Don't eat junk to gain weight!
As a body reconstruction expert here in Portland, I deal with fat-loss, strength-gain, and overall vitality goals of all kinds.
One issue that comes up occasionally is the lack of ability for individuals to put on muscle. So-called "hardgainers" are lean and wiry by nature and have light frames that seem to want to stay that way. Instead of taking up marathons as a pass-time, I like to kick loose the genetic brakes and allow folks to choose their own destiny.
How do I start?
The first step is to cleanse the diet of junk and restore insulin sensitivity. While one could simply cut all the processed foods out of their diet and the body would gradually accommodate fewer toxins and less sugars, and slowly become more insulin sensitive, etc etc, I am a professional. Time is money. If I were interested in going "Paleo" and letting nature take its course, I would watch the history channel. (Clearly I don't have a current concept of television programming. I'll need to get new sarcastic remarks).
Since I want to jump start this adjustment, I prefer to use a 16 hour fast followed by an 8 hour eating window. (This entire eating program makes for a very large blogpost, so stay tuned.) The first two weeks, we do NO sugar aside from a post workout recovery shake. After the first two weeks, I gradually reintroduce carbohydrates to a client's diet via good healthy veggies and low Glycemic Index (GI) starches.
While eating clean means you actually have to eat more food (and get more nutrition from that food because you're not eating filler), you should actually be eating about 2000 calories per day. The truth is that without flour and sugar, most diets are quite low on calories. That means more butter, more veggies, more steak because your body really needs the energy and the building blocks to create new cells.
Some trainers will tell you that to gain weight or break through a plateau, that food quality does not matter so long as you eat a ton of calories. This is bullshit if you use flour and sugar to get you there. Here is why: Hormone sensitivity and inflammation. By going off of food quality guidelines for a large calorie source, your body is being exposed to the up and down game of blood sugar and insulin. Your lean tissues become less sensitive to insulin, and the inflammatory properties of grains and sugars are keeping the system from doing what it is supposed to do! You technically WILL gain weight if you eat junk, but it will make it more challenging to gain lean tissue if you try to shortcut with mass-gainers or junk food. This is a classic bodybuilders bulking cycle, except you don't have a team of people composing weekly drug cocktails to help you trim down. So don't do it the hard way.
Be sustainable, be aggressive, get results, be happy.
Coach Josh from Training for Warriors Portland, helping you bring out the warrior within.