Muscle, that is. I don't want to get fat. I do have some similar parameters for weight gaining as I do for exercising. I don't want to use anything that I can't commonly find, like supplements. I travel a lot and I can't afford to drag my supplements with me everywhere. Besides, if you read my last, somewhat angry, post I have something against supplements. The old timers didn't use them, so I don't need them either. Information was sort of scant on this topic. Most of the information is for losing weight. The weight gaining literature is dependant on supplements (ah-HEM). I found a book on weight gaining that was remarkable in that I don't think I've ever found a book that said so much without saying anything.
So, I set out last year to try to gain some weight (175-180 was fine for me). Trouble was, I started out at 145, well below my normal 155 lbs, due to getting sick in Peru over Christmas. I managed to get up to 157 before the year ended but that was way short of my goal. I tried again this year, armed with some new information and so far I'm up to 173 lbs.
One thing that never struck me for some reason that was the key to gaining...
MATTER CAN'T BE CREATED OR DESTROYED.
Truth is, your exercise alone doesn't make muscle grow. If you're not taking in more matter, you're not going to make more matter on your body. Matter, in this case, is FOOD. I wasn't eating nearly enough to make myself bigger. I have a feeling that many who are trying to do the same thing aren't either. Eating right, and more, is inseperable from exercise when trying to gain weight.
One food that nearly every, single old-time strongmen used to gain weight was milk. They often milk by the gallons to get bigger. Another food that was consumed in quantity is eggs. Modern science proves their point: these two foods are the most easily digested protein out there. Still, ingesting protein alone doesn't do it. You need fat too. Most of your hormones are fat-based compounds and your hormones are what tells your body to grow.
Eggs have become a standard food for breakfast. I drink at least 16 oz milk per meal. I get lots of fat in my diet by consuming nuts in between and part of my meals. I also consume at least two servings of fruits and vegetables each meal. I tend to eat a lot of dried fruits because they ar calorie-dense and have a lot of nutrients.
If you're like me and don't gain weight easily, patience and persistance are paramount. I follow a similar cycle in weight gain: I gain around three pounds, lose it and gain it back a few times, gain it, and plateau. It takes as long as it takes. It's not as easy as supplementing but it's all I have and I'll make it work.