Do you want to move from a skinny man to building muscle quickly? I have you.
I've spent my entire adult life building muscles, and years and years attempt and bug, I finally cracked the code.
Today I am sharing this code with you!
This is a topic that is very close to my heart because I have dedicated my life to it:
These are the exact tactics I used and the same strategies we use with our online coaching clients.
Our coaching program helps people to collect themselves quickly. Learn like:
Get started on the right foot with this free guide!
In this ultimate guide, we'll cover (click to jump to this section):
RECOVERY, TIPS AND TRICKS, NEXT STEP:
How I built myself up as a skinny guy after years of fighting
Growing up, I was always the skinny, thin, weak kid.
There was a reason I dressed up like a superman every other day for the first six years of my life:
Superman was strong, big, and powerful … and I wasn't.
To this day, it has been a great challenge for me to gain weight or build muscle.
When people tell me that it must be nice to have grown up thin, I explain that a killer flat top, my height (5 & # 39; 2 ″ until I was 16 years old), four years of braces and two acutanes -Treatments made sure that I'm still having the full youthful experience 🙂
When I was banned from the high school basketball team (which I thought was the end of the world), I signed up for a gym membership to get big and strong.
I almost killed myself in five minutes loading way too much weight to bench press.
Fortunately, I survived and began my love affair with weight training.
I spent that next six years of training in the gymI read every muscle and fitness magazine I could find, religiously drank protein shakes … and had about 3 pounds of muscle gain to show.
I just assumed, "I'm one of those who can't put on weight."
It turned out I got it all wrong.
After graduating from college, I moved to California, signed up for a gym membership, and received some free personal trainer sessions.
Though I thought I knew everything (I worked out in a gym for 6 years! I read the muscle magazines! I was already in good shape!)I still took the free sessions for hell out of it.
The trainer drastically simplified my workouts and doubled the amount of food I ate.
I thought he was crazy, but I stuck with it.
In 30 days I had gained 18 pounds (pictured below), increased strength in ALL of my lifts, and felt more confident than ever in my life.
Then the light bulb in my head is off: there is a better way.
And so began a radical redefinition of how I thought the human body worked, how muscles were built, and where to set my priorities.
For seven years since then, I've learned everything I can about building muscles.
A few years ago I went on an epic 35,000 mile trip around the world and even though I hadn't had access to a gym for 6 months, I managed to gain even more muscle and get in shape without even gaining any weight (Picture below):
Again my world was turned upside down.
I've learned that gyms are not a requirement for building muscle and getting stronger, although a great workout at the gym can certainly speed up the process.
And after a few years of ups and downs, I was finally joking – from Steve Rogers to Captain America (there's a story behind it):
I'm still not and never will be the tallest man in the world. I agree with that!
I've learned that anyone can build muscle, even skinny nerds like me.
If you are thin and want to get taller, genetics are all the way to battle, but don't let that stop you.
Everything is possible.
Today's article describes everything I've learned about mistakes, successes, failures, and adventures over the past 13 years.
The most important thing to build muscle: eat more.
As they say, muscles are not made in the gym, but in the kitchen::
If you want to build yourself up, it is better to exercise and eat right for 30 minutes twice a week than to exercise 6 days a week and not eat properly.
I learned this the hard way.
I spent four years in college working out 90 minutes a day five days a week to get bigger.
I drank protein shakes just like I imagined. I got a little stronger, but never bigger.
BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH CALORIES TO EAT.
Whenever I receive emails from people complaining that they cannot gain weight, I always ask about the person's diet first.
Most of the time, that person thinks they are eating enough, but they are definitely not.
Here is the truth:
If you don't get bigger you don't eat enough.
Your body can burn over 2,000 calories each day (and then consider exercise and sip, cardio – I'll come back to that in a moment), and you need to overload your system with calories so it has enough fuel to build muscle.
Would you like to know how many calories you are burning each day that are currently available?
Put your statistics in our TDEE calculator (Total Daily Energy Expense):
Click here for our metric calculator.
Note: We used the Mifflin-St Jeor equation to create this calculator! (1)
For each person, the number of calories needed for daily replenishment is different, especially when you factor in how much you move, fidget, and how much weight you need to gain:
- For some people, it could be 2,500 calories a day.
- For others, it could be 3,500 calories a day.
- For others, it could be 5,000 calories a day.
I don't like counting calories (I prefer a "healthy plate" approach), but I think for a newbie, tracking calories for a few days is a good place to start.
So, track your calories over a couple of days using something like MyFitnessPal and get an average.
I bet you will find that you are eating significantly less than you thought.
LEARN HOW MANY CALORIES TO EAT FIRST.
And then eat MORE!
Spend the next two weeks eating an additional 300-500 calories per day over your TDEE (which you calculated above) and see how your weight adjusts (and how you look in running photos!).
If you don't get any taller, add an additional 300-500 calories per day and repeat the process.
Depending on your workouts, your genetics, how skinny you are, and how much muscle you need to build, you can decide how much weight you want to gain each week.
The results will all be different, and thoughts about how fast we can build muscle are mixed:
- Under optimal conditionsSome say you can expect to gain 1 pound (0.5 kg) of muscle per week.
- My results have shown that 2 lbs (1 kg) per month is more realistic.
- A 2016 study (2) found that strength training resulted in a 1kg increase in lean mass in 8 weeks.
Regardless of how quickly you build up, gaining weight by building some fat with your muscles can help!
If you overeat while doing strength training, here are some things to keep in mind: Extra glycogen, some fat, and water stored in your body can be a good boost for your confidence and get you on track.
So don't listen to the websites or programs that say, "Gain 40 Pounds of Muscle In Two Months!"
If you're not on the juice ("Roids, Not Hawaiian Punch") it will be a slow, long process.
Yes, it is possible to experience incredible changes in a short period of time, like when I gained 8.1 kg in 30 days
This was due to strength training, overeating, protein, and extra water weight (from supplementing with creatine):
My advice: Instead of gaining massive weight over a month, it's much better if you put on 0.5 to 1.5 pounds. (.25-.75 kg) per week, every week for six months … and hold the weight!
Now I know this stuff isn't easy.
There's nothing worse than spending more than 6 months in a gym doing what you think you are doing, only to step on the scales and find out that you haven't made any progress!
If you are someone concerned about wasting time or you would like an expert to guide your diet based on your current situation, you should check out our online training program!
Learn to really collect yourself with our coaching program!
What food should I eat to collect myself?
Let's go over how you should prioritize your diet, nutrient by nutrient:
- Protein: rebuilds muscles after you break them down.
- Carbohydrates: Provides your muscle with fuel and body weight with energy
- Fat: Helps your body functions and can be burned as fuel even without carbohydrates.
Let's look at these one by one:
PRIORITY 1: PROTEIN
Protein can come from any number of sources, including:
- Meat (steak, bison, pork).
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck).
- Cheese and dairy products.
- Fish and shellfish (salmon, tuna, shrimp).
- Legumes (black beans, chickpeas).
- Other veggie protein sources here.
As we cover in our “How Much Protein Do I Need?” Section, the amount of protein needed is indicated vary greatly from source to source (and athlete to athlete).
Here is our recommendation:
If you are a healthy weight, active and want to build muscle, The goal is one g / lb (2.2 g / kg).
If you are a skilled lifter in large quantities, take in up to 3.3 g / kg. can help you minimize fat gain.
Let me simplify it for you: aim for at least 1 gram of protein per pound body weight (2.2 grams per kg).
If you're curious from our article on healthy eating, a serving of protein looks like this:
Also, here's how much protein is in one serving of food:
- 113 g of chicken contain around 30 g of protein.
- 113 g of salmon contain 23 g of protein
- 113 g of steak contain 28 g of protein.
Do you want to get more protein? Consider protein shakes.
PRIORITY 2: CARBS
After protein, you need to eat enough calories to make you grow taller. These calories should come from sources consisting of carbohydrates and / or fats.
Here are foods full of carbohydrates that you can prioritize for puffing:
- Andean millet
- Legumes and lentils
- Sweet potatoes
- Normal potatoes
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole grain bread
To help you get a better look at the portion sizes:
1 serving of a starchy carbohydrate is 1 cupped hand (uncooked) or both hands form a cup (cooked).
Here are some pictures to help you determine the right portion sizes (thanks to SafeFood):
In addition to consuming carbohydrates from these sources, it's okay to consume plenty of fruit while trying to collect yourself!
For more information, see our complete guide, "Is Fruit Healthy?"
PRIORITY 3: BOLD!
Fat is a macronutrient that you can eat that can help you achieve your goals in the right amount because fat can be higher in calories and you can eat a lot of it without feeling full.
Healthy fat can be found in foods such as:
- Macadamia nuts
- olive oil
- almond butter
- peanut butter
More recently, science has also looked at saturated fat (4). Formerly completely maligned, but now okay for moderate consumption.
Saturated fats can come from the following things:
- Whole milk
- Full fat dairy
- Coconut oil
- Grass fed butter
- Oily cuts of meat
To make it easier for you to measure: One serving size of fat is roughly the size of your thumb!
For reference, this is a single serving of almonds (162 calories):
This is a serving of olive oil (119 calories):
As you can see, you can eat an additional 500 calories of "healthy fats" by eating lots of "heart healthy" fats like nuts or adding more olive oil to your meals.
PRIORITY 4: VEGETABLES!
Lastly, you need vegetables in your diet.
As you start to eat a lot more, your "indoor installation" will really benefit from having some high-fiber vegetables with every meal:
A serving of vegetables is about the size of your fist.
Here is a short, incomplete list of vegetables that can fill your plate:
- Spaghetti squash
- the Brussels sprouts
BRING IT ALL TOGETHER:
This plate and the portion sizes above are designed to help you think differently about healthy foods and in the right portion sizes.
To recap: EAT HERE TO BULK::
- Calculate your (total daily energy consumption) and add +500 cal over your number.
- Consume 1-1.5 g per pound (2.2-3.3 g per kg) of body weight of protein daily.
- Consume the rest of your calories from foods that consist of carbohydrates and fats.
- Always eat vegetables so your body can process all of these extra foods.
- If you don't gain weight, add more carbohydrates and / or fats to your meal.
It really comes down to:
If you don't gain weight fast enough, you are not eating enough. Increase Your Servings of Carbohydrates and Fats!
Whenever we work with coaching clients who are struggling to collect themselves, this is the area we target: adding more carbohydrates and fats to every meal.
Do you need an expert to help you gather yourself quickly and safely? Learn more:
What are the most popular bulk-up eating strategies?
If you read the previous section, you will know that we have some fairly specific charging "best practices".
However, there are several strategies that can work too, and I want to cover each of those strategies here as well.
Depending on your budget, food tastes, and goals, these strategies work better for some than others.
# 1) The "healthy" crowd
I have followed this method several times (including now) with great success.
Ultimately, I follow "real food" principles whenever possible (good sources of quality meat, tons of vegetables, minimal amounts of gluten, and processed carbohydrates) but mix in some specific products that are high in calories / carbohydrates to meet my calorie goals to achieve the day.
This is the exact strategy we described in the previous section of this article.
Speaking of quality calories – as I recommend – you can get your Get Bigger shopping list and Bulk Up Cheat Sheet by entering your email address in the box below:
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- The Nerd Fitness "Get Bigger" Shopping List
- Bulk like the hulk with our rules to get bigger
# 2) The "See Food" diet
This is the diet I used to gain 18 pounds in 30 days.
When I look back at how I ate, I'm totally exhausted now.
But it worked for me at the time (and got interested in diet research).
If you are very thin and on a tight budget, this may be your only option and that's fine! High-calorie foods are:
Whole milk, cottage cheese, cereal, pasta, rice, potatoes, fast food, ice cream, juice, peanut butter sandwiches, fast food, subway meatballs, pizza, burgers, etc.
Whatever brings you to your calorie intake goal for the day.
When I gained my 18 pounds, I drank 3 CytoGainer shakes a day because it was the easiest way for me to stay on target.
If you exercise properly, a majority of these calories will go into building muscle instead of gaining lots of fat.
Steve's thoughts: I'm not a huge fan of this method as I've learned that the quality of food is just as important (if not more important) than quantity to your overall health, and we strive for more AND healthier.
# 3) GOMAD
Drink a gallon of whole milk every day along with your meals.
Sounds crazy, yes, but it works.
A gallon of whole milk is full of enough sugar, carbohydrates, fats, and protein so that a total of 2400 calories are consumed in liquid form.
Mix in vegetables and meats for healthy meals and you have an easy-to-follow diet.
I tried this diet at a young age and while my stomach hated me I certainly had success with it, mainly because it was easy to follow and easy to understand.
# 4) Paleo Bulk or Keto Bulk
Bloat while on the paleo diet or bloat while on a keto diet.
Yes, it is possible to produce a large amount on either of these two diets:
When you eat paleoYou want to eat LOTS of carbohydrates and fats from high calorie foods like fruits, sweet potatoes, and nuts.
If you go keto, You want to eat a lot of fat from cheese, nuts, oils, etc.
If you are on the budget and want to try it out, give it a try. They eat truckloads of nuts, avocados, and sweet potatoes.
"Which strategy is best for me?"
In our opinion, we have had the greatest success with coaching clients adapting a “healthy mass” strategy (# 1 above).
It focuses on real foods, sustained increases in calorie intake, and can be customized simply by adding or reducing total servings of carbohydrates and fats.
But hey you do boo
What supplements should I take to collect myself? How To Eat More Calories.
If you're struggling to get enough whole foods every day, here are some tips to help you meet your calorie goals:
"WHAT SUPPLEMENTS SHOULD I TAKE TO BULK FAST?"
Most of the supplements are rubbish
In addition, you should ALWAYS prioritize the consumption of real food over shakes and powders.
However, if you are interested in locking out quickly, there are two I would recommend:
- Protein powder. A great solution to adding extra protein and calories to your diet and building muscle. (5) As we highlighted in our article on protein and protein shakes, mix and match your own ingredients and see how many calories you can get without a smoothie breaking your blender.
- Creatine supplement. It helps your muscles retain more water (6) and has been shown to increase the hormone IGF-1, which is needed for muscle growth (7). It's one of the few dietary supplements (along with protein) that I take regularly.
Outside of these two supplements, you really don't have to make supplement a priority, despite what the muscle magazines say! Hell, a lot of these muscle magazines are owned by supplement companies.
I'm going to give you two more important suggestions on how to build yourself up in this section:
# 1) Liquid calories are your friend. Liquid calories can give us lots of calories without filling us up. This is an easier way to consume enough calories each day without feeling overly full.
Personally, I get a large portion of my calories every day when I make my own Powerbomb Shake – from our Protein Guide
- Water: 16 oz.
- Quaker oats: 3 servings (120 g)
- Frozen spinach: 1.5 servings (120 g)
- Frozen mixed berries: 1.5 servings (120 g)
- Protein powder: 2 scoops of Optimum Nutrition Vanilla Whey
And here is the macronutrient breakdown:
- Calories: 815 cal
- Protein: 70 g
- Carbohydrates: 107 g
- Fats: 12g
I put all of this in a Vitamix blender – yes it was expensive but well worth the investment. This blender has been used twice a day for 8 years without a single problem.
If you need even more calories, consider adding whole milk, coconut milk, or almond milk instead of water.
You can also add a dash of olive oil to add calories / fats to a shake looking for MOAR MUSCLE!
# 2) train your body to eat more: If you're cooking rice, try adding an extra quarter cup every week as you cook it.
And yes, you have to force your stomach to take in more food even when you are not hungry.
This is not pleasant as you often feel like you are about to explode.
Just as it is necessary to force your muscles outside your comfort zone to get bigger, you need to force your stomach outside of its comfort zone until it adjusts to absorb more calories.
So start by adding a little more food each day and pretty soon your stomach will expand.
How to Build Bigger Muscle: Getting Stronger
When you do strength training, your muscles are broken down and then rebuilt stronger to adapt to the stress you put on them.
Every time you pick up a slightly heavier weight, you increase the challenge, forcing your muscles to adapt and become more resilient.
What i'm trying to say
If you want to get bigger, focus on getting stronger.
As long as you are continually increasing the weights or increasing the sets and repetitions you are lifting, your muscles will continually adjust to get stronger.
This is called "progressive overload" and it. is. everything.
If you do this while you are eating enough calories, you will get taller.
There are two approaches you need to consider when collecting:
PATH A: BODYBUILDER BULK. Follow a bodybuilding routine that focuses on isolation exercises that break your body down into different segments, each exercising once a week.
You may have seen something like this:
- Monday: chest
- Tuesday: legs
- Wednesday: Shoulders
- Thursday: Back
- Friday: Arms and abs
I think these routines are fine and you might even enjoy them.
They do, however, require a fairly large amount of time in the gym and you work out 5-6 days a week.
PATH B: STRENGTH AND MUSCLES. Focus on full body routines that include compound exercises like squats and deadlifts that give us the most bang for our buck.
Every time you exercise, most of the muscles in your body are being exercised.
This way, you'll focus on getting really strong with these movements:
If you can focus on getting really strong with the exercises above and getting enough calories, you will get taller in all the right places, too.
Path B is something we are bigger fans of compared to Path A, and we recommend it to our coaching clients.
In particular, we find it safer and more time-efficient: You only train 2-3 days a week on this path (instead of 5-6 days a week with path A).
Mark Rippetoe (author of Starting Strength, a must-have for anyone interested in the above exercises) lives for the old school barbell workout (Path B):
Because it works.
Straight. To keep. Eat. And. To lift.
Skinny Guy Workout Plans For Bulking Up
As we covered in our How To Build Muscle article, here is a sample routine you can follow NOW to get started with the bloating.
After the dynamic warm up, do the following workout:
MONDAY BULK UP WORKOUT::
- Squats: 4 sets of 5 reps
- Bench press 4 sets of 5 reps
- Wide Grip Pull Ups: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Plank 3 sets of 60 seconds
WEDNESDAY BULK UP WORKOUT::
- Deadlift: 3 sets of 5 reps
- Overhead Press: 3 sets of 5 reps
- Inverted Bodyweight Rows: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Hanging knee raises: 3 sets of 10 repetitions
FRIDAY BULK UP WORKOUT::
- Front Squats: 3 sets of 5 reps
- Weighted dips: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Weighted pull-ups: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Reverse crunches: 3 sets of 15 reps
Get stronger and the rest will take care of themselves.
NERD FITNESS RECOMMENDATION: Select the exercise program you want from anywhere. If you don't want to follow the above workout, consider the following sources:
If you're curious, here are some widely accepted strategies About your goals for how many sets and reps you should do:
- Strength and Power: 1-5 repetitions
- Strength and some size: 5-8 repetitions
- Size and some strength: 8-12 repetitions
- Muscle endurance: 12+ repetitions
Now don't worry about which way is the best anymore.
Diet plays the most important role in bloating, and any strength training plan will help you get bigger.
There are 3 studies that I would like to point out:
- A recent study showed that exercising with higher intensity (heavier weight for low repetitions) created more muscle mass than a higher volume (lower weight for more reps). (8th)
- Get more volume (more exercise sets) per week resulted in more mass compared to less volume (fewer exercise sets) in this study (9).
- Studies show that strength training produces superior results when compared to bodyweight training.(10) However, this does not mean that body weight training is not beneficial. Studies show that bodyweight training exercises can build muscle, but require a HUGE number of sets per rep and push themselves to utter failure. (11)
What this means: Don't overthink it.
- Pick up heavy stuff for 3-4 sets of 5 reps. Pick up a weight heavy enough that you can only do the specified number of repetitions.
- Challenge yourself with bodyweight exercises by either making them harder, adding weight, or doing high repetitions on repetitions.
- And then more next time.
The important thing is that you choose and execute a plan while focusing on eating enough.
After a few months, you can reevaluate and then adjust based on how your body has changed.
On any of these days, feel free to mix in bicep curls or tricep extensions or calf raises at the end of your workout.
Focus on the big lifts first and get stronger with them.
How Much Weight Should You Lift? For each of the barbell moves above, I just start with the bar and then add weight in 5 pound increments each week.
It is important that you are in proper shape and get your body used to the movement when you start lifting heavy weights.
How long should you wait between sets? Don't overthink it here either. If you wait 2-3 minutes, you can lift a heavy weight, making you stronger.
If you wait 60 to 90 seconds, the emphasis will be more on muscle size and endurance (since you will be resting for a shorter period of time). However, don't think about it. Do the next sentence when you are ready.
Advice from eight-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney: "Stimulate, not destroy."
Don't destroy yourself in order to destroy yourself. Stopping a rep or two before maximum exertion can protect yourself from overtraining and possible injury – remember, muscle building is in the kitchen!
If you are already overwhelmed and just want someone to tell you what to do, you are not alone.
I've had a trainer since 2014 and it's the best investment I make in myself every month.
Our coaching program helps people to gather together quickly and safely. Learn more:
Can bodyweight training help me collect myself?
Yes, you can get bigger and stronger by just doing bodyweight exercises.
Take a look at every Olympic gymnast: he's jacked up, with huge muscles, all built with bodyweight exercises:
However, it requires a very specific type of training regimen to see these results.
Studies show that strength training produces superior results when compared to bodyweight training.(12) However, this does not mean that body weight training is not beneficial.
Studies show that bodyweight training exercises can build muscle, but require a HUGE number of sets per rep. In other words, you have to push yourself to utter failure. (13)
So here are the challenges:
As with weight training above, you need to increase the difficulty in order for your muscles to adjust.
Since adding a few pounds to a bodyweight exercise to make it harder is often more difficult – compared to a weight on a bar, you will need to increase the difficulty of the bodyweight movement itself.
Also, when trying to build size, you can do sets where your rep ranges are between 25 and 35 reps per set and you get your muscles to fail (shot):
- If you can do 4 sets of 15 pushups, consider doing them more difficult. Do 4 sets of 15 pushups with your feet on a bench.
- 4 sets of 12 pull-ups no longer a challenge? Great. Make them harder. Choose a wider grip, an uneven grip, or weighted pull-ups.
I can only recommend beginners to get intensely involved in weight training with free weights. It's a lot easier to track your progress, just adding more difficulty (just adding more weight!), And very structured.
You can ALSO mix in bodyweight training what I like to do best!
In fact, I personally believe that the best routine mixes both weights and bodyweight training. I have been working with my online coach for 4 years Barbell + body weight training.
Strength training for my lower body, advanced body weight movements for my upper body.
Each day begins with either a squat, a front squat, or a deadlift.
Here I am pulling 420 pounds with a 172 pound body weight:
Each workout also includes lots of Olympic / gymnastic style movements and stops to build upper body strength.
Handstands too (read our guide on handstands):
And I'm just trying to get stronger
What really matters is this: No matter what you have access to (a gym, a barbell, dumbbells, or just a pull-up bar), you can find a way to build strength and muscle if you follow a plan and eat enough calories.
If you're trying to work out with body weight only, it may be worth seeking the help of a trainer to scale your body weight exercises properly and in the right order!
Find out how to use bodyweight exercises in our online coaching program!
I'm Skinny Fat: Should I Gain Or Lose Weight First?
If you are thinly fat (you have thin arms and legs, but a bowel), you have three options:
- Build yourself up and build muscle then lean out.
- Sit back and build muscle.
- Build muscle while leaning back.
We all want door 3, right?
How to achieve both goals at the same time:
If you follow a program with the right calories and strength training, you can lose weight AND build muscle at the same time.
This is how we helped NF Coaching Client Jimmy (these photos are 5 months apart):
Our advice: Get strong and eat a slight calorie deficit while consuming enough protein each day.
Reduce yourself to around 12% body fat (~ 20% for women) and then start increasing the size.
If you lose weight and gain muscle at the same time, you will no longer have to worry about buying larger clothes and will need smaller clothes once you start cutting the fat.
Once you decide to eat more and get bigger, then you can simply adjust until your body fat percentage returns to the acceptable range, when you find that your body fat percentage is gradually increasing. Then keep building!
To recap, here's what to do when you're thin:
- Eat a calorie deficit during vigorous weight training to build muscle while leaning outward.
- Prioritize protein intake: 1.5 g per pound (0.75 g per kg) of body weight.
- Get hellishly strong with big lifts and low reps (this will build muscle even if you are deficient).
- Once you have a certain body fat percentage that you are happy with (probably 10-12%), you can increase your caloric intake to build more muscle without gaining too much fat.
Our coaching program can help you rebuild your body. Learn like:
Proper sleep and rest to build muscle
Last but not least, the other important piece about this triforce of muscle building:
Weight training, eating enough, and rest.
In the meantime, your body builds and rebuilds its muscles RESTORATION.
It generally takes our muscles around 48 hours to recover from their previous workouts. So I don't recommend doing serious strength training on the same muscle group on consecutive days.
Feel free to do dynamic warm-ups or fun exercises whenever you feel like actively relaxing on non-working days, but I tend to take my days off.
I could go for a walk (to Mordor!), But that's about it.
A word about cardio: If you're serious about getting bigger and stronger, a lot of long-distance cardio will work against you.
Your body needs to burn so many calories on your runs that it cannot use any of those calories to build muscle.
If you enjoy running / biking this is cool as long as you know it will slow (or stop) your progress.
So reduce the barrel or cut it out completely.
Try mixing sprints and interval training if you want to keep the cardio going without having to cover all the insane distance. You can always add it back in once you've met your weight gain goals.
A few words about SLEEP: You need more of it as you build muscle.
As simple as that.
Don't be surprised if you want 10 hours of sleep after a heavy day of deadlifting.
It could mean less television or less video games.
If you are serious about getting bigger and stronger, don't neglect sleep.
FAQ for skinny guys trying to collect themselves
QUESTION: "But I just want to get tight, I don't want to be too bulky."
That's not a question, but I hear it all the time. Don't worry about getting too bulky. I have tried to get "too bulky" my entire life – it takes years of combined effort to get there.
I'm assuming you need to gain more than 30 pounds before ever being classified as "bulky".
That said, if you are struggling with weight gain, getting to the point where you are TOO bulky would be a good problem.
If you start to gain weight, if you ever get a little too chubby, at that point, just eat less!
So when in doubt, you are always mistaken on the side of too many calories as not enough. If you are unsure about whether to eat or not, etc.
QUESTION: "But I don't want to do this stuff, so I'll do _____ instead."
Again no question. But hey do it. Give it a month and see how your body reacts. As you get bigger, stronger, and healthier, move on.
If not, come back to this article and apply the lessons here!
QUESTION: "I am a vegetarian / vegan, can I build myself up?"
Absolutely. You just need to make sure that you have enough calories and protein in your system to promote muscle growth.
Beans and nuts are high in protein; If you are a vegetarian, you can still use dairy products to your advantage (whey protein, whole milk, cheese, etc.).
Getting enough protein is a little tougher when you're vegan, but it can be done: almond butter is your friend 🙂
Check out our vegetable protein suggestions.
QUESTION: "Should I do ___ repetitions and sentences or _____ repetitions and sentences?"
Any plan will get you there. It's 90% diet anyway.
The important thing is to choose a plan, make progress, track your results, and continually increase the load you are moving (be it your body weight or actual weight).
QUESTION: “I want to get bigger and faster and at the same time have more stamina and flexibility. Can I do that? "
I hate to say it, but build stamina and get bigger at the same time is brutally difficult.
As I mention in How to Build a Body, cCompare the body of a marathon runner to that of a sprinter or gymnast. Hold the running on hold for a while and focus on getting bigger: you'll be there faster.
If you decide to mix up again, keep your calorie consumption high and don't forget to continue weight training!
You can still go for a walk and still get a good cardio workout by exercising quickly with minimal breaks between sets.
QUESTION: "Do I have to eat every three hours?"
No You do not have to:
- The total number of calories you consume over the course of a day is more important than the timing of meals.(14)
- The same goes for protein intake: studies show that it doesn't matter when you eat your protein. HOW MUCH you consume in a day is more important. (15)
In fact, there are some scientific benefits that can come from not eating all day and instead condensing it into a smaller window.
But eating more often could help …
If you're struggling to get enough calories into your system, splitting your meals may leave you feeling less full or giving you more opportunities to meet your calorie goal for the day.
I eat all of my calories between noon and 8pm and I keep getting bigger even though I only eat 2 MASSIVE meals a day.
QUESTION: “But what about this other article? And the other thing I read? Which workout is the best workout? "
Don't overwhelm yourself. Keep it simple Get stronger, eat more, sleep. Break this down into simple steps and goals that aren't scary and get started.
The best advice I can give you is to start on the way and make adjustments.
Track your progress, calories, and exercise.
As you get bigger and stronger, keep it up!
I know this stuff can be overwhelming as I struggled with this stuff for YEARS before getting results.
After starting Nerd Fitness, I finally started a coaching program: to help people skip the years of mistakes I've made!
Find out how our 1-on-1 coaching program can help you!
More resources for skinny guys who want to get started
This is a monster of an article, and your head is likely to hurt at this point.
If I can narrow it down to three main points:
- Get stronger by picking up heavy material or doing more challenging bodyweight movements.
- Get bigger by eating enough.
- Recover faster by getting enough sleep and giving your muscles days off to rebuild.
If you've made it this far and want more specific instructions and guidance, we have a few options for you:
1) If you are someone who wants to follow a bespoke program that is tailored to their life and goals, check out our popular 1-to-1 online coaching program.
You will work with our certified NF teachers who will get to know you better than you do, review your form and program your training and diet for you.
Get step-by-step guides, form reviews, and global accountability in your pocket! Find out more about our coaching program
2) If you want a roadmap for home training, see NF Journey. Our fun habit-building app will help you exercise more, eat healthier, and (literally) improve your life.
Try your free trial here:
3) Download our free Bulk Up Guide, which you will receive by signing up in the field below:
Download our Free Skinny Guy Guide to Building Muscle!
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- The Nerd Fitness "Get Bigger" Shopping List
- Bulk like the hulk with our rules to get bigger
Finally, I would love to hear from you!
PLEASE leave your questions, Food or strength or otherwise below so we can reply them and become best friends and practice karate kicks in the garage:
How can I help you get bigger and stronger?
Which part of this journey are you still struggling with the most?
What are your favorite foods?
Let your friends know in the comments so we can all buy it in bulk at Costco.
PS: Be sure to read the rest of our bulk up guides:
Photo source: Not happy, Marina Pissarova © 123RF.com, magone © 123RF.com, Ekaterina Minaeva © 123RF.com, morning run with the Fitbit, Inna Vlasova © 123RF.com, Viktor Hladchenko © 123RF.com; Olga Yastremska © 123RF.com; famveldman © 123RF.com; 167/366