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GOMAD: The Truth About Drinking a Gallon of Milk a Day

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[dropcap type=”3″]G[/dropcap].O.M.A.D. or “gallon of milk a day” is a well-known weight gain diet which leverages the ease of consuming liquid calories with the desirable caloric profile of milk.

This guide to GOMAD will explain why this diet is popular among the skinniest of ectomorphs, the side effects of massive milk consumption, the XMAD compromise, and how you can start going mad today.

Go get a big glass of milk, sit down on your comfiest chair, and start reading!

True GOMAD: Everything You Need to Know

What is GOMAD? The true gallon of milk a day plan consists of drinking 1 US gallon (3.8L) of whole fat milk every day in addition to your typical breakfast/lunch/dinner meals. Here’s what your daily milk consumption looks like in calories:

[quote_box_center]146 calories per cup of milk * 16 cups (in 1 gallon) = 2,336 calories from milk alone, per day.[/quote_box_center]

Assuming each of your solid food meals hit 800 calories each, you’re reaching an intake of 4,736 daily calories with GOMAD.

Lift this.

The second half of GOMAD consists of lifting heavy weights to maximize strength gains. Check out Stronglifts, Starting Strength, or another routine that focuses on heavy weight barbell exercises for low repetitions. This is crucial to reducing fat gain and maximizing strength.

That said… it would be unrealistic to not expect a considerable fat gain when putting down close to 5,000 calories per day. You will likely want to cut weight after a successful GOMAD cycle. If this worries you, read about XMAD further down on this page.

You continue to drink copious amounts of milk, get in your solid calories, and lift heavy until you reach your desired weight. It’s often recommended that you set your sights 5-10lb above your true goal to allow for the loss of water weight once you stop drinking an entire gallon of milk everyday. After all, milk consists of 87% water.

It is generally recommended to stay on GOMAD for 1-2 months. Any longer and you risk an undesirable amount of fat gain.

[Tweet “GOMAD (2,336 calories) + 3 solid meals (800 calories each) = 4,736 daily calories #GOMAD”].

You are NOT doing true GOMAD if…

  • You’re drinking something other than whole fat milk. 1%, 2%, chocolate, soy, almond, goat… you must drink whole fat milk to GOMAD.
  • You’re not drinking a full gallon of milk everyday. That’s 16 cups. 3.8L.
  • You’re not eating whole food meals throughout the day.

Everybody who is new to gaining weight struggles to hit their daily calorie goal. Milk is a cheap high calorie protein source that can be consumed in massive quantities. This is the basic idea of the GOMAD diet: cheap, convenient calories.

GOMAD Side Effects: What 60gal of Milk Will Do to You

A little over a weeks worth of GOMAD supply

The GOMAD diet seems like something to come out of a Rocky movie or superhero comic book. Try explaining the concept of drinking a gallon of milk a day to a civilian (non-gainer) and watch their face morph into something that looks very, very confused.

Drinking a gallon of milk everyday doesn’t go down absent of any consequences. Here are the most common criticisms of the GOMAD approach to gaining weight: 

  • You will get fatter consuming close to 5,000 calories/day. There are many GOMAD success stories that boast about impressive weight gain upwards of 20lbs in a single month. Though still impressive, the majority of that weight will consist of fat and water. If you want to GOMAD, prepare to go through a weight cut afterwards. This shouldn’t be an issue to raw ectomorphs who are new to gaining; as you will likely have room for fat gain.
  • Chances are your body isn’t in love with the idea of heavy dairy consumption. Approximately 65% of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy [source]. Bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, and nausea are all possible side effects to drinking so much milk. Though you may experience the worst of the symptoms initially, when you first start GOMAD, it is possible that they wane over time as your body adjusts. You can read more on lactose intolerance here.
  • Acne and sleepiness: There is no definite link between dairy and acne, but there are theories about it. Skim through this article for more on the potential dairy and acne connection. The GOMAD diet can also cause increased sleepiness due to the nature of carbohydrates, which milk is high in. Carbs increase the release of serotonin; which causes sleepiness.

The XMAD Compromise – Going Less Mad

If you’re not following the exact rules of GOMAD, you’re not doing GOMAD.

This is a point that is important to emphasize in order to dispel the use of “half GOMAD” or “quarter GOMAD” vernacular that is ever present on fitness forums. Drinking half a gallon of milk every day isn’t “half GOMAD”, it’s just drinking a lot of milk.

I don’t see any problem with using the term “half GOMAD”, for sake of simplicity, as long as you understand that you aren’t really participating in true GOMAD. You’re just using milk as a calorie source.

I’ve drank 2% milk all of my life and have come to rely on it for a considerable amount of calories on a daily basis. A single cup of 2% milk has 122 calories, breaking down to 5g fat, 12g carbohydrates, 8g protein. Looking over my calorie logs, I average about 6 cups of milk everyday, for a total of 732 calories.

Even if you aren’t compelled to drink an entire gallon of milk everyday after learning the ins and outs of the GOMAD diet you can still leverage the desirable caloric profile of milk to make gaining weight easier. Adding 2 cups of 2% milk with every meal is an extra 732 calories. Upgrade from 2% to whole fat milk and that’s 876 calories you no longer have to worry about.


Here’s Takeru Kobayashi doing GOMAD in 28 seconds. Don’t try this at home, please!

Is GOMAD Right for You?

[Tweet “Drinking half a gallon of milk every day isn’t “half GOMAD”, it’s just a lot of milk. #GOMAD”]

Following the true GOMAD diet is a sure way to put on weight. You will see a strength increase (potentially a significant one) if you are lifting heavy while on this diet. You probably won’t end up with your dream body at the end of your 1-2 months, but instead see a considerable increase in body fat.

You can find out if GOMAD is the right weight gain solution for you by asking yourself: Are ready to gain 5-10% of body fat in exchange for putting on 20-30lbs, and becoming stronger?*

* = Of course, if you plan to cut weight after a successful GOMAD cycle, you will be at risk to lose some ground on your strength gains, something that shouldn’t be forgotten.

GOMAD may be perfect for ectomorphs who find themselves seriously underweight, or very low in body fat. Inversely, if the idea of your body fat shooting up 10% makes you very nervous, you should stick with XMAD.


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2 comments

  • meevesjohn

    Mar 24, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Considering #GOMAD is “Gallon of milk a day” drinking literally half a gallon a day is very much HALF GOMAD.

    Reply

  • Shawn

    Mar 18, 2017 at 9:33 am

    25yo, 6’0, 128lbs, 130lbs on a good day. Civilian Firefighter/EMT trying to join the Navy, I think I need this diet,

    Reply

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