Stuck in Hardgainer Hell? Make sure you throw these foods in your trolley next time you go grocery shopping.
Don’t underestimate the importance of eating big. You can train as hard as you want but if you’re not eating enough – and enough of the right foods – it will be extremely difficult to add muscle or strength.
If you are a hardgainer, you need to eat according to certain dietary principles:
- Eat foods dense with calories.
- Eat foods rich in protein.
- Eat foods that have healthy fats.
So, if you’re training consistently but haven’t gained weight in the last few months, have a really hard look at what you’re eating. You should be filling up your plate at least five times a day (if not more) with items found on this hardgainer grocery list.
Dry oatmeal is often the number one choice on the hardgainer’s grocery list. High in fibre, low in sugar, and producing a steady stream of energy for hours, oats are a hardgainer staple. A great way to double up on your calories without feeling overly stuffed is to consume your oats raw rather than cooked. Top it with some sliced banana, drench it in milk and you have a good, high-calorie breakfast. You can also sprinkle protein powder on it to really boost the protein content.
Nuts often get a bad rap due to their “high fat” content, but if you’re trying to build muscle (and you’re not allergic) they should definitely be a part of your hardgainer diet strategy. Nuts are close to 20% protein and are loaded with calories (over 800 per cup) and healthy fats, which supply the body with lots of muscle-building energy. An ideal energy booster or easy pre or post-workout snack, the fats also help boost testosterone levels which further assists muscle gains.
Adding extra calories could hardly be easier, or more addictive. This high calorie spread is full of protein and healthy fats, and is also extremely versatile. You can throw it on whole wheat bread, add a scoop or two into a protein shake to boost its calorie content, put it on celery, or dig straight in with a spoon. To keep it clean, opt for a natural nut butter made from 100% nuts. Seriously delicious, minus all the added sodium and simple sugars found in more processed varieties.
When you’re trying to build muscle and size, don’t dump the yolk! Whole eggs are a great source of complete high quality protein. The yolk of the egg contains the healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients, a good hit of protein, and the calories you need. And despite long-held misconceptions, the cholesterol in egg yolks has been shown to have very little (if any) impact on actual blood cholesterol, making it a perfect nutrient and calorie-dense addition to your muscle building diet.
Does anyone even drink whole milk anymore? If you have trouble gaining weight, you should be. Whole milk has been a bodybuilding staple for over 50 years, and for good reason. One cup of whole milk provides 150 additional calories plus 8 grams of muscle-building protein. Don’t baulk at the fat content; whole milk is healthy and good for you.
Lean red meat
A staple for anyone looking to put on muscle mass, lean red meat should undeniably be on the top of any hardgainer’s grocery list. Not only is it oozing with protein, red meat also packs a mean caloric density. Opt for sirloin or rib-eye steaks, as they often provide a nice lean cut with a healthy amount of fat and marbling. As an added bonus, red meat also provides the body with iron, which is important for getting oxygen to your growing muscle cells.
Olive oil & Avocados
Don’t make the mistake of avoiding all fats under the assumption that they will make you fat. Not all fats are bad! Olive oil, olives and avocados all contain polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats which are said to actually help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. And since fat packs a nice 9 calories per gram, adding these healthy fats to your diet can help you meet your caloric needs without having to eat huge amounts of food.
While fresh fruit is delicious and a nutritious part of a balanced diet, it may not be your best option you’re a hardgainer. Thanks to the high water and fibre content, chowing down on fruits may leave you too full to eat everything else you need to meet your calorie targets. In comparison, dried fruit has way more calories per 100 grams and is still a good source of fibre and vitamins.
If you want to get fishy, salmon should be your go-to hargainer choice. Full of healthy omega oils, salmon is the most calorie-dense fish there is. It also packs a punch of protein, making it a great alternative to lean red meats.
Liquid calories fill you up less than solid calories, making it much easier to reach your daily calorie goals. What you don’t want is a weight gainer that’s filled with simple sugars and unhealthy fats. Call us biased but we like Vitalstrength Extreme Rapid Bulk Gain Protein. The powerful weight gain formula is packed with calories, high-quality multi-phase protein, easily digested carbs and muscle protecting nutrients. Containing 50% carbohydrates and 42% protein, it has optimal nutritional profile for weight gain while added glutamine and creatine help to minimise muscle breakdown and increase size gains.
Want to kick it up another gear? Mix with milk and add any of the following to further increase the calorie density: low-sugar yoghurt, peanut butter, fresh or frozen fruits, flax seeds or dry oats.
Carbs, carbs, carbs!
While many people shy away from them, consider carbs your friend. For many people a typical diet should consist of less than 40% carbohydrates, but someone looking to add muscle should make sure their diet contains at least 50% carbs. In addition to a post-workout carbo-load (which is a must), make sure to get your carbohydrates throughout the day. Stock up on whole wheat bread, bagels (which are much higher in calories than bread), quinoa, brown rice and pasta.