It’s a common problem amongst those “cursed” with a fast metabolism (myself included). Ectomorphs, forever-skinnies (I just made that up now), whatever you want to call them. You really want to build muscle, but unfortunately, it’s just too difficult to eat all that food required for you to gain weight. So what do you do in a situation like this?
Well, you could do it the old fashioned way and just suck it up. Eat all the food you need to and lie in bed at night feeling like you just ate a boulder along with feeling like it’s gonna come back up any second now. But c’mon now, there’s gotta be an easier way, right?
The “GOMAD” Diet
Those of you who have been into lifting may have heard of this before. “GOMAD” stands for “Gallon Of Milk A Day”. It’s just like it sounds, you drink 1 whole gallon of milk per day, split up amongst various meals throughout your day. Doesn’t sound too expensive either, right?
Well, let’s think about it for a second. A significant amount of people are lactose intolerant in the United States alone, about 30-50 million, and even more throughout the Eastern world, as Western countries consume much more dairy than those on the Eastern side of this planet .
And secondly, that just sounds disgusting. Don’t get me wrong, I love myself a good glass of milk. But even for somebody who isn’t lactose intolerant, too much milk in one day and I’ll be sittin in that good ole’ water closet for an hour at least.
Lastly, it’s not the “leanest” way to gain size either. Given that one is drinking whole milk during this diet, as it is the most dense (8g of fat, 12g of carbs, 8g of protein, and 150 calories in a 1 cup serving) type of milk there is. Simply multiply these numbers by 16 (1 gallon), and you’re already at 128g of fat, 192g of carbs, and 128g of protein without adding in your other food for the day. Now this is great for hitting your protein targets for the day, however, having all that fat in your system during the day will certainly slow down digestion to a great degree, affecting your workout performance for sure if you work out later in the day.
However, if you like milk, are on a tight budget, and don’t mind using this $3 per day method, then go for it. There’s nothing really “unhealthy” about milk, given that you don’t do this for a long period of time, over a month long or so . After that point, your gastrointestinal tract may take a turn for the worst, but individual results do vary.
What the hell is apetamin? Well, it’s actually an antihistamine (for allergies symptoms such as sore throat and itchy/watery eyes). So why would you use it to gain weight? It contains an ingredient called cyproheptadine, which produces a side effect of increased hunger. Because of this, it is often used in the treatment of anorexia and malnutrition . A simple Google search will show many people’s stories (particularly women) who have gained “healthy” weight by just using this “weight gain syrup.” One of the most common plans using this product being the “Slim Thick Plan”.
In a 2016 cross-sectional study (meaning that the subjects were observed/answered questions at only one particular point in time, i.e. questionnaires, etc.) that observed a Kinshasa population (a society near the Congo River in Africa), a whopping 72.9% of them (364 out of 499 participants) had used apetamin as an appetite stimulant . This is a surprising amount due to the fact that this purpose of use is considered “off-label”, therefore, unethical and unlawful usage. When used in access, it can cause hallucinations, convulsions, and sudden cardiac arrest.
Weight Gainer Supplements
These types of supplements have become very popular throughout the years. High in carbs and protein while containing good amounts of “healthy fats:, what’s not to love?
Well, unfortunately, not all supplements are created equal, and weight gainer supplements are no different. For example, let’s look at one of the most popular weight gainer supplements on the market; Serious Mass by Optimum Nutrition.
Now, on the surface, it looks decent; high amount of protein from common sources (50g from whey and egg proteins, among others, and fats coming from MCT’s (Medium Chain Triglycerides), which have the ability to positively influence fat mass .
However, the issue here is that most of the carbs come from something called Maltodextrin, which simply put, is a type of fast-digesting sugar. Now, as we all know, we need high-quality nutrients in order to see the body adaptations that we want to (decreased body fat and increased muscle mass), right? Well, having most of your carbs coming from sugar really isn’t the best route to take, now is it? Not that sugar is necessarily “good or “bad” as the media makes it out to be, [6,7], it’s just that it is very easy to over-consume it due to its low satiety rating (ability of a food to make you full) and it often takes people away from the consumption of essential nutrients and minerals such as fiber, particular B-vitamins, and iron, just to name a few. May companies add this as an ingredient as it is a very cheap filler.
Now, not all of these supplements are bad. Let’s look at another brand of weight gainer supplement:
This supplement is called Mass Tech by the popular sports nutrition company Muscletech. Now, the ingredient profile in this supplement is of higher quality, as we take a look at what they call the “Multi-Phase Carb Complex”. It does contain a notable amount of sugars to start, but gets much of its carbohydrates from oats, quinoa, buckwheat, and other high-quality carb sources.
It’s not that all of these supplements are simply “good” or “bad”, just as with sugar, it is less of a black-and-white answer. Some are just of a higher quality than others. People are better off simply consuming whole foods for their caloric needs. However it’s more convenient to supplement the calories that one needs to gain weight, as getting all of them through whole foods is quite difficult. I mean, that the purpose of supplements. To SUPPLEMENT, not REPLACE, an adequate diet.
Now the methods I have presented here are few of many methods out there that are available to you. I don’t endorse any of the companies presented or recommend the off-label use of Apetamin. However, the choice is yours to make. None of these methods are perfect, but they do work. I’ve been through this predicament before on the weight gain journey, in fact, I still am. So I know what it feels like. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask in the comments or DM. Thanks 🙂
- Lang, S. S. (n.d.). Lactose intolerance seems linked to ancestral struggles with harsh climate and cattle diseases, Cornell study finds | Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved from http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2005/06/lactose-intolerance-linked-ancestral-struggles-climate-diseases
- P., C., & P. (2016, December 08). Daily milk consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease and stroke: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational cohort studies. Retrieved from https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-016-3889-9
- Apetamin is a New Trend in Unapproved Drugs. (2018, July 27). Retrieved from https://www.legitscript.com/blog/2018/05/apetamin-unapproved-drug/
- Lulebo, A. M., Bavuidibo, C. D., Mafuta, E. M., Ndelo, J. D., Mputu, L. C., Kabundji, D. M., & Mutombo, P. B. (2016). The misuse of Cyproheptadine: A non-communicable disease risk behaviour in Kinshasa population, Democratic Republic of Congo. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 11(1). doi:10.1186/s13011-016-0051-8
- Marten, B., Pfeuffer, M., & Schrezenmeir, J. (2006). Medium Chain Triglycerides. International Dairy Journal, 16(11), 1374-1382. doi:10.1016/j.idairyj.2006.06.015′
- Saris, W. H., Astrup, A., Prentice, A. M., Zunft, H. J., Formiguera, X., Verboeket-van de Venne, W. P. H. G., … & Vasilaras, T. H. (2000). Randomized controlled trial of changes in dietary carbohydrate/fat ratio and simple vs complex carbohydrates on body weight and blood lipids: the CARMEN study. International Journal of Obesity, 24(10), 1310-1318.
- Surwit, R. S., Feinglos, M. N., McCaskill, C. C., Clay, S. L., Babyak, M. A., Brownlow, B. S., … & Lin, P. H. (1997). Metabolic and behavioral effects of a high-sucrose diet during weight loss. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 65(4), 908-915.
Boston-born bodybuilder currently residing in the beautiful city of Tampa, Florida in pursuit of a Master's Degree in Exercise & Nutrition Science. Competitive NPC Classic Physique athlete with a passion for strength training, health, well-being, and the science that makes it all possible. I want to sift through all of the B.S that's out there to provide you with the best information possible for you to achieve YOUR goals, whatever they may be. Human physiology is an amazing thing, let's find out what the human body is capable of!