Welcome to SmoothieGains.com, the Internet’s leading authority for using smoothies to help you gain muscle mass.
For a lot of people, gaining weight is difficult. It’s especially difficult to gain weight in a healthy and consistent way. I write about using smoothies, weight lifting and other forms of exercises to help you gain muscle and stay strong. I hope that my experiences and research can help others reach a strong, fit and healthy body and lifestyle.
Why Would Anyone Want To Gain Weight??
Let me get this question out of the way. This is a common question I receive from people who struggle with losing weight. They cannot imagine that there are others in the world who would want to gain weight.
The Internet is littered with smoothie weight loss recipes, but there is rarely any focus on using smoothies to gain weight in a healthy manner.
Obesity is a common problem for a lot of society, but it can be just as unhealthy for someone to be underweight. Anorexia, Bulimia and other eating disorders are extreme examples of underweight health risks. Anyone recovering from a disease, recovering from chemotherapy or anyone who is severely underweight can have trouble bringing their body weight to a healthy level.
You do not have to be underweight to be unhealthy. The best example of someone who is not underweight unhealthy are those with a ‘skinny-fat‘ body. This is a body type which is within the healthy body-weight range, but lacks muscle. Instead, people with this body-type are a combination of being too skinny and overweight at the same time. In regular clothes they look skinny, but under their clothes you can clearly see a layer of fat and a lack of muscle. There are serious health risks for those who have a skinny-fat body.
There are usually two ways to combat a skinny-fat body. The first is losing weight. Losing weight when you are skinny-fat will likely lead to malnutrition and being clinically underweight. If your body doesn’t have any muscle, and you get rid of the fat, all you are left with is skin and bone.
A better way to get rid of a skinny-fat body is to gain muscle. Gaining muscle (and getting rid of fat) is usually easier to do for someone who is skinny-fat. It is a faster and healthier process and leads to a strong, attractive body. This is true for both men and women. A strong, healthy, well proportioned person is going to look a lot better than someone who looks like they have not eaten in a week.
This website is not about gaining fat and using smoothies to become obese. It is about using smoothies and other high calorie foods to reach a caloric intake above your TDEE and combining that with weight lifting, bodybuilding and/or other forms of exercise. The goal is to obtain a healthy, attractive, muscular body.
If you are not overweight, and want to build up muscle, the first step is to understand how to gain weight.
This doesn’t mean you have to become a bodybuilder with huge muscles. Gaining muscle weight is about being healthy. Though it is nice when you can move furniture around on your own.
How Can Smoothies Help You Gain Weight?
Gaining and losing weight is all about the calories. Smoothies can help you gain weight by adding extra calories to your diet.
I strongly believe that smoothies can help you get the extra calories you need to become stronger. Smoothies are a great supplement to an already healthy diet; they can add additional calories and extra nutrition. Most smoothie recipes use whole, unprocessed foods, such as fruits and vegetables. These are the best kinds of foods to eat.
There are two main ways to use smoothies to add extra calories to your diet. The first is to use a smoothie as a supplement. Similar to how you might use a gainer powder. In this case you generally eat your normal diet and eat as many calories as normal, and then add a smoothie or two to your daily diet. So you are eating the same food as before and getting the same amount of calories as before plus the smoothie and the extra calories from the smoothie. In this scenario, a smoothie is a supplement to an existing diet.
A second way in which smoothies can be used to gain weight is to add a high calorie smoothie as a meal. In this scenario, you will use the smoothie as a meal in your daily diet. Instead of it being a smaller supplement to your main diet, it will become part of your main diet and will be included in your meal plans. For this scenario I recommend a smoothie of at least 1000 calories. A 1000 calorie smoothie is going to be too filling to be used as a supplement, but can be an important and healthy part of a well rounded diet.
Which ever method you use, the power of a smoothie comes from it being liquid. Liquid foods are easier and faster to consume. Drinking your food will allow you to quickly and easily consume a bunch of calories that might otherwise be difficult to eat.
There is less prep time and less clean up involved in a smoothie than there is in a regular meal. For a smoothie you usually throw some food into a blender, blend and drink. Once you are done drinking, you simply wash out your blender and that’s it. Because of how quickly they can be made, smoothies are great for those who have little time to eat. And they can be taken with you in a smoothie bottle. No more skipping meals or making excuses that you didn’t have enough time to cook.
Because they use whole, natural ingredients, smoothies are a healthy food to add to any diet. Most people do not get enough fruits and vegetables in their diets. A good smoothie recipe is packed with fruits and veggies. Green smoothies are especially great at packing a ton of nutrition into a single meal.
Smoothies are generally better for you than processed, packaged gainer shakes and supplement pills or powders. It’s perfectly fine to add supplements, protein powders, gainer powders, etc. into your smoothie. But a good smoothie recipe provides you a whole lot more than a powder ever could. Fresh smoothies also tend to be a lot cheaper than commercial supplements. I often drink a smoothie as a post-workout meal.
It Takes More Than Just Drinking Smoothies
It sure would be nice if all you had to do to gain muscle was add some smoothies to your diet. Unfortunately this is not the case. There are two main factors that go into transforming yourself from skinny-fat/underweight to strong and fit. The first is a healthy diet with a surplus of calories. The second is exercise which will lead to muscle growth instead of fat growth.
– Count Calories
If you are asking yourself “why can’t I gain weight?” then the answer is simple: you are not eating enough calories. That’s all there is to it. You might think you are eating enough calories, but if you are not gaining weight, then you are not eating enough calories. Period.
If you are serious about gaining weight, you must count calories. Get a food scale if you need one, and start figuring out exactly how many calories you are eating every day.
You won’t believe how often I get an email from someone who is adding smoothies to their diet and not gaining any weight. Every single time this happens the person is not counting calories. The reason they are not gaining weight is that they unknowingly are cutting back on calories in their non-smoothie meals. After they added smoothies to their diet they started to eat less other food without realizing it.
Adding smoothies to your diet, while healthy, will not help you gain weight if you are cutting back calories in other meals!
Bookmark the smoothie calculator for a quick way to find out how many calories your new smoothie recipes might have.
– Lift Heavy Things
What happens if you add extra calories to your diet but don’t exercise? You will get fat. Your body naturally wants to turn extra calories into fat. This is an evolutionary feature that helped humans survive when food was scarce. In today’s world food is rarely scarce, so instead of benefiting from this evolutionary feature, many people become obese.
If you want to gain weight without getting fat, you will have to turn those extra calories into muscle. The best way to convince your body to make more muscle cells is to lift heavy things. This is why I am such a strong advocate of weight lifting. Of course there are other forms of exercise that can be good at creating muscle, but weight lifting is the most effective.
Any sort of resistance training is good. This is the kind of exercise where you put stress on your existing muscles in such a way that additional muscle cells are created.
The wrong kind of exercise is aerobic exercise and endurance exercise. This includes things like long distance running, cycling, or swimming. These types of low-impact exercises are great for your heart and good for your health, but they are not ideal for gaining muscle mass. Take a look at the world’s best marathon runners or the winners of the Tour de France. While they are amazing athletes, they are not very muscular.
Aerobic exercise is more likely to help you lose weight than it is for you to build muscle. If you are looking to overcome a skinny-fat body or if you are looking to gain weight, anaerobic exercise is the way to go.
If you don’t know where to start, look at a beginner weightlifting program such as Starting Strength or Ice Cream Fitness. Though just about any fitness program you find online will be good as long as it includes compound lifts like the squat, the deadlift, the bench press and rows or pullups. Don’t overthink choosing a program. Just pick a good one and stick with it. consistency is key when it comes to diet and fitness.
– Other Crucial Factors
Get enough sleep. Sleep is crucial for muscle gain yet often overlooked. Your muscles do not actually grow during the time you spend at the gym. They grow during the time you spend recovering from the gym. That is why so many fitness programs call for taking a day off between gym sessions. That day off is when your muscles regenerate from the strain you put on them at the gym. A huge part of this recovery is proper sleep.
Stay consistent. You need to create a routine for both diet and exercise. It becomes very easy to stop working out or eating right as soon as you stop being consistent. Once you get a routine going you will find that getting out of the house and into the gym becomes second nature.
Eat right. Don’t just eat a ton of food. Eat a ton of healthy food. Make sure you are getting enough protein.
My Weight Gain Story
I used smoothies, weight lifting, and counting calories to transform my body from skinny-fat to strong and muscular.
I was always a skinny child. I was always able to eat as much as I wanted of whatever I wanted and I seemed to never gain any weight. I thought I had a super fast metabolism (though I never counted calories to see how much I was actually eating).
As I grew into an adult little changed. I ate whatever I wanted and as much of it as I wanted and I stayed skinny. I also became a cyclist. I would go on multi day bike tours and ride 100+ mile bike rides on a regular basis. I felt great, and was happy about my fitness levels, though I wasn’t particularly strong. I did not have muscles, but I felt fit.
Then I hit my late 20s. Right around when I turned 28 I remember noticing I was developing a belly for the first time in my life. I thought it was kind of funny at first, just because it was so novel for me. But it wasn’t a good look and no matter what I tried, I seemed to be unable to get rid of my belly fat. It was like someone put a doughnut of fat around my midsection. I had a belly, love handles, and no muscles, and it sucked.
I later learned these were classic causes of a skinny-fat body. Eating lots of carbs, doing endurance exercise, getting older, always being skinny, etc.
I tried eating better, I tried doing more cardio (I took up boxing), but no matter how hard I tried I could not get rid of my belly fat.
Eventually I came across the term ‘skinny-fat’ and started doing research. I read articles, studies and forums and realized that the only thing I could really do is to gain muscle mass. Staying skinny-fat would leave me unattractive, unhealthy, weak, and unhappy.
So, I joined a weight lifting gym, bought Starting Strength, and attempted to eat more food. Weight lifting was pretty intimidating at first, but that was mostly all in my head. No one at the gym really cared what I was doing. I felt embarrassed when I first started bench pressing and was lifting less than a full plate, but I stayed with it and did a linear progression. Soon my lifts were getting stronger and stronger.
But only up to a point. While I was happy with the beginner progress I made, I wasn’t actually gaining much weight and I quickly hit a plateau in how much weight I could lift. I kept going back to the gym and kept trying to increase the weight I was lifting, but I kept failing. I got pretty demotivated and kept trying to figure out why I couldn’t gain weight. I finally realized, that while I thought I was eating a lot of food, I actually wasn’t. It sounds so simple and obvious now, but at the time I was convinced I was eating a huge surplus of calories.
I sat down and started to count calories. I calculated my TDEE and realized because I was so active I needed way more calories than I thought. Previously I assumed most people need a bit over 2000 calories to gain weight. If I ate 2400 or so calories I thought I was going to gain weight without a problem. But putting in my numbers into a TDEE calculator I realized I needed around 2700 calories just to maintain my weight. I was vastly under estimating how many calories I needed to eat at my activity level. Especially since I was going to the gym and riding my bicycle.
I also realized I was not eating nearly as much as I thought I was. Sure I ate big meals, but not as often as I thought. Once I actually started to count calories I realized I didn’t have a calorie surplus and that’s why I wasn’t gaining muscle mass.
That’s when I realized that eating a lot of food can be difficult.
Shocking, isn’t it? For those of us who have always been skinny, it can be difficult to actually eat enough calories to gain weight. Imagine you just ate a big meal and feel totally full, but you know you still need to eat another 500 calories. It actually kind of sucks. Eating when you are full is not fun.
At that point I realized I really need to find an easier way of getting extra calories. I tried a few common diets for weight gain, including drinking a gallon of milk a day (GOMAD) but none of them worked very well. GOMAD in particular made me feel pretty awful. A gallon of milk is not at all a healthy or balanced diet, and I got really gassy and started getting acne. I Tried a few GOMAD alternatives. Some worked better than others, but it was only when I started drinking smoothies on a regular basis that I was happy.
Adding high calorie smoothies to my diet allowed me a quick and easy way to drink a bunch of extra calories. Trust me, drinking extra calories is a lot easier than trying to cram an extra meal into your diet. Unlike GOMAD, smoothies allowed me to balance my diet. I could change the ingredients around whenever I wanted and my calories were not all coming from a single source.
Once I added smoothies to my diet I saw my lifts start to increase and my muscle mass began to slowly grow.
Over time, I was able to create some really great tasting smoothies that had a ton of calories and protein in them. With a bit of experimentation and some calorie counting I figured out how many calories I actually needed to eat (and drink) to gain a steady amount of muscle without gaining a ton of fat.
That’s about the time I started this website. I wanted to share the smoothie recipes that I found to be the most helpful and best tasting in my weight gain journey.
I continue to lift weights and bicycle on a regular basis. Today I drink at least one smoothie every day. When I am cutting my weight and trying to lose some fat (while maintaining muscle mass) I drink low calorie smoothies. I sometimes substitute a smoothie for a meal when I am on a cut. I use smoothies for more than just weight gain. I use them to get the recommended amount of fruits and veggies in my diet.
I also happen to have a sweet tooth and I love using smoothies as a dessert substitute. Instead of ice cream I will drink a smoothie.
I’m not longer skinny-fat and it feels great.
What About GOMAD?
That’s one reason why a lot of people swear by GOMAD (a gallon of milk a day). GOMAD is exactly what it sounds like. You drink a gallon of milk a day along with whatever other food you are eating. It’s an easy way to get a ton of extra calories and protein into your diet. However, drinking that much milk is not very healthy. In general GOMAD alternatives, such as high calorie smoothies, are a much healthier way to add extra calories.
– Smoothies Are Healthier
A smoothie is made up of a variety of whole foods that can include milk. There is nothing wrong with drinking a bit of milk. But a gallon of milk a day is over doing it. A diet is never going to be healthy if the majority of your calories come from a single food source.
I grew up seeing milk commercials on TV telling me that milk will make my bones strong. There is no evidence that more than a glass of milk is ever needed for healthy bones. As long as you get enough calcium in your diet, then there is no reason to drink milk.
Milk has its own health risks. This ranges from serious risks such as increasing the risk of prostate cancer to less serious health effects such as causing acne.
While a gallon of milk a day is a good way to get a ton of calories, it is far from the healthiest way to do so.
– Smoothies Are Just As Effective For Weight Gain
Weight gain is all about calories in versus calories out. You can get just as many calories from smoothies as you can from milk. In fact, depending on what ingredients you use, smoothies can be made to be more calorie rich than milk.
And like milk, with smoothies you are drinking you calories, making them easier to consume.
– You Can Still Add Milk To Smoothies
If you really love being on a GOMAD diet, go for it, but remember you can always add milk to smoothies. Instead of doing a full gallon, try drinking half a gallon of milk a day and getting the rest of your calories from whole foods that you add to milk-based smoothies.
Won’t I Get Fat From All These Smoothies?
Not if you count calories and exercise. If you are drinking a ton of extra calories and not getting and exercise, than your body will turn all those calories into fat. That is why you need to do resistance exercises such as weight lifting along with increasing your calories.
You also need to count your calories. That way you can ensure that you are not eating too little or too much. A surplus of 500 calories every day will lead to about a pound of weight gain a week. A pound a week is a manageable and healthy amount and men should be able to easily turn that into a pound of muscle at the gym.
Information About Gaining Weight For Women
Women can have an especially hard time trying to gain weight. A lot of people do not understand why anyone would want to gain weight, and that is doubly true for women. But underweight or skinny-fat women have just as much reason to gain weight as men do.
The most common worry for women who are thinking about gaining weight is that they will suddenly look like a body builder. That’s just not true. It takes bodybuilders years of hard work and dedication to get to where they are and it is insulting to think that you will be able to reach the same level of muscle by eating some extra calories and going to the gym for a bit. You do not get a bodybuilder body without years of hard work. The idea that your body will become that of a bodybuilder is just as ridiculous as me thinking that if I start jogging two times a week I will become a world class marathon runner.
Every reason that men have for wanting to get stronger and healthier is equally valid for women. A strong, healthy woman is going to feel better and be more attractive.
Because there are biological differences between men and women, I recommend that women go a but slower than men when it comes to gaining weight. While men can usually gain a pound of muscle mass a week, a woman will often have trouble doing so. Instead women should start with a goal of 0.5 pounds of muscle mass gain a week and adjust if needed. (That’s also why I would tell women to avoid GOMAD).