How to Gain Muscle Fast for Skinny Guys – The Complete Guide

How to Gain Muscle Fast for Skinny Guys
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Gaining muscle fast for skinny guys is possible, and it probably is easier than you thought! However, it certainly takes a lot of hard work and a well-executed plan.

You are going to need to have an adequate dietary plan to account for your caloric needs, and you are going to need to lift for maximal hypertrophy. But, don’t worry- I will explain more about both of these concepts below!

How to Gain Muscles for Skinny Guys

Here is the complete guide to building muscle for skinny guys:

Step 1: The Diet for Skinny Guys to Build Muscle Fast

diet for skinny guys to gain muscle

There are multiple components of gaining muscle mass for skinny guys, but the most important is eating for the body you want. You can’t gain muscle mass without exercising and weight training, but you also can’t gain muscle without eating a surplus of calories each day.

So, for skinny guys who want to gain muscle mass, the first step is getting your diet in order. Here is how to do a diet for skinny guys to build muscle fast:

Start By Determining Your Macronutrient Needs

If you are a skinny guy, your main concern is eating more calories than you burn per day to build muscle. Unlike people who are trying to lose weight, you don’t need to be too precise with your calculation. Instead, just do some simple math to make sure you are consuming more calories than you are burning.

If you don’t consume more calories than you burn each day, you aren’t going to build muscle mass no matter how much effort you put into the gym! You might improve your physique slightly, but your body will actually use your muscle mass as fuel for your workouts if you are not eating enough, and you will not build muscle mass.

The number of calories you need depends on your gender, age, weight, height, metabolism, frequency, and the intensity of your workouts.

Try to first determine your basal metabolic rate, and then add in the number of calories you burn each day through your workouts and your daily life. You can use a fitness watch such as the HELO LX to help give an estimation of the number of calories you are burning through your workouts and day-to-day activities.

There are also some helpful online tools to calculate the calories you need per day.

Once you have an understanding of how many calories you need to eat each day, then you can begin addressing your macronutrient needs (carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fats), as well as your micronutrient needs (vitamins and minerals) for maximal muscle mass gain.

Make Sure You Are Eating Enough Protein

Once you have a general idea of how many calories you need to consume per day, the next important step is to make sure you are consuming enough grams of protein. Protein is vital for gaining muscle mass for skinny guys because if your protein consumption is low, your body will utilize your own muscles as a source of amino acids.

Protein is responsible for muscle repair and muscle synthesis, which is necessary after your workout sessions.

The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for protein is 0.8 grams per kg of body weight. However, if you are trying to build muscle fast, I recommend increasing that to 1-1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight.

The amount of protein you need to consume is also heavily dependent on the type of protein you are consuming. Egg has the highest Biological Value of all sources of protein, followed by milk, beef, and then fish. However, animal sources of protein contain higher amounts of saturated fat which is linked to various health issues, including cardiovascular disease.

Although you can consume animal protein sources occasionally, I suggest you consume vegan protein sources as much as possible. Excellent sources of plant-protein include:

  • Hemp Protein
  • Pea
  • Kidney Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Pinto Beans
  • Oats
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts and Seeds

Along with these whole food sources of protein, you can also include protein shakes as well. Whey protein shakes are the most commonly used type of protein shake, however, I prefer vegan protein powder supplements. My personal favorite is Sunwarrior Illumin8:

Keto Friendly Lean Meal Illumin8 Superfood Shake with 15 Grams of Protein Snickerdoodle (1.59 Lbs. / 20 Servings)
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Keto Friendly Lean Meal Illumin8 Superfood Shake with 15 Grams of Protein Snickerdoodle (1.59 Lbs. / 20 Servings)
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I will discuss more about supplements for building muscle mass fast below as well.

Don’t Forget Your 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 as well as many other necessary human functions. Carbohydrates are training fuel, along with fuel for the rest of your body!

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 effectively.

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.”

Consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains as your primary source of carbohydrates is important as well because they provide many of the necessary micronutrients you need.

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 to your diet. If your diet is well-balanced, you won’t need any additional vitamins or minerals, just stick to the plan.

I suggest you eat 40-50% of your daily calories from carbohydrates.

A few of the best carbohydrates for muscle building include:

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Lentils
  • Whole-Grain Rice
  • Whole-Grain Pasta

Additionally, just as you can purchase a protein supplement to intake more protein in your diet, you can also purchase a carbohydrate supplement as well. This is my favorite carb supplement for gaining muscle mass:

Clean Carbs | Complex Carbohydrate Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Yams, Oats, Blueberries, (45 Servings)
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Clean Carbs | Complex Carbohydrate Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Yams, Oats, Blueberries, (45 Servings)
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Meet Your Dietary Fat Needs

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 unsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado, and fatty fish. Around 20-30% of your daily calories should come from dietary fat.

Be Mindful of the Pre and Post-Workout Feeding Times

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).”

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 calorically-dense (usually your biggest meal of the day) meal with a variety of micronutrients and macronutrients within a reasonable amount of time after your workout is finished. I suggest you eat within two hours of working out.

If you want the ultimate performance meals, you can always employ a company that prepares your bodybuilding meals for you.

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, and afterward, 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.

Step 2: The Best Workout Plan for Skinny Guys to Build Muscle Fast

Best Workout Plan for Skinny Guys to Build Muscle Fast

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 by setting progressive strength goals. If you focus on building strength, your muscles will grow.

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 Over Time

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.

Some of the best compound exercises are:

One important key is that although you want to lift often and heavy, you need to be careful of injuries. You won’t build muscle mass if you’re injured!

So, you should also work on stabilizing exercises and exercises for injury prevention.

For example, planks and supermans. Not only are they both great alternatives to crunches, but they are also great for building a healthy back and strong posterior chain muscles that will help you when you are doing heavy compound exercises for muscle mass.

The DB floor press is a great exercise to do for shoulder health, and it can also help with building muscle mass as well.

Squats and lunges are difficult for many people, especially new trainees. The types of knee supports worn in CrossFit training can help reduce this knee pain, but you should also do reverse lunges, step-ups, and other single-leg exercises to prevent knee pain and knee injuries.

You can also use Fat Gripz for many of these exercises to increase muscle activation and gain muscle faster. Bicep and back exercises are particularly good when you use Fat Gripz with them. Also, you can use Fat Gripz during deadlifts to increase your grip strength and deadlift more weight.

Overall, there are a variety of reasons you should buy Fat Gripz if you are trying to gain muscle fast. You can read my Fat Gripz review to learn about them if you would like.

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Use Free Weights Instead of Machines

building muscle for skinny guys

Although machines are better than nothing, you should use free weights or do bodyweight exercises if you are a skinny guy trying to build muscle mass.

Even if you are performing a machine exercise that is considered a compound movement (such as the leg press), machine exercises will not work your body as intensely compared to a free weight exercise equivalent. The primary benefit of doing free weight exercises instead of machine exercises is that your body will need to utilize more different muscle groups to perform the exercise.

An excellent example of the comparative benefit of exercises with free weights was proven through a study published in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, entitled “A Comparison of Free Weight Squat to Smith Machine Squat Using Electromyography.”

The study intended to determine whether a free weight squat or a Smith machine squat would be more effective for activating the muscles of the legs, and the stabilizing muscles of the legs and the core.

To determine this, participants performed one set of eight repetitions using their original 8RM (eight-rep max). While the participants performed their squats, electromyographic (EMG) activity measured muscle activity of their leg and core muscles.

Although the study concluded that there was no significant difference between the free weight squat and the Smith machine squat in the percentage of individual muscle used (all muscles activated equally on each version of the squat), the free weight squat averaged 43% higher overall EMG activity throughout all muscle groups.

If you choose to use free weights instead of machines, you will train numerous muscle groups with each movement, and overall, you will build muscle much faster!

Especially when you consider compound movements such as the back squat, deadlift, and bench press, you can do a full-body workout in an extremely short amount of time with free weights!

Step 3: The Best Supplements for Skinny Guys to Bulk Up

Best Supplements for Skinny Guys to Bulk Up

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.

If you are interested in purchasing a couple of specific supplements, I suggest you drink Scivation Xtend and RSP Nutrition AminoLean.

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!

Step 4: Make Sure You are Getting Enough Sleep to Bulk Up Fast

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.

Step 5: 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 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 muscle fast for skinny guys and develop an aesthetic body.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

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Adam Kemp
Hello! My name is Adam Kemp. I am a professional basketball player and an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer. In 2014 I graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Communications, and for the last seven years, I have played professional basketball in Europe. I am also an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, and I am currently completing my Masters of Science in Nutrition Education at American University. The health and fitness tips you can find throughout the articles I have written include information I have learned throughout my basketball career, academic studies, and my own personal research. If you would like to learn more about my life, please take a moment to follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

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