As every gym-goer knows, gaining weight can be a good thing as long as the added pounds are in the form of bigger muscles and not a bigger belly. Whether you’re a skinny guy trying to pack on muscle or a not-so-skinny guy working to convert your body mass into muscle, bulking up isn’t as easy as it sounds. The trick is to feed your muscles and body by adding clean calories and nutrients so it can add muscle, not fat. This doesn’t mean you can binge on Domino’s pizza or stuff your face with a burger and fries without any guilt. While they may provide you with an extra dose of calories, the empty, fat-filled calories will show themselves in the form of love handles and a gut, not slabs of new muscle.
1. Count your calories
For muscles to grow, they’ll need to be fed. According to experts at Columbia University, this means eating an additional 2,270 to 3,630 calories a week to build as much as 1 pound of muscle during that period of time. When broken down into daily needs this equals about 500 additional calories a day. Then you’ll need to calculate your daily activity. If you’re hitting the gym regularly for an intense weight lifting session, you could be burning up to 500 calories an hour, shifting your caloric intake goal to be around 1,000 additional calories a day.