It isn’t easy being a skinny guy if you’ve been in the gym working hard to gain muscle for months. All the long hours in the gym, thinking your eating correctly, and you still can’t gain weight.? A tale as old as time.
It can be frustrating, and downright demotivating.
Still, before you abandon hope, read the article below!
Here are a few tips that can go a long way towards helping any skinny guy gain the muscle mass they desire!
Gaining Muscle Mass for Skinny Guys – Diet Tips
There are multiple components of gaining muscle mass for skinny guys.
Muscle building is a slow and complex process. You have to exercise and workout a lot, but you also need a well-designed diet, with proper levels of both micro and macronutrients.
Most people only think about macronutrients –protein, fat, and carbs. However, you can’t forget vitamins and minerals (micronutrients), which are also crucial for muscle building.
Even if you believe you are eating the right foods, there are probably many ways you can improve your diet to help you build muscle mass on a skinny frame.
Here are a few tips for your diet that can make an impact on how much muscle you can build, and how you can build muscle mass faster!
Eat, Eat, Then Eat Some More
Eat more. Yes, we know, you heard it a million times. Still, eat more.
The logic here is simple – you first need to gain weight before you gain muscles. Also, all those extra calories you put into the body will help you workout; more calories equals more energy.
Hence, you’ll be able to work out more and more.
A big part of gaining weight is calories in, calories out. If you want to build muscle mass, you need to ingest more calories than you burn off each day.
The best way to do this is to track your calories.
The number of calories you need depends on your gender, age, weight, metabolism, frequency and intensity of workouts, and finally your goals.
Try to determine your basal metabolic rate, and then add in the amount of calories you burn each day through your workouts. You can use a fitness watch such as the HELO LX to help give an estimation of the amount of calories you are burning through your workouts.
There are also some helpful online tools to calculate that calories you need per day.
There are many types of diet plans that you can stick to, but if your goal is to build as much muscle mass as possible, your main concern should be eating as many calories as necessary each day through whole foods that are high in micronutrients.
If you have a naturally low appetite, make sure you eat calorie-dense foods that will provide you large amounts of quality calories without filling you up too much. Beef, beans, nuts, fruits, and potatoes are all excellent choices.
Although there is some value to eating junk food such as sweets and sodas for quick carbs and extra calories, you should avoid these foods because they don’t offer much outside of calories.
If you want the ultimate performance meals, you can always employ a company that prepares your bodybuilding meals for you.
Eat at least 500 more calories than you burn per day, and you are on your way to building muscle!
Protein is a Must
Protein is a crucial macronutrient in the muscle gaining process. Protein is what rebuilds your muscle tissue, and is the most important part of your diet.
Protein plays a vital role in repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue, increasing your muscle size, and making the whole process of muscle gaining a lot faster.
While this may not be that big of an issue if you stick to a meat and potatoes diet, you should still try to have a vague idea of how much protein you take. Most recommend around 1 gram – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body mass, and you should stick to that.
However, you should know how much protein do you need and to spread it properly throughout the day. Keep those things in mind when making your diet, or contact a nutritionist for further insight.
Protein shakes are also a convenient way getting additional grams of protein in your diet.
I suggest you make your daily calories to be 40% protein.
Eat Enough Carbohydrates
Although protein is still the king for muscle growth, carbohydrates are vital as well. Carbohydrates are essential for having enough energy for your training sessions, and they are also necessary for sending nutrients through your body for stimulating muscle growth.. You might even call them “training fuel”.
You store carbs in your muscles as glycogen, and if you run out of it, your energy level will drop and you won’t be able to work out.
According to the Journal of Sports Sciences,
“Athletes should aim to achieve carbohydrate intakes to meet the fuel requirements of their training program and to optimize restoration of muscle glycogen stores between workouts. General recommendations can be provided, preferably in terms of grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of the athlete’s body mass, but should be fine-tuned with individual consideration of total energy needs, specific training needs and feedback from training performance.
It is valuable to choose nutrient-rich carbohydrate foods and to add other foods to recovery meals and snacks to provide a good source of protein and other nutrients.”
Choose the proper carbs for your diet (brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc.), and calculate how much of them you need, depending on how many calories you are burning per day.
Read Also: Complex Carbs for Bodybuilding
I suggest you eat 30-40% of your daily calories from carbohydrates.
Fat is Not the Enemy
When there’s no other source of energy, the body uses fat for some time. Also, fat plays an essential role in building healthy cells, as well as absorbing vitamins into the body.
Your diet has to contain healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, lean meats, etc.), and around 20-30% of your daily calories should come from this source.
Additional Information: Healthy Fats for the Keto Diet
Supplements are beneficial for building muscle mass in a variety of different ways. However, they are not intended to replace any of the various foods you should eat during the day.
For muscle growth, you can try supplements such as:
You can find all those supplements online; it’s not hard at all.
Both of these supplements are BCAA products, and BCAAs are the best supplement for muscle building in my opinion.
According to a study in The Journal of Nutrition,
“These findings suggest that fatty acids may be one of the regulators of BCAA catabolism and that the BCAA requirement is increased by exercise.
Furthermore, BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis; this suggests the possibility that BCAAs are a useful supplement in relation to exercise and sports.”
There are a variety of other supplements that can help with building muscle mass for skinny guys, but I think these are the most important!
Don’t Forget Micro-nutrients
Micronutrients are necessary for your health, but they are also vital for building muscles as well. Muscle cells need certain minerals to produce energy.
Therefore, you have to add them in your diet. If your diet is well-balanced, you won’t need any additional vitamins or minerals, just stick to the plan.
However, if not, you should take an additional supplement for increasing the amount of micronutrients you get each day. A good example of supplements for micronutrients are Your Super superfoods Powders. You can read my Your Super Review to see all of their superfoods products, but these superfoods are loaded with micronutrients which will help your body with muscle building!
Eat a Few Hours Before the Workout
According to experts, you should eat between one and four hours before training. And that meal should have both carbs and protein.
You need carbs for fuel (as we mentioned earlier), and protein for building and repairing the body.
A mixture of these macronutrients also helps in providing the right nutrients to your muscles.
As stated by ACSMs Health & Fitness Journal,
“In general, pre-exercise meals should be consumed 3 to 4 hours before exercise. Meals should contain between 1 to 4 g carbohydrates/kg or 0.5 to 2 g carbohydrates/lb of body mass (e.g., whole grains, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit), moderate protein (e.g., chicken, tofu, fish, low fat dairy, eggs), and some fat (e.g., olive oil, nuts).”
And After the Workout, Too
The famous “anabolic window” is the ideal post-workout eating time interval. Many professionals were advocating the thesis that the time frame of this interval is short.
However, a 2013 research shows that the window is open for several hours. Therefore, you don’t have to eat immediately when you come home from the gym.
However, you should eat a caloricaly-dense (usually your biggest meal of the day) meal with a variety of micronutrients and macronutrients withing a reasonable amount of time after your workout is finished. I suggest you eat within two hours of working out.
Drink More Water
Drinking more water seems like an easy task, but people sometimes tend to underestimate the value of water. During training sessions, you lose a lot of fluids, and therefore, you have to replace it with additional water.
You need to be well hydrated before workouts, during it, and afterwards, too. Maintaining hydration is crucial for the quality of your training sessions, as well as muscle growth.
If you are a person who sweats a lot naturally, you can try exchanging your traditional pre workout supplement that contains a lot of caffeine for a stimulant free pre workout supplement or green tea before your workout. This will help you remain hydrated by not causing you to lose as much water during your workout through sweating.
Avoid Junk Food and Alcohol
A fast-food burger here or there, or some occasional beer will not do significant harm, but it is not recommendable either.
Drinking too much beer will give you a beer belly no matter how much you are exercising. Likewise, although the calories from junk food could help you in the short run, they are not good for your health.
If you really have a firm goal of building muscle mass, then you should give up on those things. Both of them are terrible for your health, and they contain a lot of empty, useless calories.
Muscle Mass Gaining for Skinny Guys – Exercise Tips
Once your diet is in check, you can focus on the types of exercises you should be doing. Here are a few tips on choosing the right workout routines and exercises for gaining as much muscle mass as possible!
Set and Focus on Strength Goals
If you want to build muscle mass, the first place you should start is setting progressive strength goals. If you focus on building strength progressively, your muscles will growing.
By seeing your numbers increase on your big compound exercises, you will know whether you are doing something correctly or not.
It is biologically impossible to see a 30-pound increase on your bench press, and not see your chest become bigger.
A great workout plan to follow for building raw strength and muscle mass is Escalating Density Training. Escalating Density Training (EDT) will help you develop strength, muscle mass, and physical conditioning. I have used this program a lot in the past, and it is still one of my favorite off-season weightlifting programs for improving my body.
Another traditional weightlifting program for raw strength is reverse pyramid training.
Increase Volume or Intensity Also
Along with building raw strength, you should also focus on increasing the volume and/or the intensity of your training sessions over time as well.
Workout volume is essentially the number of reps and sets you do in a given workout.
For building muscle mass, I believe the best workout program that focuses on high-volume training is German Volume Training. German Volume Training (or the 10×10 workout program) involves doing 10 sets of 10 repetitions of various compound exercises, with only 1-minute of timed rest between sets.
If you are struggling to gain muscle mass with other weightlifting programs, GVT can shock your muscles and stimulate a lot of muscle growth in a short amount of time.
Compound Exercises are a Must
If you are a skinny guy who is trying to build muscle mass, you should never have a workout that doesn’t have compound exercise making up the bulk (see what we did there?) of the routine. In case you don’t know, compound exercises are ones that hit multiple joints and muscles in your body at the same time.
In fact, full body workouts (routines that are 80% compound exercise) have been proven time and time again as the best for anybody wanting to pack on some pounds.
Along with the exercises I mentioned above, these three specific exercises are excellent for building total body strength, which will transfer to bigger strength gains and more muscle mass built over time:
Related Reading: Snatch Grip Deadlift Benefits
Planks for a Tight Core
Planks are fantastic for the whole body. They strengthen your core, arms, legs, back and chest. In particular, planks target both your rectus and transversus abdominis (TVA) muscles. The rectus abdominis are the “six pack” muscles at the front of the abdomen which support your spine. The TVA muscles help create a tight waist and stabilize your core to support the lower back.
To hold a plank, lie flat on your stomach and prop your upper body up with your forearms.
Lift your hips up off the ground while holding your lower back and shoulders tight. Hold for as long as possible — aiming for 30-45 seconds per set — and perform five sets.
Learn More: Best Alternatives to Crunches
Lunges for Strong Legs
Lunges are a great exercise which strengthen all the major muscles in your legs: the hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes. Knee pain when performing lunges is quite common, so wear the types of knee supports worn in CrossFit training to protect your joints if you plan to make this a regular part of your routine.
Lunges also require balance, so you’ll end up strengthening your stability muscles (the glute minimus and medius). One study found forward and jumping lunges increased both hamstring strength and running speed over a period of six weeks.
To perform a reverse lunge, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a step back with your right foot, and drop your body down, so your right knee kisses the ground.
Push back up through your front heel and stand back upright. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Supermans for a Healthy Posterior Chain
The superman is a simple yet effective strength training exercise, which targets your posterior chain — the muscles along the backside of your body, including your erector spinae muscles, rotator cuff, lats, hamstrings, glutes and calves.
A strong posterior chain protects your knees and back, and reduces your risk of injury. To perform the superman move, start by lying face down on the floor with arms outstretched. Lift your arms and legs roughly four to five inches off the ground.
Hold for five seconds and lower.
How to Bulk Up Fast for Skinny Guys – Lifestyle Tips
Diet and exercise are not the only components of building muscle mass for skinny guys. You are going to want to develop a lifestyle which is made for building muscle mass as well. Here are some additional tips:
Don’t Neglect Sleep
Sleep may just be the biggest issue for a lot of people. When you work out, you damage the muscle fibers to force them to grow bigger and stronger. However, this means they have to regenerate, and this only happens during sleep.
No need to go overboard, but try to have around eight hours of sleep every night. Not only will you grow faster, but you will also feel better, think faster, and just be happier all around.
If you have trouble sleeping, many people have found that using CBD Oil is effective for helping to get to sleep faster. If you want to learn more, check out my article on cannabis and bodybuilding.
Additional Reading: What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Maintain Your Motivation
If you are a skinny guy trying to build muscle mass, you need to keep your motivation up no matter how slow the results come-in. There are many different things you can do to motivate yourself to workout and eat a proper diet, and you should maintain them for as long as your journey takes you.
You can try looking at motivational quotes, checking out out motivational Instagram pages, reading books, or anything else that works for you!
For some people, results will come quickly. For others, the entire process will be slow.
Regardless of how quickly you see results, keep your motivation up because eventually you can get your dream body!
Concluding Thoughts – How to Gain Muscle Fast for Skinny Guys
So there you have it folks, a quick and dirty rundown on how to gain some solid muscle and develop an impressive aesthetic body. Get your protein intake right, eat like your life depends on it, always go heavy in the gym, and you are good to go!
Read Next: How to Build Muscle Fast