How to build muscle for skinny guys

By | February 15, 2009

Muscle Gain (How to gain weight) Photos Taken 12 Weeks Apart!Day 1: After being sick for a whole month, I’m down to 153 pounds.

For a six foot tall guy, that makes me too damn skinny. All of my life I’ve been very thin. “Put some meat on your bones” is something I heard a lot as a kid. The thing is, I was strong. I worked out.  The guys would gather round in gymn class to be amused at how much a skinny little guy like me could bench press. I got into running. I was probably in my best shape when I was training for a marathon with my ex girlfriend Kim. We got up to being able to run 20 miles … then I had a knee injury and had to drop out. I could just never seem to look anything but thin, even then. This has bugged me for years.

Now that I am healthy again, I am resolving to see if I can gain muscle mass without steroids.  It has been encouraging to read some other people’s stories.  This guy in the photo seems to match my own experience as he describes difficulty gaining muscle. My particular thing is that every time I start working out hard and make some gains, I get sick or injured and I stay stuck in Thinville.

Here are the tips I’ve found so far (more added as I find them):

– Use free weights instead of machines. (Controlling them builds extra muscle.)
– Use heavier weights. Add 5% more weight each week. (Lift big)
– Eat 6 meals a day. Protein builds muscle. How much do you need? One person said 250 grams of protein per day. (Eat big). As an example, 30 to 60 minutes after a workout, have a shake with 35 grams of quality whey protein from grass fed cows along with an organic banana.
– Get enough rest. Muscle is built during rest, not while working out.

Let me know your experiences with gaining muscle if you have a thin body type.  Thanks.

13 thoughts on “How to build muscle for skinny guys

  1. Patrick

    I don’t know, Man. I have always been quite athletic, and very slim; like most long-distance runners. I heard that some body types, no matter how much weight training you put on them, just won’t bulk up. A more important question though, in my mind, is what are your reasons for wanting to add muscle? If it’s for your own reasons, to please yourself, awesome. But if you follow that river back to its source, and find a pool of insecurity–then you should focus on loving who you are and just being good to the people in your life.

  2. Xeno Post author

    Good points. I think I’m interested in this mostly to see how far I can push myself. Exercise feels great and I like having goals. I’m happy these days with who I am–that was not always the case–but now I’m finding I want to get back into the best shape possible, for the challenge and enjoyment of it. Seems like curiosity and a drive to be, look and feel healthy rather than insecurity, but I’ll keep an eye on that possibility. Perhaps I am still annoyed by people’s rude comments years ago, but if that motivates me to get in shape, it may all work out for the best.

  3. Ann

    Xeno, Patrick made some good points. If by the “best shape possible” you mean the healthiest possible, it wouldn’t necessarily align with more muscle bulk, although it may be appealing to some members of your opposite sex. And if it should apply: don’t let foolish female fantasies lead you astray.

  4. Xeno Post author

    Ann, thank you, too. I have wondered for years how healthy body building is. These people spend a huge amount of time and money to look and feel a certain way, but is the result a longer life or a better quality of life? Is bodybuilding healthy? I had a roommate who was into it. He looked like Lou Ferrigno and talked to himself which made him seem a bit crazy. I also know many women who find huge guys revolting. (Now that I think of it, I was enjoying girls and dates while he was busy lifting weights.) But still, I feel driven to try it for a year, to see what happens.

    As to foolish female fantasies leading me astray: Oh yes, they have, but I don’t think they are motivating this. As far as I can tell, I am really “doing it for me,” as they say. I already feel great and it has only been two days of “pumping iron” and running.

    I like being in a serious relationship, but I’ve learned over the last few years that I’m also a very happy single guy, as long as I spend time with friends and productive hobbies. I’ll keep optimistically dating, but if I never find the right one, I’m convinced now that I’ll still have a great and interesting life. My life has already been so much better than I ever thought it could be! Crazy amazing people, weird and wild wonders, many memorable moments. In superstitious mode, I believe that what we honestly and persistently seek, we do find in one form or another.

  5. Xeno Post author

    I am now working out every day, running a mile a day and trying some GNC “Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60”. My dad says to stay away from it, but I’m trying it to see how it works. 60 grams of protein in a shake is pretty good and helps me get up to 200+ grams per day.

  6. Oswald

    Don’t forget that athletic activities (running, high-rep exercises) will actually detract from your ability to put on bulk.

    These sorts of exercises quicken your metabolism, something that you don’t want i you already have an exceptionally fast one. Lifting heavy weights with low repetitions does the opposite, actively slowing your metabolism – meaning you gain weight. The other problem is that muscles get larger because they are ‘torn’ through the action of lifting a heavy load. Athletic activities with high repetitions toughen these muscle fibres, meaning they won’t damage so easily, and therefore won’t grow as fast.

    And also of course athletic activity burns a helluva lot of calories, calories which you need to be holding onto to build up that bulk.

    (I myself have always been a very athletic/slim build – a couple of years ago i researched how to bulk up endlessly and made some impressive gains through the information i gathered. However now life doesn’t leave me much time to train and i have dropped back to my annoyingly slim figure)

    Good luck!

  7. franky

    xeno i was browsing this website and noticed that you are in the same situation that i was in for around 18months, i went the gym for 18months lifting weights getting stronger but never actually putting on no gains wat so ever im around 5’9 and weighed a scronny 57kg, i am now 68 kilos an am in the best shape of my life, if its one thing i discovered about putting on mass muscle and size its not how much you weigh, ditch the scales and concentrate on how your body looks, at 57kg i was ripped an had a good phsique but lacked mass, so one of my mates said to me eat more, so i did i ate everything from greasy burgers to grilled chicken an always went back for seconds eating maybe 4or5 times daily making sure i took in proteins and carbs, but to many skinny guys try to eat like bodybuilders an do not take in enough fats an carbs, so i always ate meat but was not strict with it. The amount of food i ate gave me more energy in the gym an i could train harder, also train with a partner so he can spot you so you can push your self harder, i wasted to much money on protein shakes and supplements ditch them and eat like a horsee. After a month you should defo notice a weight increase if not your not eating enough, i did loose my abs and definition whilst i was packing on muscle but to tone up i did sprint training and eat normaly again but carreid on with my weight training regime which was 5days on 2off 1 hour sessions i wouldnt leave the gym if i could still do a single pull up, it starts to feel more like a chore but its works thats the truth, half of the people you take advice from have never been in our situation so take advice from me, Eat tripple the amount you are now, get a training partner who wants gains the same as you so he can push you, destroy your body before you rest it, this maynot be the best or healthest way to bulk up but for an ectomorph its the quickest!!

    1. Maikoh

      I just read your comment and you have truly given me new motivation to continue pushing myself at the gym although I have made little gains in the past year, thank you good sir!

  8. jaun

    I’ve been skinny for like forever,I eat healthy and do my excersises and drink my protien shakes but still I gain no muscle mass.I seriously considerd going for steroids but the thought of using drugs makes me sad,I’m 20 years old and tall but only weigh 59kg.please if you got any advice I’m all ears.

    1. Xeno Post author

      This works: high weights and low reps every day. Combine with cardio (sprints/interval training) and a protein shake within 15 minutes of your workout. It took about 6 months of that consistently before I started getting positive comments. No drugs, just dedication to be more fit. That’s the only good reason to exercise, to be healthy.

  9. licky

    i’d prefer to lick the skinny guy. much more attractive than false muscles from a mirror filled gym. and i agree with patrick.

    1. Xeno Post author

      I didn’t know a person could acquire false muscles in a gym. If I switch my routine to plowing fields, wrangling hogs and chopping firewood perhaps the fake ones will stop trying to fool people? But seriously, there is a lot of evidence that weight training (whatever you lift) gives people of all ages healthier bodies and minds. I do recommend it, for health, not vanity.

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