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The Best Hardgainer Diet Tips For 2021

[How To Consume More Calories]

Created By: Zack Mathews

Consuming enough calories is a challenge for the average hardgainer diet.

Do you feel like you can eat everything in sight and still not gain a single pound?

Late night bowls of cereal? No problem.

Order 2 burgers instead of 1?  That ain’t no thing.

Eating mounds and mounds of rice making you think you should invest in a bigger rice cooker? Oh ya, we’ve been there.

Here’s the thing.

At the end of the day, if you still are not gaining weight, it means you are not in a calorie surplus.

The only way to get into a calorie surplus to start gaining weight is by consuming more calories and today I am going to teach you 7 ways you add more calories to your hardgainer diet.

  1. Pick One Meal To Be The "Big One".
  2. Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals.
  3. Drink A Homemade Mass Gainer Shake Every Day.
  4. GOMAD? More Liquid Calories.
  5. Don't Always Eat "Clean".
  6. Eat Your Fats.
  7. Have High Calorie Meals Readily Available.
  8. Calories Needed For Your Hardgainer Diet.


hardgainer diet - must be in a calorie deficit to gain weight

#1 Pick One Meal To Be The “Big One”

In a perfect world you would know what you are going to eat at every meal and how many calories, proteins, carbs, and fats it has, but let's face it, that does not happen all the time, if ever.

When you have a calorie target that seems daunting, you need to have a plan to knock those calories out.

Try this technique. 

Pick one meal that you know is going to be the “big one”. This is going to the meal that has the most calories and is going to take a large chunk out of your daily calories. 

If you are a morning person, eat it at breakfast, if you're a night person, use it at dinner.

Try for the meal to be close to or over 1000 calories.   Eating 1000 calories at breakfast and knowing you just ate possibly 1/3rd of your calories in one sitting makes the rest of the day attainable.  If you want to eat at night, don't stress out about eating so much during the day because you know you will be getting over 1000 calories at night.

For your viewing pleasure, here's me taking down my "big one" on a recent vacation.

cheat meal picture!

#2 Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals

How To Consume More Calories - Smaller, More Frequent Meals

1000 calories for some people is too much so this next tip is for you!

Do you remember the time when everyone was saying you need to be eating small meals all throughout the day to “keep your metabolism revving?”

Guess who started that trend?

It was bodybuilders.

Big, buff bodybuilders who had to consume thousands of calories a day.

For those men and woman who needed four, five, six thousand calories a day, it’s going to be hard to get that in from the normal 2-4 meals that most people consume.

That’s where the smaller, more frequent meals came from.  Just in their case, these smaller meals still have hundred of calories.

So that’s what you can do too.

If you have three to four thousand calories a day to eat, break it up into 4-7 meals everyday that only need to be roughly 400-600 calories.

#3 Drink A Homemade Mass Gainer Shake Every Day

diet for hardgainer is to drink a homemade mass gainer shake

See how I said homemade?  Ditch the mass gainers with awful ingredients that will leave you clearing rooms with your nasty farts.

Making a high calorie, delicious protein shake each day at home is easy and should be used regularly. 

Depending on what you want to add to your shake, hitting anywhere between 750 - 1000 calories in one shake is a possibility.

Need a quick recipe?  Blend these ingredients together and you have a shake that is 945 calories with 67 grams of protein! Boooooom, easy calories.

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 scoops protein powder
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • Ice

#4 GOMAD? Ok, Maybe Not That Much, But Still, More Liquid Calories


Have you ever heard of GOMAD?

GOMAD means Gallon Of Milk A Day.  This is a weight gain technique that some people have adopted.

How do I feel about it?  Sounds like a trip to the bathroom for me…

But this fact is true.

Adding liquid calories to your meals is a GREAT, EASY way to get more calories in for the day. 

A gallon of milk a day is excessive in my opinion, but adding a full glass of milk to 2 of your meals can get you an additional 520 calories a day. 

Can’t drink milk? Sucks to be you.

Or sucks to be us, because I don’t do a lot of dairy either.

Try out Lactaid.  It’s high in calories and tastes just like milk.

#5 Don't Always Eat "Clean"

This is one I have suffered from in the past. 

I always wanted to gain weight and do it in a very healthy way, but lemme tell ya, it is NOT easy. 

Eating tons of vegetables and good carbohydrates can fill you up fast and makes it difficult to hit your calories.

It’s ok for you to have some flexibility with your diet if it will help you hit your calorie goal.

This doesn’t mean to eat like an a-hole and eat Taco Bell three times a day to get 4000 calories.

You will feel lousy and your performance in the gym will suffer.

It does mean to be smart about how you get your calories from different types of foods.

When it comes to eating foods that are not as healthy for you, consume them later in the day. 

There is no difference for the time of day in regards to gaining weight, but consider this…

If you eat a 2000 calorie breakfast consisting of pancakes, bacon, eggs, biscuits, tons of syrup and butter, you are going to be STUFFED.

Stuffed for many, many hours. 

Stuffed to the point where you might not hit your remaining calories because you overdid it early in the morning.

So try for the opposite.

Be smart and eat well throughout the day, targeting your lean proteins, veggies, carbs, etc.

Then at night, go get your big meal that will pack on the calories and help you hit your calorie goal.

A good rule of thumb is to try and follow the 80/20 rule.  Check it out below.

Hardgainer Diet - Don't always eat clean. 80/20 rule

#6 Eat Your Fats

diet for hardgainer is to eat more fats

Did you know that 1 gram of fat is equal to 9 calories, whereas 1 gram of protein or carbohydrates is equal to 4 calories.

That’s more than double! 

You get a big bang for your buck when you consume fats.

This does not mean you should just start eating ONLY foods high in fat.

The most important thing when gaining weigh is calories.  You have to be in a calorie surplus.

The next most important tool is hitting your protein goal.

When paired with a proper workout program, that protein will help make your weight gain muscle.

What are the best fats to eat?  Shoot for your diet to contain…
    • Nuts
    • Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, etc)
    • Avocados
    • Salmon
    • Cheeses
    • Whole eggs
    • Oils, such as olive and avocado
    • High quality butter

#7 Have High Calorie Meals Readily Available

Having a few go to meals that can be readily available to cook or warm up will help when you are behind on your calories for the day. 

These should be meals that are high in calories, that you enjoy, and are easy to make.

Pick a day out of the week to be your meal prep day and take 2 - 3 hours to prepare a variety of items that will help you reach your calorie goal.

One of my go to’s?  Spaghetti with meat sauce.  Easy, delicious, and high calories.  That is just what I am looking for.

Some other food recommendations would be:
    • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
    • Frozen waffles with banana and peanut butter
    • High calorie soups
    • Bagels with cream cheese
    • Tacos
    • Rice Bowls
    • Cereal

Here is an example of what a quick meal prep looks like for me.  I have my high calorie meal ready (spaghetti), along with a variety of proteins, carbs, and vegetables.

Find what works for you.

Hardgainer Diet - Have foods readily available

Calories Needed For Your Hardgainer Diet

At the end of the day, don't stress it so much.

I hear it way too often of “this is impossible”, “I can’t eat that much”, “I am going to be skinny forever”. 

All of these statements are not true, and it really comes down to believing you can do it.

If you want to determine the amount of calories you should be eating for your body weight, click the link below.

The Essential Ectomorph Body Type Weight Gain Guide [Nutrition & Workouts Included]

For any questions you may have, feel free to reach out to me HERE.