Can’t Eat Enough Calories To Bulk Up & Gain Muscle? (4 Tips)


Hey guys, Sean Nalewanyj here of SeanNal.com
and BodyTransformationTruth.com and in this video lesson I want to give you a few pointers
if your goal is to gain muscle but you’re having a tough time hitting your total daily
calorie needs because you just aren’t hungry enough throughout the day. So there are several
smaller details that go into planning out your complete muscle building diet from start
to finish but your total daily calorie intake is going to be the ultimate bottom line. Consume
fewer calories than you burn, and you’re going to lose weight. Consume the same number of
calories that you burn and your weight is going to stay the same. Consume more calories
than you, than you burn, and you’re going to gain weight, which is obviously what your
goal is here. Now this is known as the “Law Of Energy Balance”, and I’ve talked about
this many times before but if you aren’t creating a consistent calorie surplus every
day in order to fuel new muscle growth, your gains are going to be virtually non-existent.
Now if you have a naturally big appetite, or your individual calorie needs in order
to gain weight just aren’t that high, then accomplishing this on a daily basis is not
going to be a huge deal. For others, however, it can be more of a challenge. So if you’re
looking to gain quality muscle size and strength but you’re having trouble consuming enough
total calories each day because you just feel full all the time basically, here are 4 quick
tips to help you out. So, Tip #1 is to optimize your meal frequency. As long as you are consistently
hitting your overall calorie and macronutrient needs each day then the specific way in which
you lay out your daily meals is really just a matter of personal preference. From a pure
muscle building and fat burning perspective, it’s really not going to make any measurable
difference to your results. So, if managing hunger is a problem for you then you’re going
to want to play around with different meal frequencies and dietary layouts to see what
boosts your appetite to the highest level. Is it 3 meals spaced farther apart throughout
the day? Is it 4 meals and 2 snacks? Is it 6 or 7 small meals? Now everyone is going
to be a bit different but for most people, eating smaller portions more frequently throughout
the day is usually going to be the most effective option but you can go ahead and test out a
few different approaches and just see what works best for you. The 2nd tip is to include
some calorie-dense food items in your meal plan. If all you’re eating throughout the
day is boiled chicken breast, brown rice and spinach then good luck trying to consume upwards
of 3 or 4 or 5000 calories every single day if you have a small appetite. Yes, consuming
lean/high quality proteins and high fiber carbs is certainly an important aspect of
a well-rounded diet, but if you’re having trouble meeting your total calorie needs without
feeling sick to your stomach then you’ve got to mix in some more calorie-dense items
as well. Now there are a ton of possible options here. Have a handful of dried fruit or nuts
as a snack in between meals. Instead of water with 1 or 2 of your daily meals have a glass
of fruit juice. Have some dark chocolate as a dessert after one of your meals. Mix some
healthy oils like flaxseed oil or extra virgin olive oil into your protein shakes. Have some
fatty fish, such as salmon, as a protein source a few times per week. You get the idea here.
But use traditional “clean” bodybuilding foods as the underlying foundation of your
diet, but then go ahead and combine them with a few especially high calorie items here and
there in order to bump up your total daily calories to the level that you need. Tip #3
is stop trying to eat clean 24/7. Now this ties in with the previous tip, but a small
portion of those high calorie items don’t even necessarily have to come from “clean”
sources. Assuming that around 80-90% of your diet is comprised of nutrient-dense, “clean”
fitness foods then the other 10-20% can ultimately come from whatever sources you’d like, though
I would recommend that you minimize the consumption of partially hydrogenated oils, as long as
it fits into your total daily macronutrient intake. Including a small amount of high calorie
“cheat food” here and there is ultimately not going to have any negative effect on your
muscle building or your fat burning progress and it’s an extremely easy way for you to
get more calories into your diet without feeling full all the time. So, a bowl of ice cream
here or there, a chocolate bar, a slice of pizza, a few cookies, as long these items
are included in your diet in a controlled and moderated way and you’re tracking what
you’re taking in than this is a great strategy to ensure that you hit your daily calorie
needs in a much more comfortable way. And the final tip is to make us of shakes and
smoothies. So, what do you think would sound like an easier task? Sitting down to eat 2
chicken breasts, a cup of brown rice, a bowl of fruit, a handful of nuts and washing it
all down with a glass of milk or blending together 2 scoops of whey protein powder,
a cup of oatmeal, a banana and a scoop of natural peanut butter all mixed in skim milk.
Not only is the latter option far easier to stomach and just as nutritious as the whole
food meal but it’s also far more convenient and doesn’t take any more than a few minutes
for you to make and consume. Now I personally have two of these high calorie homemade shakes
every single day. I have one for breakfast and one in the evening and it allows me to
easily consume around 1600 calories in liquid form, which is about half of my personal daily
needs. Now the calorie content of these shakes can be boosted even higher by including other
items like healthy oils, so flaxseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, yogurt, berries or
even some ice cream. Combine 2 or 3 whole-food meals with a couple of these high calorie
shakes, and maybe a couple of smaller snacks here and there and hitting your total daily
calorie need shouldn’t be much of an issue. Commercial weight gain powders and pre-made
meal replacements can be used in small amounts if it’s needed as a matter of convenience,
but a homemade smoothie like the one that I just outlined is going to be a far healthier
and better-tasting option overall. So, if you’re trying to maintain a calorie surplus
but you’re not able to do it without feeling excessively full throughout the day then,
Number 1, experiment to find a specific meal frequency and daily food layout that maximizes
your personal hunger levels. Number 2, include some especially high calorie foods in your
diet in order to boost your daily totals without adding significant extra food volume. So,
nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, healthy oils, fruit juice etcetera. Number 3, allot 10-20%
of your total calories to a small amount of higher calorie “cheat foods” to further
increase the overall calorie density of your diet. And number 4, include one or two high
calorie homemade smoothies in your diet to get all of the benefits that regular whole
food meals have to offer but in liquid form. So thanks for watching this video lesson.
If you found the information useful, as always, please make sure to hit the Like button, leave
a comment and subscribe to stay up to date on future videos. Also make sure to check
out my fully structured step-by-step muscle building and fat loss programs over at BodyTransformationTruth.com.
The link for that is in the description box below, and make sure to join the Facebook
page for daily tips and updates. The link for that is also in the description box. Talk
to you again soon.

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Reader Comments

  1. Dayon Mage

    Finding concise and informative bodybuilding lessons on Youtube can be a pain in the ass because many bodybuilding coaches on Youtube are vague with their lessons (in addition to being illiterate dumb-asses) but I like Sean. I consider Sean Nalewanyj to be right up there with Elliott Hulse on my list of trustworthy guru's

  2. Ussf Rhni

    I really feel envious of people having a caloric target of 3000-3500 every day. My TDEE is only 2000. So my target for bulking is only 2300. Which a lot of people don't even cut on. FML 🙁

    Btw, im 5ft8, 24 years old, 145 lbs and sedentary.

  3. Kobie

    Hey Sean! Loved the video, very informational. Could you give me some ideas on different foods I could be eating throughout the day; I find it very difficult to hit my maintenance let alone surplus even though I eat a lot during meals. I will try to eat more times a day with less in each meal 🙂 Thanks!

  4. TheHvk

    I cannot imagine this. This is the ultimate first world problem. You cannot GAIN weight in a country full of sugars and processed easy, cheap foods.

  5. Melissa Heiser

    Thank you for posting this. I am an ectomorph- where I failed I think is drinking too much water before meals, coffee, and non complex carbs. So burning too quick or making myself full. I eat every 2-3 hours a protein, a whole grain, olive oil and whatever seems not crazy lol…ie. not icecream.
    I've done the ole put ginger powder in my water during a meal to make myself more hungry. If anyone knows of a good combination for whey protein shakes like the one he suggested let me know. I'd like to avoid white/artificial sugars. 🙂

  6. Lololorens

    I hate calories. I am always hungry, and i feel like i could eat more than 3000 calories, but my bmr is at around 1700, and i have to lose weight so i have to eat about 1500-1600 calories a day 🙁 it really sucks, i cant wait to get in shape and then start bulking.

  7. Yara Mel Vlogs

    This is just the compact info I needed! Half way through my weight gain journey and I guess I was eating too clean and only 3 times a day since I have lack of appetite. It's frustrating to hit the gym hard and still see only little results. Taking your tips for the rest of my journey, thanks!

  8. Buried With You

    every time i add calories my metabolism just increases i swear. im only 10lbs heavier than i was last year but im eat at least 600 more calories a day.

  9. Carlos Andres Diaz

    I'm eating 2500 calories a day but I'm meeting my macros to bulk. 400 carbs 184 protein and 65 fats. Will I still get strength benefits of a 3100 bulk?

  10. Aurélien S

    Hi Sean, so it is actually okay for me to add olive oil to my protein shakes in order to reach the calorie level that is necessary in order for me to be able to gain weight? (I'm an ectomorph)

  11. Dan Stark 848

    Question: Virgin olive oil contains 800kcal per 100ml I usually go for 50ml and add it to my shake but Im not sure if the oil is ok to consume everyday like this

  12. Mike Soda

    I really need more calories because right now I can't even maintain weight. As the stores run out of the particular coconut milk I used to drink. I'm forced to get a different brand with less calories. I can't simply drink more than a cup daily because it results in a massive stomachache. So even though I'm working out daily, I just dropped to 130lbs from 138 & I'm 5"11. I'm highly allergic to wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, beef, pork & all nuts including peanuts. Daily I eat Chicken Breast, Broccoli, Refried Pinto beans w/ coconut oil, 93% lean ground turkey + apples & pears. Does anyone have any ideas on calorie rich healthy foods besides the ones I'm already consuming & can't eat more of?

  13. Eoin Collins

    I see some of the comments here explaining how to make high calorie shakes with peanut butter and loads of other shit,Great but, what is the story with cholesterol levels and saturated fats??is this unhealthy?

  14. Woody

    On a daily basis i usually eat enough protein and fat but not enough carbs and calories, does it matter since im eating enough protein or not? I mean i I ate a peice of cake i would have more calories but i dont think it would help build muscle….???

  15. John M

    always too nervous I'll end up just being a FAT bitch. I want lean mass, not a big ass belly and moobs. I do have a ketogenic ( high fat) smoothie, though, made of 830 calories!

  16. Karl J

    How the hell am i supposed to eat 300g of carbs(the amount for my bulk) all healthy whole wheat long digestive carbs when i weight 140lbs… i can easily eat that if i ate 500g of white bread a day next to some 200-300g brown rice/potatoes but they say white bread etc. is unhealthy and can lead to diabetes, will make me fat etc.. but the healthy carbs are just not that dense and makes me super full.. sacrifice health for gains or what do i do? 300g of healthy carbs is insane amounts next to that 300g of chicken i need and the other vegetables etc 🙁 …

  17. 63jayking

    Easy way to add 150 calories… Drizzle 1 tablespoon of Virginia oil over your rice, easy extra 150 calories or so. If you have rice 2 times a day for example. That an extra, so easy 300 calories or so. Hope that helps

  18. JMorgan51511

    I was struggling putting together a meal plan that I knew I could confidently put down in a day between a very busy work schedule and a stomach that'll take it. Until now! SHAKES! Thank you!!!

  19. Zion Rangikauwhata

    110g oats, 150g banana, 2 whole eggs, 50g peanut butter, 400ml whole milk =1300 cals.. I have this pre and post and that gets me 2600cals in just homemade shakes

  20. Niko Fernandez

    One thing is don't fall into a plateu I bulked up nicely December to May, I gained 20 pounds and got much stronger and got a okay body. I wanted to keep going but I'm 19 and my calorie needs are insane. Been lifting 5 days a week since May and haven't gained a single pound. It's easy to just keep doing the same thing. I'm now only working out 4 days a week with no cardio only walking. And I'm cheating and eating meals I like 3-6 times a week. I've put on 5 pounds in 3 months with isn't very good but for me it's a HUGE difference, you never realise how much calories you actually need to get stronger and bigger I'm 5'6 146 pounds and need 3600 to gain slowly

  21. 8kaisor pking

    I'm 5'10 and 135ish lbs, I work at a factory as a floater so I'm moving around fast for 9+ hours a day burning a lot of calories. So I decided to start cooking huge pots of mash potatoes or pasta with tons (I mean tons) of meat, cheese and vegetables, etc, I also make several sandwiches for backup food (rather have more than not enough) What I do is listen to my body, I basically take bites all day while working and then eat big on the breaks. So I'm constantly keeping up with my metabolism. My body will warn me if I'm eating too much so I normally don't even track my calories but I could be going 5k calories a day… I've noticed gains without even going to the gym (there is lifting and screwgun use involved at work so it's not all cardio) which I will be doing next week. The plan is to start making protein shakes before and after lifting heavy at the gym. I work 2nd shift 3:30-1am. Should I hit the gym before or after work?

  22. hope

    thanks for this, I have been having a hard time eating enough calories because I would be getting so full on the "healthy" stuff like lean meats and veggies. I'm trying to lose weight but consuming in some cases only 600-900 cal a day def isn't healthy but I just had no appetite to eat more, now I know to have a healthy balance

  23. Eyes Open

    Listen guys for those of you who wanna add easy calories, whole milk and peanut butter. Drink 3 glasses of 1.3cups of whole milk a day. And bam you’re at a quart of whole milk per day. Cook with coconut oil and throw some into your protein shakes

  24. Never Stop Skateboarding

    What about places like Taco Bell and McDonald’s I see a lot of controversy with that sure it’s high calorie but not clean. What’s everyone’s opinion on that?

  25. Amadu Bah

    im a basketball player im 16, 5 foot 8, 137 lbs, im really trying to gain weight but im struggling, the big reason is because im on the court so much doing so much conditioning type stuff i feel like im burning away all that I eat and im not seeing any gains even though im in the weight room, PLEASSSSSSE HELP!!

  26. JoShsFITNESSnFUN

    Post workout shake, spoon of peanut butter, 2 scoops of protein, a frozen banana, table spoon of honey, and a couple table spoons of flax seed. Usually gets 750 calories in a fast liquid form when all blended up.

  27. Archizzle

    I'll never reach 3000 a day with this HS lunch food lol. They emphasize "health" so they give us pretty low calorie meals. Even the Starbucks they got in school is limited to coffee and sandwiches smh

  28. Adrian Martinez

    Very useful my friend. Thanks dude. Good stuff 👌👌. I was eating way too many egg whites and not enough calories trough out my day thats why i couldnt push more than 205 on my bench, but after i gave up and was eating anything i knowdes my strength and reps whent up.

  29. swygster

    There's another problem I think people don't recognize and it's something impossible to measure: Mental health effects on your physique. Depending on your job, and current life you'll be burning more calories and even worse creating more cortisol in your blood stream and stomach due to stress which can ruin your gains or just flat out prevent them.

    https://www.t-nation.com/supplements/four-secrets-to-beating-stress-to-build-muscle

    I don't know for certain if that's true, but it seems like it could be. I've always been curious as to what jobs buff and bulky people even have. If mental health is another factor to take into consideration then they must have some pretty lucky lives :/

  30. blairf450

    So, I understand adding oil to get calories, but what about your macro ratio? If I just keep adding pure fat to my diet the macros get all out of whack. On sean's web page with the macro calculator, it says to hit proteins and carbs to within 10 grams of the target, and fat to within 5 grams. I wish I could just eat a cup of peanut butter a day, but then my calories would be all fat and barely any carbs. I hate eating and it is pretty well impossible for me to eat 200g protein, 400g carbs and 90g fat. It's disgusting.

  31. slam1- :]

    I have 3 issues:
    1. I can't eat a lot in one sitting.
    2. I don't have a lot of time to prep at all. University is a bitch.
    3. I don't make my own dinners. I have to make do with my other four meals.

  32. Brandan Mentch

    I’m trying to do a clean bulk, so getting calories in is hard seeing as I can’t eat all my healthy and clean foods for the week otherwise I’ll run out and become broke trying to keep my fridge full for me. There’s also the problem that I get full really fast and easy. I try to train at least 5-6 days of the week, 3×10-12 reps for isolation workouts, and 4×7-8 reps for my compound movements(sometimes rarely 5×5 reps).

  33. Joey Central

    Awesome video this is just what I needed. Just got done mini-cutting and it was very easy when eating clean. But fucking hell, first day back to bulking and I feel like utter shit. And I didnt even consume 3K calories either. I feel like I have no choice but to slip in calorie dense smoothies or junk foods throughout the week just so I dont feel like shit.

  34. Larry Dicus

    I eat every 3 hours and eat 4000 calories a day and 200 grams protein. Eggs, brown rice, vegetables, fish, steak, 2%milk,turkey,chicken breasts, oatmeal and make a gallon of water with cucumber slices in it. Plus Whey Isolate powder.
    Just eat and don't think.

  35. hani khariy

    I really hate eating i have this big problem i try to bulk at 3000 calories diet I'm so suck of it man sometimes i wanna throw up or not eat the whole damn day

  36. Sam Black

    Life-saver. This was so helpful for me because I have had the hardest time making gains; I will definitely be taking your advice!!!

  37. LiveLoveLift92

    i'm very short and have a relatively small frame so I generally need a low amount of calories even when i'm bulking so eating enough food for me is no problem, I actually have to be real careful when bulking because I tend to put on a big stomach pretty fast so it's a downside and an upside I guess, but my point is; being short and small at frame makes it easy to bulk up and gain plenty of muscle because we generally need less food. Kinda makes me feel bad for these big blokes that's gotta consume like 5000 calories a day lol

  38. Red Man

    One snicker a day I guess… I’m at 10.3% fat, without even doing cardio. I eat pretty clean but I don’t hesitate if someone invites me some tacos, pizza, burgers or wings. FFS never thought I’d be getting leaner eating more 😂

    Time for some chocolates! 🙂

  39. Ryan an the world

    hey im 26 i weigh 185 and im 6"4 i cant afford even 30 a week right now for food what will my body lok like if im working out every day but not eating the 3 or so thousand calories

  40. Maria Florez

    Thank you so much for this video, seriosly, ive been struggling so much trying to bulk and these tips seem to be very effective and easy

  41. Unknown YouTube User

    I think most bulkers are actually not weighing themselves properly (weekly averages). Therefore they only weigh themself once per week and they get mislead by their weight gain rate when in reality they don’t need 4,000+ calories to gain 1-2 lbs per month

  42. Unknown YouTube User

    Most people WAY overestimate their caloric needs. Vast majority of ppl won’t need anymore than 3,500 calories per day to gain 2-3 ish lbs per month. When u hear celebs say “I had to eat 8 times a day, Workout 7 days a week for 3 hours per workout” that’s so fake lol

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