Why Am I Not Getting Any Bigger?

“Hey Lee,
I go to the gym regularly and I workout hard, but for some reason I am not getting any bigger… WHY ???”

I get asked this question A LOT by skinny guys who are desperately trying to put some solid muscle mass on their bones. And very often the reason for their lack of results is NOT with the workout program they are following, but rather what’s fueling their workouts.

What you eat is one of the most critical aspects of gaining muscular bodyweight. You can have your weight training routine down pat, but if your diet doesn’t meet your nutritional needs you will NOT get bigger, regardless of how hard you train in the gym.

Most people who call themselves “hard gainers” are usually just under eaters. A lot of folks will skip breakfast, have a small lunch or snack during the day, then pig out and stuff themselves at dinner and say “I Eat A LOT…”

But in order to gain size you need to provide your body with a surplus of calories and nutrients from which to grow from.

There are many different formulas you can use to determine how many calories you need to eat each day. But the quickest and easiest way to guesstimate how much you should be eating is to simply take your total current body weight and multiply it by the following:

  • For Fat loss = eat 12 calories per pound of bodyweight
  • For Maintenance = eat 15 calories per pound of bodyweight
  • For Muscle Gain = eat 20 calories per pound of bodyweight

This is a very easy way to estimate caloric needs. Even though this method is not perfect, it’s good enough to get you started in the right direction. These calorie guidelines will put you in the ballpark and from there you can adjust your caloric intake up or down as needed based on your actual progress.

Traditional bodybuilding diets recommend eating small frequent meals every 2-3 hours throughout the day. And one of the easiest ways to go about this is to consume your 3 main meals per day (i.e. breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and then have a high protein snack (such as a protein shake or protein bar) in between each meal to help increase your eating frequency and caloric intake.

Now I know that there is a lot of controversy online over whether or not you really need to eat 6 meals per day. And it really depends on your individual fitness goals. For cutting calories and losing weight it’s easier to reduce your calories by simply eating fewer meals per day. But when your goal is to increase your calories and bulk up you should be eating more frequently. When you divide your food up over multiple meals it’s easier on your digestive system and easier on your stomach, rather than trying to stuff more calories into fewer meals.

Protein Carbs and Fat

A good macro-nutrient break down for gaining muscular bodyweight is:
– 30% protein
– 40% carbohydrates
– and 30% fat.

This balanced diet will give you lots of protein which is the raw material needed for muscle growth, plenty of carbohydrates for energy and muscle glycogen, and adequate fat intake for optimal hormone production.

Below you’ll see a sample Bulk Up Diet Plan for a 175 pound man (3,500 Calorie Per Day Diet). You can use this as a template for your own bulking diet. Just adjust the food portions up or down in order to meet your desired calorie and macro-nutrient intake.

If you would like some help with planning your bulk up diet, I can make you a Customized Diet Program specific for your body type and and fitness goals.

Bulk Up Meal Plan

You can calculate the total number of calories consumed based on the macro-nutrients. Every gram of protein has 4 calories. Every gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories. Every gram of fat has 9 calories.

With this sample diet plan you’ll notice how the meals are split up over the course of the day. I like to stick to the traditional 3 main meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – with a high protein snack added in between each meal. For a total of 6 feedings per day.

This approach works really well for skinny guys who are trying to gain muscular bodyweight. This sample 3,500 calorie bulking diet plan is just an example to go by. Feel free to adjust the food volume and portion sizes up or down based on your individual calorie and macro-nutrient needs.

If you would like for me to personally design you a Customized Diet Program, just click the link below for more information…

Customized Diet & Training Programhttps://www.leehayward.com/blog/customized-programs

Practical Meal Prep Tips…

Many of the coaching students that I work with usually already have a good idea of how they “should be” eating. But their main excuse is they don’t have the time to eat properly. So below I’ve outlined a few time saving eating tips that you can use to help make eating a healthy muscle building diet simple and easy.

When you cook your food, cook up large quantities so you’ll have left overs. This saves time and makes it easier to have quick nutritious meals on hand. I’ll often grill several steaks at a time, cook several chicken breasts at a time, bake several potatoes at a time, cook up a large pot of rice, etc.

A George Foreman grill (or similar type of grill) is awesome for fast cooking. Because you are cooking food from the top and the bottom the cooking time is literally cut in half!

A frozen chicken breast can be cooked and ready to eat in just 10 minutes. While you are eating your breakfast each morning you could have your chicken breasts cooked on the grill for meals later in the day.

Potatoes, yams, etc. can be cooked within 10 minutes in the microwave.

Bags of pre-made salad, spinach, bags of chopped frozen veggies, etc. are a quick way to add healthy veggies to your diet. Fresh fruit like bananas, apples, oranges, etc. are easy to pack with lunches.

An easy to make breakfast favorite of mine; is to cook up some instant oatmeal, stir in a couple scoops of vanilla protein powder, add some apple sauce, top with a dash of cinnamon and Presto! You’ll have yourself a tasty nutritious breakfast ready to eat in about 5 minutes.

A fast and healthy lunch would be to pack a grilled chicken breast and baked potatoe in a small Tupperware container. Toss in some pre-washed salad veggies, take a piece of fruit, and you’re all set.

Most people usually do not have much of a problem eating well for dinner as this is typically the biggest meal of the day for the average person. Just make sure to have generous portions of protein foods like beef, chicken, turkey, fish, etc. Wholesome complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, yams, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, etc. And also include some green veggies like a garden salad, steamed, or stir fried veggies.

For in between meal snacks and times when you can’t sit down to the table for a formal meal you can still keep a steady supply of protein and nutrients in your system with quick foods like; protein / meal replacement bars, protein / meal replacement drinks, beef jerky, mixed nuts, fresh fruit, cottage cheese, etc.

Now while these tips here can certainly help put you on the right track to building the big athletic muscular physique that you desire, there is still a lot more that goes into proper muscle building nutrition.

So if you would like to get your very own customized muscle building meal plan, one that’s tailor made to your exact nutritional needs and body type, then you should Sign Up for a Customized Diet and Training Program. I will design a customized program just for you for to help you build a lean muscular physique.

Click Here to start your very own “Before” and “After” Physique Transformation!


What’s One Thing All These People Have In Common?

They all followed a customized diet and training program from Lee Hayward!

Lee Hayward's Customized Diet Programs

Start Your Physique Transformation Today!

Click Here For More Info About Lee’s Coaching Programs…

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


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  • Carvalho

    Hey Lee. I’m from Mozambique. I have “chicken legs” and during my workout I have tried to put more effort on this part of my body. unfortunately I can’t see any results. Please, tell me what do I have to do in order to reverse this situation.

  • jolly jim


    I have got into running with a weighted backpack, only about 20kg, this was in view of increasing my fat loss (which it did in a very effective way) but it has in just two week serioulsy increased my calf and ham strength.
    I got the idea from some SAS training guide and thought I would give it a bash, they train their legs up a lot from running with a backpack I gather as well as squats etc…it does seriously get your legs.

    Just don’t overload your backpack if you do try it as it is supprisinly hard, if you fall over with a heavy one you may find yourself in a sticky position!!!!

  • Robert

    Hey Coach, I have a question about creatine. Can you take to much and if so will it harm you? Also I’ve heard that your calves and forearms need alot of work to grow, if I train them every other day is that to much? Thanks for your advice.

  • Robert

    Hey Coach, I have a question about creatine. Can I take to much and if so will it harm me? Also I know that calves and forearms need alot of work to grow if I train them every other day is that to much? Thanks for your advice.

  • Carvalho:
    Hey Lee. I’m from Mozambique. I have “chicken legs” and during my workout I have tried to put more effort on this part of my body. unfortunately I can’t see any results. Please, tell me what do I have to do in order to reverse this situation.

    I have a complete leg workout routine that you can follow posted at:

  • Robert:
    Hey Coach, I have a question about creatine. Can you take to much and if so will it harm you? Also I’ve heard that your calves and forearms need alot of work to grow, if I train them every other day is that to much? Thanks for your advice.

    I have a complete blog post about creatine that you should read at:

    As for calves and forearms, you are right in that they can handle frequent workouts. You are better off doing shorter more frequent workouts for these muscle groups. Doing 5-6 sets every second day works well.

  • juan rivas

    Mike, hi lee, I have one my girlfriend hates crowds, so I got her tubebands , but i’m having a hard time to find printouts on tubeband excerise so she can follow and also for me pls. help…..juan rivas

  • ian richards

    Good morning mr lee.
    Thanks for these answere I was inform
    A Lot I myself do not eat every 2or 3 hour
    Aday so I will start following your advise happy fathers day

  • salman

    I am 15 fifteen years old. I am 127 lbs. I am using weight gainer protein.But now after two months I have gained a lot of fat. I don’t know what to do

  • salman,

    I’m not a fan of weight gainer shakes myself. I personally prefer protein powders over weight gainers because they don’t cause as much fat gain. I made a blog post about this at: https://leehayward.com/blog/protein-powders-vs-weight-gainers

  • Zack

    Great Article!

    I have always been skinny and found it really hard to put on muscle as I had no idea about diet. Id be keeping my calories down and wondering why I was not bulking up.

    Since then I have been working on bulking up with the right diet and so far its going well!

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