0″ , 135lbs-140lbs and I’m 19 yrs old. Can someone please help me out here


Thomas September 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Your basal metabolic rate is around 1716 calories per day. I arrive at that figure by plugging your height, weight, gender, and age into a BMR calculator that I found on the ‘web via Google.

The Harris Benedict Equation allows us to estimate your calorie needs at a moderate level of activity, so multiply your BMR by a factor of 1.55 to get a final figure of 2660 calories per day.

That figure is an estimate of the energy you need to maintain your current body weight.

A caloric surplus of 3500 calories will deposit around a pound of body weight (in the form of fat, muscle, or some combination thereof).

Spreading this 3500 calorie surplus over a week’s time means eating 500 calories per day in excess of the figure we arrived at above, because 7 days multiplied by 500 calories per day equals 3500 calories.

Therefore, 500 plus 2660 is 3162 calories per day.

This is an estimate of the number of calories you need to consume daily to add a pound of body weight per week on a typical weight-lifting program. Your mileage may vary.


Adam October 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Found your site today by accident when looking for a general guide on bulking diets. I have to say I am really impressed and have enjoyed looking around and reading up on a number of your sections.

A bit about me…I’m getting back in to power lifting after a long lay off with only light lifting due to a torn rotator. Your advice on shoulder conditioning and care is spot on. I was so frustrated getting injured as without full shoulder strength and flexibility I could hardly lift a 10kg dumbell overhead without being in agony…not surprising I flagged any overhead work.

I spent all of last year power lifting and competed in two novice competitions so I’m a firm believer of compound lifting (my 3 lift total was at the end of last year 445kgs) In fact I refuse to train any other way, aside from some light isloation exercises to maintain strength in my rotator cuff.

With regard to diet I completely agree that one will never gain without the correct dietry intake. As a powerlifter there wasn’t the need to be super strict as one needs to be when body building. But it was vital to get the right quantities of food in to me especially with the volume of lifting we were doing at the time. I gained 9kgs in approx 10 months which for a light guy like myself was remarkable. I’m 42 years old, 182cms (approx 6ft) and was 71kg when I started powerlifting. I weighed 63kg approx 2 years prior when I first got back in to the gym. I weighed in at 80kg at the beginning of this year and yet even though I had more body fat than I can ever recall, a body fat test showed I was only carrying 11.8% fat!.

I’m now down to about 74kg. So I’m back on the trail to 80kgs again ( I need to be a touch under 84kgs if I plan to compete again to sit at the top of my weight class in IPF) I know I’ll get there and have set a goal to reach 80kgs by Christmas, I’ve also set a goal to get my 1RM for my dead lift from 180kgs to 200kgs by the same squat back to 160kgs and bench to 110kgs). I will be using your site and myfitnesspal on my mobile phone to plan my menu and track my food intake.

Keep up the good work as I am very pleased to have found your site.




Simon December 7, 2011 at 1:15 am

Little question right there. You mentioned chocolate milk after the workout (8 grams of proteins i would guess about ~250ml right?) but since your proteins come from the milk in it don’t you get about 80% of this protein as casein? And 20% as whey (which means about 1-2g of proteins).

Question here is : 80% of your proteins are “slow” proteins right? Aren’t you supposed to take “fast” proteins in the 30mins after your workout to put you in anabolic state? Because i’m only seeing an intake of 1-2g of fast proteins there.


Thomas December 7, 2011 at 4:30 am

When you digest proteins, the serum amino acid concentration (in the bloodstream) increases. These amino acids are required by muscle cells for protein synthesis (which for our purposes is repair of exercise-damaged muscle fibers).

But I don’t think you can digest any protein fast enough to significantly increase the serum amino acid concentration during the short time after exercise when it would be beneficial. Instead, I believe the serum AA used by post-workout muscles is already in the bloodstream as a result of pre-workout meals.

Therefore, I think it’s more important to get some high-GI carbs (simple sugars) which easily enter the bloodstream and are used to fuel protein synthesis. It’s for these reasons that chocolate milk (or its equivalent) is a trendy post-workout drink. It combines some protein with a lot of simple sugar molecules.


Ted December 30, 2011 at 3:44 am

First, great site. Thank you so much.

How long does the bulk phase typically last?

Can I still do cardio (I’m a soccer player) while bulking up? Or do I need to slow down/stop the cardio while in the bulking up phase?

My goal isn’t to get huge or anything. Just a moderate increase in bulk.


Kyle February 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I just wanted to express gratitude for this site. This really informed me of what i need to do to fix my body. I’m 20 years old 5’5 and weighs 60 lbs and i used to blame fast metabolism for my weight problems. I was wondering though if you could help me with a workout routine that i can do at home becuase the only equipment that i have are dumbells and i dont have the time to go to a gym. Also had difficulty computing for the total calories i needed per day so i was wondering if you could set me up with a diet as well. I know its asking too much but i would really appreciate it if you could help me out with that. Thanks and more power to your site. Best site ever!


Richard February 22, 2012 at 1:22 am

My first comment, so I have to say beforehand – this site is priceless. I’ve stumbled upon it accidentally few weeks ago, and the info here already helped me a lot. Thank you so much!

I have a question. Is there an amount of post-workout simple sugars that would be excessive and fuel fat instead of muscle? For example, a 450ml bottle of my favorite chocolate milk contains around 68g of carbs. Is it too much?


Sean March 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I am very impressed with what I have read, I think its great that there is people out there who care enough to give back what they have learned. Thank You. What I am doing is helping a 13 yr old boy catch up to his Jr.High friends he is a stick. However a very talented wrestler, he needs to bulk to get strong. I would appreciate some help. He is 5’2″ almost 12 weighs 82 lbs. Thanx Sean


nahdi rabie May 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm

love this diet
it’s relly good i think it’s the approprite blucking diet massing muscles for me
love this diet programme!


ricky April 29, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Hey, i’m 19 y’o 5’6 and weigh 104. I eat about 2000+ calories a day, but i’m stuck at my weigh now. You have an advice for me?


John May 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Thanks for the diet mate! I just read an article on fiber intake while bulking. It’s pretty interesting because I bet a lot of bulkers are not making sure they’re upping their fiber intake which can be pretty bad. Here it is

Also, do you have any special protein shake recipes you wanna share :P?


william gonzales June 1, 2013 at 10:52 pm

great site,question,Im 48 i weigh 204 pds,ive been trying to get bigger arms chest etc,but my weight is all in my mid section,i work out like a mad man,,but cant gain no muscle mass,im gonna try your diet for bulking .any suggestions?


spenser December 21, 2013 at 9:58 am

hey tom is this forumn still open?


spenser December 21, 2013 at 10:06 am

if so, here is my story
age 22
im at 158 about 5’9′
im maxed at 215, im pretty cut id say,
im trying to bulk up and fill out my arms and body.
i take in about 150-200 grams of protein a day, but my calorie intake isnt there
ive gained about 5 pounds in the last few months which is ok.
in the morning i usually eat6 egg whites, a shake, and a bowl of cereal. mid morning i snack on granola bars with protein,
being an electrician i can only eat so much and do not have the resources to make chicken and rice while at a job site, so i hava a few turkey or ham sandwhiches with some doritos (fat intake)
after work i hit the gym for a solid hour, hour half.
after i usually make pasta, potatoes, pinneaple, pears stuff like that, downed with another shake. at night i dont really eat much, because i am pretty full at dinner. weekends i slouch a bit and dont eat that much or i eat fatty foods.

my plan is bulking up and than cutting my fat, (6 pack which is there just more define)
is there anything you can throw in the help me? also amino acids and such what should i get?
also i am a very picky eater, the meat and taters type, but im progressing! thanks for your time and love the advise!


Jorge Guzman January 15, 2014 at 3:47 am

Hey guys I have a question. My name is Jorge and im approximately 135 lbs and im 5’6. Ive lost alot of weight due to depression. Ive always wanted to be somewhat bulky and healthy. Like I stated, I lost alot of weight, I went down from my average weight of 165 to now 135. I got as low as 130. Im 22 years old and I used to work out. At that time I noticed results but noticed my diet wasn’t very good. I thought maybe that was what kept me from my goal. Ive always cared of how I looked physically. But recently its gone down. So my question is, I want to get bulk, how do I go about that? What food should I eat thats cheap but very helpful to bulking? And also what exercises work to help out? I want to feel positive about my body and not always horrying. I would really appreciate a reply and help. Thank you.


Jay April 14, 2014 at 10:31 am

Hi Tom, i am a skinny guy and a hard gainer as well. I have counted calories per day that i needed to bulk up. I need 2800 or 3000calories per day. I plan to divide the 3000calories to 5 meals per day. I also plan to go to gym three times a week.

But the problem is,
What should i eat to get to 3000calories per day???
Tom, can you kindly list out some examples for every meal to get to 3000calories in a day??
Tom, please help me. Please.


Jay April 15, 2014 at 10:32 am

I need menu for the 5 meals to reach 3000calories a day. But i am going for food like chicken breast, eggs, oat, milk, cheese, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits, vegetables, sizer xxl whey protein etc. I can only get these food. Those food like avocado or other special food i can’t get them in the market easily.

I am a beginner. I don’t know how much protein or carbs or fats contain in the food. I don’t know how to count the calories in the food too. So i don’t know what and how to eat to get to 3000calories per day. I need help. I really appreciate your helps. Thanks.


Clarkey August 19, 2014 at 8:14 am

Hi gents
I came across this website a few months ago after deciding I need to bulk up.
I found it useful to estimate the ideal kcal intake and some idea of diet. It started well, keeping roughly to my target, albeit consuming too much fat.
The problem I found after a month or so is that I lost my appetite and couldn’t stomach eating the same quantities.
Any ideas to either continue consuming 3000 kcal but with a lighter diet or how to re-invigorate my appetite?


Tania September 10, 2014 at 2:25 am

Love this site but I am wanting some help with a meal plan of what to eat !
I am 114lb, 163cm height & 23 years old.
I’m totally new to all of this so any help would be awesome. Thank you


Jamie Vater November 13, 2014 at 4:01 am

Hi, i weigh 12 stone 4, at a height of 5 ft 9.

Im looking at adding lots of muscle to my frame, and i mean lots!!!

Im eating a 10 egg omellette and 900 ml of scotts porridge oats with 1000 ml of semi skinned milk.

Lunch im having 4 slices of white bread with a big tim of tuna, and i also eat the same tuna sandwiches after my workout.

For dinner i have 3 chicken breasts withs pitta breads.

What do you think of my diet – any advice? Im gsining a lil fat, which is down to the bread i think.

Thanks for your help – reaaly need to put some size on!


darren June 8, 2015 at 6:37 am

How many hours must you wait between meals if your eating +- 5 times a day?


Jay July 7, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Hey I’m 14 and really am trying to learn how to get ripped and massive without loosing muscle or gaining to much fat. I do alot of lifting dumbbells, squats, core exercises, pull UPS, and some push up but it hurt my wrist. When I try to do a bulk diet I end up getting way to big and gain a ton of and little muscle but I workout like all the time. I just thought to cut my calories and everything else and just stick to a good nice high protein and carb but low calorie diet like under or in 1450-1600 calories a day try to keep under 25g fat and below 2,000mg sodium. Is this good or bad I am trying for a low fat as well like very time I cook meat I cut pretty much most fat but not all of it. I drink green tea to cleanse and help to run and work longer. Am I doing any of this right. I dont have a scale or anything so I’m like 100-115 pounds I no and I am 5’7 maybe a little taller I grow fast. Am I doing anything right should I keep this new diet and just add 500 cal every big big workout day? Also I bought six star whey Protein but idk if it will help at all I dont know how much protein I used to intake but I will have numbers and such every day i think I shooting for 35, 45, 20. That being in order Carbs, Protein, Fat?? Yes no idk plz help I’m really confused and I’m a skinny fat level what am I doing wrong??? Plz reply with help.


nitish August 23, 2015 at 2:25 pm

I’m 16 and I am very skinny. I weigh 57 kgs and want it to be around 65 kgs or so! Do you think I can do so by following this diet and working out or should I take some gainers? If yes please mention some of them!
I hope you’ll surely reply to this!
And yes,a big thank you for this article.!


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