bulk up tips

Bulk Up Tips for Skinny Kids

I have been answering a lot of questions on blogs from skinny kids looking to bulk up. They feel they are way too slender and want to add weight but can’t seem to be able to. They want a solution that will work and work right now. With the societal trend of ever increasing weight gain creating obesity in our youth, this is the other side of the issue. It is not nearly as common but no less traumatizing for kids.  The problem is, genetics plays a critical role as to why some athletes can’t gain weight or keep it on.

bulk up tipsBulk Up Basics

You can have two different youth athletes eat 500 – 1000 calories more per day in order to gain weight and both will react completely differently. One will bulk up by 10 pounds in a month, the other will gain 2 pounds. Reason? Watch each of these kids when they are not playing sports. What do they do spontaneously during their day? There is a strong likelihood that the one who gained very little weight will show a lot of spontaneous movements during the day. They will tap their fingers and fidget around in their seat. They are constantly moving. You would call this type of child “hyper-active”. These movements take energy which their body then can’t turn into fat or muscle. Some research has shown that athletes who are more prone to these spontaneous movements are more likely to have a natural ability to be active for long periods of time -like a long distance runner.

Bulk Up Tips

Obviously, with a child that burns a lot of calories, they need to eat more in order to bulk up. There is no need to control their activity, just ty doing some of these tips:

  1. Choose foods with higher calories. Use the food label on different foods to see how many calories they contain per serving. Be aware that some have higher calories because they contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) or other sugar compounds. For example: granola is higher than Cheerios (500 vs 100 calories).
  2. Be consistent. Skipping meals means losing calories.  To bulk up, eat more than three times per day. Breakfast, late morning, early afternoon, dinner, and night time. The idea is to have no more than 2 hours between meals. These are not full out large meals like what they are used to. Each one is a smaller meal unless you need more calories.
  3. Go bigger.  Eat larger portions within reason. Avoid high sugar foods when doing this.bulk up tips
  4. Use juice or milk. Normally we say drink water not juices. In this case, drink calorie rich fluids that are not loaded with too much sugar like fruit juices and milk.
  5. Healthy fats are good. Omega-3 and other fats can help reduce inflammation but are also high in calories to help to bulk up. Almonds, peanut butter, and avocados are all good sources.
  6. Weightlifting and cardio. Weight lifting will generate muscle growth which is far better than to bulk up with fat.  A good training program will really help your child to gain weight that is useful in sports. The intent is to get bigger but getting fat is counter-productive to being an athlete. Use a personal trainer if you really do not know what to do but there are lots of resources online or contact me and I can recommend a few good resources.


Supplements are a waste of money. They offer you nothing as far as nutrients that your child cannot get from whole foods at a much cheaper price. Making your own weight gain beverage is easy with the use of a blender. Simply use low-fat milk, fruits like bananas or kiwi, and powdered milk (good for added calories).

Self image is important for our children so when your son or daughter wants to bulk up, be careful how far they take it. Eating junk food or foods with lots of sugar can create serious health problems. Teach them to eat properly if they want to gain weight but there will always be those kids who can’t gain weight due to simple genetics. A very slender parent can create slender kids.

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