The Reverse Diet: 5 Tips On How To Pack In Calories And Build Muscle

by Allen Gil April 20, 2015

The Reverse Diet: 5 Tips On How To Pack In Calories And Build Muscle

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I know that the title of this article is probably going to send a lot of weight-conscious readers running for cover to the safe and welcoming arms of the Weight Watchers Website and Calorie Count Forums. I'm not even going to pretend like that shouldn't be your first reaction. These tips aren't for your average cardio bunny or spin-cycle enthusiast.

The calorie-boosting tricks I am about to share are for guys (and gals) who are hitting the weights hard and truly looking to add some quality muscle mass to their bodies. As ridiculous as it sounds, for as many people out there that have a hard time losing weight by cutting back on their food intake, an equally large number of folks are struggling to get enough calories in their mouths each day to help support their muscle building dreams.

If you are like me and you have a hard time getting all of the calories you need each day, take a peek at some of these simple ideas I have found to be very helpful in my quest to build up my biceps.  

Eat Peanut Butter

A.K.A. God’s gift to the “hard gainer” or forever-bulker. Peanut butter is high in calories and low in volume, so you can meet your energy requirements without too much stomach discomfort. says that peanut butter is “a super sports food” and that it is “an affordable source of calories.”

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I would have to agree and add in that it’s absolutely delicious and packed full of healthy fats. Eat it on a sandwich. Eat it on fruit. Hell, eat it from a spoon. Now you have no excuse as to why you can’t make gains (I’m looking at you Mr. “I Just Can’t Eat Enough to Bulk”). Just make sure you don't have a peanut allergy or you might have a bad day after a big heaping spoonful of this yummy stuff.  Don't say we didn't warn you! 

Double It

Having trouble gaining weight with only three slices of turkey on your sandwich? Try six. Deli meat is relatively low in calories, so if you're going to do the cold-cut sandwich thing, do it big. That 3 egg breakfast just isn't getting the job done?  Try half  a dozen!  Hopefully the concept here is pretty clear: Double up on the foods you're already eating and you should be able to bust right through those muscle building plateaus.  

Eat More Frequently

Although meal timing and its effect on body composition is still a hotly debated area in the fitness community, eating smaller meals more frequently as opposed to three giant ones is another great way for those who have “small stomachs” to up their calories without discomfort. Try keeping some high calorie snacks handy so as soon as your stomach starts to clear, you can plop a handful of nuts or jerky in your mouth.  Every little bit counts!  

Make Homemade Mass Gainer Shakes

Let’s face it. Chicken and broccoli simply don’t have enough calories to build mass onto your scrawny arms. Want some extra calories? Try supplementing your chicken dinner with a delicious shake. I typically add a banana, some peanut butter, and a scoop of whey protein to some whole milk to get a few hundred extra calories packed with protein and healthy fats. Try adding some coconut oil for an even greater calorie boost!

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Full-Fat Dairy

If you've been buying skim milk or reduced-fat cheese, you’ve been robbing your muscles of the extra calories they need in order to grow! Not only that, but some studies suggest that, full-fat dairy products actually help keep us leaner than their modified counterparts. Build muscle AND keep you body fat levels down?  Thank you Mrs Cow!

It's not rocket science to know that in order to gain some more muscle you have to first work the muscles hard enough to stimulate them, but make sure you are getting enough total calories every day to back up that hard workout.

Allen Gil
Allen Gil


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