Forget all the performance-enhancing drugs out there, food is the single most anabolic substance available to us. Take as many synthetic drugs as you want and train as hard as you can, but without good food you will not grow. Gaining muscle is easy right… you just eat and train and you grow. If only it was that simple. To build muscle we need to ensure our body is constantly in an anabolic state. For people that may not know, we are either in a catabolic (starving) state or anabolic (fed) state. The only way we can achieve a constant anabolic state is through food, sleeping is catabolic.. training is catabolic so, especially if you are a hardgainer, we need to be taking nutrients in at these times also. This may mean getting up during the night and having a shake or, my personal favourite, whey mixed with cashew butter made into a paste, but if you really want to gain size you will do whatever it takes.
Let's not confuse gaining size with gaining fat, eating a lot does not mean eating a lot of junk food. Yes, junk food has its place, so treat yourself occasionally. But real food is what is really needed.
So in this article I’m going to give you some examples of calorie-dense foods and supplements I recommend and what I personally use when my main goal is pure SIZE!!
Steaks are highly nutrient dense, packed with plenty of vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, creatine and, best of all, protein. Sirloin is my favourite because it has just the right amount of fat in there without being too excessive. Go with grass fed if possible for the better omega 6 to 3 ratio. Typically I'll have an 8oz steak containing around 550 calories, 32g fat and 61g protein. Throw some form of carbs with it as well and that meal is well over 1,000 calories.
Granola is a mix of rolled oats, nuts, honey and maybe chocolate if you get the brand I do. 100g is around 386 calories and this stuff is easy to eat. I mean, who doesn’t like cereal? Per 100g you're looking at around 80g carbs and 4g fat, which is ideal for a post-workout or breakfast feast. Add some full fat organic milk for a huge calorie and protein boots.
Quick, easy, packed with proteins, fats and essential nutrients, eggs have been a stable in a mass building or cutting diet since time began. Again as with meat, high welfare-farmed animals will produce better quality eggs containing more omega 3, which is essential for general health and is an awesome anti-inflammatory. There are 74 calories in one large whole egg, 6g protein and 5g fat.
For the fish lovers, salmon is stacked with fats and, at 9 calories per gram, it’s no surprise that 250g of salmon is only around 445 calories. Most of the fats come from monounsaturate’s which improve blood cholesterol levels, decreasing the risk of heart disease. Throw a few eggs with this and some rice, and you’ve got a healthy nutrient-dense meal that will aid in adding muscle tissue and keeping your inside healthy.
Mass gainer shakes
A hugely convenient way of getting those calories in which I recommend for everyone who is struggling to gain weight. Some weight gain shakes have got a bad rep over the years, with claims that they are loaded with sugars, etc. However, nowadays you can get some really good quality mass gainer shakes with complex carbs from sources like oats, protein from whey and fats from coconut oil. Some of these shakes alone come to over 600 calories without even adding milk ,etc.
My favourite is PhD Growth Factor Mass:
Nut butters – Peanut/Almond/Cashew
This is my all time favourite food to eat when I want those extra calories in. I literally put this on everything or just eat it out of the tub. I recommend getting a 1kg tub from Monster because once you start, you won’t stop. Nuts contain monounsaturated fats so are massively healthy and, packed with 9 calories per gram of fat, you can't get a food much more calorie dense than this. My favourite ways to eat nut butters, apart from out of the tub with a spoon, are on bagels, mixed with oats and protein, or mixed with Greek yoghurt and dark chocolate.