I struggled to gain weight in high school and have gone through many of the same challenges most of you skinny guys have or will go through. By the time I was a sophomore I had been lifting for about three years, was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball, run/throw in track) and never really had any breaks from running or an off-season to gain weight. I really needed a plan for adding pounds. As a busy student athlete it had to be simple, it had to be affordable and I wasn't going to count calories or macronutrients or weigh anything, because that's neither of the above- time has always been especially valuable to me.
I didn't know much about supplements but I persuaded my dad to buy me some weight gain powder. I don't remember what it was, but it added about 1500-1750 calories/day. I'd already been eating the usual three times a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), so my plan was to eat as I normally would and drink three weight gain shakes AFTER each meal.
I mixed each drink with two cups of milk. So a daily meal schedule would look like this:
- Breakfast: 3 eggs scrambled, toast, apple, juice + weight gain drink
- Lunch: 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, banana + weight gain drink
- Dinner: Whatever my mom cooked + weight gain drink
The result? I gained 20lbs in a month, my lifts skyrocketed, and I didn't gain an inch on my waist. It worked wonders for me. I managed to keep up this regimen for most of my high school career and felt great. It's important to understand that during this time I was lifting three times a week and running/jumping 4-7 days/week, and my main lifts were squat, bench, trap bar deadlift, and hang clean. In other words, I was expending a lot of energy that justified the amount of calories I was taking in. If you have a much lighter schedule you could try the same idea for 2 meals as opposed to 3 (excluding lunch at school for convenience). Change doesn't happen over night. You'll have time to decide how you feel and how you look but you have to be consistent to see if you need more or less.
If you don't like weight gain powders or find all the sugar makes your farts smell like the kill-floor of a meat packing plant, you can always make your own "weight gainer" out of a protein powder blended with whole milk or juice, some nuts, and a tablespoon or two of natural peanut butter or some other healthy fat (this usually adds to a creamier consistency as opposed to chalky). You have options. This plan cuts down on the grocery bill, the guess work and the excuses. If you're allergic to these foods or products use common sense. Come up with a similar, simple plan that can work for you.