Making gains during your Uni days

How to have maximum growth at University?

University and your teenage years are the perfect time to start your journey and make some serious gains. At the start of college and university, you’ve got a lot of free time and your hormones are through the roof. This is the time to capitalise on these.

In my opinion, there is no better time to start packing on some serious mass than at university, mainly because this is where I’ve made the most progress. This is the time to build that physique you’ve always wanted! You’ll have the time, the motivation, the gym equipment (most university gyms are pretty good) and the ability to really perfect your diet. Some recipes to get you started.

So… do you want to to make some gains and get the girls at all those parties?

Look no further! Below are going to be some pointers on how to step it up to the next level and make some gargantuan gains!


Okay so this is one of the big ones, you’ve heard the “you can’t out-train a bad diet” and “abs are made in the kitchen”. These are both true, but here is another one: “you can’t get big without eating big”. This is basically the fact that you need to be in a calorie surplus to gain weight and therefore muscle mass. Yes, you may get a little fluffy around the edges but it is a sad consequence of the gains to come. You can minimise fat gain by having a healthy, balanced diet as well as having a small calorie surplus (200 – 400 calories).

Now, normally I would recommend IIFYM or macro tracking, however, this isn’t always practical. Some universities still have cafeterias or forced meal plans or maybe the parents still cook for you? In this case, the easiest method is just to eyeball the food and control portion sizes. A well-recommended guideline would be:

  • 2 – 3 / 5 Protein
  • 2 – 3 / 5 Carbohydrate
  • 1 / 5 healthy fats

Remember to ensure that you are getting the majority of your calories for the whole nutritious foods as these are the ones which are really going to contribute to the gains. You can have junk food and other treats but just remember in MODERATION!


So this is a big one. If you are reading this I imagine this is your first few years of lifting so you have the joy of “newbie” gains. This means you still pack on muscle and strength relatively easy compared to “veteran” lifters. This means you want to be training a lot, about 5 times a week with two rest days thrown in there. Be careful not to overtrain as this will be detrimental to your goal!

The splits that I would personally recommend are: Push Pull Legs (PPL), PHAT, PHUL, Full body or an Upper/Lower split. Each session you should aim to be increasing the weight used to really push your body.

Due to the massive spike in hormones going on at this time, it is the perfect chance to pack on some serious muscle mass. I would also recommend getting a friend to start going to the gym with you as well as it will force you both to work harder, eat more and make even bigger gains.

Track your weight

Now, this is more of a tool opposed to an actual tip for gains but hear me out. You’ll want to be tracking your weight at least once a week, ideally every day and taking an average for that week. Weigh-ins are important and should be done 1st thing in the morning on an empty stomach after going for a piss.

Now what you are looking for is small, steady increases in weight. Increasing by about 0.5 kg / 1 – 2 lb a week. This will result in a rather lean bulk and you won’t have to worry too much when it comes to the cutting phase.

So what to do if the weight is going up too quickly? Simple. Reduce the amount you are eating either macro wise or portion wise. One thing to note however is you still want to keep protein and carbs high.

So what to do if I’m gaining weight too slowly or not all? Again this is solved easiest enough, start eating more. You’ll want the majority of your increased calories to be coming from carbohydrates but keep proteins high and fats moderate.

Sleeping for the gains

Now, this is a factor which is normally overlooked but is one of the most important ones. Sleeping is when you really allow your muscles to recover and grow. Now it won’t kills you or really harm your goals if you miss a couple of hours one night or stay up late on another. On average, however, you should be getting about 7 – 9 hours of quality sleep a night.

This might be tougher at uni than at home as people are always up and about doing something. Don’t worry about, you won’t be missing out on anything, keep your goal in mind and stick to the path and you will get there!


Now, these supplements aren’t essential but they do help. With a well-balanced diet, you can get away with not having these but they do make life a little easier and give some noticeable results.

I do understand that living as a student is already tough enough and being poor is a real problem without having to buy supplements but here are the ones I recommend:

  • Protein powder
  • Creatine
  • Fish Oil
  • Multivitamin
  • Coffee (works as a good pre-workout)


We hate to love it and love to hate it. So this is the big one for the majority of university students. I’m not going to tell you how to live, but if you are serious about getting that dream physique you need to cut back on alcohol. It’s empty calories. As a student, I get the fact that you want to go out and drink and party. I’m not saying don’t, but it needs to be in moderation!

But alcohol will not only make it hard to train like a beast the next day because of that killer hangover it also directly inhibits muscle growth! See here and here

Now drinking one a week is fine and you’ll still achieve your goals but drinking 5 times a week? I’m afraid you are going to have a hard time making gains….

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you – Fred Devito

All in all the important thing is to remain consistent and continually make changes and you’ll achieve your goals!