Bulking Diet for Skinny Guys

In this blog post you’re going to get a proven bulk up diet plan that really works!

Bulking up and gaining muscular bodyweight is actually very simple. But most guys over think things and make the process more complicated than it needs to be.

The main reason for this is because we have so much information coming at us these days. With a few clicks of a mouse you can have access to thousands of websites, videos, and social media fitness gurus all telling you the “Best” program to follow.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of good quality bodybuilding information online. But there is also a lot of BS, hype, and folks who think they know more than they actually do.

Lee Hayward’s Before & After “Bulk Up” Transformation…
Lee Hayward's Before & After Bulk Up Transformation

I feel fortunate that I started my bodybuilding journey back in 1990 before the days of the Internet. This allowed me time to study and apply training and nutrition information at a much more manageable pace. Not only that, but the quality of information that was available back then was generally better because it had to came from a reputable source, not just any Joe Blow with Internet access.

The ironic thing that you’ll discover these days when searching for bodybuilding information online is that very often those who “talk the most, know the least”.

internet bodybuilding xpert

Social media outlets are flooded with eager young lifters who just started working out and are full of piss and vinegar.

They’ll jump in and shoot their mouth off (or type their fingers off) telling you everything they know based on their few months in the gym. While bitching and complaining about how wrong everyone else is that contradicts their narrow minded point of view.

The biggest challenge that you have when searching online is not finding information, because there is LOTS of it out there. But you have to determine if the source of the information you’re reading is credible or not.

In this blog post we’re going to get back to the basics with a tried and true approach to bulking up and gaining muscular bodyweight. What you’re going to get here isn’t fancy, nor is it overly complicated… But It Works!

Bulking Up 101 – Eating Big To Get Big…

In order to bulk up and gain muscular bodyweight you need to be in a caloric surplus. Now that simply means you have to consume more calories than you burn off over the course of the day. This will provide you with extra calories in your system for building new muscle tissue.

The rule of calories in vs calories out applies regardless of what type of diet plan you follow. No matter if you are following a 6 meals per day bodybuilding diet, IIFYM, Intermittent Fasting, High Carb, High Fat, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, or whatever the latest diet trend happens to be by the time you read this… It still comes down to your overall calorie and nutrient intake.

There are many different calorie calculator formulas you can use to determine your caloric needs. Many of them go into detail by taking into account your age, sex, height, weight, lean body mass, body fat percentage, lifestyle, and activity level.

But the “Quick & Easy” way to get a really good estimate of your caloric needs is to simply multiply your bodyweight by the following numbers based on your fitness goal.

Calorie Calculator Formula:

  • For Fat Loss = eat 12 calories per pound of bodyweight per day.
  • For Maintenance = eat 16 calories per pound of bodyweight per day.
  • For Weight Gain = eat 20 calories per pound of bodyweight per day.

This is the easiest way to estimate caloric needs. Now there are some obvious drawbacks to this method because it doesn’t take into account your activity levels or body composition. This formula may overestimate the caloric needs for someone who is obese and looking to trim down. However, for the majority of hard gainers who are looking to bulk up and gain weight, this simple calorie formula works very well.

To give you an example with some real numbers.
If a 150 pound man wants to bulk up, he should eat 3,000 calories per day.
(150 x 20 = 3000)

Macro-Nutrients – Protein, Carbs, & Fat…

Now that we know how many calories to eat, we need to divide those calories into the proper ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. It’s a good idea to try and maintain a fairly equal balance between the 3 macro-nutrients. But when bulking it’s ok to tip the ratios in favour of consuming a higher number of carbs.

Macro-Nutrient Split for Muscle Gain:

  • 30% protein
  • 40% carbohydrates
  • 30% fat

Every gram of protein contains 4 calories per gram.
Every gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories per gram.
Every gram of fat contains 9 calories per gram.

In order to get the proper macro-nutrient split for a 3,000 calorie per day bulking diet you’ll need to eat the following:

225 grams of protein
300 grams of carbohydrate
100 grams of fat

Now that we have the basic numbers calculated out, let’s see what that actually looks like with real food.

Sample 3,000 Calorie Bulk Up Diet Plan…

    Protein Carbs Fat
8 egg whites (1 cup liquid egg whites)   25 1 0
2 whole eggs   12 1 10
bowl of oatmeal (1 cup dry measure)   10 55 5
1 scoop protein powder mixed in water   24 3 1
Piece of fruit (apple, banana, orange, etc.)   1 30 1
1 ounce of raw almonds   6 6 14
4 oz. of lean meat (i.e. chicken, beef, fish, etc.)   30 0 10
Large garden salad with dressing   3 20 15
8 ounces of potato or sweet potato   5 48 0
1 scoop protein powder mixed in water   24 3 1
Piece of fruit (apple, banana, orange, etc.)   1 30 1
1 ounce of raw almonds   6 6 14
4 oz. of lean meat (i.e. chicken, beef, fish, etc.)   30 0 10
1 & 1/2 cups of cooked rice   7 65 1
2 cups of steamed mixed veggies   2 20 0
1 cup cottage cheese   30 8 4
2 spoonfuls of natural peanut butter   8 6 16
Total Macro-Nutrients:   224 302 103
Total Calories: 3,031        

This sample bulking diet plan is for a 150 pound man. Obviously you can adjust the food volume and portion sizes up or down based on your individual calorie and macro-nutrient needs.

Monitoring Your Progress & Adjusting Your Program…

A good rule of thumb to follow when bulking up is to strive to gain 1 pound of bodyweight per week. Now realize that it’s not always going to happen consistently every week. Some weeks you may gain more weight, other weeks you may gain less weight, but over the long term you should average close to a 1 pound per week weight gain. This is a realistic and safe bulking goal that is attainable for most people.

While you are following your bulking program you’ll need to monitor your progress and adjust your diet and training routine accordingly based on your actual results. If you are not gaining any weight, just increase your caloric intake by 500 calories per day. And vice versa, if you find that you’re gaining weight too fast and putting on excess bodyfat, just reduce your caloric intake by 500 per day. But give your body time to adjust to your new bulking diet plan before making any changes. I recommend that you follow a set calorie and macro-nutrient intake for at least 2 weeks to see how your body responds before increasing or decreasing your calorie intake.

If you’d like to get a complete mass building bulk up program, than you should download a copy of “Old School Bulking 101”.

Old School Bulking 101 Free Bodybuilding Program

“Old School Bulking 101” is a FREE 52 Page PDF Report that covers some of the best old school bodybuilding training & nutrition techniques that have been proven to work time and time again. You’ll learn how the Old School Bodybuilders trained and ate to build their classic muscular physiques!

You can download a copy of “Old School Bulking 101” FREE of charge.
Just fill out the download form below and let me know where to send it…

About The Author


Lee Hayward is a former competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online coaching people since 1997. His work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. If you're ready to "Start Again" for the last time and finally build a lean healthy body that you can be proud of, just e-mail Lee to discuss a realistic action plan that's right for you... lee@leehayward.com


  • When it comes to bulking one of the biggest problems that most guys experience is that they gain a lot of the weight right around the belly. Maybe you’ve experienced this problem yourself. If you have this problem, check out my blog post about how to keep your waist small while bulking at: https://leehayward.com/blog/how-to-keep-your-waist-small-while-bulking-up

  • Trey

    I have long been doing in the gym, but still can not get a good muscle mass. Now I weigh 85 kg, my height is 190 cm.
    And now my questions:
    What exercises are better for weight sets?
    What drugs are best used for the first cycle?
    Where better to order products? I have seen many sites, like isteroids or thepharmacom.com. Аs they are safe and reliable?
    Thank you, guys

  • Joseph Gregorio

    Great post Lee!

    The simplicity involved in the nutrition department of bulking is definitely the key as you quite rightly point out with a lot of people trying to over complicate things.

    Keep up the great work. Really appreciate your 2 cents on this.

  • Rodney

    what if your an ectomorph, does this same ratio still apply
    apply. 180lb x 20= 3600.. but i mean what if your active. to me it would seem that you would need more than 3600 calories. how do you calculate that.


    • Start with 20 calories per pound of bodyweight and follow that for at least a few weeks to see how your body responds. If after a few weeks you haven’t gained any weight, then you can always increase your caloric intake. And vice versa, if you find that you’re gaining too much bodyfat, you can always reduce your caloric intake until you find the right balance for your body.

  • Robert d'souza

    Great post sir! your tricks for building muscles is awesome and 100% working. everyone should follow these tricks in their daily routine. Protein supplements are best for building muscles.

  • Good post, but long story short – eat more calories than you burn.

  • Harriet Buttigieg

    Hey! How would you work this for women? Love the post though – thank you!

    • The same basic principles would work the same for a woman as it does for a man. Both men and women have the same nutritional needs for building muscle, the only changes you’d need to make is adjust the portion sizes according to your bodyweight.

  • Captain Charisma Charles Evans

    Hey just a question been lifting now for over 50 years Ive done breathing squats program a few times but was thinking would it be better to do the B squats with a 10X10 or a 5×5 range set using a one body part 3 days a week for muscle mass gain. Ive never tried the B squats with the 10×10 workout what do you think have you ever tried these two mixed?

    • 10 x 10 squats is brutal, I’ve done it a few times, just to see if I could do it. But I’d never be able to follow such a routine as a regular part of my workouts. It’s just too hard for me. 5 x 5 is a lot more realistic and practical.

  • zee

    As it stated, the additional calories taken often end up in belly fats. The trick I guess is to level it up with the exercise. Anyways nice post, will be referring to it in the coming days.