If you are reading this you are probably one of the skinny guys that are looking to gain muscle.
Don’t worry, we were exactly the same as you once, wanting to know how to put on weight as a skinny person.
You have been secretly jealous of those with buff buddies for years, wishing you could load on a few extra kilos as easily as they could, right?
But even when you eat like you want to make it into the junk food hall of fame, you just can’t pick up an ounce of extra weight.
It’s hard to know how to put on weight with a fast metabolism.
Look on the bright side – at least you will be building the right kind of bulk from the outset.
As impossible as gaining weight may seem to you right now, it’s easier than you think.
So, how exactly are you going to bulk up, skinny guy?
Here are the basics.
We give you: a fool-proof guide for learning how to put on weight healthily.
Increase Your Food Intake
It may sound tough (or even impossible) but whatever you are eating comfortably now, you should probably look to double it.
If eating that much in one sitting is too difficult then try eating six to eight smaller meals a day instead of three.
Remember that it will get easier to eat large amounts as you go along. Really, it will.
You’ll find yourself hungrier, making it easier to maintain your weight once you start to build it, and once you start to nail your gym work you’ll be burning off a lot of excess calories as well.
The important thing to remember here is to eat ‘good’, whole foods. Scrap the take-outs and ready-made meals. You need to concentrate on eating meats, vegetables and healthy carbs.
Invest That Dollar Bill
If you are serious about gaining It isn’t going to happen for free. You are going to have to invest both time and money in your body. If you are doubling your diet you can expect to pay more for groceries and supplements every month.
You will need to buy even more meat or protein-based foods if you’re vegetarian or vegan. You are also going to need to spend time cooking and preparing meals.
You need to be fully committed to this, if you want to bulk up and gain weight, healthily.
Eat Nutrient Rich Calories
Eating a lot more food is a good start, but there is no point in eating a lot of the wrong food.
You want to eat loaded calories: Compound carbohydrates, lean Protein and whole Veg. Eating empty calories like white bread and sugar is only going to make you fat. It’s not going to help you build muscle.
Protein supplements are ideal also. They can help with muscle recovery and growth.
Keep Up With The Carbs
Another common mistake want-to-be gainers make is to eat all protein.
Yes, you do need a lot of protein to build muscle, but if you cut out all carbs your body will have to start burning protein for energy.
At best you will maintain weight on an all protein diet; at worst you will actually lose muscle mass as your body burns it up for energy.
Ideally, at every meal, you should be eating protein, good compound carbs like potato, whole wheat bread and brown rice and vegetables. You need all of them.
Never Train On An Empty Stomach
Don’t even think about hitting the gym if you haven’t had time for breakfast. If it’s after work and you skipped lunch but you are rushing to get to the gym before they close, stop. All you will be doing is burning calories and losing weight!
You should really be eating three meals before your training session. Therefore, it makes sense to train later in the day.
If you really have to train in the morning eat breakfast first and make yourself a shake to sip on while you train.
Don’t train on shakes alone, your body needs food!
Drink Protein And Carb Shakes Whilst You Train
We told you to have carbs and protein in every meal. Well, you should have them during your workout too.
Whether you use a protein powder and bananas in milk – blender time – or buy a specially formulated shake, make sure that you are replacing energy and building bulk while you work out. The easiest way to do that is by drinking a protein and carb dense shake.
Read our post on the best protein powders, find the best weight gain supplements for skinny guys here.
Opt For Compound Exercises
You want to conserve energy while still getting the maximum muscle building workout. Focus on movements like bench presses, overhead press, squats and deadlifts.
All of these exercises work a selection of muscle groups at the same time and are perfect for increasing explosive strength.
Increase power and strength with exercises like them.
You want to try and up the weight a little every second session. It’s better to do 4-8 solid reps of a heavier weight compared to 10-20 lighter ones.
You want to compound and compress those muscles. Not exhaust them and stretch them out; doing more reps builds endurance, which tones muscles but ultimately makes them smaller.
Gradually up the weights, you are lifting. If you find you can perform 12 reps easily on a certain weight you need to adjust the weight. Ideally, only just being able to push out the last rep is a starting point.
Remember that form is everything so if you notice you are using bad form to lift the weights than you may need to drop the weight down.
Keep It Simple
You don’t need to impress anyone with your range of movements.
Once you have bulked up you can start looking at increasing your range, targeting special muscle groups and toning down your skills. But first, bulk like the hulk.
Don’t over complicate things, especially when you will be in the stages of newbie gains.
Drink Loads Of Water
This is great for your overall health, but seriously; if you’re looking to put on weight, ensure you’re taking in at least three litres of water a day.
Water flushes out toxins and keeps you healthy, allowing your kidneys to function properly.
Water is key, drink plenty of it.
Keep Your Rest Time Short
You need to get oxygen flowing into your muscles between sets so you do need a rest, but don’t let it drag on. The longer the muscle group stays engaged for the better your chances of forming muscle.
If you rest for too long you will have to start the muscle engagement all over again. Ultimately you should rest a minute between sets, or for up to two and a half minutes if you felt you’ve particularly struggled.
Remember: getting your workout nailed is more important than being engrossed in texting your friends between sets.
Cardio is not your friend, skinny people.
Unlike most people who need cardio to help them burn calories, you want to hang onto every last calorie you consume.
You want to build a ripped new you out of those hard-won calories and you should not be wasting them jogging on a treadmill.
It is good to get some cardio in a week though, probably 1-2 sessions is good to keep you fit. But for the majority of your gym sessions stick to weights.
Rest Up Your Muscle Groups
This is huge tip that many people miss. A lot of people think more workouts = more gains, but this isn’t true.
Don’t train the same group of muscles two days in a row. Instead, hit one group really hard today and a different group tomorrow.
One of the most important factors in muscle growth is reparation – that’s why you need to let it rest and repair itself before the next onslaught.
Try the PPL routine – Push, Pull and Legs. PPL allows certain muscle to rest whilst working out other muscles. You will get all muscle groups worked in a week with this routine just don’t forget to add in ab sessions, twice a week.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out How Not To Be Skinny from Excuse Proof.
Get Enough Sleep
Few people realise how important sleep is to gaining muscle mass.
Your body repairs itself while you are sleeping; it needs this time to do the actual building part of bodybuilding.
You also burn up loads of energy by staying awake when you’re tired. Again, these calories would be much better utilised by being used to build you a big, strong body!
Don’t Be Afraid Of Fats
You are a skinny guy. You read this far because you want to be a big guy, so why are you scared of a little fat?
Picking up a little fat on your way to a built body is completely normal. In fact, the majority of people will favour a bulking and cutting cycle, rather than trying to ‘clean bulk’.
Keep away from cheap, fried foods, but don’t freak out when you see how much fat is in peanut butter. Peanut butter is the holy grail in the world of gains.
Focus on getting to your goal weight, and worry about chiselling your shape once you’ve helped build it.
One HUGELY Important Thing To Remember
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Seriously, you know how hard it is to put on weight – after all, I bet you’ve tried it time and time again.
Ensure you’re consuming enough calories; if you’re not putting on weight, you’re not consuming enough calories – that’s an indisputable fact, regardless of whether you blame metabolism or any other typical excuse.
Eat to the point of boredom (healthily) and monitor your progress along the way using a tracker like MyFitnessPal.
Putting on one pound every two weeks is great progress – that would equal almost two stone in a year!