Gaining Weight Transformation – How A Skinny Vegetarian Gained Over 40 Pounds

how to gain weight

Drew was always the skinniest guy in the room. The picture on the left shows you where he started.

People in the office would make comments about him being “rail thin” and “needing to eat a cheeseburger”. If you are reading this, chances are you have experienced the embarrassment, anxiety and anger that comes from being insecure about your appearance.

Frustrated and fed up, Drew was determined to transform his physical appearance.

He was inspired. He was motivated. He was ready to make a change.

One problem.

He was a complete beginner and had no experience with lifting and diet (he had no idea what a macro was). To further complicate things, Drew is a vegetarian! Many of the traditional bulking foods were off limits.

Being a vegetarian makes gaining weight a little more challenging, but you can do it with the right foods. Here is a previous post I wrote about the best vegetarian foods to eat to gain weight.

Armed with new found confidence, Drew bought a workout bench and some dumbbells to start lifting in his apartment. Being a completely novice weight lifter, he felt like experienced lifters at the gym might ridicule him for not knowing what to do. We will revisit this thought later in the article.

After some research, Drew concluded that a simple PPL (Push, Pull & Legs) workout routine would hit all the key muscle groups. The PPL workout routine focuses each day on either an upper body movement or legs. It is very simple, but effective.

push pull legs

Determine Your TDEE

He had a place to lift and a simple workout routine, finally he needed to find out how many calories to eat in order to gain weight.

Here is a simple TDEE calculator you can use as a calorie counter to gain weight.

Standard bulking diet theory says that you should take in 500 calories more than your TDEE each day. If you do that consistently, you should gain 1 pound in seven days.

Key Point: TDEE Calculators are good estimators and are NOT perfect. Stay consistent with your daily calorie intake for a week and recalibrate if needed.

After he plugged in his information into the TDEE calculator and added 500 calories, his target daily goal was around 3,200 calories needed to bulk. Further research told him to take in 0.8g protein per pound of body weight.

Drew did all the right things to start his bulk. He found inspiration, mustered up the courage and put his plan into action.

At the beginning, not everything went swimmingly. Working out at his apartment really limited his ability to get a complete lift in. He realized at this point he needed to get over his fears and join a gym.

Initially skeptical, he found that most experienced lifters weren’t ridiculing him. On the contrary, he found that most were more than willing to help him out!

how to gain weight as a vegetarian

Key Point: Don’t be afraid to join a gym! If you find that it isn’t a supportive atmosphere, find another one.


Start Off Slow

On the diet side, he started out gorging on anything he could get his hands on. This lead to some undesirable pudge around the midsection.

After more research he calibrated his diet and honed in on his TDEE goal for a more sustainable, healthy bulk.

Finding a groove with his diet and a newfound love for the gym, his transformation entered warp speed.

Drew found the best way to ensure he got the calories he needed each day was to do a simple meal prep. It takes a bit of time to plan and prepare, but it really works!

meal prep

Eat Big. Get Big.

Diet goal 3,200 calories & 0.8g protein per pound bodyweight:

weight gain meal plan

Drew’s favorite brand of protein powder is MyProtein.

He recommends Strawberry Cream or Mocha.

Push, Pull & Legs, Push, Pull & Legs, Rest Then Repeat.

push pull legs

Drew’s key to success from a weight lifting standpoint is to try and up the weight, reps and intensity every time you go. This is called progressive overload and is a key factor in your ability to grow your muscles.

Lift Bigger Each Time

Additionally, going into each workout with a goal gives you the motivation to keep going. Once Drew started enjoying the feeling of lifting more than he had previously, he started looking forward to going! Once he hit this inflection point, his progress started to take off and the pounds started packing on.

His confidence skyrocketed and he even felt like he got more respect in the workplace. People stopped commenting on his rail thin physique and started complementing him on his gains!

Currently, Drew is going to aim for a few more pounds of weight gain before getting lean for summer. Imagine being 120 right now and thinking that with a few tweaks to your lifestyle you could actually be CUTTING in a few months. So freaking inspiring!

With a great plan, consistent diet and exercise you too can make a complete transformation.

He went from being timid, weak and insecure to a confident, certified thicc boi (his words, not mine 😊). Anybody can do it as long as you start with the right information and the motivation to finally impose your will on the world.

Leave a comment below if you are inspired to finally gain weight!

No Comments

Leave a Comment

Please be polite. We appreciate that.
Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked