A while back I posted on how I wasn't going to worry too much about whether or not I'm getting enough calories to build muscle. This was because at the time I was not monitoring my weight and I was quite happy with my physique.
However, I have recently changed my way of thinking due to a pretty annoying strength gain plateau that I have recently hit. My strength wasn't increasing because I was eating enough! Simple. Yes, my physique looked OK because I'd built a certain amount of muscle and because I wasn't getting the calories my body needed to build more muscle, my body was going for my fat stores which meant I did get ripped.
It made me realise why I started this in the first place, I wanted to get stronger and to build muscle and as a result, gain weight. Another reason why I decided to get more calories is because I was suddenly hungry all the time! I was getting hunger pains and it didn't feel good. Yes I was ripped out of my mind but I'd actually lost about 5-6lbs which was not good since I'd just spent a year trying to put that on!
So here's some advice to the ectomorphs out there like myself, trying to gain weight.
1. Eating and getting the right amount of calories to gain weight and build muscle IS SO IMPORTANT! Probably the most important thing, which I underestimated massively.
Since I took it seriously and increased my calories I've been stronger than ever and my energy levels are 10 times better. I'm getting stronger each workout and I haven't felt that sort of progress in a long time. Because of this, my muscle gains have also improved.
Here's the calorie calculator I used, I didn't have to follow it exact (I'm actually getting slightly less calories than it dictated but still getting results) but its a great place to start, click the link and scroll down - 2buildmusclefast
2. Get the calories from clean, whole foods 90% of the time
This will help keep your energy levels stable and constant, keep your muscle building hormones active, and give you the other nutrients your body needs. Stick to complex and fiber rich carbs, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, spinach, seeds etc etc. You can have a cheat day but generally I try an avoid simple/refined sugars as they just spike my energy levels for about 5 mins then make me feel like falling asleep 10 minutes later! Plus I don't want to put on too much fat. Make water your main drink! Find more info on Ectomorph diet here - 3 Essential tips
3. Some weight gain powders are ok and really help you get the extra calories
*For me, these are essential as my busy lifestyle means I can't afford to spend lots of time and money on buying and preparing food.
When I say some I mean don't go for the ones that are packed with simple sugars, this is a one way ticket to 'skinny-fat' for ectomorphs. You want a good quality weight gain powder (complex carbs, fats, fiber and protein only) the one I've been using is Impact weight gainer from myprotein.com, click here - Impact weight gainer. Get the unflavoured one, buy their shaker, and add 70% water, 30% whole milk and it mixes great and tastes fine. I've heard alot of stories about how foul the flavored version tastes so best to leave them alone. This will give you an easy 370 calories per shake.
My typical meal plan for the day;
Scottish oats with whole milk, blueberries with water
Weight gain shake
Peanut butter on granary bread, fruit with water
Chicken breast, spinach and cheese sandwich with a large banana with water
weight gain shake with mixed unsalted nuts and raisins
Whole meal pasta, chicken breast, vegetables in a sauce.
Sometimes a take a whey protein shake
All this comes hand in hand with plenty of rest and a good weight lifting routine.
For more info on ectomorph muscle building please click here - Ectomorph muscle building
Follow Chrisy M Fitness on Twitter - https://twitter.com/ChrisyMFitness
Low GI Diet for weight loss