I am going to gym and doing weight lift and other exercise for last three months,my target is to gain weight and muscle.Unfortunately I didnt gain weight and my muscle didnt increase(bicep and tricep is getting shape and muscles are getting harder).

I eat sufficient amount of food daily with meat and vegetables.Also taking Soy Protein for weeks.

Any specific advice to gain muscle and weight?

Can I take protein shake now,I am assuming I am not getting enough protein for body.

Many people says gym beginner can not take protein shake,is it true?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    Are you keeping track of your training routine? After three months of exercises you should see some decent increase in strength. How much more are you squatting, deadlifting and pressing on a bench after those three months?
    – gruszczy
    Dec 17, 2011 at 19:26
  • See my answer here. Jun 18, 2012 at 1:49

2 Answers 2


First thing's first -- you mentioned that you haven't gained any weight. As simple as it sounds, you need more calories. Once you're eating enough calories you will gain weight. As for whether it's fat or muscle depends on a lot of things.

You asked about protein shakes. I'll just say that there's nothing wrong with drinking them. Their biggest advantage is the convenience. That, and whey protein is a high quality protein. Then again, so are eggs. But if you're having trouble getting enough protein with regular food then a protein drink/shake is a good convenient way to supplement your diet.

A few more tips...

  1. Eat 6 times a day, with protein in every meal. By eating smaller meals more frequently this will allow you to absorb more nutrients from your food. More than that, as you get used to it, this may even allow you to eat more calories throughout the day because each meal doesn't have to be so big.

  2. Aim for a 30% protein / 40% carbohydrate / 30% fat split with your diet. This is actually a lot of protein, but your body needs lots of protein when you're weight training. I'd suggest using this simple calorie calculator.

  3. Lift weights 3 days a week. It doesn't sound like much. And in fact modern bodybuilders will workout more often than this. But then again they also take steroids which reduces recovery time. Before the days of steroids, Steve Reeves was one of the more impressive bodybuilders around. He wrote a book called, "Building the Classic Physique," and in the book even he suggested a 3 day-a-week routine. In fact, the book is a good training guide even today.

Diet is a huge part of this, of course. When I first started my weight training routine and 6 meal-per-day diet in 2005 I was 6'5" and 140 pounds @ 7% bodyfat. Yeah, pretty skinny. I was a real gym rat for years before this but had very limited success. I simply hadn't figured out my diet, and I was working out way too much and not allowing sufficient recovery time.

So anyway in 2005 I began my new approach. Now, I have a ridiculously fast metabolism. This I know. But I hadn't really counted calories to determine what it would actually take to gain weight. Well I found that I needed around 3,500 to 4,000 calories a day to gain weight while working out 3 days a week. So as it turned out, a big part of my training was simply building my appetite to handle that much food. I was consistent and managed to put on 20 pounds of muscle and 10 pounds of fat in the first 10 months. I gained a bit more fat than I would've liked since I ate a little too much fast food, but nevertheless those results were by far the best I ever had.

  • Eating six time a day for a person who does anything else in life is insane. Read about intermittent fasting (leangains.com).
    – gruszczy
    Dec 16, 2011 at 20:53
  • It's not that hard to eat six times a day. Just buy/make double whatever you would have had for three meals and save half for later. The hard part is actually being hungry for a full meal six times a day...
    – G__
    Dec 16, 2011 at 21:03
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    @gruszczy - I ate 6 times a day for two years while working 40 hours/week and going to school part-time. It's not that unreasonable when you consider how often some people snack during the day. And not every meal has to be big and elaborate. In fact my "meal" around 3 o'clock was usually just a protein bar, or sometimes a granola bar. Dec 16, 2011 at 21:15
  • Eating small meals 6 times a day is sometimes recommended for people trying to lose weight because it allows you to curb your appetite. But it's perhaps even more effective for those trying to gain weight (you just have to up your calories accordingly). I had literally spent years trying to gain weight before trying this. Then I managed to gain 20 pounds of muscle in 10 months following the advice I gave above. Dec 16, 2011 at 21:31
  • @gruszczy - There are hundreds of such individuals on the program that I bought back in 2005 called "Gaining Mass" by Anthony Ellis. I know because I was a regular on their forums for years. Before that program came along the advice for skinny guys/hardgainers was seriously lacking. Nowadays there are dozens of copycat programs out there. Dec 17, 2011 at 0:13

I'll share my personal experience with you, since I've been in a very similar situation. When I was around 18, I weighed 130 pounds and went to the gym 3 times a week, not gaining any weight for years, no matter what. I took protein powder, had 6 meals a day, the whole deal. It didn't work.

Now I've figured some stuff out, and I've gained 30 pounds since then (the majority of which took me a few months only). My insights:

  • For people who have trouble gaining weight, protein powder should be replaced by weight gainer supplements (e.g. Weider Mega Mass 4000 or BSN True Mass). The difference is that weight gainer supplements contain a lot more carbohydrates than protein supplements, and in my experience carbs are what keep skinny people from gaining weight, not protein. Weight gainers have a ton of calories, and you don't need a big appetite to get them down, so literally anyone can gain weight with those.

  • Whether you eat 3 or 4 or 6 times a day might make a difference, but it's not critical. I only eat 3 times a day now, and I still managed to gain weight very quickly. Eating 5 or 6 times a day might be necessary if you want to compete as a bodybuilder (not sure), but if you're a skinny guy trying to put on some weight, it's not worth the effort in my opinion.

  • Also, you say you get a "sufficient amount of food", but that is purely subjective. Learn about nutrition and try to figure out exactly how much food (in terms of calories, carbs, protein, etc.) is actually sufficient for you to gain weight. It might be more than you think (it was for me).

  • My theory (speculative) is that the main reason people like us stay skinny and don't manage to put on weight is that we expend too much energy in our daily lives. For instance, I noticed that my heart rate would go up much more steeply than normal in situations like getting up from my chair, or walking around a bit. Cardiovascular conditioning (aerobic exercise) is what I recommend to reverse this situation, if it's the same for you. It may seem counterintuitive that aerobic exercise would actually help you gain weight, but it's true over the long term for people with very weak cardiovascular systems / very low endurance.