I am looking to gain muscle but I cant seem to consume more calories without feeling bloated. That feeling masks hunger such a way that I have to skip a meal, thus avoiding caloric excess that is necessary.

I workout well for my level of fitness. I know this coz I sweat a lot, I get soreness occasionaly and the weights I lift keep increasing every other week.

My diet includes rice and bread for carbs, meat, milk and eggs for protein. I avoid fatty food and I don't eat junk food. I can't afford/dislike protein drinks but because I eat meat a lot I think thats gonna be ok. I have a slightly protein oriented diet (50% protein with 40% carbs and the rest fat).

I am an endomorphic 26 yr old male at 60 kgs looking to get to 70. I am taking this slow (this is my fifth month into the program) but don't seem to get the hang of it. I don't gorge out every meal but am nonetheless stuck at this.


  • What role do vegetables play? Jun 15, 2012 at 13:32
  • Do you eat just at main mealtimes or throughout the day? I find I can eat more with doing several small snacks instead of 3 big meals.
    – Dan W
    Jun 15, 2012 at 14:55
  • @dave I forgot to put it. I mainly eat root veggies and spinach like green veggies. I have a South Indian neighbor who shares some tasty veggie salads, so they are part of my diet.
    – adrian
    Jun 18, 2012 at 12:26
  • @Dan I eat four small meals. I had planned five to six but the bloated feeling makes it hard to keep even with four sometimes.
    – adrian
    Jun 18, 2012 at 12:27
  • @adrian drinking water with and around your meals can contribute to the feeling of being bloated. Don't drink any water 15 minutes before a meal and not for 1 hour afterwards. Your stomach acid needs to stay acidic to digest your food! Don't forget to drink lots at other times.
    – Mike S
    Sep 4, 2012 at 23:25

3 Answers 3


Add more fat to your diet. Amazing how many calories you can get from doing shots of olive oil or eating spoonfuls of coconut oil.

If you're feeling bloated from eating, I would try cutting out any gluten-containing products to see how that helps. I would actually suggest going grain-free for 30 days, see how you feel, and try to slowly re-introduce grains if you think you need them.

  • I should add if feeling bloated from eating I would at least cut out any gluten containing products to see how that helps. I would actually suggest going grains free for 30 days, see how you feel, and try to slowly re-introduce grains if you think you need them. Jun 16, 2012 at 15:17
  • I would like to maintain my chiseled look but with more muscle. So I can't think of consuming fat willfully, apart from what is already in the cooked food.
    – adrian
    Jun 18, 2012 at 12:29
  • 1
    @adrian Good news! Dietary fat is not the same as body fat. Dietary carbohydrate and caloric surpluses play a much more significant role when it comes to storing fat on the body. Jun 18, 2012 at 12:34
  • What @Dave Liepmann said... Jun 18, 2012 at 19:41

Eat more fat. Dietary fat is not the same as body fat, so don't worry about getting fat from eating butter, milk, olive oil and the like. (Dietary carbohydrate and caloric surpluses play a much more significant role when it comes to storing fat on the body.) Eating enough fat is vital to proper operation of the body, especially making sure that all your hormones are being properly produced.

Try eating fewer meals. Martin Berkhan does a good job of collecting evidence against the idea that we need to eat many small meals in order to lean out or gain muscle. A big breakfast, medium lunch, and enormous dinner works well for some people.

One method that works for some people, if they tolerate milk and can accept a slight increase in body fat as they gain muscle and get bigger, is to make a firm goal of drinking one gallon of milk a day in addition to their three big meals. This might not be right for you.

I wonder if your workouts are undercutting your weight-gain goals. Steady-state cardio (like running or biking) or high-intensity metcons (like CrossFit or intervals) will cause you to lose weight instead of gain it, and low-intensity lifting (bodybuilding-style isolation work) will do a poor job of putting on muscle compared to heavy compound exercises done for a handful of reps. Three times a week of squatting, deadlifting, chinning and pressing as heavy as possible for sets of five is standard operating procedure for triggering muscle growth. (A full layout of weight gain fundamentals can be found in this answer of mine.)

  • Yes, I indeed do 5x5 routine that you mentioned and not high rep bb types. About milk, I suppose low fat milk wouldn't help in increasing my caloric intake, would it? I am not quite lactose intolerant but I have found 250 ml milk masks my hunger but without the bloated feeling. I'll may be give the milk thing a try.
    – adrian
    Jun 18, 2012 at 12:53
  • If you go for the milk, I think all the answers to this question are worth considering. Jun 18, 2012 at 13:36
  • 1
    One gallon of milk a day?? Holy cow :D Jun 18, 2012 at 20:25

Conventional Wisdom

Just about every respected weight lifter is going to tell you that if you want to gain weight, you can't eat clean all the time. Rippetoe, Wendler, Tate, Starr will all say the same things. You'll get some quite colorful epithets to get you to eat junk.

There's some truth to this. First, junk meals tend to have a pretty high fat content. Fat packs in 9 Calories per gram, compared to both carbs and protein which weigh in at only 4 Calories per gram. It's good that you have a high protein diet, and that will serve you well. Second, many junk foods are composed of things that make you hungrier. The combinations of sugars and stimulants (like caffeine) put your body through metabolic hell, but the end result is you will be able to eat more when you consume junk.

It will add pounds. It may not be 100% the type of pounds you want, but you will have them.

Alternate Approach

There are different approaches. The people I mentioned in the beginning paragraph ascribe to the bulk/cut approach or most of them simply just bulk. Martin Burkhen from LeanGains.com uses the approach of bulking by starting with your maintenance Calories. The quick estimate would be 15x your total body weight. He then has you calculate your macros for training days and rest days. You will be eating higher than maintenance on both days, but increasing much more on training days.

There are a couple major aspects to this approach:

  1. You are fasting 16 hours and eating all your food within 8 hours
  2. You are eating 3 large meals rather than several small meals throughout the day
  3. The largest meal should be the one right after you train

This allows you to actually be hungry enough to eat all your Calories. It's also not dependent on junk food as the conventional wisdom is. The key is you have to find something that works for you, and your goals.

Dealing with Bloating

Bloating is a common side effect of eating some types of carbs. You will have to experiment to see what is the culprit. Many have reported that gluten is a major culprit with bloating--particularly the bloated feeling. High sodium content in your meals can add to bloating, although not with the same feeling as other sorts of carbs.

It's because of this association that many have jumped on the Paleo bandwagon. I'm not pro- or anti- paleo, but it may be worth looking at the types of foods that they have you avoid and experiment to see if they are the culprit for your bloated feeling. If that works, great! If not, try something else.

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