Alrighty! So this next post is NOT exclusive to our friend Donkey Kong. This diet is a general go-to for when you want to gain some muscle mass to emulate a larger character, ie: Donkey Kong, Zangief(SF), the Hulk, etc. etc. Something I should note is that this is not going to be a specific, day-to-day diet. Rather, I’m going to lay out some basic principles and guidelines, give you some food suggestions, and then ONE example day. When it comes to nutrition, it’s better to understand the basics you’re going for so you can substitute easily in a pinch, rather than getting locked into a strict meal-to-meal template. Also, a quick note, I’m poor, so I love to do all my posts on a budget. This guide is a budget weight gain guide. There ARE more optimal diets out there, if you want to be a high-end bodybuilder, involving lots of supplements and designer foods, but if you’re looking to just gain some nice muscle without breaking the bank, this is your guide.
So, here are the basics!
5-6 meals a day
1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight you have.(so if you’re 100 lbs, you want to get 100-150 grams of protein per day).
2-3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight you have(again, if you’re 100 lbs, get 200-300 carbs per day).
1 gallon of water a day.
A caloric surplus. This means you want to be taking in more calories than your body needs every day. Here’s a calculator to give you a rough idea of what your body needs. Shoot for higher than this number. Also, note that this is just a ballpark figure, you’re going to need to feel things out the first few weeks.
8 hours of sleep(minimum). Sleep is really, really important. Seriously. Go to bed early if you have to.
LIFT! This isn’t diet, of course, but if you AREN’T lifting a lot, you’re just going to get fat eating this diet.
So, let’s break this down a bit.
Five to six meals a day is the best way to metabolically take in your food. Make sure one of those meals is an hour or two before your workout so you have the fuel to power through it, and take in some good protein RIGHT AFTER your workout. I recommend a simple whey protein shake(don’t get one with other supplements, you’re wasting money), and a banana or other fruit. This can really help recovery.
Protein and carbohydrates are what your body uses to build and fuel muscles. On carbohydrates: you can get them from three main sources, fruit, veggies, and grains. Eat your fruits in the first half of the day, the simple carbohydrates(easily broken down), help to fuel your body immediately(you won’t use the simple sugars if you eat them right before bed). Mid-late day start packing in your veggies. Other nutrients ARE important, but if you’re eating good, whole foods every meal, you should cover most of your needs, and a decent supermarket multivitamin should cover the rest.
Water is necessary for just about everything. It helps you flush what nutrients your body doesn’t need, it keeps your muscles hydrated, aids in circulation, and does your body good. Drink lots of it, shoot for a gallon a day.
Meat – lean is best, chicken, lean beef(90/10 is the number you want to shoot for with ground beef, you’ll see it on packages at the store), and fish are all great. Steer clear of fast food beef if you can, shoot for lean ground beef, steaks, chicken breast, and leaner fish like tilapia, rather than salmon.
Eggs – Eggs are freaking great. Egg whites are considered healthier for the lack of the cholesterol of the yolk, but try to get a couple yolks in anyway, they’ve got vital nutrients. Honestly when I was on my gainer diet I just ate whole eggs anyway.
Nuts – Nuts can be a little pricey depending on the time of year, but they’re full of protein and good fats.
Oatmeal – My favorite breakfast grain, hands-down. High fiber, some protein, lots of carbs, and you can mix almost anything in(I like peanut butter).
Rice – Rice is high in carbs, but generally nutritionally void besides that, but brown rice is a bit better than white. Either way, it’s cheap as anything, so always worth it.
Beans/Lentils/Legumes – Superfood, baby! These suckers are high in carbs, fiber, AND protein(for a veggie, at least). Pack them in, they’ll do a body good, just make sure to keep drinking your water or you’ll get really gassy.
Pasta/Bread – Whole grain, all the time. More protein, more fiber, yum yum. I like Arnold brand “Double Protein” bread, personally.
Fruit/Veggies – Get one or two of these with every meal. Fruit in the morning, veggies in the evening. Good candidates include broccoli, romaine lettuce(NO ICEBERG), kale, cabbage, peas, and avocado on the veggie front(dark greens are good), and bananas, tomatoes, apples, oranges and carrots(high sugar content so I include with the fruit) on the fruit front.
Vitamins – As I said before, just a simple supermarket brand multivitamin should do you fine as long as you’re including the fruits and veggies like you should. Health stores will try to sell you designer multis and supplements, you generally don’t need them.
Whey Protein – This is the only supplement I really think is worth it, unless you’re at that upper echelon bodybuilder level. Cheap(per-gram price-wise), easy to work with, and portable for those hard-working people out there.
Milk and Dairy – Milk is excellent, IF you’re used to it. I’ve been a whore for milk since I was a kid so I pounded this stuff down when I was gaining. However, the body has to adapt to digesting it in bulk if it’s not used to it, so up your intake slowly if you’re not a regular consumer. Another honorably mention here is greek yogurt. SO MUCH PROTEIN in one little cup.
This is a sample day of what I would eat when I was on my gainer diet.
Meal 1(7:00-8:00AM ish):
1 serving of oatmeal with peanut butter.
1 glass of milk
Meal 2(11:00 AM):
1 serving of greek yogurt
2 servings of rice cakes
Meal 3(1:00 PM):
1 can of tuna
1 serving of broccoli
1 slice of double protein bread with peanut butter
Meal 4(3:00 PM):
1 serving of rice
1 serving reheated chicken leftovers
4:00 PM – WORK OUT
Meal 5(5:00 PM):
1 Protein Shake
Meal 6(7:00 PM):
2 servings steak
1 serving green beans
1 serving whole-grain pasta with garlic sauce(yum)
So you can see it’s a lot of food. You’re best off buying in bulk, freezing what you don’t need, cooking in bulk, and eating lots of leftovers. That steak, pasta, and green beans would be eaten the next day. I didn’t calculate the full nutritional contents of this day because I don’t want you to focus on my numbers. You need to keep a diet log, shoot for your protein and carb goals, and generally get a “feel” for how much your body needs as far as calories goes. For me, I was taking in 3000ish calories on average, and that was enough for me to gain. You may need up to 5000, I don’t know, and neither do you until you start experimenting. Just keep a diet log, note your carb, protein, and caloric intake, and try to get a feed for where your body is going.
That’s it for today, tomorrow we take a look at the skills of Donkey Kong!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace