how to gain muscle without getting fat

Bananas Foster

Every once in a while that lucky individual who eats whatever he wants (yeah, it’s usually a male), asks me how to gain size. What these men typically do is eat too many carbs, are doing too much cardio, aren’t eating enough protein, and are eating junk food for the purpose of putting on extra pounds. Doing just that, will typically give you that skinny-fat look; thin all over with a soft belly that sticks out. Over time, by eating this way, you’ll end up with a Pillsbury doughboy look.

To gain lean muscle, while keeping a flat stomach, cut back on the cardio, lift heaver weights, and eat at least 1 gram of protein for each pound you weigh; so if you weigh 150 pounds, eat 150 grams of protein, spread throughout the day. Swap out the junk carbs, like chips, donuts, cookies…for complex carbs like red potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, corn, oats, carrots, and squash.

And don’t go crazy about consuming a bunch of calories to speed up the process; that will only make you fat. Increase calories slowly, by adding 250 nutrient-dense calories a day. It’s about eating nutritious foods, not just consuming calories, that will help you increase mass, while keeping bodyfat at a percentage that’s healthy.


P.S. For more information on nutrition, what exercises to do based on your goals, and healthy, whole-food entrees that contain all three essential macronutrients to build muscle and maintain satiety, check out my book

Photo: French toast with butter, maple syrup and bananas…a high carb, high-calorie, low-protein breakfast…not ideal for maintaining muscle, or a lean physique.

Should I be eating 1200 calories a day?


If you’re not losing bodyfat, and all medical issues have been ruled out, you’re probably still eating too many calories. While the average person’s body burns 1200 calories just by being alive (breaking down food, pumping your heart, taking a shower…etc.), if you’re inactive, 1200 just might be the maximum amount of calories you can eat in order to lose excess bodyfat.

No one wants to starve themselves, and, unless your diet is practically perfect, you’re not going to get enough nutrients on a mere 1200 calories a day. While exercising doesn’t burn as many calories as we believe, the solution is to still exercise every day. Taking a walk around the block is great, but that’s more in the realm of moving instead of exercise. So, make it a goal to exercise an hour every day. By exercise, I mean biking, swimming, yoga, jogging, weight lifting, tennis, dancing, Tai Chi…you get the idea.

And switch up your exercises so you’re not just doing cardio. Cardiovascular exercises are great for the heart, but they usually don’t do much to keep your muscles strong so add bodyweight exercises (like push-ups and pull-ups) and weights at least twice a week. By adding daily exercise and moving throughout the day, you should be able to lose bodyfat and still eat three well-rounded meals, and two small snacks a day.

Exercises frequently done incorrectly

Don’t copy what other people are doing at the gym because they might be performing the exercises incorrectly. The push-up and the squat are two exercises that I see people messing up all the time at the gym. In this short YouTube video, I show you what you shouldn’t do, so you stop wasting your time and looking silly, and how to do the exercises correctly so you build strength and burn fat.

Does your canned tuna contain GMO soy?

tuna salad

I was shocked to find GMO soy in my canned tuna fish. Apparently, it’s not that unusual to have soy in tuna. How do I know it’s GMO soy? If the label doesn’t have the certified organic symbol, or clarify that the soy is non-GMO, you can assume that the soy is genetically modified. Luckily, there are brands that don’t have any soy, just check the label to be sure.


Ketogenic diet risks

lobster salad

Are those lean, popular Instagrammers seem to be praising their ketogenic diet. While it’s temping to try a diet that has such great results for many people, sometimes the risks are definitely not worth the reward, and the keto diet definitely fits that description. “The diet is high in saturated fat, and research suggests such diets may increase one’s risk for heart disease,” says Keri Gans, a nutritionist and registered dietician.

“Supplementation with vitamins and minerals is an absolute necessity on this type of diet.” “Pure fats like coconut oil, olive oil and butter and many other fats that make up the base of a keto diet aren’t great sources of vitamins…” “You’re also missing out on beneficial antioxidants in fruit and root vegetables, which have been associated with a decreased risk of cancer, heart disease and other conditions.”

This diet is extremely low in carbohydrates, typically under 50 grams per day. Reducing carbs, reduces water, so it’s easy to get dehydrated, and “Without carbs, dieters can easily miss out on fiber and end up with digestive issues,” Since you can’t eat bananas or oats on a keto diet without going over your carb quota; “These foods encourage good growth of bacteria that support our intestinal health, which is tied to our overall health,” says Julie Stefanski, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In addition, “Keto does not show a performance advantage for athletes, especially in sports which rely on the fuel you already have stored in your muscles as glycogen,” Stefanski says.

So, your strength, energy, and overall health may suffer on a ketogenic diet. Remember that there are numerous diets out there; the best ones are those that you like, and improve, not hinder, your health.

If you’re looking for a flexible diet to suit you, that’s not complicated, and easy to follow, check out

Source: Risher, Brittany. “10 Things to Know Before Trying the Ketogenic Diet.” Blog Post Type. My Fitness Pal Blog. Received Aug. 12, 2018. Retrieved from:

Only eat in this time frame for weight loss

banana bread

How does Dr. Oz, who is 58, look so young and lean? He only eats between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, which means he’s fasting for 12 full hours (1). During this fasting period, the body is more likely to burn fat, instead of glucose for fuel (1). Digesting foods causes inflammation, so giving your body a 12-hour food break is a good thing (1).

Hopefully, this information will get you to skip that after-dinner sweet treat or salty snack, and/or that middle-of-the night munchie-fest.

Photo: Banana bread…it’s basically cake!


Source: Scott, Paula Spencer. “It’s About TIME! Why Dr. Oz is fasting and using the clock to lose weight, slow dementia and fight disease.” Parade Magazine. Sept. 9, 2018. Pages 8-9. Print.

No single food promotes fat loss

beet, walnut and feta salad

There is no one food that’s going to be the ticket to your weight loss. While soup, salad, oatmeal, apple cider vinegar, flax seeds, chia seeds, avocados, nuts, coconut oil, coffee, and tea are healthy, consuming them won’t speed up your metabolism, or burn off more fat. Unless you’re swapping out a 500 calorie sandwich for a 300 calorie soup on a consistent basis, you won’t see a drop in weight. Sorry! And if you’re adding the above foods to what you’re already eating, expect weight gain, not weight loss.


Spiced-Iced Dairy-Free Smoothie


This smoothie tastes like a pumpkin pie sorbet that you can drink. It has a wonderful combination of warm spices that come from cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice powder, which goes amazingly well with a creamy frozen banana and a frozen, cooked, sweet yam.


Spiced-Iced Smoothie

  • ½ cup cooked yam, chopped into bite-sized pieces, and frozen overnight
  • ½ large banana, frozen, into 1-inch chunks
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract, alcohol-free
  • ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ cups coconut milk
  • ¼ cup collagen protein powder

Place all ingredients in your blender cup until incorporated, stir once with a spoon and enjoy!

Try Whole30 diet, but never do it again


This strict eating plan is both great and terrible. Watch this YouTube video as to why I recommend trying it, but only for 30 days.

Carbs aren’t making you fat

cheat meal

Many people are still under the misconception that carbs are the reason they are overweight; that’s just not true. You can be on a high-carb diet, and still lose weight. I’ve actually reduced my body fat percentage by increasing carbohydrates from adopting a more plant-based diet, and eating more beans and grains, while eating less animal protein. It’s the excess calories that turn into fat, not carbs.

Photo: This meal will cause weight gain in most people, not because of the carbs from the bread, ketchup, French fries, and sugar-laden sauce, but because the portion size is huge, not to mention all the added fat. The buttered bread, deep fried potatoes, and fatty meat adds a wallop of calories too.


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