I considered myself a “hard gainer” for the longest time, meaning that it was difficult for me to put on weight. I always fluctuated between 145lbs and 150lbs which wasn’t bad considering that I’m 5’6″, so I didn’t look too slim. But I always wanted to get bigger.
It wasn’t until my brother taught me how to eat to gain that I was able to put on weight. I was around 21 years old and ready to go. It wasn’t an easy feat, especially because I wasn’t vegan when I first started training like a body builder. Every 3 hours or so I’d stuff my face with shakes, plain spaghetti, white rice, dry boiled chicken or a ton of pancakes (this eventually led to me being called “Pancake Man” at work). I would regularly eat 1/2lb to 1lb of pasta each day in addition to my other foods.
Initially, I made some crucial mistakes that led to me getting food poisoning…3 times. Note: DO NOT EAT overcooked pasta or undercooked rice just because you’re in a rush. The first time I made that mistake, I was sick as hell and told my brother that I didn’t think I could do it anymore. I felt like it wasn’t worth the weight (hehe). But as soon as I felt better, I was ready to get back to it…I was addicted to the process. Over the course of a summer I was able to gain a solid 20lbs.
I always thought that it was pretty crazy that I was able to go from 150lbs to 170lbs in 3 months. And whenever I would tell someone about this, they would be equally amazed. Over the past few years, I have changed my weight to reflect that of my fitness interests. Dropping weight to focus on running, boxing and plyometrics and gaining to focus on bodybuilding and powerlifting…all while vegan.
So how did I put on 10lbs in 9 days going from 157lbs to 167lbs? It was pretty simple actually. I don’t count macros, I just know how my body reacts to certain types of foods and I eat like a beast. So here was my unconventional formula: eat 4-5 times a day with only 1-2 of those meals being cooked solid food. Smoothies, smoothies, smoothies. Smoothies allow you to cram a bunch of food into one meal so it’s ideal. I would typically have a shake before working out.
Here’s what a regular day of eating looked like for me:
Shake: 1 cup water, 1-2 tbsp Spirulina, 5g BCAAs
Smoothie 1: 1 cup oats, 3 frozen ripe bananas, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1-2 cups almond milk, 1-2 tbsp chia seeds.
Meal 1: 1 cup brown rice, 1 160z can black or red kidney beans.
Smoothie 2: 3 frozen ripe bananas 1 15oz can beets, 1-2 cups water or almond milk
Smoothie 3: 4 frozen ripe bananas, 1-2 cups almond milk, 2 tbsp peanut butter
Meal 2: 1 cup brown rice, 1 16oz can black or red kidney beans.
Night Snack: Cake – 4 Bananas, 3-4 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp chia seeds.
This was pretty regular for me with the exception of my night snack, which I couldn’t do if all my bananas were frozen. But I would sometimes have snacks in between and incorporate bars like Planet Protein. Some days I slacked on my eating and it reflected on the scale the next day, but I got back to it.
Tips: If you’re eating like this, TRAIN HARD. You will get a little fluffy as I did. Moderate intensity fasted cardio or intermittent fasting will help you (if you’re intermittent fasting, you’ll have to cram your meals into a shorter period of time FYI, so it may not be ideal if you’re not used to eating this much).
This is just my recent formula, which changes all the time depending on how I feel. Remember to drink lots of water and do your own research. Your body is your responsibility, so educate yourself. Hope this helps.
Free Bird, Berto