Hey guys this may be a little overdue, depending on what you’ve been eating 😉

I went on a date last week shortly after training, and before heading off to the bar I crammed down as much food as I could: a 2 scoop whey shake, 2 bananas, 4 eggs, a shot of olive oil, and then I grabbed a litre of milk and started walking off to the bar. This is after finishing my 1200 calorie workout sugar/whey shake. I arrived just as I finished my litre of milk and greeted my date. I then quickly had to sit down to make sure none of that hard-swallowed nutrition came back up. She thought it was pretty funny, and 45 minutes of wheezing later I was back to normal.

During my recent muscle-building shake recipe experiments I ran into a couple duds and had a similar experience on another date, except this time my stomach expanded and I spent an hour or so burping uncontrollably. Conclusion? Soda + dairy is a really bad combination. These little mishaps reminded me of my struggles years ago, when I first started out on my journey to muscle-town.

Let me take you back to when I was a 130 pound hardgainer…

When I first started putting on some muscle and eating a huge surplus of healthy food I thought I was headed down the path to feeling awesome. It turns out after a couple weeks I did start to feel a lot better, look a lot better, and have a lot more energy … but I also started to bloat up like a blowfish. I had skinny-boy abs, but my dreams of having a washboard stomach were being ruined by the fact that my stomach now looked like a rock hard turtle shell. My abs were convex.

The other problem with this was that my stomach was inflated full of gas, and that gas needed to come out of somewhere. Having higher testosterone levels, more muscle mass, more confidence, more energy and being healthier than ever was fantastic for dating, but now my poor dates had to deal with the side effects of my bulking diet: bloating, indigestion and gas. I had 2 roommates too.

And it didn’t help that my primary source of carbohydrates at the time was beans.

You may have an image of some poor girl plugging her nose and scowling at poor skinny me. Not the case. More like me sitting in discomfort holding all that gas in my poor inflated turtleshell stomach and subtly trying to imply that it was getting late and that she should probably get her tiny tush home. Little did they know I was a natural gas factory (I hope).

I used to think the gas was just a necessary side effect of working out, and most of the guys I knew that were successfully putting on mass were in the exact same bloated boat. I was really damn tired of being skinny, so it’s not like a little gas for a couple months was going to stop me. Luckily after some diet experimentation and improvements the problem went away, and I pretty much forgot that I ever had it… until these recent dates.

I watched a seminar yesterday where some sports nutritionists were discussing indigestion and they were laughing about how you should get a medal just for being able to survive the backstage area at a bodybuilding event. These guys apparently release a lot of gas. They also said that it was an unnecessary evil, and in fact you can actually put on muscle even quicker once you figure out how to digest your food properly.

So how do you get rid of the bloating, indigestion and gas?

Here are a few nutrition tricks:

  • If it’s the protein powders that you’re guzzling that make you feel bloated and gassy then they should be your first stop when trying to fix the problem. When you consume a lot of identical nutrients, as you do when you consume massive amounts of the same brand of whey protein, your body can start to build up an intolerance. That makes you feel bloated and gassy, and just means that you should mix up your whey proteins. Buy a couple different brands and cycle them. If you really eat a ton of whey you may even want to buy three or four different brands at once.If that still doesn’t help, switch up the type of protein powder you buy. Whey isn’t the only option—you can also get egg based proteins, casein protein, blends. Even with whey protein lots of people find that they respond better to whey isolate than concentrate, or even to hydrolized whey over whey isolate.
  • Eat probiotic yogurt. It’s full of bacterial cultures that will populate your gastrointestinal tract with the right bacteria, making it easier to digest your food. Goodbye gas. This helped me out a ton and pretty much solved all my problems right away.
  • Eat pineapples. They’re full of great digestive enzymes that will help you process your food. You can buy digestive enzyme supplements, but pineapples are a great way to get them from whole foods. Since they’re coming from whole foods there’s a better chance of your body knowing how to properly deal with the enzymes, upping the chances of them working for you. You also get all the benefits of the pineapples.


If you can’t fix the problem holistically via your whole food intake then do not fret—there are supplements that might help you battle your gassy demons. Try supplementing with digestive enzymes or bacterial cultures, like enteric coated acidophilus.

Allergies / Intolerances:

Still having problems? You may be allergic or have an intolerance to something that you’re eating. Try systematically removing potential problem foods from your diet one by one and monitoring your progress. Here are some common foods that cause problems:

  • wheat
  • dairy / protein powders
  • nuts
  • eggs

One of these solutions is sure to give you some “release”. For me it was a combination. The yogurt helped, eating less whey (and more eggs) and varying the types helped, adding some bacterial culture rich kefir (fermented milk) to my protein shakes instead of just regular milk helped as well.

Hope this helps! Happy training!

Shane Duquette is the co-founder and creative lead of Outlift, Bony to Beastly, and Bony to Bombshell, and has a degree in design from York University in Toronto, Canada. He's personally gained sixty pounds at 11% body fat and has nine years of experience helping nearly ten thousand skinny people bulk up.

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  1. Breonna on June 12, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Shane, I think you’re allergic to eggs, dairy, protein powder, and nuts. Gassy monster indeed.

    • Shane Duquette on June 12, 2012 at 3:03 am

      Hey a burp now and then isn’t so bad 🙂

  2. roz on November 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    sounds like my life!

  3. Alexander on June 7, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I thought it’s gluten and milk that bloats me but it turned out its fibre and processed milk. No wholemeal no too many veg and no whey protein and life is good once again.

    • Amin on August 23, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Hey Alexander I wonder do you steam your veggies or eat them raw?

  4. Galev on March 8, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    So here I was wondering “I should google this gas thing, it mustn’t be normal, there must be a way to deal with it.” And google gave me some results and I was confirmed in my suspicion that it is probably the supplement I started taking (beef protein with some carbs).
    There weren’t any suggestions other than “it should go away in a few weeks”.
    “I wish there was something about thin on Bony to Beastly…” And then I spotted the link. Crazy how you guys really cover everything. 😀

    I’m not going to be able to mix my supplement with anything because I only take the one (and only twice a week). But I’ll try out pro-biotic yoghurt. My only concern is that I may be lactose intolerant (I have an appointment to have it tested). So I don’t know what I’ll do if that turns out to be the case.

    • Shane Duquette on March 8, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      Ahaha we try our best! Glad we could help.

      Even if you’re lactose intolerant some types of dairy may still agree with you. There are digestive enzymes and lactose free milk. And your lactose intolerance may go away over a few weeks as you slowly acclimatize to drinking milk.

      That’s a very novel type of protein powder too. You may have more luck with something classic like whey protein isolate (which doesn’t have lactose—the sugar in milk—in it).

      Good luck!

  5. Scott Pilgrim on May 24, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    digestive enzymes from actual pineapples?
    or will Pineapple juice do?

    • Shane Duquette on May 26, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      The more processing a food goes through the less cool stuff it’ll do. Less fibre, or vitamins, or perhaps digestive enzymes, etc. If you blend a pineapple up into a smoothie that’d probably be comparable to a fresh pineapple. If you juice it using a juicer, a little less. If you’re getting pasteurized store-bought juice, even less. At what point do you lose the enzymes? I don’t know :S

  6. Derek on August 9, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    How the heck can you put on weight as a skinny guy if you have an intolerance to Dairy, Eggs, Nuts, and Wheat?! Those are like the primary muscle building foods right there. When you throw out Whey, Dairy products like Cottage Cheese, Milk, Almonds, Nut Butters, Eggs, and breads and pastas; What are you left with? Chicken, Rice and Brocolli at every meal? Yay…. (sarcasm)

    • Shane Duquette on August 10, 2015 at 10:44 am

      Hey Derek,

      It’s definitely discouraging when you’re faced with a lot of restrictions, but it’s definitely still possible. We have members who are following strict paleo diets (low carb, no potatoes or fruits, no grains, no legumes, etc), vegans, people with type 1 diabetes, people with Crohn’s disease. Just takes more cleverness.

      My favourite muscle-building meal is chili cooked a dozen servings at a time. Pretty delicious, quick to cook the first time, very easy to reheat at your convenience. My second favourite recipe is stew, for similar reasons. Lately I’ve been trying to do the same thing with stir fries and curries to mix things up. None of these have dairy, eggs, nuts or wheat.

      If you wanted a protein powder, instead of whey protein, for example, you could get rice/pea protein powder. Something like SunWarrior or Vega.

      Does that help at all?

  7. Ea on October 7, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Hi Shane ,
    I have been using maltodextrin after workouts for quite a while now, and it s working crazy good. The thing is gulping down 100grams of if started to give me nausea and i cant eat for like 3-4 hours afted that . This started a few weeks ago. Should i stop using it and eat food ? ( i really dont wanna do that)

    • Shane Duquette on October 7, 2015 at 7:16 pm

      Hey Ea,

      Really glad to hear the maltodextrin has been helping!

      I think the first step will be trying to narrow down why all of a sudden you’re getting nauseas. Your body has a bunch of regulatory systems designed to keep you weighing about the same as you did yesterday, last week, and last month. Eating easily digestible low fibre liquid calories is a brilliant way to slip under the radar of those various regulatory systems. However, oftentimes there’s only so much we can do to trick them. After a while your body realizes that you’re gaining weight and it tries to re-establish homeostasis.

      The good news is that if you gain 20 pounds and maintain those gains for a little period of time, you may very well find that you naturally maintain that weight forever. Those same mechanisms start working in your favour, maintaining your new burly figure.

      For now, maybe just take a break from the maltodextrin. Take a couple weeks off. Stop overeating. Maintain your gains. Regain some motivation. Remember what hunger feels like. Then go back to bulking 🙂

      Perhaps have some fermented foods, onions, and plenty of fibre (fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, oats, etc). That should help your digestive system by encouraging a nice lush microbiome.

      Does that make sense / help?

  8. Brian on October 20, 2015 at 12:46 am

    After every heavy workout I use a Blender Bottle, with 14 mL of milk and ~60 grams of whey protein and gulp it quickly.(I weigh 135 lbs and consume roughly ~120-150 grams or protein per day) After my most recent workout, I felt bloated, precisely on my lower abdomen, and terribly constipated. Is this normal, as for completely changing my diet? Or am I doing something wrong?


    • Shane Duquette on October 20, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      It’s pretty normal to have trouble digesting large amounts of protein if you suddenly start eating large amounts of protein. As far as I understand it, your body hasn’t prepared the digestive enzymes that it needs yet. This shouldn’t be harmful, and your body will in time start producing the digestive enzymes that it needs to efficiently digest all of that protein.

      In the meantime though

      With weightlifting you start with light weights, become stronger, progress to heavier weights. Similarly, you could consume smaller amounts of protein at a time, increasing that amount slowly—a little bit at a time—and gradually improve upon the amount that you can comfortably consume 🙂

  9. ajay on July 3, 2017 at 9:43 am

    hello shane my name is ajay from india ,i started bodybuilding in 2004 switched to strength training which i have continued till date .i was 56 kg when i started now i am 71 kg(i dit a cutting cycle reduced 15 kg because it was fat ,no strength loss) my stats are deadlift conv. 164 kg squat 120 kg bench prob 90 kg weighted dip 40 kg 3-4 reps weighted chin up 40 kg 3 reps .i also run twice a week alternately 8 km(36 min) 100 mt 12sec .(i have to run no option)what i want to know is this is there any way to know when to increase my diet ? i exercise 2-3 times a week 4 hrs and i dn’t have any symptoms of overtraining and i sleep< 7 hrs can't sleep more .also my wrist circumference is 16.5 cm ankle width 21.5 cm height 177 cm .is there some time after which i know i can be no more neuro muscularly efficient and have to increase my diet ?

    • Shane Duquette on July 4, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Hey Ajay,

      Calories, thankfully, are simple. If you aren’t gaining weight, it means you aren’t eating enough calories to gain weight. So you know when you need to increase calories if you’re not gaining as much weight as you’d like to be gaining. On the other end of the spectrum, you’re eating too many calories when you’re gaining so much weight that you’re gaining fat.

      Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it easy. It can be a pain to track calories, and it can be very difficult to eat enough to gain weight. The path, however, is clear. So be smart, and good luck! 🙂

      • ajay on July 5, 2017 at 12:34 am

        thank you for the reply ,the strength that i have gained should i have gained more of it ,i mean what about the other members here of the same height and dimensions does anyone for eg deadlift 200 kg or squat 150 or 140 kg for eg. i’ve spnt long time in this so i’m just curious

        • Shane Duquette on July 6, 2017 at 1:19 pm

          We’ve got a few members deadlifting at least 200kg, benching at least 100kg and squatting around 150kg. Most of them are around the 80kg mark, give or take a few kg. Mind you, these are proportionally very long guys who are averaging around 6′ tall. It’s totally possible for a regular guy to get those numbers with a lighter bodyweight, but I would imagine that he would be on the shorter side because that would mean more of his weight would be muscle (rather than bone, tendon, etc), and there would be a shorter distance he would need to lift the weights.

          With more mastery of the lifts, you can definitely get stronger while staying at a similar bodyweight. If your goal is to get stronger at a good speed, though, I would recommend trying to build more muscle mass.

  10. Matt on November 6, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Shane- I’ve been weight-training for almost a year now. I’m a hardgainer ectomorph and since starting I’ve been taking 2-3 servings of whey isolate to reach my macros. I recently added a “lactose-free” whey gainer since I’m struggling to gain weight. However, since starting weight training, I’ve been chronically bloated, could this be due to the shake’s artificial sweeteners or lactose? I’ve tried lactase and digestive enzymes and they didn’t work. I have Crohn’s, I believed you mention those with Crohn’s should focus on a Paleo diet. I’d appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

    • Shane Duquette on November 10, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      Hey Matt,

      For whatever reason, we have a lot of complaints about weight gainers from our members. Some guys do fine, but many are chronically bloated, permanently full, or running into a whole variety of digestive issues. That certainly happened to me when I tried them. I’d feel lethargic for hours afterwards. I’m sure some are better than others, but all of the ones I tried had that effect on me.

      Why? It’s hard to say. But the quality of them is pretty low, so it’s not that surprising either. If you force-fed yourself a few slices of cake every day, you’d expect to feel like crap. Same deal with weight gainers.

      We recommend making your own, homemade weight gainer, and then only it having post-workout. That seems to prevent a number of issues:

      As for Crohn’s, I don’t really want to step in there. That’s not my area of expertise and I’m neither a dietitian nor a nutritionist. We can definitely help you build muscle with your diet, but we’d rather do it by working within the nutritional guidelines you get from a medical professional. So we won’t tell you whether you should eat grains or not, but if you can’t, we can definitely help you build a killer muscle-building diet without any grains in it 🙂

  11. Matt on November 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Shane, I appreciate your feedback. I’ll read your article on “Muscle-Building Supplements for Ectomorph” and focus on creating homemade weight gainers and avoiding market mass gainers. As for my protein supplement, I’ll try to switch to another brand of whey isolate without artificial sweeteners and see if I still have bloating issues. If I still do, I’ll go for egg, beef , or plant-based proteins. Thank you for your help!

  12. Harshitha Akhil on December 17, 2017 at 2:52 am

    Hey am Harshitha Akhil from India and I am too skinny … I tried hell lot protein shakes but din work out … I eat too much and since I am vegetarian , I can have nly veg foods …
    How much ever I try I can’t put on weight .. can you please suggest me something about it?

    • Shane Duquette on December 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Hey Harshitha,

      If you want a recommendation for a good muscle-building program that will work even if you’re a vegetarian, I’d recommend our Bony to Beastly Program. Vegetarians build muscle and gain weight just as quickly as everyone else, and we even include vegetarian recipes along with the program 🙂


      If you want some free bulking information, every article on this site should help 🙂

      • Harshitha Akhil on December 20, 2017 at 10:32 pm

        That would surely help me out …
        But the problem is since I stay in hostel and I have to abide by the rules of the hostel I cannot go gym and all .. is there any alternate for that ?

        • Shane Duquette on December 26, 2017 at 10:42 am

          They won’t allow you to lift weights as part of the rules of the hostel? You could do bodyweight exercises instead. They won’t work as well, but you should still be able to make good progress.

  13. Persephone on May 3, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Dunno if anyone reads this thread but I recently found it and wanted to share my problem with you guys.
    I’m female, 30 years old, 1,60m short and currently weigh around 47,5kg.
    To find out my macros/calorie requirements for muscle gains I used an online calculator on bodybuilding.com. I started hitting my macros on a daily basis, eating 80% whole/non-processed foods and a lot of veggies/fruits. It all went finr for 1,5 months, then I added 150kcals more because I wasn’t gaining weight at all and two days ago trouble hit me hard. I’m bloating, feel sick and hate the idea of eating (but I still force myself to do it). My gut still appears to function properly though, I’ve no constipation and my pee has a normal colour.
    Still, I’m getting a bit scared and am wondering if I should stop bulking completely or try to eat a little less.
    When I started bodybuilding I was a skinny type of girl, bones showing and blah (I’m not an anorexic though) and I made some small gains but of course I want more and I know that I have to eat…but since I feel like crap atm, I dunno if I can go on like this.

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