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How to Eat More Calories to Build Lean, Ripped Muscle

  Sep 24th, 2012

How to Eat More CaloriesDo you struggle with eating enough calories to gain muscle?


If so, I know how you feel. Back in my younger days I was one of those lads that could seemingly eat until the fridge was empty without gaining a pound.


When you’re working on gaining muscle the emphasis has to be on eating enough calories. But this is only half of the muscle building equation in terms of nourishment.


The other half involves feeding your muscles with quality calories – not crap like sodas, processed foods, refined sugars, etc.


The body can hardly use this junk for anything productive, let alone building muscle mass.


I love to eat and can take down a couple thousand quality calories in a single meal with little trouble. Come to think of it, this has gotten me in trouble in the past because I can easily pack on twenty pounds of fat in a month or two, if I’m not careful.


Some people don’t have the stomach capacity I have and struggle to eat a few thousand calories, even when given all day to do it. If you fit this description, you’re going to need to be a little more intelligent about the kinds of foods you’re eating.


Eating Calorie-Dense Foods

Consuming foods that are dense in calories will be the best way for you to up your caloric intake without stuffing your gut to the brim.


Again, I’m not talking about snack cakes, potato chips, or pizza. When you want to build muscle the emphasis has to be on quality calories.


One of the easiest ways to increase your quality calories is to drink whole milk throughout the day. A half-gallon of whole milk contains 1,200 calories and will be some of the easiest 1,200 calories you’ll ever add to your diet in a day’s time.


This will also provide you with 64 grams of complete protein. I’m not going to get into the importance of complete proteins for muscle growth here, but you can learn all you need to know in this article I wrote a few weeks back.


Peanut butter is also a great food to help bolster your calories. Spread it on some bread, throw some in your blender when making a protein shake (gently, of course), or eat it straight up.


One tablespoon of peanut butter contains around 100 calories and can be taken down in a single bite.


In a similar vein, snacking on peanuts, almonds, cashews and/or pecans is also a good plan of attack for upping your calories.


Lastly, using olive oil while cooking your foods, or adding it to your protein shakes, is also an effective means of cranking up the caloric counter.


You can drink it straight up, but most people aren’t hard-core enough to take a pull of olive oil on a daily basis. There are around 120 calories in a tablespoon of olive oil, in case you’re wondering.


Use a Mass Gainer Supplement

I’m not big on supplements, but desperate times call for extreme measures.


Other than the methods I provided above, a mass gainer supplement is probably the next best way to ingest more quality calories.


Mass gainers have come a long way from where they were when I was using them as a teenager 15 years ago. They didn’t mix well and tasted like chalk.


Not that I’ve ever eaten chalk before, but I can imagine what it might taste like.


Actually, there was this time in college when my fraternity brothers thought it would be a good idea to see what kind of crazy stuff they could coerce my pledge brothers and I into eating, and chalk may have made its way into my mouth, but I’ll save that story for another time.


Anyway, we’re now fortunate enough that most of today’s mass gainer shakes can be easily mixed in a shaker cup with milk or water and taste more like chocolate than they do sidewalk chalk.


My “Get Jacked Shake”

If you’re one of those hardgainer types that has to eat an insane number of calories to gain weight, I have a recipe just for you!


I call it my “Get Jacked Shake”. I can’t take full credit for it, as it’s a modification of the “Get Big Drink” John McCallum provides in his book, The Complete Keys to Progress (which is an excellent book, by the way).


Nevertheless, if you’re looking for the fastest way possible to take down thousands of calories, my “Get Jacked Shake” recipe is it. Here is the list of ingredients that should be blended on high speed in a blender:


  • How to Eat More Calories - Get Jacked Shake3 eggs


  • 1 quart of whole milk (4 cups)


  • 1 pint of chocolate ice cream


  • 1 banana


  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter


  • 3 scoops of whey protein powder


  • 2 tablespoons of honey


This concoction tastes incredible and contains the following nutritional breakdown:


Calories: 2,200
Complete Protein: 127g
Fat: 97g


If you’re struggling to eat enough quality calories to put on muscle mass, adding this to your normal diet is all but guaranteed to make you bigger. Give it a try.


I realize chocolate ice cream isn’t exactly a quality source of calories, but it makes the drink taste great, so it’s a necessary evil of sorts.


Track Your Calories

Before I wrap up I have to make sure to clarify something…


If you’re exclusively concerned with adding size, eating crazy amounts of calories at your leisure will certainly do it. But I implore you to learn something from my mistakes and trust me when I tell you that this isn’t the way to go about gaining muscle mass!


Eating that way will make you fat and it isn’t worth it. I don’t care how much muscle you gain in the process.


If you want to look and feel your best you need to focus on building lean, ripped muscle without fat.


Nutritionally, the best way to accomplish this is by daily eating a number of quality calories that will allow you to add muscle, without consuming an excessive number of calories that will lead to gains in body fat.


So monitor your calories and track your weight gains. If your weight is increasing, there’s no need to eat any more than that.


If your ability to add mass ceases, that’s your “slap in the face” telling you it’s time to start eating more quality calories, which you should now be able to do with relative ease.



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