Barbell Shrugged

A better way to gain

Doug Larson

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  • Do you have any suggestions for women trying to gain weight? What are realistic gain expectations for women?

    Once you hit your target weight how do you maintain it? Can you cut back on the calories?

    • Sure do, I feel as though it women and men can be treated similar to men. I dont have tons of proof, but i think women can eat more or less based off of where they are in their cycle. Also vary their intensity based off of where they are in their cycle.

      Yes when you hit the weight you want to be at and more importantly the look you want, you will need to cut back on calories and shift some macro intake around.

      Hope this helps

    • Hey Mandy. For me, the weight gain (or size gain. I focus more on measurement size of my biceps, thighs etc rather than what I weigh on scales) is as simple as adding something like the sweet poatato protein pancake posted earlier, for breakfast and adding in extra butternut squash and rice to my meals. I also cut back on fat burning workouts and stick to my weights making sure I get a good carby pre workout snack in (with a big spoon of fat) and a carby post workout snack without the fat. Once I hit my target weight (which for me is pretty much based on seeing that pump in my muscles as opposed to the weight on the scales), I cut out the rice and other carbs from my evening meals and I switch back to a breakfast of eggs and veggies or my almond meal and egg white pancakes. Go easy on yourself during your monthly cycle as the weight can be all over the place especially around the belly. As I said, I get around this by measuring my critical areas with a measuring tape and keeping on top of things that way. Take pictures too, they are a great indicator of size gains. Good luck and I hope this helps!

  • Hey Mandy,

    How much weight you can put on really depends on your training history and body type/genetics. Some people can gain weight very easily. Others not so much.

    I would say 0.5 lb to 1 lb per week is realistic and doable for most people (male or female). Just like men, women still need to eat a diet high in protein and rich in carbs to help gain weight. You will also need to train similarly. Lift heavy weights and lift often.

    For diet, my suggestion is to start with protein intake. Make sure that is on point and hitting 0.75 – 1g protein/lb of bodyweight. Most of the female athletes I’ve worked with have trouble getting adequate protein. Then add carbs (rice, potatoes, whatever you like) to your post workout meals. Don’t worry so much about the quantity at first. Just eat quality foods.

    Watch your weight. If you are gaining week to week, you are on track. If not gaining, start adding more carbs into your post workout meal. Maybe add in another meal before training high in carbs and protein. If gaining too quickly, cut back on your carb portions.

    It’s going to take some tweaking at first but eventually you’ll find your sweet spot.

    Once you hit your target weight I suggest hanging onto the weight for a month or two for a maintenance period. Then start cutting the fat by dropping your caloric intake (namely cutting back on carbs and fat). Same thing with a loss of 0.5 to 1lb per week.

    Hope this helps. We touched on this in our strength training guide. Have you had a chance to check it out yet? You can download it here:

  • This is very interesting.
    So far I was eating when I was hungry.
    For example on heavy trainings day, I get very hungry (also the next day) and eat much more but on other days I eat “normal” because I don’t get so much hungry.
    I do mostly eat healthy (almost everyday meat).
    I even gained 11 pounds in 4 weeks on a heavy squat program (3 times a week squat , 32 reps total per session)
    Is this the correct way? Eat more when you hungry after a good trainings session?

  • Hey,
    Just wondering about total calorie intake. You suggested .75 grams of protein and .65 grams of carbs per pound of body weight and fat at every meal. However, that amount of protein/carbs only gets you to ~1100 calories if you weigh 200 pounds. Even including fat at every meal this seems extremely low for gaining weight. I was also wondering about timing throughout the day? Could you elaborate on meal/macro timing and its importance?


    • I agree. Even the examples you provided for 185 lb person. 150 g of protein and 100 g of carbs would only equal 1000 cals. A 185 lb person I would think needs at least 3000 cals to gain or even maintain weight on an active lifestyle. So using your values that 185 person would need to consume 2000 cals of fat or 333 g per day. I think your percentages are definitely too low for weight gain.

      • I was going to ask the same exact question here; assuming one has a very active lifestyle these percentages seem way too low. I know that I personally consume ~3300 calories a day to maintain a 183 bodyweight, and those calories are split up as 35%protein/35%fat/30%carbs and that seems to work for me. Based on your percentages though I would be consuming ab out 20%protein/65%fat/15%carbs which just does not seem right. To each his/her own I suppose!

  • Do the Mealfit packages include how much we need of whatever food it says to eat, to make sure we’re gaining weight?

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