Picture of How to Gain Weight : A Guide For Skinny People
This instructable will show you how to gain weight. This is really aimed at the fast metabolism (I eat like a horse and still can't gain weight) crowd.

If you appreciate this instructible, please visit my blog for more ideas:

Exercise Book
Lots of Good Food (TM)
Weights to train with or access to a gym.

You can find good descriptions of stretching and strength training exercises in many books, "Scrawny to Brawny" is one example. I bought that book and it could have been fit into a pamphlet, but it described the exercises well.

You could look up information on your basal metabolic rate and caloric intake and lots of nifty formulas, but it's not really necessary to follow this as a process. In fact, I encourage you to look up all the assertions I'll be making to educate yourself and better understand why these techniques will work for skinny people. Don't take my word for it.

Now I'm going to boil down the weight gaining process for you. It's up to you to gradually work it into your life. It's work, but you can do it.
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Step 1: Why You Have A Hard Time Gaining Weight

If you're skinny, like me, and you always have been, chances are you have a hard time gaining weight if you want to.

You've got a few things that prevent you from gaining weight:

1) A fast metabolism. The only way to get around this burn-everything-you-eat metabolism is to eat more than your system has the capacity to burn.

2) Higher percentage endurance muscle fiber vs. strength muscle fiber. There are two big types of muscle fibers. One is really good at aerobic exercise (if you're me, you have a lot of this). The other is strength fiber. Increasing body mass requires you to avoid endurance training as much as possible, especially during the first three weeks. You must lift weights to increase your proportion of strength muscle fiber. Heavy weights.

3) Your body proportions make some exercises difficult to do, if not impossible, without injuring yourself. The standard overhead barbell press will hurt my back, for example. This is because I have long arms, a short torso, and really long legs. I have to hold the barbell a different way than Ah-nold does. Avoiding injury will help you stay on the weight-gaining bandwagon.

4) A lack of knowledge. Previously, you didn't know what the price really was to gain weight. This instructable should square that away.

Step 2: Eat Like a Horse.

Perhaps you've heard this phrase before "Eat like a Horse." Do you know how much a horse really eats? Give up?

While you won't be measuring your food intake in pounds, you will need to eat many, many more calories than you are used to eating.

Here's the point: Eat about 4000 calories a day.

The Calorie Counter is a good website to look up how many calories are in various foods.

It's only healthy to lose or gain about 2.5 pounds a week, so if you find yourself gaining more than that, cut back your daily food intake rate by 500 calories and wait two weeks.

Once you reach your target weight, cut back 500 calories every two weeks until your weight holds steady.

For me, all I have to do is eat my regular meals and an additional 1000 calorie shake every night. If I do this, I gain about 2 lbs. per week.

When you weigh yourself, do it at the same time every week, on the same day. Say, 8pm every Sunday night. Make a ritual out of it, and write down the weight on a calendar or record of some kind.

Step 3: Train for Strength

You'll need to stop any endurance training to gain weight. Aerobic (endurance) exercise simply isn't compatible for your goals. Your body will spend it's energy growing endurance muscle (i.e. wiry, skinny muscle) if you do low impact, long term exercises. You can continue doing a little aerobic exercise (10-15 minutes 3 times a week) but during the first three weeks it would be best if you did none.

Preparation: If you currently don't exercise at all, you'll need at least two weeks of stretch training to prevent injury. Seriously. Two weeks of tough stretching exercises or you WILL pull a muscle and then your training will be delayed for weeks if not months. Do the stretches and prevent this problem. The stretching will also begin to condition your body and help balance out your physique prior to putting it under the crushing training to follow.

Exercise Type: Compound exercises that work multiple muscles at the same time, like pullups (especially pullups) are the best for us skinny types. When doing weight training, work with short sets and heavy weight. You want as heavy weight as you can stand for 5 to 10 reps, 3 sets. If you do low weight and lots of reps you're doing aerobic exercise. Not the goal here. Every week increase the number of reps by two. Every two weeks increase the weight you lift by a few pounds until you can only do 5-8 reps. The more weight your lift, the more muscle your body will have to grow. By gradually increasing the weight you lift and supplying your body with necessary nutrients, your body will respond by gaining weight.

Frequency: Train for about an hour three or four times a week. Training more than that will actually slow down your weight gain. Really. Eating 4000 calories will actually be harder than the exercise.

Step 4: Eat Good Stuff

One of the toughest parts of gaining weight is the amount of money and time you will have to spend eating and counting calories. Believe me, 4000 calories a day does not come cheap. But some of the cheapest options are eggs and powdered protein weight gainer. Don't go out and buy a bunch of this stuff. Just buy a little at a time.

Ever seen someone spend $1000 on exercise equipment, use it for two weeks, and then let it collect dust in a corner? Yeah, me too. Don't be that person. Just buy a little at a time and as you change your lifestyle to a new weight-gaining one, you'll end up buying more as you need it.

One small bottle of powdered whey protein (Sam's Club has the best deals, then Wal-Mart) is a good start. Small bottle. Also, eat more green and colored vegetables. Broccoli is a really good one.

You can eat a lot of rice (brown is better), whole grains (like cracked wheat), and eggs. Eat at least 6 eggs at a time. Tofu is an okay vegetarian substitute for protein but it costs quite a bit more.

In your weight gainer powder, you want quality protein. There are some "weight gainers" that are mostly sugar. I accidentally bought one. Lots and lots of calories, but they were empty calories. Sugar is fine, but you need more protein than anything else.

By the way, you will probably see some bowel changes with diet changes. I suddenly had regular bowel movements at 10AM every day.

Here are some good 1000 calorie shake recipes. To help you get started.

Step 5: Final Notes

A quick review:

1)Eat 4000 calories a day, including lots of protein. Start by gradually increasing your food intake. Use a little protein powder and eat eggs (tofu protein is a good veg option but costs a lot more).

2)Stop aerobic exercise for the first three weeks. Thereafter do no more than 15 minutes 3 times a week.

3)If you don't already exercise regularly, prepare for strength training by doing stretch exercises for two weeks prior (20 min. 5 times a week). This will help prevent injury.

4)Strength train with compound exercises like pullups and very heavy weight. You shouldn't be able to do more than 5-10 reps for 3 sets. Train for an hour three or four times a week. No more. Every two weeks increase the weight you lift a little.

5)Every two weeks you should gain about five pounds. If you are gaining more than that, drop your daily caloric intake by 500 calories and check again in two weeks.

6)Once you've reached your weight goal, you can cut back on your strength training to 30 min 3 times a week. Gradually decrease your daily caloric intake by 500 calories every two weeks until your weight holds steady. Keep monitoring your weight every two weeks. You can begin significant endurance training again at this point.

When exercising, it is essential that you use proper form. An injury will drastically slow down or stop your progress. Get an exercise book (with pictures) to learn proper form. "Scrawny to Brawny" has good illustrated descriptions, but I'm sure there are other good books as well.

Habit can be your friend in your weight-gaining efforts. Eat at the same time and exercise at the same time if at all possible. Exercising in the morning is better than at night.

Hope this helps. I gained 5 pounds in two weeks before school finals hit and I fell off the bandwagon. It's time for me to get back on, and time for you to start.

No, really.

Right now. Go buy some food: broccoli, peanut butter, rice, wheat cereal, eggs, and weight gainer. And, go check out an exercise book from the library.

You Can Do It!

Step 6: Update:

I regularly consume a 1000 calorie shake in addition to my regular meals. I've gained up to two pounds per week by doing that in addition to my exercises. While I have not reached my personal physical goals yet, many of the habits I've been developing over the last year are taking me right where I want to go. Having back injuries which resulted in surgery set me back as well. ( I honestly hadn't intended to pun when I wrote that.)
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radhika32162 months ago

I tried everything! Sorry, let me rephrase that- I TRIED EVERYTHING, PEOPLE, I REPEAT, EVERYTHING! I just don't know what 2 do! I am now on the opposite of a diet, i eat nothing but junkfood, because when i ATE healthy, I WAS STILL SKINNY! So, I thought, why don't i just try eating junk, since itmakes everone fat! But guess what... IT DIDN'T WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:(

Then you will have to slow down your metabolism... You must NOT eat citrus like lemon, lemonade, citrus fruit products, lime, energy drinks or any food that contains citronic acid (lemon acid) mostly fanta, schweppes, etc.. From juice you probably drink coke and stuff? If it didn't help then start buying and drinking Fruit Juices that contain fructose, drink them oftenly.. I don't think Milk will help you, some experts say milk is helping losing weight too.. I suggest you to add MORE cheese in your daily food menu, start buying proteins like Whey, make them with Dark Chocolate it also helps a lot.. Don't eat cereals or yoghurt, drink one spoon of oil everyday and add more oil in your menu, eat fries a lot.. That will help you gain weight and slow down metabolism so you can have normal process.

AradhanaS13 days ago

People who are very skinny.. They should start eating foods like Lean Meat, Chicken, Whole Fat Milk, Peanut Butter, Cheese, Butter, Banana etc. These above mentioned foods are highly packed with protein, Fat, vitamin & minerals etc. Find out here how these foods are beneficial for our body and how to follow this diet for effective weight gain :-


Ty-MonetA4 months ago

Hi I am 16 years old and have been skinny since I was young but I haven't gained any weight yet. I have tried many gaining weights in the past like Nutrition milkshakes but they have never seemed to work and going to the GP but they don't exactly help! I haven't really had that much confidence because of this and I really need your help?!

Keep a food diary of what you're eating now. Although I thought I just eat what I wanted, when I wanted, the diary was very telling. I was actually overestimating how much I eat each day so was only getting maintenance calories (or less). With a diary you can see just where you need to pack in more calories.

i eat and drink tons of dairy! I drink at least 3 glasses of milk per day, and am obsessed with cheese, but i am still skinny!

Okay. How long should I do that for? and what is the calories limit for young adults?

I guess you keep the diary either forever, or until you are really good at knowing how many calories you are eating just by looking at what you're eating over the course of a day.

Although it says to eat 4000 calories in this article, that might be too high. I used this article to work out my maintenance level and then added calories to that: http://www.acaloriecounter.com/diet/calorie-mainte...

In fact that whole free series of articles is quite useful to read.

entertainvid4 months ago

Yes, this is an awesome article and I found more useful tips.. I read another helpful article which figure out what we need to eat in order to gain weight.. go through it.. http://www.worthofread.com/top-20-weight-gaining-foods-for-skinny-guys/

Does it actually work?

If you can make it through the bad English, yes it works — over time. Nothing is immediate and you have to keep at it.

ShirleyH13 months ago

never thought it would be problematic to get fat in my life, i rarely eat breakfast and sometimes i don't eat lunch and afternoon tea, but in diner i try to eat heck of a lot !

If what you say is really true - well although it is mainly a myth that it matters how much you eat and when, for those of us already with high metabolism, I'd recommend eating a reasonable meal or snack around 3-4 hourly. And don't pack in loads of protein in one go as I believe it has been proved anything over about 30g in one go is just wasted. The body just can't process it.

JohnC311 months ago

Another important thing to remember is to rest. Your body grows when you rest, and especially getting a good night's sleep is very important as the body releases things like testosterone and the human growth hormone during the night, helping your body grow!


Exactly - most people shouldn't be exercising daily (at least not the same muscle groups) regardless of their body type.

andymerrett2 months ago

Popular culture focuses so much on obesity, weight loss and such like, and the stereotypical response to us "types" is either complete jealousy or the "you're so lucky you can eat anything".

The problem is we still can't just eat "anything" (despite being thin and burning off calories thanks to our high metabolism it's still not good to be loading up on bad fats and tons of sugar).

And people who are overweight may not believe it but it can actually be very difficult to eat that many calories - as you say here. My body tends to "maintain" (i.e. I've been 65kg give or take normal variance for years) regardless. Although keeping a food diary does show that I've been low on calories even for my maintenance - I think skinny people sometimes over-estimate what they're eating, much as overweight people underestimate.

4000 calories may be too high for some people - you can work out your maintenance calorie daily intake and then add something like 250-500 calories on top. It will vary by age, height, gender and general exercise level (if you are skinny and work a manual job which tends to more aerobic activity - i.e. active but not particularly heavy - then you are really going to have to pack in the calories).

Ahh well, I love eggs anyway...

Hashmi503 months ago
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I'm 14 years old and very skinny. I eat a lot of foods but I didn't gain weight. I want to be chubby. I'm tall but skinny. Haiss.

Eat lots of food doesn't make you to gain some weight.. But you have to eat proper food... here are they... http://www.worthofread.com/top-20-weight-gaining-foods-for-skinny-guys/

Well pretty much like everyone says, hit the gym, but stay away from cardio, no cardio because that burns fat. Lift heavy to gain mass, but only heavy enough to lift 10 reps of 4 sets in whatever you do. Do not think doing 20 reps is going to help gain weight because you will burn or lean out. So 10 reps or less. As far as food goes, eat a lot like people say, but if you want to do research a lot say this and that is healthy for you, but since I am one of those skinny people i dont care about healthy stuff. Look at the Calorie counts on foods, the higher the calories the more chance of getting "fat" . They even sell a liquid that is pure calories that you can pour on your foods, no joke. But like its said, try and get sleep to. Also be patient because it will not happen in a month. It took me a while but i was 127 at 5'11" and it took me a year and a half but i got up to 185. But the downside is, is that i stopped going to the gym for a couple years and dropped down to 145, so back to the drawing board. Good luck guys

nahanir4 months ago


well i am 15 and i only weigh 38 kilos although i am really tall i have tried the sustigen and all of that weight gain stuff but it never seems to work and i cant seem to modivate myself to try workout anymore would like some help?

JenniferA55 months ago

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loveli_desi9 months ago

I'm fed up with how much I eat and I feel as if it goes straight to the toilet!! lol

I gain NO weight!! gaaaa someone help meee :(

I get plenty of sleep, drink all my milk, eat veggies, meat all that good stuff.. I LOVE food so eating more than I usually would wasn't hard at all. But no weight gain. I also attend military school so working out to stay physically fit is not only a chore but it is a necessity needed to live a long healthy life. But ... still, no weight gain :(

check my reply to sabrina above. I MADE IT! IM FAT! I should write a book, "Road to obesity".

Lol I Was Super Skinny 2 But Now I Gained Weight 2 Tips

1.Eat Alot

When U Say I Eat Alot And Ur Full Try More And More And Whenever Ur Bored Grab Anything And Eat It

2. Go To Toilet When Needed Only (it sounds funny but its true

I need help too xD im 5'6 100lbs since high school, now im in college and gain only like 4 pounds ? :D

Hi, I've been trying to gain weight ALL my life. I'm 25. I am 5'5 and my current weight is 97 lbs. I have tried everything including the whey protein and now I am leaning towards trying the gain weight pills...suggestions?!?! help!!!!

Hey Sabine. im a guy with the same problem, same age, 130lbs and 6feet. it feelt impossible to gain weight, but after almost 15 years of trying i made it.

*get a gym card and workout 3 times a week, not more! its way more important to eat and sleep well. and dont be stupid and run for 30 minutes, 5 miuntes max, just go get the body warm. I bought 1 appointment with a personal trainer to get a workout program and cause i had no clue on how to use the machines. Dont start too hard, getting sick will not help ur progress.
*try to get at least 8 hours a sleep.
*eat!!!!! i used the timer on my phone that i started in the beginning of
each meal 2.5 hours. when it beeps its time to eat again. you should get 6 meals pr day. it will be hard, cause you wont be hungry, but you need to suprise/shock your body. I also noticed that skinny people usually use less topping on the bread/sandwich. I started using the double amount. breakfast tip: eat something like toast. its easier to eat 2 toast(4slices).
*I dont think this is necessary but i bought the Mutant Mass weight gainer with chocolate. its actually very tasty. i only took this 3 times a week, after each workout. 1 shake was about 1000 calories.

after 3 months: I went up 30lbs. after you reach your desired result, dont stop completly or it will slowly go back to where u started, it will stabilize after some time. Always have small goals, if you for example gain 10 lbs, celebrate it by going out and eat a big tasty dinner.lol.
Remember that the most important thing is to shock/suprise the body.

Good luck!

i wouldnt suggest pills, ever.

SamuelC26 months ago

This is sad. I'm 16 yrs old and have only gained 15 pounds since I was 13, even thogh I eat the most in my family.

I feel even worse when my sister's trying to lose weight.

It's like I'm being squashed-- growing thinner and taller everyday. :(

MissKittie2567 months ago
I've tried everything in my power to gain weight and still no hope. The only weight I've ever gains was when I was pregnant with my kids. After the birth of both my children the baby fat was completely gone within a month and a half. I eat eat eat eat and eat still nothing. I'm also naturally toned and I dont even work out at all. I weigh 132 and I and 5'4
GetGaining7 months ago

Eat more calories than you consume. It's that simple. We've created an entire blog on gaining weight; check it out - http://GetGaining.com

SamN49 months ago

I am 14, nearly 6ft and I'm only 126 pounds, do loads of exercise, eat like an absolute horse and still struggle to put on any weight what so ever. Any suggestions

JohnC311 months ago

Another important thing to remember is
to rest. Your body grows when you rest, and especially getting a good
night's sleep is very important as the body releases things like
testosterone and the human growth hormone during the night, helping your
body grow!


Pretty good instructable. A simple way to add calories is drinking lots of whole milk and doing squats. Squats work the most muscles at once of any compound exercise and stimulate the most growth. Research the Starting Strength training program and GOMAD. Aim for 1.5-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight for weight gain. A gallon of whole milk is cheap and has 3500 calories and 128 grams of protein (1 gram per fl oz). Like the protein shakes, milk is easy to quantify and track, so if you find you are getting too fatty, cut the milk consumption then track the effects for two weeks. Adjust as necessary. Good luck.

postamante1 year ago


Welllll you see....... i was about 95lbs and i just turned 14. and i cant even pick up HEAVY weights, cus i have no muscle. and i have a (very) high metobolism (about 3 1/2 faster than normal ppl) im on my 3rd day, and dramaticly, ive lost about 5 more pounds. any tips? becuse i have offically decided to starve my self. -_-
hmanana3 years ago
i have the same problem and i will follow these instructions thanks for helping us ultramind
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