Packing on Lean Mass: Nutrition Strategies for Weight Gain and Muscle Growth

Are you an ectomorph body type who struggles to put on weight and build muscle? Thanks to a fast metabolism you may stay rail thin despite eating large portions. 

But being underweight comes with health risks that strategic nutrition can help reverse.

Consuming enough calories focused on protein, carbs, and healthy fats allows underweight individuals to gain weight and lean muscle effectively. 

The key is eating frequently throughout the day and fueling workouts properly. Read on to learn how to tailor your diet to safely add pounds and get stronger.

Packing on Lean Mass: Nutrition Strategies for Weight Gain and Muscle Growth

Causes of Being Underweight

Common reasons for being underweight include:

  1. High metabolism - Burning calories faster than consumed
  2. Small appetite - Never feeling hungry enough to eat sufficient calories
  3. Malabsorption - Difficulty properly absorbing nutrients 
  4. Over exercising - Burning excessive calories through activity

Building your body up if you are under-muscled comes with many benefits.

Importance of Weight Gain

Gaining healthy weight helps:

  1. Reverse nutritional deficiencies that undermine health
  2. Reduce risk of osteoporosis from low bone density
  3. Improve strength, stamina and athletic performance 
  4. Boost immunity, energy levels, and brain function 
  5. Increase self-esteem and confidence

Let’s look at the key macronutrients to focus on.

Key Macronutrients 

  1. Protein: Necessary for building and repairing muscle fibers. Target 0.7-1 gram per pound of body weight daily.
  2. Carbohydrates: The main energy source to fuel workouts and activity. Go for complex carbs like grains, vegetables and fruit.
  3. Healthy Fats: Provide concentrated calories for energy and hormone balance. Nuts, oils, salmon.
Packing on Lean Mass: Nutrition Strategies for Weight Gain and Muscle Growth 02

Now let’s look at calorie-dense foods to include.

Top Foods for Weight Gain

  1. Nuts and Nut Butters - Calorie-dense with protein, fat and carbs.
  2. Red Meats - High in protein and creatine to spur muscle growth. 
  3. Whole Grain Pasta/Bread - Complex carbs to fuel activity and workouts.
  4. Dried Fruit - Provides fast-acting carbs and calories.
  5. Avocados - Nutrient-dense source of healthy fats and calories.
  6. Smoothies - Blend protein powder, nut butter, fruit, milk/yogurt for quick calories.
  7. Full-Fat Dairy - Milk, cheese and yogurt contain protein, carbs and fat.

Tips for Packing on Pounds 

  1. Eat 5-6 small meals spaced evenly throughout the day.
  2. Time carb intake 60-90 minutes pre- and post-workout to build muscle.
  3. Follow a progressive strength training program to stimulate muscle growth.
  4. Consider weight gain shakes/supplements if struggling to eat enough.
  5. Monitor progress and adjust calories and strength training as needed.

Start Feeling Your Strongest  

Gaining lean weight comes down to sustained calorie surplus focused on protein, carb and healthy fat intake. Make calorie-dense choices like nuts, red meat, avocados and nut butters your allies. 

Fuel workouts properly and eat frequently throughout the day.

Be consistent with your high-calorie nutrition plan and strength regimen. With time, you will start packing on pounds of lean muscle and gain strength. 

Your hard work will pay off—a healthier, more confident you!