If you’re a hard gainer, you’ve probably wondered how to gain weight with a fast metabolism. In this article, we’ll be going over some strategies for consistently putting on size even if you struggle with a fast metabolism.
While it mainly boils down to just eating more than you’re used to, there are some supplements available to help. If you’re looking for a high-quality supplement to help with putting on weight, check out Transparent Labs Mass Gainer.
If you’re wondering how to gain weight with a fast metabolism, it largely comes down to just eating more. The faster your metabolism is, the more energy you’ll expend. So, those with a faster metabolism will need to eat more to reach a caloric surplus.
Is It Hard to Gain Weight With a Fast Metabolism?
Before getting into how to gain weight with a high metabolism, let’s quickly cover what metabolism is. When people refer to metabolism, they’re usually referring to metabolic rate. In essence, this is the body’s rate of using energy or ‘burning calories’. Metabolic rate is determined largely by genes and varies from person to person. Whether you have a fast or slow metabolic rate is defined by how many calories your body burns at rest.
Essentially, the faster your metabolic rate is, the higher your energy expenditure will be on an average day. This means that it will be more difficult to gain weight with a fast metabolism.
It’s worth noting that having a fast metabolism is a good problem to have. This is because it will be easier to maintain a healthy BMI, and you’ll be less likely to put on fat when bulking. Of course, with this being said it will be harder to put on weight.
Below we’ll be covering tips to overcome a fast metabolism and put on some serious muscle.
How to Gain Weight With a Fast Metabolism?
If you’ve consistently struggled to put on weight or see yourself as a “hard-gainer”, then a fast metabolism may be to blame for your problems. Don’t panic yet! Just because you have a fast metabolism doesn’t mean you can’t put on high-quality muscle mass – it may just be slightly more difficult. Below we’ll be covering 8 tips to help you overcome your fast metabolism and start gaining weight.
1. Know Your Calorie and Protein Needs
Start by figuring out how many calories you’ll need to put yourself into a surplus and how much protein you’ll need to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Although you may need to make some adjustments, this will act as your starting point to get bigger with a fast metabolism.
To determine how many calories you need every day, start by using an online calorie calculator to determine your maintenance calories. These tools are notoriously inaccurate, so consider trying a few out to find an average. As an alternative, measure your calories and weight everyday to see how it fluctuates, just keep in mind this will take slightly more time effort.
Once you’ve determined your maintenance calories, add on 250-500 calories to determine how much you need to eat to put on size. As a rough estimate, this amount of calories should help you put on 0.5-1lb of weight a week.
It’s important to consistently track your weight to make sure you’re making progress. If you’re consistently hitting your calorie goals but still not putting on weight, consider upping your daily calorie intake by a couple of hundred calories a week. You can continue adding more calories until you’re gaining weight at a steady pace. On the other hand, you may find you’re gaining too much weight. In this case, lower your weekly calories by a couple of hundred to find a more sustainable pace of weight gain.
While finding your daily calorie intake can be tricky, finding daily protein requirements is much easier. Daily protein needs for muscle gain range from 0.5-0.8g per pound of body weight. These numbers should be fairly easy to hit if you’re eating a high-calorie diet consisting largely of high-quality foods.
2. Focus On Foods With High Energy Density
The easiest way to maximize calorie intake is to focus mainly on foods with higher energy density. Carbs and protein are both 4kcal/g, while fats are 9kcal/g. Because fats are the highest-calorie macronutrient, it will be easier to reach a caloric surplus by eating a diet rich in fatty foods.
Some great sources of healthy fats include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut butters
- Fatty Fish
What’s great about these foods is that many of them like nut butter and oils can easily be added to your meals for a quick boost to the overall calories.
Grains, bread, and cereals are another great source of energy-dense calories, although they’re largely being made up of carbohydrates instead of fats.
Overall, any foods that have a high amount of calories per serving will be a perfect base for a high-metabolism diet to gain weight. And, as we’ll cover shortly, avoiding foods with low energy density may be just as important!
3. Add Another Meal to Your Diet
One easy tip for reaching a higher total calorie count for the day is to add another meal to your diet. While most people eat 3 times per day, if you’re serious about gaining weight you should try to eat at least 4-5 times a day.
On top of your standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner, add in several high-calorie snacks throughout the day to optimize calorie intake. This extra food can be as simple as a handful of nuts, or they can be full-on meals like pasta or oatmeal.
The reason it may be useful to space out your calorie intake like this is largely a matter of digestion. You may find it much easier to eat 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day rather than 3 huge servings of food. Trying to eat upwards of 1000 calories all at once multiple times per day can wreak havoc on your digestive system.
You may have an easier time getting through smaller meals more frequently – and your stomach will thank you for it too!
4. Do Not Overdo It With Vegetables
As mentioned above, it’s important to limit your intake of low-calorie foods like vegetables as well as to maximize your intake of high-calorie foods like nuts and oils. This is because lower-calorie foods are often very filling, making it harder to reach your total calorie goals for the day.
On average, it's easy to fill up on large servings of vegetables without consuming very many total calories. While this is great for cutting, it’s not so good for bulking – especially with a fast metabolism.
Of course, vegetables are a valuable source of micronutrients, so you should still absolutely eat them while bulking. Just try not to fill up on them when eating your meals for the day. One easy way to maximize your caloric intake while eating plenty of veggies is to cook them with oil! Not only will this boost their calorie content, it will probably make them taste better as well!
5. Add Multi-Ingredient High-Calorie Protein Shake or Smoothie
An easy way to add over 1000 calories to your day is to make a high-calorie protein shake. There are endless ways to combine ingredients to make a high-calorie shake that both tastes great and is well suited to your needs.
Start with a base of protein powder. Most people will go for whey, but you can also use casein or a plant-based powder depending on your dietary needs. While you don’t need protein powder, it's a good way to give your shake a high-protein base.
Next, add in some fruit of your choosing. Bananas are a great way to up the carbohydrate count, and frozen berries are a good source of micronutrients and flavor. You can get creative and add in something like avocado for some healthy fats and a creamy texture.
You can also add in oats or maltodextrin powder to boost the carbohydrate content. Keep in mind that oats will lead to a slightly grittier texture but they’re an excellent source of carbohydrate content.
Finally, add in some nut butter for some additional fat and protein. This is where you can really boost the calorie content of your shake! Small seeds like chia and hemp seeds also make a great addition here for some extra calories.
Once you have all your ingredients, blend it all together with a milk of your choosing! Any combo of the ingredients listed above can easily get you over 1000 calories. The only limit to the shakes you can make is your imagination, so experiment with different combos to see what works best for you.
6. Consider Adding a Mass Gainer to Your Meal Plan
If you don’t feel like making your own high-calorie smoothie, an easy alternative is a mass gainer supplement. These are a type of protein powder specially designed for those looking to put on weight.
They usually contain more protein per serving than a standard protein powder as well as lots of carbs per serving. While they range in calories depending on the brand, you can find mass gainers anywhere from 500-1500 calories per serving.
These are a great easy source of calories for those who have very high calorie needs or those who just struggle to eat enough through whole foods. With this being said, we recommend only using mass gainers when necessary and trying your best to not rely on them for weight gain.
Try to eat as much as possible through whole foods, and use mass gainers as a supplement to reach your daily calorie goals when you’re struggling. You can also split mass gainers into multiple servings to fit your specific needs. Using mass gainers like this will also help ensure you’re not eating too high of a surplus and putting on excess fat.
7. Do Resistance Training With Progressive Overload
Of course, you won’t be putting on the right kind of weight if you’re not consistently doing resistance training. Eating in a caloric surplus without the proper stimulus to your muscles will only lead to fat growth.
While there are many different ways you can go about resistance training, try to find a program that hits every major muscle group 1-2 times a week. This will ensure your entire body is getting enough stimulus to support muscle growth.
It’s also important you’re consistently progressing in the gym if you want to put on muscle. This can look like increasing the weight you’re lifting, doing more reps and sets, and even shortening your rest times. Whichever way you go about it, make sure you’re always pushing your limits and training with intensity.
If you pair this style of training with a caloric surplus, you’ll be sure to put on plenty of high-quality muscle over time.
8. Be Patient
Finally, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see progress overnight! Especially if you have a fast metabolism, you’ll need to accept that putting on weight is a marathon, not a sprint.
Especially considering you mainly want to put on fat-free mass, you should only be putting on a maximum of 0.5-1lbs of weight per week. Keep this in mind, and understand that real progress takes years of consistency.
Of course, be sure to understand the difference between being patient and doing something wrong. Consistently check your progress and readjust your diet accordingly to make sure you’re eating enough to put on weight. If you’re doing everything right, then stick to the plan! Results will come eventually.
If You’re Not Gaining Weight... You’re Still Not Eating Enough
As you’ve probably figured out by now, there’s no real secret behind gaining weight with a fast metabolism. If you can’t put on weight, our advice boils down to eating, eating, and then eating some more. Because your body burns energy faster than the average person, you’ll need to eat more than the average person to keep up with your metabolism.
With this being said, don’t start eating a bunch of junk to reach an absurdly high amount of calories per day. We want to make it clear that the best way to gain muscle and maintain overall health is to eat a diet consisting mainly of whole foods. While ultra-processed foods will make it easier to gain weight, you may end up overdoing it and gaining significant amounts of fat when relying on these foods.
So, while our advice for gaining weight is essentially to eat more than you’re used to, be sure you’re primarily eating the right foods and only in a moderate caloric surplus. This way you can ensure better health, and more fat-free mass gain over time.
Best Mass Gainer - Transparent Labs Mass Gainer
As mentioned above, a high-quality mass gainer can be a great way to supplement your diet with some additional calories to gain weight. Especially if you have a fast metabolism, you may need all the help you can get to reach a surplus. If you’re interested in a great mass gainer, look no further than Transparent Labs.
You can expect 730-750 calories per serving depending on the flavor. This makes a single serving of Transparent Labs ideal for pushing you into a moderate surplus without being too excessive on calories. You could also easily split this into multiple servings if you’re close to hitting your daily calorie intake.
There’s also 51-53g of protein, 14g of fat, and 106-110g of carbs in each serving. The carbs contain 4-6g of fiber and 12g of sugar. The protein is made up of grass-fed whey concentrate, and the carbs come from organic tapioca maltodextrin.
photo by @transparentlabs
Like all of Transparent Labs products, this is made with only the highest-quality, all-natural ingredients. Also, grass-fed dairy is shown to be especially healthy when compared with regular milk. With many mass gainers being full of fillers and artificial ingredients, you can rest assured you’re getting a well-formulated product here.
For an added boost, you can expect 3g of creatine in each serving. Creatine is a great supplement for weight gain considering one of its effects is increasing lean body mass. While this is a solid serving, we recommend taking creatine on its own to make the most of all its benefits.
It’s worth noting that Transparent Labs only comes in 2 basic flavors, chocolate and vanilla. As a result, you may be disappointed if you’re looking for the wide-ranging flavor options offered in many basic whey protein supplements.
Finally, it should be made clear that mass gainers aren’t especially cheap. Each serving of Transparent Labs will cost you about $5.33. While this may be too much for some, for those serious about putting on weight it may be worth the investment.
How Can a Skinny Person Gain Weight Fast?
How to Gain 10LBS of Weight in 1 Month?
Am I Skinny Because of a Fast Metabolism?
How to Eat 3,000 Calories a Day?
Gaining weight with high metabolism isn’t easy. Having a fast metabolism means your body burns through energy quicker than average. As a result, it can be exceedingly difficult to put on weight. However, as long as you’re genuinely eating enough, you can still put on weight with high metabolism.
Start by understanding how many calories you need to gain weight. From there prioritize high-energy foods, eat more frequently, and be patient! By following the tips in this article, you’ll be gaining weight in no time!
If you have a fast metabolism, a mass gainer may be beneficial for getting some extra calories in. If you’re interested in trying a high-quality mass gainer supplement, check out Transparent Labs Mass Gainer.
Do you have a fast metabolism? Any tips for the other hard gainers out there trying to put on weight? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
- "The truth about metabolism" Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-metabolism (2021 March 30)
- Why Use BMI? (Harvard T.H. Chan), https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-definition/obesity-definition-full-story/
- "PROTEIN INTAKE FOR OPTIMAL MUSCLE MAINTENANCE" (American College of Sports Medicine), https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/files-for-resource-library/protein-intake-for-optimal-muscle-maintenance.pdf
- "Processed Foods and Health" (Harvard T.H. Chan), https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/processed-foods/
- Brad Heins, "Grass-fed cows produce healthier milk" (University of Minnesota), https://extension.umn.edu/pasture-based-dairy/grass-fed-cows-produce-healthier-milk
- Richard B Kreider 1, Douglas S Kalman 2, Jose Antonio 3, Tim N Ziegenfuss 4, Robert Wildman 5, Rick Collins 6, Darren G Candow 7, Susan M Kleiner 8, Anthony L Almada 9, Hector L Lopez, "International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine" (National Library of Medicine), 2017 Jun 13:14:18. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z.
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Sasha is a Chiropractor and Kinesiologist practicing in Kelowna, BC, Canada. He has been practicing Chiropractic since 2019, integrating manual therapy, strength training and programming principles, and nutritional strategies to get his patients optimal results. He currently scratches the competitive itch in fitness, and the occasional endurance race, and plays golf and snowboards for fun. He has an interest in all strength and fitness-related sports.
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