There are many details you should pay attention to when planning a muscle gaining diet, but without a doubt the amount of calories consumed is the main detail. Not being able to consume enough calories, your gains will be fatally sabotaged.
For some people, with big enough appetite or with lower caloric needs, consuming the required amount of calories will not be a big problem, but for others this is the nightmare that goes round the diet.
If you follow a diet aimed at hypertrophy, but you have trouble eating enough simply because you do not feel hungry, here are four tips to help you in this fight:
Change the frequency of meals
As long as you are able to eat enough macronutrients and calories per day, the frequency you choose is a personal matter. From an “anabolic” perspective, it will not make any difference how many meals you eat.
And if lack of appetite is a problem for you, try changing your current meal frequency to try to increase appetite between one meal and another.
Everyone is different. While some people get enough calories several times a day, some people just feel full and need to make more space between meals. Try different approaches and find out which one works best for you.
Eat calorically dense foods
If you lack appetite, good luck in consuming 3000 calories from chicken breast and sweet potatoes. While consuming protein and good quality carbohydrates are certainly important, this is useless if you can not consume the amount of calories needed for the day. In this case, a great “workaround” is to include calorically dense foods between meals (or with them).
There are numerous ways to do this:
– Eat a handful of dried fruit or nuts between meals
– Have a glass of whole milk in place of the juice along with the meals
– Throw some extra virgin olive oil into your protein shake (you will not even notice)
– Mix raisins along with rice
Well, you get the idea.
Stop trying to eat clean 24 hours a day
Including a discrete amount of calories coming from crap will not destroy your results if the basis of the diet is solid. Doing this can be a very useful tool to reach the daily calories without getting sick and start vomiting.
Most extremists may think that this is not consistent with the “hardcore” philosophy that one should be able to follow a clean and salt-free diet to the letter. I say this is simply useless for those that don’t train to compete or those that can’t get the right amount of daily calories in the first place.
Make good use of shakes
What do you find easier: eating 200g of chicken breast, 200g of sweet potatoes and broccoli or 2 scoops of whey protein, oatmeal, milk and a banana in the blender?
While shakes will never replace the nutritional value of real food, they are extremely efficient at delivering calories quickly and effortlessly. Make good use of shakes at times when you have difficulty consuming food or use them between meals.