Skinny guys aren’t a lost cause in muscle building. Sure, that “big dude” is a head turner. But as one of the skinny guys, you don’t have to slobber and quit. Every gym has this bulky guy, but have you ever thought that once, he might also be skinny? Being surrounded with guys flexing their guns is nerve-wracking and the pressure will come crashing on your ego. But let me tell you this: you can gain muscle mass even if you’re skinny. You just have to work your ass off to make it happen.
Don’t let other guys shatter your confidence. The next time you see that muscular dude at the gym, whisper this at the back of your mind: “Someday, I’ll be like him”. Then start doing lifts, eating healthy, and committing to a workout plan. You’re not alone on your fitness journey. Take it from all the skinny people who are now confident to wear their Speedos.
If you’re trying to get bigger for some time now, the following tips would help you out:
1. Eat more, just eat
For skinny guys, eating big is a must. Carbs and calories are your best friends when trying to gain mass. Even if you work your butt off at the gym, it’s not possible to grow more muscles if the body doesn’t have the necessary energy. It’s like pushing a car to cross Route 20 with little fuel. Eating more accounts for 95% success rate among skinny guys, given that they work out regularly.
Muscle building or muscle protein synthesis has two stages: the breakdown phase and the synthesis phase. The breakdown phase happens when you exercise while the synthesis phase takes place when you ingest protein-rich food. These two go hand in hand. If you fail to balance exercise and diet, you’re not maximizing your body’s full potential to gain mass.
For starters, an extra 500 calories per day is advisable to let the muscles grow.
2. Exercise with discipline
Trying to gain muscle mass even if you’re skinny means any routine will induce muscle synthesis. But take note that it will plateau over time, so you have to come up with workout variations. This part becomes crucial for skinny people like you. Before you even start, make sure that you have a game plan. It’s your diet and workout cheat sheet.
No idea where to start? You can use fitness apps to get some ideas or take the Nerd Fitness Academy quiz. It will assess what workout you should do, but to be sure, a gym instructor would be the best person to ask.
Even if you don’t feel like doing it, you have to stress your muscles. You have to do deadlifts and more reps to make your muscles stronger. If not, you’ll be one fat guy with all the calories unburned.
3. Prioritize and strategize
Don’t just tell yourself that you want to be bulky, get it done! Stop messing around with internet games, binge-watching, and other distractions. Arrange a fixed schedule for your workout and give more attention to what you eat. Don’t just eat big, eat clean too so your body won’t have to bear the brunt of excess sodium and toxins. To gain muscle mass even if you’re skinny, you have to eat even if you’re not hungry.
The key here is doing more in less time. Regardless if you’re the busiest person on Earth, you can work out if you set it as a priority. So how would you know that it’s a priority? If you keep sticking to the schedule even if you’re tired, uninspired, or swamped with other tasks, that is.
You have to strategize. You don’t just pig out, run on the treadmill, and expect that you’ll achieve the Jake Gyllenhaal transformation in the film Southpaw.
4. Allow some recovery time
As a skinny type of guy, the common pitfall is overdoing the workout. You want to achieve things fast that, in return, sabotage your muscles. Don’t pride about hitting the gym for three hours without rest. Intensity, not duration, is the name of the game here. Performing one hour of high-intensity workout is better than taking easy routines for two hours.
Remember, when you train, your muscles sustain tiny tears. This damage is normal but it can pose health issues if you don’t let it recover for a few hours. A lot of bodybuilding newbies end up spending two months resting due to muscle injuries. So as a general rule, schedule your workout at least 24 hours apart and in a maximum of four days a week.
Muscle growth happens AFTER the exercise. If you don’t let protein synthesis takes place, you can’t gain muscle mass even if you’re skinny.
5. Perform compound lifts
Like what I said earlier, your progress will plateau in a matter of weeks if you keep doing the same thing. To solve this, add compound lifts to your gym drill. It’s not simplest lifting and not the easiest either. Reinvent your basic lifts by doing bench presses, pull-ups, rows, deadlifts, squats, and more. The more you challenge your muscles, the better.
The problem with repetitive routines is it doesn’t stretch all the big muscles plus it overuses the small ones. By mixing up your drills, you can utilize other ligaments and muscle areas that need stretching. It’s also a good way to give tired muscles a rest while you train. You can do this regardless if you’re exercising at the gym or at home.
Having a variety of routines will beat boredom and sustain the challenge of the workout.
6. Hydrate obsessively
Water makes up to 70% of your muscle mass. If you don’t drink enough, your mass will look dry. An intense workout will drain lots of fluids from your body so it makes perfect sense to hydrate all the time. A gallon a day will keep dehydration at bay. Take note that mild dehydration is one of the leading causes of daytime fatigue.
Also, our blood is made of 82% water. Drinking more means faster transport of nutrients and speedy protein synthesis. Water is also the best detoxifier to cleanse your digestive system for better nutrient absorption.
Avoid energy and flavored drinks if you can. Many of the bottled drinks like these are packed with artificial sweeteners, coloring, and preservatives. As much as it will give an added kick of energy, it’s leaving traces of toxins in your body. If you want to gain muscle mass even if you’re skinny, choose one with the least artificial ingredients.
7. Have a pre and post-workout regimen
Feed your muscles before and after working out. A pre-workout drink will give the body enough energy and fuel to endure strenuous lifts. Protein shakes are the most common choice for a pre-workout drink as it improves the vascularity of the muscles. It’s an on-the-go option too since you can purchase pre-formulated powders that dissolve in water.
Pre-workout snacks are also great in reducing muscle breakdown, given that it has high protein content. The best pair for a pre-workout drink is carbs and protein. Carbs are basic energy sources to jumpstart the body while protein will keep the muscles in check. It’s important to have the right portion – about 30 grams of protein (or less) and ½ cup of carb-rich foods.
Make sure to take your pre-workout meal or drink at least 30 minutes before your drill to allow the body to absorb the nutrients first.
As for the post-workout meal/drink, it’s carbs and protein once again. Whey protein is the best when paired with a high-carb meal. Your body loses calories and amino acids while exercising and you have to replenish it to avoid muscle loss. To gain muscle mass even if you’re skinny, take your post-workout meal within 30 minutes after you finished the drill.
8. Stop following pro routines
Professional bodybuilder routines are gold standards, but not yet for skinny guys. Following such a routine is overkill for your body and you’re likely to lose more muscles in the process. You don’t get to grade school by skipping pre-school, right? So it makes sense that the basics are the ways to go. Training programs tailored for beginners will be suitable before you jump into a more advanced routine.
There’s nothing wrong about heeding advice from professionals. They’ve been there and done that. But make sure that the tips you get suits your body type.
You have to master the basics first before you break them. Aside from lifting weights, do some cardio to keep your heart rate up but keep it easy. Prefer walking than running if you’re too lanky.
9. Sleep enough
To gain mass, you have to up your sleep hours. This is in the same vein of letting your muscle recover before going back to the gym. Aside from resting, your muscles grow even more while catching some shuteye.
The science behind this is that the body releases a surge of growth hormones during the sleep’s REM phase. It’s also the same time when the muscles got soaked up with protein so it won’t get “hungry” at night. To gain muscle mass even if you’re skinny, take slow-digesting casein protein before bedtime. Slow-releasing proteins like this act as rations of food to your muscles. Pineapple chunks and cottage cheese are excellent choices, but you can always prefer protein shakes.
Have quality sleep for at least eight hours a day to support muscle growth. It will also promote muscle recovery and better mood.
10. Keep a positive outlook
It’s not going to be easy, but it’s worth it. You’ll slip from your progress, feel sore, get tired, and be close to quitting. In some cases, genetics can also give you a hard time. But don’t stop trying. Some guys take longer before seeing results. Check out your calorie intake, you might be eating less than what your body needs. How about your workout? Maybe it’s time to mix things up.
Keeping a positive view of things will keep you hanging. Find your “hero” and be inspired by his or her story. You can also sign up on forums and communities that will support you on your journey. Exhaust all means to keep the flame burning.
11. Log your progress
Don’t just keep it on your head. To gain muscle mass even if you’re skinny, grab a pen and a notebook to jot down each day’s progress. Include the calories you ate, the workout routines you performed, exercise duration, weight, and so on. This will be your muscle building diary and in time of slips, your diagnostic reference.
Be consistent with taking notes and write everything down as you finish each task. A progress log isn’t meant to overcomplicate things but to give you the bigger picture in the future. The next time you ask yourself what went wrong, you can stop second-guessing and base everything on written facts.
12. Do it right
Of all the tips I can give you, one thing that sums up all the points here is this: do it right. You have to be patient with results. There’s no overnight success in muscle building. It’s a process that will take months and years while minimizing risks. I know that it’s tempting to jump to another crazy fad, but remember that it doesn’t always work.
Start by knowing more about your body, how your metabolism works, and how fast your system performs protein synthesis and muscle breakdown. If you’re serious about it, you can ask a professional to conduct a full assessment. The result of this will be integral to the creation of your muscle building plan. Doing it right is the solid foundation if you want to gain muscle mass even if you’re skinny.
Eat right, exercise enough, revamp your lifestyle if need be, and commit to it for life. It’s not for the faint of heart so prepare hard and work harder. You are skinny now, but that won’t be for long. You just have to endure a few more nervous sessions at the gym and you’ll be fine.