I often consult both clients and coaches to define how they want to 'gain weight'. Weight can be body fat, muscle, or both. Depending on their goal, I would work with the client to decide how we can make lifestyle changes to address their weight concern.
Recently a client reached out to me looking to increase his muscle mass, to attain the classic linebacker body composition and stay within healthy range of body fat percentage. I first addressed how his macronutrients were balanced. We discussed how a diet high in protein is very important to an athlete, and that carbohydrates and fats are equally as important. I stressed to him that quality carbohydrates will not increase body fat but fuel his training sessions giving him the energy he needs to excel in practice and build more lean muscle mass. I wanted to make sure he is not exceeding 35% of his total daily calorie intake in protein. The daily intake for adult athletes suggested by most is about 1.5 g/kg body mass with a range of about 1.0 to 2.0 g/kg body mass.
I then discussed with him his nutrient timing. A simple change would be eating breakfast each day and including more frequent snacks. This is also an option for better balancing his macronutrients during the day. Eating consistent balanced meals, and consistent protein intake, during the day will support muscle growth and recovery. I also toke time to check his sources of protein, making sure they are complete sources and high quality.
In general if someone is looking to gain muscle, check the following:
1. Are you eating enough protein to support your training?
2. Are you eating too much protein?
3. Are you consuming quality proteins?
4. How are your macro nutrients balanced?
5. Are you also trying to loose body fat too?
Smith-Ryan AE, Antonia J. (2013) Sports Nutrition & Performance Enhancing Supplements (2013) Linus Learning.