As a skinny person, it may sound appealing to go on a weight gain crash course to pack mass onto a scrawny frame. But you need to do it properly to minimize the effects of what is generally considered to be an unhealthy rate of weight gain. This post explains how and why it’s possible to gain 10 pounds (5kg) in a month.
Generally speaking, a person can gain 10 pounds in a month by eating an extreme calorie surplus. Approximately 1170 excess calories need to be consumed every day for 4 weeks. For the average skinny person, this equates to 3000-3700 total calories each day, inclusive of maintenance calories.
I use to be a skinny guy myself, so trust me I resonate with your desire to gain weight fast.
I’ve not personally gained 10lbs in 1 month, but I do have almost 5 years of bulking experience.
This is how I would do it, based on personal experience, scientific research, and analyzing case studies.
- Is It Possible To Gain 10 Pounds In A Month?
- How To Gain 10 Pounds In A Month
- Establishing Total Calories Required To Gain 10 Pounds In A Month
- Macronutrient Profile To Gain 10 Pounds In A Month
- Best Foods To Gain Weight Fast
- Liquid Calories Help You Gain Weight Hassle-Free
- Strength Training To Maximize Muscle Gains
- Progress Tracking When Trying To Gain 10 Pounds In A Month
- What’s A Realistic Amount Of Weight To Gain In A Month On A Bulk?
Is It Possible To Gain 10 Pounds In A Month?
Most people can gain 10 pounds (5kg) total body weight in a month. It requires an individual to consume approximately 1000 surplus calories every day for 4 weeks. The excess calories are mainly stored as body fat and this causes the person to put on weight.
Note, that’s 1000 “surplus calories“.
In other words, you should be eating around 1000 calories more than the calories needed by your body to sustain its current weight (also known as maintenance calories).
Weight gain is a fairly simple process when you strip it down to its fundamentals:
“Eating more calories than your body burns will cause you to gain weight, since all those extra calories need to be stored somewhere right?”Kalam Tang, Kalibre Fitness, B.S, M.S
So now the question becomes:
“Realistically, can you really eat enough calories to be able to gain 10lbs in 1 month?”
From 10 total responses, 100% of Redditors agreed that it’s completely possible to gain 10lbs in as little as 4 weeks (1 month).
Furthermore, here’s how Encrypted Whisper from Reddit gained 10lbs in 4 weeks by eating 3300 calories every day:
Additionally, a scientific study found that male test subjects could gain up to 6 pounds in 20 days when overeating on 1000 surplus calories every day. This is the equivalent of gaining just under 10lbs (5kg) in 30 days.
Point to drive home?
The case studies and research suggest it’s completely possible to gain 10 pounds in a month!
How To Gain 10 Pounds In A Month
How Dylan Fitness recommends you to gain 10lbs (5kg) in 4 weeks.
Here’s the Kalibre Fitness 7-step protocol you can follow to gain 10 pounds fast:
- Determine daily maintenance calories. This is the minium amount of calories your body needs to maintain it’s current weight. Surplus calories should be consumed on top of maintenance calories to gain weight. You can find your personal maintenance calories on TDEE calculator here.
- Establish total daily calories for a dirty bulk. Dirty bulking is the process of overeating crazy calories (usually more than +20% of maintenance). You’ll need to do this in order to gain 10 pounds in a month. Your total required calories is simply [maintenance calories + calorie surplus].
- Choose the right macronutrient profile. Binging on junk and processed fast foods is good for rapid weight gain, but most of the weight you put on will be from unhealthy body fat. Instead, go for the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats (aka macronutrients) to maximise the likelihood of gaining healthy lean muscle mass.
- Identify a list of calorie-dense foods. These are foods which provide a high nutrient content in a low volume of food. Think fatty and sugary foods. Calorie-dense foods are crucial for a sucessful dirty bulk. Focusing on these foods will help you to consume more calories without feeling overwhlemingly bloated throughout the day.
- Plan 4+ meals per day to reach nutrient targets. Have you tried eating 2000+ calories in one large meal? It’s bloody difficult! Spread your calorie intake over 4 or more smaller meals to make things more manageable.
- Consider strength training to promote healthy weight gain. Gaining 10lbs in 1 month is considered a rapid rate of weight gain. As such, most of it will be from unhelathy body fat. But doing resistance training will help you to build some healthy muscle on the side.
- Track your weight gain progress. As a beginner, you may find yourself gaining too much or too little weight. Keep a record of your weekly weight gain, fat gain, and a food journal that logs all your calories and macronutrients. Doing this will help you to troubleshoot any issues you have.
Next, I’ll go into these steps in more detail.
Establishing Total Calories Required To Gain 10 Pounds In A Month
The average skinny person training 3 times a week needs to eat between 3000 to 3700 calories per day to gain 10 pounds (5kg) in a month. The exact calories required are dependent on maintenance calories which is influenced by gender, current body weight, body composition, and activity level.
And here’s the math behind 3000-3700 total calories per day:
Studies have proposed that 3500 surplus calories are required to gain a pound of body weight. So 35,000 calories are required to gain 10 pounds of body weight.
This equates to just under 1170 surplus calories per day for 30 days (1170 x 30 = 35100).
Next, you need to add your maintenance calories.
Maintenance calories are generally around 1800-2500 depending on your gender and activity level.
Skinny women will have maintenance calories closer to 1800 whilst skinny men will be closer to 2500 calories. We are assuming both genders are also training 3 times per week for healthy muscle weight gain.
Of course, using the TDEE calculator is the best way to determine your exact maintenance calories.
When you add the surplus calories to maintenance calories, you get a ballpark requirement of around 3000 to 3700 total calories per day for 30 days to gain 10 pounds in 1 month.
You might also be interested in my other article to find out how you can gain 10 pounds (5kg) in a month with a fast metabolism.
Macronutrient Profile To Gain 10 Pounds In A Month
A macronutrient intake of 20% protein, 30% fat, and 50% carbohydrates is recommended to gain 10 pounds (5kg) in a month. Protein and carbohydrates are beneficial for healthy muscle gain, whilst fats are a great source of calories for overall weight gain.
This 2017 review suggests a slightly different macronutrient intake of 15% protein, 35% fat, and 50% carbohydrate.
But from my experience, sacrificing some fat for extra protein is a good idea to promote healthy lean muscle gains as much as possible.
In support of this, the same review also proposes that:
“Dietary protein has a protective effect against unhealthy fat accumulation during a calorie surplus, especially when combined with resistance training.”Leaf et Al. 2017.
A gram of fat contains 9 calories, whilst a gram of protein/carbohydrate contains 4 calories.
Taken together, here’s how many macronutrients you would need if your daily goal is to consume 3500 calories (as an example):
|Macronutrient||Recommended % Of Total Calories||Calorie Content||Total Daily Grams|
The same calculations can be applied according to your specific calorie requirements.
Now, eating this much food can be difficult.
Next, I’ll share a list of calorie-dense foods that will help you reach your daily nutrient targets without being too full and bloated.
Best Foods To Gain Weight Fast
Calorie-dense ingredients are the best foods to eat to gain weight fast. They have a relatively high-calorie content in a low volume of food, making them perfect for reaching high-calorie targets. Calorie-dense foods are typically high in fats, sugars, complex carbs, or a combination of all three.
Here are my favorite calorie-dense ingredients:
|Bulking Food||Typical Calories / 100g||Typical Protein / 100g||Typical Fats / 100g||Typical Carbs / 100g|
|Ribeye or chuck steak||300 cal||29g||21g||0g|
|Chicken thighs||210 cal||31g||10g||0g|
|Ground meat||330 cal||15g||30g||0g|
|Whole Large Eggs (single)||120 cal||10g||9g||1g|
|Salmon and mackerel||200 cal||22g||12g||0g|
|Soy and cow milk (100ml)||40cal||3g||1g||5g|
|Kidney beans||330 cal||24g||1g||60g|
|Peanut butter||590 cal||25g||50g||20g|
|Whole grains like oats||350 cal||12g||5g||65g|
|Whey Powder (1 serving)||150 cal||25g||2g||2g|
|Mass Gainer Powder ( 1 serving)||1000 cal||50g||20g||30g|
If you’re intent on the fastest possible rate of weight gain regardless of how much fat you put on, then you may be interested in my other post which explains why it is possible to gain 10 pounds in a week
Liquid Calories Help You Gain Weight Hassle-Free
One of the best things a beginner can do to gain weight fast is to combine these calorie-dense ingredients to make a weight-gainer smoother.
Not only do they taste delicious, but they’re also packed with calories and are also fast-digesting (meaning they don’t sit in your stomach for as long as a heavy meal).
Trust me, it’s much easier to down a 1000 calorie shake than it is to eat a 1000 calorie meal…
I use the Cleanblend commercial blender (you can find the cheapest price here) to combine the following ingredients:
- 200-400ml milk. Use cow milk or soy milk. They are both nutritonally similar and great for bulking.
- 1-2 scoops of MyProtein Impact Whey. It may not have the highest protein content on the market, but it offers the best value for money in my experience. The thin consistency is also great for smoothies. Plant-eaters can go for the MyVegan Pea Protein instead. It doesn’t taste as nice as the Impact Whey in my opinion, but this is barely noticeable when blended with other ingredients.
- Choice of carbs and fats. My personal favourites are 150g of oats, bananas, honey, peanut butter, and olive oil (don’t worry you won’t be able to taste it in a shake).
- Ice cream or cocunut milk (optional). Not that healthy, but tastes delicious and packed with calories.
A healthy smoothie that’s rich in calories and has a balanced profile of protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and simple sugars.
If you don’t have time to blend shakes every day, you can just go for a weight gainer powder like this Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass (find the reviews here).
It’s a bit pricey at $3 per serving and a 12lb bag will only last you around 2 weeks max, but you can’t beat it for convenience.
A single serving will give you 1250 calories. That’s almost half of your calorie requirements for the day. Now all you have to do is eat 3 to 4 normal-sized meals and you’re well on your way to gaining 10lbs in a month!
Strength Training To Maximize Muscle Gains
Undertaking a 1-month strength program can help you to increase healthy lean mass gains over unhealthy fat gains.
Just realize that most people can only gain around 2lbs of muscle (max) per month.
So you’ll have to just accept the fact that around 80% of your weight gain will be from body fat if you’re trying to gain 10lbs (5kg) in 1 month, no matter how hard you train.
The choice is yours though.
If you decide to work out, then go for resistance training.
Focus on the 5 big compound lifts:
- Bench press.
- Shoulder press.
Do 3 full-body workouts a week.
In each workout, do 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions for each exercise (with a 2-minute rest between sets).
Use a weight that challenges you for those 8-12 reps.
Make sure you add around 400 extra calories to your daily target to account for the energy burned during workouts.
Barbells are ideal if you have a gym membership.
But adjustable dumbbells like these Powerblock Elites (find the cheapest price here) also work great for beginners-intermediates to build muscle at home.
They’re a bit pricey though.
Resistance bands like these Undersun’s offer the most cost-effective and convenient way to gain muscle at home. Just make sure you get a pair of cheap gloves to protect your hands from friction burn.
Unsure what 10lbs of muscle looks like? You can check out my other post which explains if gaining 10 pounds (5kg) is a lot.
Progress Tracking When Trying To Gain 10 Pounds In A Month
Tracking and monitoring weight gain progress is important when trying to put on weight. Good recording practices will ensure weight gain is successfully achieved. It will also minimize the risk that excess weight and fat are inadvertently gained during the bulking process.
A set of digital scales which display pounds to 1 decimal place is the most accurate way to measure weight gain.
I use the FitIndex body scale, but any cheap one will do.
Record your weekly average by weighing yourself every morning after you’ve gone to the toilet. Measuring in the evening is not recommended as your body will be full of undigested food and water weight.
Now you can take a 7-day average at the end of each week (7-day total weight divided by 7).
Aim to increase body weight by 2.5lbs (1.25kg) per week to gain 10 pounds in 4 weeks.
This is optional- but you can also get calipers from Amazon like this Light Stuff skinfold caliper.
The results are obviously nowhere near as accurate as a DEXA scan, but they’re cheap and allow you to keep a ballpark record of your body fat gains.
Aim to keep the rate of body fat percentage gains to less than a 2% increase per week.
What’s A Realistic Amount Of Weight To Gain In A Month On A Bulk?
A realistic amount of healthy weight to gain in a month-long bulk is up to 5 pounds (2.5kg). This accounts for a maximum muscle gain rate in beginners of 0.5 to 1 pounds per week. Additional weight will likely be excess body fat which is generally considered to be unhealthy.
Whilst it’s completely possible to gain 10 pounds in as little as 4 weeks, it’s by no means healthy.
As I previously mentioned, around 80% or more of the weight gained will be from body fat.
That’s because 10lbs in 4 weeks is considered to be a rapid rate of weight gain.
And any fast weight gain program will invariably lead to a lot of excess body fat.
For a more sustainable approach to bulking up, you can check out my other article for essential tips to put on 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle fast.
I’ve explained why and how it’s possible to gain 10 pounds (5kg) body weight in 1 month.
You’ll need to eat 1170 surplus calories per day for 4 weeks.
For most people, this equates to around 3000-3700 total calories per day (depending on your maintenance calories).
Eating calorie-dense foods and liquid shakes will help you reach your targets.
It’s also recommended to perform strength training on the side to promote as much healthy weight gain as possible, since gaining 10lbs in a month is considered to be a rapid rate of weight gain and generally not that healthy.
Just be sure that if you do, you should also add around 400 extra calories to training days. This accounts for the energy burned during your workout and ensures you remain in a caloric surplus.
Will you be trying to gain 10lbs in 4 weeks?
Let me know in the comments!
You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition I used to go from skinny to ripped!
Thanks for reading guys!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)