5 Muscle Building Tips for Skinny Guys
Are you struggling to gain weight? Have you tried everything you were told but can't seem to put on any type of muscle mass?
I'm writing this post because I went through a similar headache.
You, my friend, hold the label of a "hard gainer". I was once in this position.
Fortunately for you, not for long.
Whether you're in your teens, 20's, 30's or even your 40's, building muscle mass is more than possible. I don't think you'd be here right now if you thought otherwise. It just gets a little harder as you get older.
The earlier you start, the easier for you.
At the time of writing this, I am standing 6 foot 1, 209 pounds. I weighed somewhere around 165 pounds my senior year of high school, 8 years ago.
When I first started experiencing with weights, I wasn't clueless but I was nowhere near sure of what I was doing.
I was part of the student-athlete program in high school but I got booted out mid grade 11 for having sub-par grades.
We worked out 2-3 times per week for an hour but our workouts consisted of mostly of bodyweight exercises, plyometrics and sprints. I didn't put on any weight.
On top of that, I was eating pure garbage all the time: McDonald's, Toonie Tuesday from KFC, all sorts of candy, chocolate, you name it.
Everything changed once I joined the weightlifting class. I was exposed to the "big dogs". The first day of class, I watched these guys bench press 225 pounds like water.
That was my moment. I told myself "no more skinny Daniel".
I took my ass to the supplement store (it's always intimidating stepping in there for the first time) and bought myself a mass gainer prior to the next week of class.
For the next few months, I followed all the workout templates handed out by the teacher.
The teacher was present but not present.
He didn't guide me by the hand, step by step along the way. I still had to figure things out on my own outside the gym.
I'm here to tell you that it's all good. Building muscle is not as complicated as you think it might be.
After I started, it took a mere two months before others seriously started to notice my progress.
I never looked back.
The advice below will work without having to count calories. I've had my times where I kept a close eye on my macros but never over a long period of time.
If you're a skinny guy reading this and you follow these tips, I promise you'll be well on your way to muscle and strength gains in no time.
Let's get started.
1) You Absolutely Cannot Skip Leg Day
Weight training will prompt your metabolism to produce more testosterone and growth hormone to support and help repair your muscle tissues efficiently.
Your leg muscles (glutes, quads, and hamstrings) are some of the biggest muscles of the human body.
It only makes sense that your body produces the most testosterone and growth hormone through lower body training in order to support and help repair those bigger muscles.
Strong base, strong body.
More of these two flowing through your metabolism is key for long-term gains.
You have to train your legs 2-3 times per week if you really want your entire body to grow.
More importantly, you can't let the soreness scare you away from training your legs. It's a part of the process. You have to embrace that feeling.
An upper/lower body workout split is a smart long term approach to your training. The push-pull-legs system is also great. Look these up.
Directly linked to the point above.
Testosterone and growth hormone production are at their highest throughout the night while you're in deep sleep mode.
You've probably heard this before but it's so often overlooked. Sleeping less than 6 hours a night will just not work in your favor.
You feel tired and don't push yourself as hard at the gym. You might even end up skipping your workout because you're too tired to go.
It's like a snowball effect on your gains.
Science says to aim for minimum 8 hours of sleep per night. That's what you should aim for. I personally aim to sleep about 7 hours per night, every night.
Your 3rd coffee of the day won't help you feel any more awake than you already are. Take a nap during the day if you can.
Catch up sleep is also a real thing. If your weekdays are so busy that you don't sleep enough, make sure to sleep 8-10 hours on weekends.
I can sleep easily 10-12 hours on weekends if need be.
3) Eat Muscle Building Meals
Your meals have to be gigantic. Literally.
"I eat so much but I never gain weight". I hear this all the time. The reality of the situation is that you don't.
You might be eating bigger meals but you're probably still listening to your natural hunger signals.
You know, your stomach rumbling, or the "breakfast-lunch-dinner" stigma we've been conditioned to follow growing up.
Your body must remain in an anabolic state at all times. Not only do your meals need to be gigantic, you must NEVER let your body get to the point where you feel hungry, EVER.
You've been a smaller guy your entire life for a reason. Your metabolism can eat and burn whatever food you feed it with effortlessly.
Hunger is your enemy. Food is your best friend.
At this stage of my life, 4 meals per day with 4-6 snacks works best for me. You have to figure out what works best for you.
Every single meal should have a solid amount - at the bare minimum 30g of protein.
I'd aim for at least 40g per meal if I were you.
Load up on carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, pasta, beans & oats. For safe measure, your total carb intake in grams for the day should be close to 3x your body weight, everyday.
Most of your snacks should be centered around protein too.
4) Consume Monster Protein Shakes
There is no need for "weight gainers". What you need to do is load up every single one of your protein shakes with calories.
Have a field day with the amount of peanut butter and nuts you add to your protein shake. You need those extra calories to grow.
Two protein powder scoops for the win. If it's too expensive for you to run through your tub of whey protein fairly quickly, add liquid egg whites to your shake instead.
Consume this protein shake post-workout or with your meal on your off days.
It's not a meal replacement. I repeat, it is not a meal replacement.
Liquid calories go down easier than extra food does.
Make monster protein shakes a part of your gameplan if you can't seem to grow.
5) Take Creatine
Creatine supports muscle tissue growth. It helps provide that extra boost of energy to lift more and push harder in the gym during your first 10-15 seconds of every set.
You are bound to get bigger by supplementing your diet with creatine.
Most guys starting out in the gym are skeptical about this supplement. I know because I was too.
Creatine is one hundred percent safe to take.
No need for the "loading phase" advertised on the bottle. Take 3-5g of creatine monohydrate daily, on both your workout and off days.
You'll slowly start to feel that extra energy boost under the bar I promise.
I'd be much stronger by now had I started supplementing my diet with creatine earlier in my fitness journey.
I take it every day and I never plan on stopping. You shouldn't either.
Consistency Is The Name Of The Game
A lot of skinny guys I know have this "all or nothing" approach to gaining weight. Often times, this is the reason why you can't make any progress long term. You need to add that consistency to your life.
Don't kill yourself trying to lift 5-6 times per week. Start by lifting 3x a week for a FULL YEAR and follow the advice above.
This is more than enough to make gains.
You won't see any noticeable results without consistency. This is the last piece to your puzzle.
You must first make this promise to yourself and remain consistent if you want to break out of your skinny guy genes forever.