Posts Tagged ‘weight gain’

Alright in the first part of this post I talked a little bit about putting on quality lean body mass rather than simply putting on weight. Unfortunately when most people look to put on size they don’t go about it the right way and will add primarily bodyfat instead on lean mass. This does nothing to increase your speed and athleticism and actually compromises both.

So to ensure every pound you add lends to more horsepower and more on-ice potential we want to follow the following rules.

1. Establish a Baseline

I’m always amazed at the number of young athletes who come to me saying they want to put on weight. And I’ll tell them need to increase their caloric intake. Their standard answer? ‘I’m already eating all of the time.’

Actually they aren’t. And they need to realize that if they are simply maintaining weight they will need to increase the amount they are eating.

How much more? Well first I need to them to journal what they are already eating. This shows me what, how much and when they are eating. From there we can make tweaks to improve the limiting factor of time, quality or dose.

2. Increase the Energy Density

The easiest way to eat more calories is to increase the energy density of our meals. Very few athletes count calories and most will eat based on portion size.

With that being said here are 2 ways to increase the energy density of your meals.

a. Increase the Fat Content

Fat has 9 calories per gram as opposed to carbs and protein which each have approximately 4 calories per gram. So you’ll get twice the calories for every gram of fat in the diet. Make sure when you increase your fat intake it is a balanced mix of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats.

b. Decrease the Water in Your Meals

Ever wonder why many weight loss diets are based around soups? It’s because when they’re made with water you can consume a large volume of soup but still have a low calorie meal.

Adding water to a meal increases the volume but adds zero calories. So you can fill your stomach without taking in lots of calories.

Think of eating foods that have been dried to remove the water content, e.g. trail mix, to increase the energy content.

3. Drink More of Your Calories

When working with someone on a weight loss goal we want to ensure the only thing they drink is water. This is because it’s too easy to add lots of extra calories to the nutritional plan when you are drinking full fat dairy, juices and smoothies.

If your goal is to put on lean mass then by all means make sure to drink as many of your calories as required.

4. Never Miss a Meal

It’s surprising the number of hockey players I’ll see who want to put on mass but skip breakfast. It doesn’t make sense.

They’ll eat their last meal the day prior at 6 pm and then not eat again until late morning or possibly noon.

Sure there  may be some late night snacking and a large lunch but they will go the majority (over 12 hours) of the day without eating. And then they’ll wonder why they can’t put on a pound. You need to be diligent and consistent with your efforts.

5. Add 250 calories to the Post Workout Drink

If after applying steps #1-4 for a couple of weeks and nothing has changed regarding your weight look to add 250 calories to your post-workout shake. This might mean adding a piece of fruit and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to your shake. Or maybe it’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Whatever you chose is up to you. Just make sure it’s protein paired with carbohydrate and it’s 250 calories more than what you’d been doing previously.


Hockey is a game of speed, mobility and fitness. If you’re going to increase your mass you need to be certain it won’t affect any of these traits. Look to add the best quality calories to  up your weight and track your intake with as much detail as possible. This way you’ll know what worked for you and how well it worked.


Recently I presented a nutritional seminar to a hockey team. And although not the topic for that presentation one of the questions was how to put on weight.

And it’s important that we make the distinction between putting on weight and putting on lean body mass. Because it’s really easy to put on weight.  A few extra meals through a window everyday and you’re set.

But putting on quality lean body mass (think muscle) is more of a challenge. Especially when you play a sport where mobility, speed and agility matter as they do in hockey.

Because if we were talking about bulking up a lineman playing football this is a lot easier. But hockey players can’t afford to carry extra mass that doesn’t contribute to increased performance.

So that’s the first rule of putting on weight for hockey. If extra weight slows you down it’s not good weight. If extra weight diminishes your athleticism it’s not good weight. And if extra weight causes you to become fatigued more easily during a game it’s not good weight.

And putting on extra lean body mass is not easy. I don’t know how many times I’ve had athletes, particularly males, come in for training and tell me one of their goals is to put on 20 lbs of muscle.

Ha! As if it were that easy. Consider what an eight ounce steak looks like…

Now know that it takes 2 of these to make one pound of muscle protein. And for 20 lbs of muscle it would take 40 eight ounce steaks slapped all over the body. But since hockey relies so heavily on lower body strength and power we’ll say that the majority of these steaks are going to be applied to the legs, hips and low back with a small amount through the upper body and arms.

That’s a huge amount of muscle protein and should make you appreciate how hard it would be to put on 20 lbs of muscle.

But it gets better.

An increase in lean body mass is the result of a increase in energy intake. In other words we need to eat more. And this increased consumption in quality, nutritious calories will help contribute to the synthesis of lean body mass.

But we don’t simply put on muscle mass when we increase our calories. While the goal is to put on as much of this weight as muscle the truth is that we may increase our bodyfat as well.

When we are talking about the reverse situation, weight loss, we don’t simply lose fat. There is a loss of lean body mass as well as a loss in fat mass. But the losses aren’t the same for everyone.

People with more fat mass will lose more fat, and retain more lean mass, on a weight loss program than lean people. And it would seem intuitive to assume that the reverse condition would also apply. Lean people will have a more difficult time putting on mass than larger people will. Yeah, I know. Life isn’t fair.

In part II of this article I’ll share some tips to putting on lean body mass without compromising your performance on the ice.