Big Eating for the Small Guy

What’s up everybody?

Today I just wanted to touch a little on eating for size and weight gain. I am going to gear this more towards the smaller guys who have a hard time gaining weight. Also, the type of gaining I am going to talk about isn’t really going to be about clean bulking. Again, this is nutrition for the small guys who have a hard time gaining not people who are overweight or the people who can eat one poptart and gain 5 lbs.

Key Points:

  1. Calories
  2. Macros
  3. Food Choices

First and foremost you have to be at a calorie surplus to put on the pounds. I recommend hopping online to find a decent calculator to determine your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) so you have an idea of the amount of calories you’re burning on an every day basis. Most good calculators will factor in the intensity of your job, type of workouts you do and their duration, weight, height, thermic effect of food, body fat %, etc. I have a formula I found in a T Nation article that I have found some success with personally and for others. Once you have that number, you will know you need to eat more than that to gain weight and size. I recommend at least a 10% surplus in calories to slowly gain weight. Obviously the greater a surplus the quicker the gains. And I would want to see that calorie number achieved on training and non-training days. Hitting the same calories on non-training days as you do on training days is very important. Your TDEE on non-training days is going to be less so if you’re hitting the same calories you will be at a huge surplus which will be a huge benefit to you in your size and weight gain.

I am sure you have heard plenty about macros by now. Macronutriets are your proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. In the case for smaller guys I recommend eating at least 1 gram of protein per lb of your goal bodyweight. If you are 165 lbs and want to weight 205 lbs you need to eat at least 205 grams of protein daily. I don’t necessarily have a specific carb goal except eat a TON of them! And then whatever your fats workout to be is what they work out to be but I like to see at least .5 grams of fat per lb of bodyweight. Whatever is left after hitting your protein and fats macros should be eaten in carbs. Those are really my only recommendations for macros in this specific scenario.

Food choices are extremely important in weight gain and weight loss but as you know we are just touching on weight gain today. As a reminder I am not touching on clean bulking, this is dirty bulking if you will. I want to note that a lot of these items are not healthy and this type of bulk is not something you want to make a lifestyle out of. So I am going to list out some calorie and macro dense foods:

  • Poptarts-400 calories per pack! Scarf those suckers down daily.
  • Ramen- About 400 calories per pack!
  • Peanut Butter- if you are trying to gain weight and aren’t eating PB then you are cheating yourself
  • Olive Oil-dump at least 2 tbsp. in all of your protein shakes
  • Coconut Oil- super healthy fats, high in calories, I will recommend unrefined virgin coconut oil, put in your shakes
  • Liquid Egg whites- high in protein and super easy to dump in a protein shake
  • Candy bars- an obvious one
  • Macadamia Nuts- high in fats and calories
  • Beef- high in fats, protein, and calories
  • Whole milk- lots of fats and protein, use for your shakes
  • Cheese- high in fats and protein
  • White Rice- eat as much of that as you can daily. Tons of awesome carbs!
  • Oats- another great carb source

You will see that a lot of the items I listed I recommended to put in shakes. Oh yeah, drink protein shakes! If you are a small guy who can’t gain weight then you probably don’t have a huge appetite. I know you are thinking on yeah I do, I am hungry all the time and eat all the time, doubt it. You aren’t eating as much as you think you are or you wouldn’t be stuck at the same weight you have been for 10 years. Calorie and macro dense liquids are easier to get in for people with smaller appetites as opposed to an actual solid food meal. You can easily make a 1200 calorie shake with whey protein, whole milk, PB, and coconut or olive oil. I know because I do it daily.

Can you gain weight with clean eating. 100% you can. People do it constantly. But from my personal experience and what I have seen small guys who have proven to be hard-gainers have a hard time eating super clean and gaining weight. Give a dirty bulk a try. You will gain some unwanted fat but after your bulk you can cut that down with some HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and some cleaner eating.

The reason I chose to write about this type of weight gain is because I have historically been a hard gainer. I will run this type of bulk occasionally and easily gain 10-15 lbs in a month. I will say that you will want to maintain at least your TDEE or higher after this so you don’t lose everything you gained. If you drop back to a deficit your bulk will have been a waste.

Disclosures: I am not a registered dietician. This type of bulk is not a recommended lifestyle. If you experience bad GI and gut response from this cease doing it. 


  1. Jonathan wollett

    I’ve been dirty bulking for about a week now and have put on near 5 pounds alreadt!

    1. Samuel Sokol

      Nice man! That is awesome to hear! If you have any questions please feel free to post here!

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