The Five Best Calorie Dense Foods for Hard Gainers

Being a hard-gainer, someone who has difficulty gaining lean mass, can be an extremely frustrating situation. For one thing, many people simply don't understand it.


After all, most people fight to lose weight; the idea of someone actively trying to gain weight just seems ridiculous. But, the struggle is real.


Often, along with properly designed workouts, hard-gainers need to make very specific food choices.


To help in your pursuit of impressive gains, here are five of the best calorie dense foods for hard gainers.


Mass-Gainer Powders


Most of the other foods that we'll consider here require you to do a little bit of math and planning, but mass-gainers deserve special mention simply because of the degree of convenience that they offer.


Not only do these easy-to-use powders already contain a sizeable dose of calories, they also come designed with the ideal mix of nutrients.


Man walking on a tennis court, carrying a mesh bag with a tub of Naked Mass and a Naked Nutrition shaker bottle


Naked Mass, for example, contains both whey and casein protein – which absorb at different rates to keep you fueled for hours. Also packed in there is a high-quality, complex carbohydrate that will encourage proper use of all those amino acids and help you add some pounds.


A single serving of Naked Mass offers 1250 calories, 50g of protein, 252g of carbs and a mere 2.5g of fat.




For such a humble snack, almonds are loaded with a pretty impressive nutrient profile. Plus, they're pretty easy to carry around.


A cup of almonds contains a little over 800 calories and 30g of protein. Be aware, though, that you'll also be throwing back 72g of fat and 29g of carbs.




Peanuts have a similar calorie content to almonds but differ slightly in their nutrient profile. That same cup of peanuts will offer about 35g of protein, 31g of carbs, and 72g of fat.


So, you'll be getting a couple more grams of protein if you opt for peanuts over almonds. The other numbers are pretty much the same, though.


Of course, the case may be that you just prefer peanuts over almonds – or vice versa.


Peeled peanuts in a white ceramic bowl


Whole Milk


Although its reputation has wavered a little bit over the years, milk still a staple food for many bodybuilders.


Along with being extremely convenient, easy to toss into other foods and drinks and packed with micronutrients, milk has a pretty solid nutritional profile. A single cup of milk contains about 150 calories, 8g of protein, 8g of milk and 12g of carbs.


Granted, this isn't the most impressive food on the list but it is an easy way to add extra calories in some pretty creative places.


Olive Oil


Often, people forget about the potential for cooking oils to add calories to their meals.


Olive oil, in particular, is especially useful if you're purposefully trying to sneak in some extra fuel. Granted, coconut oil has gained lots of popularity over the past few years but, by the numbers, the two oils are virtually identical.


A tablespoon of both coconut and olive oil contains about 120 calories, 14g of fat and no carbs or protein. Olive oil, however, has more heart-healthy fats and a stronger body of research behind it.


Olive oil being poured into a clear bowl, with raw olives to the side